The Abundant Organization

As we are preparing to bring our solution to market, we've been searching for a characterization of just what kind of an organization is the "perfect" customer for what we offer. We've batted around the term Authentic Organizations up to this point as we like the dual meaning of "genuine" and "entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience," as we are focusing on using the best management science and research to help inform our approach. Authentic therefore combines some of the soft part of the mission with the hard science component.

We are engaged in this enterprise because we hope -- even in the smallest of ways -- to enable "Good Work" to occur more often than it does today. Those who are involved in doing "Good Work" will have better lives both at work and outside of work because of it. We spend an awful lot of time at work as a society, so we believe improving work lives can make a meaningful impact.

But using the term Authentic Organization left a little something to be desired. It was part of the characterization, but not the whole thing. Now I know why.

I've had the good fortune to pick up a copy of a book called The Why of Work, by Dave and Wendy Ulrich and they introduce an idea that is much more fulfilling. They call it the Abundant Organization.

Here's their synopsis:

"An abundant organization is a work setting in which individuals coordinate their aspirations and actions to create meaning for themselves, value for stakeholders, and hope for humanity at large. An abundant organization is one that has enough and to spare of the things that matter most: creativity, hope, resilience, determination, resourcefulness, and leadership.

Abundant organizations are profitable organizations, but rather than focusing only on assumptions of competition and scarcity, abundant organizations also focus on opportunity and synergy. Rather than accepting the fear-based breakdown of meaning in hard times, abundant organizations concentrate on bringing order, integrity, and purpose out of chaos and disintegration. Rather than restricting themselves to narrow, self-serving agendas, abundant organizations integrate a diversity of human needs, experiences and timetables.

In good times and in hard times, abundant organizations create meaning for both the employees who comprise them and the customers who keep them in business. Employees, customers, investors, and society benefit when employees find meaning at work and when companies give meaning to society. This logic applies to small and large organizations, to public agencies and private enterprises, to local storefronts and global conglomerates."

Abundant Organization it is, then. Thank you, Dave and Wendy Ulrich.



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