How Being a Good Entrepreneur Means Being a Good Parent
All life starts fused with its parents.
Brian Robertson is an experienced entrepreneur, CEO, and organizational pioneer. He is most well-known for his work developing Holacracy™, a comprehensive “operating system” for governing and running purpose-driven, responsive companies. Its dynamic approach integrates the collective wisdom of people throughout the company, without the tyranny of consensus – it allows anything, sensed by anyone, anywhere in the organization, to get rapidly and reliably processed into organizational evolution. The result is dramatically increased agility, transparency, innovation, and accountability - a conscious organization operating with presence, in flow.
Mr. Robertson's initial work that led to Holacracy™ took place within a software development company he founded and led for seven years. The firm won numerous awards for both fast business growth and innovative people practices, and its novel organizational approach gleaned media attention, including a prominent article in the Wall Street Journal. The Holacracy™ system developed there has continued to evolve and spread in the years since under the stewardship of HolacracyOne, an organization Mr. Robertson co-founded to further catalyze its development and use in the world.
Look at how a healthy parent relates to their child. The parent is not using the child as an extension of their self to meet their goals and their needs. It’s not "I want my child to be a doctor when he grows up because that will meet my fantasy, my need." Rather, the healthy parent knows their job is to support the child finding the child’s calling in life, unfolding the child’s path in life, to get their own stuff out of the way.
I think we have the same opportunity with our organizations. How can we help our organization tune into its purpose in life, its highest creative potential, what it can bring into the world, what it’s uniquely situated to help create or unfold into the world and then how do you we get us out of the way?
So it’s no longer about serving it. It’s about differentiating from it, so we can show up fully autonomously ourselves with our own path and purpose in the world and be part of its journey like the healthy parent to the child finding a new relationship to help it unfold its path in the world.
So this purpose we’re tuning into for our company I call it an evolutionary purpose. What we’re looking for is its deepest creative potential to bring something new to life, to create, to help unfold something new in the world.
What all of my work is about is helping get everything out of the way of that creative impulse expressing in the world. This is what I might call a transpersonal model of organizations. It’s actually not about us. It happens through us, but it’s not for us. This purpose here is not to serve any of us, not even all of us. It’s to create something in the world. It is transpersonal.
To express this evolutionary purpose of the organization we need concrete systems and structures throughout that help us humans recognize when we are stuck in our own stuff or our own attachments or our own ego, and to get it out of the way. And the challenge of that of course is we all show up, even the best of us at times, stuck in our own ego, desires, and we project them on the organization and we try to use the organization to meet them.
This is especially true for people like myself who have founded organization, entrepreneurs. There is a common fusion that happens and it’s natural to some degree. All life starts fused with its parents. All life comes into the world that way, but the opportunity of course to differentiate from it and let it stand on its own is pretty cool.
To do that throughout an organization we need a way to not just differentiate from the founder’s ego, but from everyone’s within, from all of the leaders, all of the individuals showing up in that organization so that we all can channel our best creative capacity into that endeavor while owning our own autonomy without losing ourselves in the process. It’s not about giving up ourselves to the organization. It’s about finding a new relationship that lets us have a voice, but that protects the organization from our ego and our domination and that’s what all of the meeting processes and methods and decisions making systems they’re all designed to give us a distributed power system that let us show up fully and authentically in service of something larger than ourselves in a way that we cannot dominate and project upon and use the organization, but rather the organization stays liberated, defined and expressed its highest calling in the world.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock