Flow and Control in the Organisation
Posted on January 22, 2014
Luis: I was reading the book you recommended over our last lunch, Zen Mind, Beginner’s mind. One of the chapters is about control, in it Shunryu Suzuki states that “to put everything under control is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes”. This got me thinking about our obsession with controlling things in our life and how we go about making our decisions.
My interpretation of this sentence is that we must focus in seeing things as they really are. Not easy but when we achieve that, everything is clear and the decision is simple. This way we can flow with reality rather that suffer with the illusion that we can control it.
Then I wondered, could this be applied to organisations? Often, leaders are obsessed with control. Isn’t overcontrol a disruption to the organisation’s potential? Excessive control makes people respond from fear. It narrows people’s diverse and creative contributions. Do you think Suzuki’s idea of control could be successfully applied to organisations?
Dave: What I like about Suzuki’s way of presenting this is letting “everything go as it goes”. So one might ask, “How can I achieve results if I let everything go as it goes? Then I might get results, or I might not. I can’t risk not getting results…”
What I would say to that is that no matter what happens, you are getting some result. Can you free yourself from the picture you have made in your mind of “the results” and truly see [results] as they are, and observe [results] as they are?
By attending carefully to seeing and observing things as they are throughout the whole process, one’s ability to be present in each moment may open the possibility of taking most appropriate actions. This would be in harmony with letting “everything go as it goes”.
The idea of control implies that one is separate from the process and can influence it from outside. What if we’re never separate from the process? Then we are a part of letting everything go as it goes. The process you are in is controlling you as much as you are controlling it. So why not just see things as they are?