Part I: The Grand Scheme of Things


The Social Enterprise

It’s not a panacea; it’s a strategy that takes into account how dramatically people have changed.

—Paul Greenberg


The old corporation was all about command and control. Corporations were organized into hierarchies; orders and instructions flowed down from the top.

Management assumed that most employees were lazy and self-indulgent. As a consequence of this belief, management focused its energy on goading or coercing employees into working. Management assumed that all resources were scarce. As a consequence of this belief, management focused its energy on conserving or hoarding the company’s resources.

Haunted by the idea of Murphy’s Law, management assumed that anything and everything that could go wrong would go wrong.

As a result of these beliefs, the practice of management became a nonstop drill in risk avoidance. Disaster lurked behind every corner, change was always for the worse, and the only salvation lay in strict adherence to a carefully codified set of rules, processes, and procedures that were all designed to keep people from screwing up.

The new corporation is built on a very different premise. The whole notion of “command and control” is seen now as a relic of the past. Management (what’s left of it, at any rate) generally accepts the idea that most people, when offered the opportunity, actually want to work. Most of the managers that we know understand that most of the people they ...

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