Sunday, 19 April 2009

Easter reflection

““And God created the Organisation and gave it dominion over man.”
Genesis 1, 30A, subparagraph VIII.” (Robert Townsend. 1970. Up the Organization)

This Easter I’ve reflected on how our lives are too often distorted, disfigured and diminished by the organisations we inhabit; how some (usually small) organisations grow people instead of distorting, disfiguring and diminishing them.

Over Easter my wife took timeout from our workday organisational routines for two short adventures:

First we retreated to the Opotiki bush block that we’ve owned and congregated on with friends for over 30 years. For us all, including our children who spent every summer there from before birth into to their 20s, the place is a trig point in our individual and collective identities. Gatherings usually include a building project, an adventure and much feasting, talking and laughing. This Easter was no exception. By day, we hand-made and laid 6m3 of concrete together to ford a stream. By night we celebrated with communally prepared food and wine.

The place, the purpose, and the people have produced a successful and enduring collaboration (small on organisation and big on community) of individuals whose multiple diverse talents interact, flourish, revive, and reorient in the verdant quiet of chuckling steams, moss carpeted waterfalls, giant native forest trees, ponga and mamaku tree ferns and nikau palms.

Next we toured the Otago NZ wine growing region where some of our favourite Pinot Noir wines are produced. We visited small vineyards and wineries to get acquainted with the places and people in the wine. In dry rocky historic landscapes we talked wine and history with vineyard owners passionate about their vines and their wines; real people, real emotion, excellent wine: small organisations in big communities. The wine industry in New Zealand is renowned for collaboration.

The spirit of creativity, growth and change in a collaboration (small on Management, big on distributed leadership), is perhaps symbolised by the koru which in Maori art symbolises creation, origin, perpetual movement and the way in which life both changes and stays the same.

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