On the International Day of Peace, September 21, 2021, DR ICHAK ADIZES shared his experience on the future of management with members of the Heartfulness Institute, USA. In part 1, he explores the way societies and businesses have changed through human history, and what are the qualities we need in today’s world to take us into the future.
JUST THINKING AND FEELING
Hello, namaste, shalom, peace. I don’t think I’m saying anything new if I say that there is change. It started with a Big Bang millions of years ago, nothing new. There is something new, however, because humanity is experiencing a rate of unprecedented change driven by technology and science. There are more scientists alive today than cumulatively in the history of mankind. So what?
Everything in this world is a system. You as a human being are a system. A family is a system. A country is, and so is business. The planet is a system called an ecosystem.
Every system is comprised of subsystems. A company has a marketing subsystem, sales subsystem, production subsystem, financial, human, capital subsystems. A human being has the nervous subsystem, the blood flow subsystem, the respiratory subsystem, etc. And a country has the legal subsystem, the economic subsystem, the technological subsystem, the social subsystem.
When there is change, the subsystems do not change at the same speed. In a company, marketing changes relatively fast. How long does it take to change a sales effort? A little bit longer. How long does it take to change the production to adapt to the changes? Much longer. How long does it take to change people’s attitude, mind set? People are the most difficult to change.
Because the subsystems do not change at the same speed, gaps and cracks develop in the system. The system gets disintegrated and the higher the rate of change, the faster it gets disintegrated. Show me a house in a climate that has a lot of changes – cold, hot, cold, hot – it requires more maintenance. The higher the rate of change, the faster the disintegration. And disintegration is manifested in what we call problems.
Production has a problem matching sales. Sales has a problem matching marketing. Finances says, wait a moment, we don’t have the money. So, hear me well: change means disintegration. Disintegration is manifested in what we call problems. And the faster the change, the faster the disintegration, the faster the problems attacking us, and that’s called stress.
You have to solve problems. You have to decide what to do. And that means uncertainty. You don’t always have all the information, and if you implement the decision, there is a risk. It might not work. Now you are stressed: What should I do? Should I take the risk or not take the risk.
So, what has change done to us? Increased our rate of stress exponentially. There is probably more stress in New York City than in North Dakota or Montana, because of the rate of change. And the disintegration is manifested. Companies fall apart. Countries are falling apart. Look what happened to the Soviet Union. Look what happened to Yugoslavia. Families are falling apart. There are more divorces in New York than in North Dakota. The higher the rate of change, the more disintegration. And people are falling apart. The fastest growing mental disease in the developed world is depression. Underdeveloped, they don’t have time to be depressed, they have to survive. The more developed, which means the more change, the more people are mentally sick. Or they escape to drugs.
What does it mean? Because of technology, because of the advancements in science, our standard of living has gone up. Our quality of life has gone down. We are much more stressed than our grandparents. Our grandparents lived shorter lives, true, with a lower standard of living, but you know what? They were happier. There was a certain level of stability, predictability. The family was predictable. The hierarchy was known. You knew who wore the pants. In today’s world, I really am not so sure. Sometimes I think my kids wear the pants. They’re telling me what to do because they know more about computers and more about iPhones and more about technology than I know. I’m the idiot. They’re knowledgeable.
The world is falling apart. If change causes disintegration, and disintegration gives birth to problems, which give birth to stress and the disintegration of human being, companies, countries, etc., what is the solution? Stop change? That, by the way, is what some religions are trying to do. All the fanatic religions are trying to stop change. Is that the solution? No. Nobody in the history of mankind has succeeded in stopping change.
They tried to stop technological innovation in England. It started in America and England missed it. The Middle Ages were interrupted by the Renaissance. So, we need to learn to manage change. We don’t have a choice, or we’ll fall apart. Our families will fall apart. Our companies will fall apart. We will fall apart as human beings.
We need integration, but what does that mean? What should I do tomorrow?
Look at the history of humankind. We started, if you are Darwinian, as chimpanzees. The strongest were leaders. Then we were nomadic societies. The best hunters were leaders. Then we became agricultural societies. Those with the most sheep, cows and land were leaders. The common denominators were muscles, power, possession. The more the better. It gave birth to an economic theory which promoted colonialism: The more land, the more assets, the more markets I have, the stronger I am. That was imperialism and colonialism based on a mindset that more is better. We still have it – we measure economic growth, even though more is not better. We are destroying the environment. We are destroying ourselves. More is not better.
We must change from “more is better” to “better is more”: To quality of life instead of standard of living. Being less is better. A simple life is better.
We must change from “more is better” to “better is more”:
To quality of life instead of standard of living.
Being less is better. A simple life is better.
Then came the industrial revolution. Strength was not good enough anymore. We needed brain. We needed to plan, budget, hire people, organize, and develop supply chain management. In the industrial society, muscle and brain were both important. Muscle first, then came brain, so then we had muscle and brain. Empires. The strongest, the most possessive, were the best. That was success.
Today we live in what’s called the post-industrial society, and what’s most important? It’s not muscle. Brain is everything. Some of the most valuable companies on the stock exchange have no physical assets. Airbnb does not own one hotel; Uber does not own one car. What do they have? Computers and information. Today, success is in the brain. What does Amazon have? An incredible brain system. What are they collecting? Information and artificial intelligence to manage that information. The same with Facebook and Google. All you businesspeople, watch it; if you do not digitalize your company and develop databases and manage information, you are outdated. Brain is the power.
Well, today the brain is on its way out, too. Artificial intelligence and quantum computers are going to replace the brain. Even today, when I ask some of my students at university, “How much is seven times nine?” they say, “Where is my calculator?” They don’t know. They ask Siri. We are relying more and more on computers and not thinking.
They want to put a chip in your brain so you don’t have Alzheimer’s anymore – connect you to the Cloud and that’s it. We don’t even have to talk; my chip will talk to your chip. Then you will have an artificial heart, a mechanical heart, then mechanical kidneys and mechanical knees. What is a human being now? What is the future after the brain? We went from muscle to brain; now what?
Consciousness, soul, the heart. If we do not develop the heart and consciousness, we are doomed. Nazi Germany was not a fluke in the history of mankind: Highly educated powerful people with no heart. Is that our future? India should be the beacon to the world – Yoga, meditation.
Why? We already said we need integration to overcome the disintegration caused by change that cannot be stopped. What is absolute integration? No boundaries of time and space. Love. The consciousness of love, which supposedly lives in the heart. The heart is a symbol of love. Absolute integration. And it’s not strange the diamond is a symbol of love. It’s the most integrated mineral there is. That’s what love is about. Unless we develop our consciousness of love, disintegration is going to destroy us. Our heart and our consciousness of love will save humanity.
Well, how do we do it so it’s not just empty words? That’s what I’ve spent fifty years of my life on: How to bring love to companies. I don’t talk about it, because I would never have made a cent if I’d said, “I sell love.” They would say, “Go home, or tell us how to make more money.” I help them make more money with love, without them realizing it.
If you love what you do, the more integrated you are, the less energy is wasted. When there is disintegration, you waste a lot of energy. “What should I do? Who am I? Where am I going? Why is it happening to me?” You’re disconnected. It takes energy. That’s why you’re exhausted. When you do what you love, you have so much energy, don’t you? It keeps you young.
Just thinking and feeling,
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes
To be continued.
Illustrations by ARATI SHEDDE
Dr. Ichak Adizes
Dr. Ichak Adizes is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading management experts. He has received 21 honorary doctorates and is the author of 27 books that have been translated into 36 languages. Dr. Adizes is recognized by Leadership Excellence Journal as one of the top thirty thought leaders of America.