In my most recent post, I wrote about how organizations cannot be expected to behave humanely, any more than we would expect a refrigerator or chain saw to behave humanely. Organizations are not humans. However, humane leaders can steer their organizations in humane directions, but only if they can avoid getting caught up in Organization-Think.  Now let’s take it up a notch. Let’s look at meta-organizations, collections of organizations whose leaders and workers share a mental model, largely unconscious, that limits humane behavior.  Let’s call it “Factory-Think.” Imagine that you were a factory owner at the dawn of the Industrial Age.  Your problem: How to create an efficient, cost-effective, profitable way to produce goods. The solution? Piece work. Workers got paid by how many widgets they made in a day or week. To maximize productivity, and to ensure that every widget was like every other widget, steps and processes were…

Thousands of studies demonstrate that leaders with higher EQ are more successful than those with average (or lower) EQ. But I’m not writing about that today. I’ve found myself reflecting on the nature of organizations, thinking about my own experiences with them, experiences that clients who work for them have told me about, and stories my friends and family have related to me. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts about what follows. Think about times when you’ve dealt with a large healthcare organization. Maybe you’ve helped shepherd a loved one through a serious illness. Maybe you yourself were the patient. Did the experience enhance your sense of yourself as a human being? Or did you find yourself feeling like a piece of meat, lost in a maw of processes, procedures, and awful communication, while the people working there did what their organization told them was necessary? Think of the times…