Creative Destruction and Renewal in the Workplace
By Tanis Helliwell
Does one want to take the world and tamper with it?
I see he will not succeed.
The world is a sacred vessel which none should spoil.
One who tampers with it spoils it,
One who grasps it loses it.
There is a time for surging ahead and for staying behind.
A time for breathing softly and for breathing strongly,
A time for vigour and for withdrawal,
A time for soaring upwards and for lying low.
Downsizing: Short-term pain for long-term gain?
For several years now large organizations have been downsizing because they can no longer do business in the same way that was done a decade earlier. At first glance we are aware of the human pain and chaos that has been created by this period of cutting back the old organization. Downsizing has resulted in massive amounts of people finding themselves unemployed and looking for other work options. Long term these options may benefit both individuals and our society. Some people, for example, have started their own businesses, which have contributed to a growth trend in small and medium-sized businesses in North America.
Large organizations, however, will continue to exist but in a reorganized way structured in many cases around semi-independent teams and work units. By doing this people will be able to develop their creative potential while being able to react quickly to changes in the marketplace. The new, stripped down workplace can benefit both employees and the organization just as long as the organization also adopts new policies and procedures commensurate with the number of present employees. These periods of destruction and downsizing followed by periods of growth and expansion are natural cycles. If either individuals or organizations resist these natural cycles, nature will force change on them.
Nature has its own cycles and resisting them will create future problems. Forest fires illustrate this principle perfectly. Left to nature, periodic forest fires burn out decaying trees to make way for new trees and plant growth. The devastating fire that raged through Yellowstone Park a decade ago happened mainly because humans had been holding back this natural cycle while trying to maintain old growth. Human interference in Yellowstone’s natural cycle resulted in a high level of forest decay so that, when the fire did start, it wouldn’t stop.
Destruction and renewal is a natural cycle. Beavers dam streams to make ponds for themselves, but also create a place where other creatures can thrive. Water erodes rock to create rivers from streams. Destruction—whether in nature or in organizations—is not bad in itself but needs to be in keeping with long term environmental health.
3M in the U.S. practices “creative destruction.” Its policy—that 25 percent of sales must be from products less than five years old—ensures that new products are always entering the market and that only the best of the old survives. At the same time as 3M practices creative destruction, it also supports “creative renewal,” by allowing employees to devote 15 percent of their time to projects that interest them. This is how the famous post-it notes came into being. By giving employees time to follow their own creativity, 3M builds a continual cycle of new birth into its organizational structure. These cycles not only make the employees happy and more productive, they ensure prosperity for the entire company.
Working with organic cycles and seasons is good for the soul of the business and for the souls of individuals. Viewed this way progress is no longer seen as linear, but as living in harmony with ourselves, others and the Earth. As Jack Kornfield says:
We are not trying to get somewhere better next year or in twenty years…We are learning to open to the timeless universe unfolding in our lives, being in greater harmony with what is, with a greater inclusiveness of our hearts to all the seasons of our life.
Tanis Helliwell, a mystic in the modern world, has brought spiritual consciousness into the mainstream for over 30 years. Since childhood, she has seen and heard elementals, angels, and master teachers in higher dimensions. Tanis is the founder of the International Institute for Transformation (IIT), which offers programs to assist individuals to become conscious creators to work with the spiritual laws that govern our world.
Tanis is the author of The High Beings of Hawaii, Summer with the Leprechauns, Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns, Embraced by Love, Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose, Hybrids: So You Think You Are Human and Decoding Your Destiny.
For information on Tanis’ courses, click here.