This article on co-creation belongs to the Purposeful Organization concept series in which I describe each section of a quadrant model. By the way, this model is based on two criteria. On the one hand, the desired level of personal development. On the other hand, the level of joined effort around a common goal.
This is it! We covered the first three quadrants of the model in the previous articles. Today, you discover the last quadrant of the model. Namely, the co-creation quadrant. Compared to other quadrants it is an ideal state which few organizations achieved. In short, the organization itself has a clear purpose and its members are supported to develop themselves in order to build the best and grow.
In my opinion, we could all thrive in a co-creating organization because their core beliefs are boldly humanist. Co-creation looks at each one of us as a human being with a potential. Furthermore, it also encourages collaboration and balance. What made us survive in the early ages of the human race was cooperation. It is time to rekindle the light of working together.
Personal development & co-creation in organizations
Growth & care to co-create
In an organization focused on co-creation a special effort is made to build a safe environment. Members try to understand a person situation, skills, competences, knowledge and potential for growth. The members’ diversity is celebrated. People deeply care for each other.
In a co-creating organization following aspects are vital:
- high self-awareness
- high self-regulation
- readiness for coaching
- desire to grow and develop skills
- accepting oneself and others as they are
- openness to give and receive feedback
- care for owns well-being and the one of others
- We mentality
- low self preservation ( the primal brain does not see danger)
The feeling of safety comes from our primal brain who identifies danger in the environment. In other words, organizations where co-creation is possible found a way to ensure security.
Common Purpose & co-creation in organizations
A unifying purpose
An organization is a group of people who join their efforts. In an organization of co-creators the strength comes from a unifying common purpose. Each co-creator has his own personal purpose which is in line with the one of the organization.
In such organization the following is clear:
- information flow
- leadership role
- how cooperation works
- knowledge management
- competence management
There are many techniques or models to describe and achieve a goal. You can create a S.M.A.R.T. goal for example. You should select a method you feel comfortable with and follow through.
Why is co-creation so difficult?
There are few reasons why co-creation is not that easy to achieve. It relates to the environment and the way members of an organization deal with themselves and others.
In the current business context the importance of the environment and personal development are sometimes ignored.
A threatening environment hinders co-creation
The role of our primal brain is to keep us unharmed. Our reptilian brain (another name for primal brain) is located in the deepest and oldest section of our brain. It always scans the environment to identify threats. It switches on our alarm system when it recognizes a danger. Then we are in a fight flight mode.
Furthermore, our brain does not make the difference between an imagined situation and reality. Your brain believes that all that you see and integrate in your imagination is real. As a result, you are then in a fight-flight mode all the time if you are exposed to stressful events or thoughts.
We end up driven by negative emotions because of the context we live in. We are told every day in the news that something went wrong. On the way to work and at work we face unfriendly behavior and environment. We imagine worst case scenarios. Consequently, we try to protect ourselves from dangers that do not exist in our immediate physical reality. In fact, they are just projected in our imagination or TV.
Co-creation and stress cannot coexist
The stressful emotions are a reaction to a perceived dangerous environment. Our primal brain sends hormonal messages to the body in order to help it fight or flight. Most of the time, we do not react to those emotions by kicking a threatening boss or leaving everything behind us. We are kind of prisoner of the situation and the hormones in our body remain unused. As a result, they stagnate which create stress. Over a long period of time the body get sick.
You may have experienced or experience the following emotions:
- absence of desire
- ready to fight or flight
- willing to hide
When you feel those emotions your primal brain priority is to keep yourself safe. Your primal brain overruns the commands coming from the others brains section (Neocortex for decision making & limbic system for emotion). You only focus on yourself. Therefore, you are not able to care, grow and define a personal purpose.
This is the reason why an unsafe environment at work does not encourage co-creation.
What could you do to reduce the amount of stress in your daily life?