What's your organizational philosophy?

Philosophy Jul 4, 2021

So, what is your philosophy at work? Do you have one at your organization level, department level, team level, project level or at worst individual level?

When I ask this question "What's your philosophy?" - I often get answers like:

  • We don't have time for it, we are focused on working.
  • Philosophy is waste of time.
  • It is for those jobless people, not us.

and several others similar to the above...

But the reality is that there is always philosophy behind any work that is done. An underlying approach and several hidden beliefs. And cultural practices and rituals...

Let's list a few philosophical patterns stated and unstated that I see at work:

  • the boss is always right
  • the belief that people can be managed
  • the unyielding focus on dates for things to get done - and yet in reality most of these dates don't matter (except for your boss to get his yearly target bonus in meeting them)
  • project plans - the belief that these plans are true, when most of a plan is illusionary
  • coupled with the above, project tracking, what does 93.5% done mean? especially when the last 6.5% is going to take 10 times the original estimated time? another illusionary belief
  • the belief in overtime. that it is required for employees to work in their evening hours and weekends to catch up on their real work, since they were unable to do them during the regular day
  • Divide the work into pieces and gets them done. And then managing the integration, sequencing and dependencies of the pieces of the work to put together products and services.
  • A belief that future can be predicted. Especially with business results.
  • A belief that every piece of work actually contributes to the bottom-line. (This is the best one I like, when a project or campaign succeeds the credit is to the project or campaign, when it fails the market is often to blame)
  • A belief that metrics and measurements are true.
  • A belief that the way of work used has high efficiency.

Every bit of anything that one does in an organization has an underlying philosophy. When you start inspecting those beliefs and look at each of them closely then you realize that these have been built on very shaky principles. One that does not reflect reality or the science. Especially the science of what humans are and how humans work, as individuals and the collective.

When one starts inspecting these philosophy and belief at the core of how things work in one's organization, it becomes the starting point of a journey to potentially improve them, one or more at a time... a never ending journey of change.


Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.