An organization’s knowledge is distributed among its members. There is no central repository that can enable a decision-maker to allocate resources intelligently. And even if some central authority could make rational decisions on its own, more often than not, subordinates would not follow the directions; people have minds of their own and they resent being told what to do.
Only a network of conscious conversations and decisions can efficiently process the vast knowledge embedded in a complex system. Conscious conversations are conducted with honesty, respect, intelligence, creativity and integrity. Conscious decisions pursue a shared vision, honor every individual’s intelligence, and value their freedom of choice. These processes integrate the information from all the different organizational members more efficiently and effectively than any CEO or executive board ever could.
Leadership is essential, but not because leaders know more or make better decisions than the network of conscious conversations. Leaders matter because they are the architects of the organizational culture. Through example and inspiration they create the background conditions (beliefs, values and behaviors) that enable and sustain a healthy network of conscious interactions.