A Great Place

(A Random List of Cool Qualities of Organizations)

Once upon a time, I wrote up an extensive list of the best aspects of some organizations I've had the privilege of being a part of. Put together, I think they form some ideal for what a near-perfect place might be.... Here's my current version.

Vision. Freedom. Free will. Learning. Honesty. Tolerance. Respect. Humor. Caring. Competence. Responsibility. Teamwork. Fun. No pay. A bare minimum of rules.

Are these characteristics of a great-sounding place? Or does the loose framework and lack of structure sound a little frightening? In any case, I think I need to make the point that almost none of the groups I'm thinking of is a profit-oriented group. These groups are almost always volunteer or non-profit organizations. They also tend to be relatively small (no more than 50 active members at any one time, and perhaps 200 other inactive members).

Sadly, some of these groups also tend to have strict entry requirements, or a long scrutiny period before a person is "welcomed" in. This is the one drawback of these groups. However, it is my observation that with some of these groups, the selection is automatic --- those not interested tend to drop out or stay away. Only people with similar interests and mentalities remain --- and they sure form some effective and sometimes awe-inspiring teams!

Qualities I really despise in a group:

Greed. Backstabbing. Lying. Power-hungriness. People who pretend to be reasonable on the surface, but who are filled with uglier things beneath. Leaders who pull rank to get their way. Leaders who patronize. Secret empire-building! Pressure to provide personal favors! Manipulation, of even the person at the top. Secret tribunals and judgments. Leadership by fear and threats (and lies). Basing all a project's designs on the goal of generating sales, not based on any inner vision or heartfelt joy. Unreliable teammates. All-powerful people whose words are law. The Dilbert theory of management (promotion to the level of incompetency). Hypocrisy!! Profit-as-the-goal mentality. Sexism/racism etc. Judgment based on looks, not competence. No training or learning on any side. Leaders who assume underlings are incompetent or unworthy. Leaders who take all the credit (and none of the blame). Political power games. Leaders and teammates who unfortunately are so busy protecting themselves, they hurt their underlings or peers. Winners and Losers. Adherence to the Clock. Superiority complexes in one group against another, even internal to the same organization. Lack of communication. Arbitary application of standards. Maliciousness. How-loud-you-are determines if you're heard or not. Secrecy and concealment. (Gee, so many of these are based on insecurity, aren't they?)

Where do I tend to find or notice these traits? Profit-driven corporations and power-seeking political groups. Big surprise.

I sincerely respect managers I've had and whom I've heard of who have not let their positions affect how they treat others.... Their priority is to help those below them get their jobs done. Whether or not one is Christian, I think this quote might ring true in an odd way: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.... Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave...." (Mark 20:25-28).