Mondays and generative organisations

The Boomtown Rats anthem immortalised the common sentiment that Monday reminds us about some of the most depressing things about life. Unfortunately it remains the norm that Mondays ushers us back into a world that dehumanises us and forces us to check out the things that have energised us over the weekend.


For some years now I have been thinking and experimenting with my colleagues about what it takes to cultivate organisations that create a different working reality for people. As I walked along the street to Don Vincenzo in Brunswick Street where I’m sitting now, I imagined that everyone I saw was energised to be up early on Monday morning and looking forward to what they will be doing through the rest of the week. The cynical will think I am fantasising, and perhaps I am. But I know we can move a long way from where we are now.

It is time for business to recapture its role as providing a valuable service to the community, not just in its mission rhetoric, but in its enacted reality. Shareholders are only one group of stakeholders. We typically spend our best energies at work. Life is too valuable for that to be wasted. Think about what the world would look like if people of goodwill could make their primary contribution to society via their vocation, rather than only in their discretionary time.

At Ergo we call organisations that provide opportunities like this ‘generative organisations’. Authentically generative organisations offer a work experience like this not just for a privileged few at the top of the management pyramid, but to the entire workforce.

We are pleased that during 2009 we will be working in partnership with Deakin University to explore more deeply the concepts and practices of generative organisations. Stay tuned for more on this as the year rolls on.

It is some years now that my friend Donald suggested I read the formative “Happy Mondays‘, I hope yours will be / has been a good one.