This is a question that is raised by Rutger Bregman in Utopia for Realists. He rightly says that this is a very basic question but deeply profound in terms of how we then act and what we put in place. He gives an example of the homeless. One group decide what the other group need or will do. Poor will drink their money away. The poor are assumed to be unable to make wise decisions and therefore it is assumed that free money will make people lazy. He rightly reflects that the welfare system therefore is one of suspicion and shame. The rich assuming, they know what the poor need. The right fear people will stop working and the left don’t trust them to make their own choices. As Bregman states so simply and powerfully – “Poverty is about a lack of cash, not stupidity”.
When reflecting on this it occurred to me that organisations could well do with stopping for a moment to really examine at an honest and profound level what they REALLY think of their people – and as a result what processes, systems and policies they have implemented!
For too long we as organisations are addressing the symptoms not the causes of what is holding us back – I suggest that a good starting point is to challenge our thinking. In the words of Bregman “to make the radical reasonable, you merely have to stretch the bounds of the radical”
How radical are you prepared to be to create a place where people can be their brilliant selves?