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Are you a social architect?

As a young manager, I remember lots of talk about work-home life balance. I even had a commission to write a book called The Natural Manager about 40 years ago. It never got written, but I have always believed that there was no reason why work life and home life had to be in opposition.

When I was a student at Besançon in eastern France back in 1958, I visited Le Corbusier’s  Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp that had been built four years earlier. This amazing hilltop pilgrimage chapel was designed to speak to worshipers and reinforce their humanity and their spirituality. A building with purpose and soul.

In business, can you integrate the role of the engineer, the economist–and the artist?

If you can, you are able to be a social architect and create  the conditions in which an enterprise can truly thrive. There are more and more examples of entrepreneurs as social architects. Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos is one such. He says, “Our goal at Zappos is for our employees to think of their work not as a job or career, but as a calling.” He believes that their strategy will provide the platform necessary for Zappos to be a long-term enduring and growing business.

Tony Hsieh has even written a book called, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose that describes his business process as a social architect. Social architecture is the conscious design of an environment that encourages social behaviors that lead towards some goal or set of goals.

As you live into starting a business, you tend to create those conditions naturally. As the business grows, the secret is to maintain that natural management style to flourish. The trouble is that it requires intention.

It requires mindful intention and sets of conscious acts to ensure that behaviors continue to reflect the venture founder’s original purpose. Peter Block, in his book The Answer to How is Yes, says “The task of the social architect is to design and bring into being organizations that serve both the marketplace and the soul of the people who work within them.”

PLEASE NOTE: There is tons of useful stuff on Startup Owl, a site that’s been going for a dozen years. So keep browsing, but know that the founder, Will, now devotes most of his time and energy to his new website that you should definitely visit:

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