What if the assumptions that we’ve built most of our systems around are wrong?
I recently heard a mind-blowing podcast where Ezra Klein interviewed Rutger Bregman about the nature of human beings. Bregman asserts that, based on anthropological research of nomadic hunter/gatherer civilizations, ancient humans were not violent, as we have been taught to believe.
He says that the research shows ‘survival of the fittest’ for our species actually means survival of the most friendly and collaborative.
He extrapolates this research to form a view that, left to their own devices, most people will do what’s right and will help and support others.
Yet, if you think about it, most of the systems that we’ve built for society and in our workplaces assume the opposite.
I could talk about how this assumption plays out with the very real challenges we are facing with our criminal justice and school systems, but those are beyond my area of expertise.
So, I’m going to stick to my lane and look at our people systems.
The systems we have used for centuries to hire and manage staff are based on compliance and control and the underlying assumption is that employees cannot be trusted.
But what if we started with Bregman’s assumption of the nature of humans. How could we re-imagine our systems then?
This is an area I’ll be exploring over the next few weeks, so I’d like to hear from you. How do you think our systems could be different if we designed them with the underlying assumption that people are naturally good, collaborative, want to add value and want to do the right thing by others?
Type your ideas in the comments box on LinkedIn or DM me. I look forward to hearing from you.
I will also tie this post to the one I wrote yesterday on the great debate occurring worldwide about continuing to work from home even as restrictions are lifted.