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Just as with individuals, organizations are beings on their journey with have their own unique meaning. In the early stages, it is the founding team which imbues the organization with its meaning, imparting their own DNA. When entrepreneurs tend the meaning of their organizations, whether with a social purpose or otherwise, they become journey entrepreneurs. As the default steward of their organization's meaning, the entrepreneur often takes on the role singly with little assistance from others.
Organizations face a critical moment in their evolution when founders leave. Because stewardship of meaning is concentrated in the founder, the organization has likely not developed the capacity to steward its meaning. If organizations were built with the funding-driven method, then their meaning is even further obfuscated by House 3 imperatives. This video articulates the challenge:
Organizations today are further burdened by becoming purveyors of meaning for their employees. But providing this meaning, while beneficial in the short term, creates challenges as the meaning relationship becomes entangled. Ultimately, providing meaning for another being only works in an authority-context. When individuals steward their own meaning, they look for shared meaning rather than replacement meaning models.
There is much work ahead in developing organizational meaning competence.
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