Career in the Creating Organization

Is it possible to talk about “career” in new forms of organizations or is it contradictory? How do people measure their progress when we have less hierarchy and fewer clearly defined career-paths?

But first of all: What is this “Creating Organization”?

To develop the Creating Organization we work with Mindset, Models and Methods on three levels. The first is the level of the individual who is a member of the organization. Often it is important to develop leadership first — working with leaders occurs also on this level. The second level is the team/process level that creates value for the customer. The third and highest level is the level of the organization itself.

The Creating Organization Matrix

Mindset leads to appropriate models. The models provide the basis for the methods, which lead directly to creating value on each level. Creating value on one level automatically positively influences the value creation of the other levels. In the Creating Organization the models and methods also create a loop-back to Mindset, since mindset represents a belief system (espoused theories) that is affected by hidden beliefs that people carry with them (theories-in-use). Methods should help uncover theories-in-use in order to align them with espoused theories (the desired mindset).

Value is the output, Mindset helps develop or choose Models but Methods and Models should also help develop Mindset.

Is it possible to have a career in a Creating Organization?

For the Creating Organization the following theories about human nature and what people desire can be useful in defining our mindset (please refer to the references at the end of this article for the sources):

  • Theory Y (versus Theory X posed by Douglas McGregor)
  • Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)
  • Growth Mindset (Carol Dweck)

In a short, simplified version that would be:

What people really want, what makes them “happy,” is to be part of something bigger than themselves, to create something in a state of flow, to have autonomy in their activity, and to be continuously learning and pushing their own limits.

The vision

I don’t need more money or a better title to feel like I am getting somewhere. I define my progress myself by what I am learning and creating.

Let it sink in … and don’t worry, we are not finished yet.

The reality

Moving from current reality toward the vision

That is a simplified version of the model, but yes, it does mean no detailed plans or milestones all the way up to my goal — the next steps will show themselves.

I have found that this model is not only useful for individuals but also for teams. It is much harder to get to a “shared vision” with a group of people but on the other hand the picture of reality gets much better when multiple perspectives can be integrated.

Getting to our vision of career

Creative tension— possible first steps

And we allow people to become leaders who weren’t managers already. We give them the chance to take on more responsibility to help others grow and learn. Perhaps the current reality requires this responsibility to correspond to higher salary — then do that.

Then we start separating things that have been together for a long time. We give feedback everyday, from those from whom it is relevant — because feedback is a gift to learning and creating. We separate “development talks” from “appraisals” or “performance reviews”. In development talks it will be just about the particular member of the organization — where is he/she going and who can help. “Appraisal” defines the amount of salary that will be earned — to take it further than “performance,” we try to appraise the learning that has taken place as well as that which has been created by the member. We include the factor of “how” creation has taken place — in other words according to our shared values — and how well the person has created together with others, how much he/she has shared his/her knowledge and been a mentor for others.

These are just possible first or next steps — they are real examples from developing the organizations that I have been a part of. They may or may not be useful for your organization at the current time, but if you have a clear vision and view of reality, I think you will come up with even better first steps for yourself.

Changing the way we think about employee retention (German: Mitarbeiterbinding)

People with such an attitude are useful now, but will have a hard time learning for the changes that are coming to the organization, so let them go. Others with growth-mindset will replace them, when your organization becomes attractive to them.

Personally, I want to work with people who are growing and learning and if they are not, they should move on. That might sound hard, but it is actually better not only for them, but also for the organization. People who are unmotivated will hurt the organization more by being there than by their absence.


This path opens up before us, and we use models and methods that help us not only to create more value, but also to develop our mindset. Thus we continue creating an environment that fosters flow, learning and creativity.

Is it possible to have a career in a “Creating Organization?”

Definitely: YES!

… and

… the way we define and measure career will transform at the same time.

Reading recommendations

The Human Side of Enterprise, Douglas McGregor

Finding Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mindset, Carol Dweck

Creating, Robert Fritz

The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge

Drive, Daniel Pink

How Creative Workers Learn, Alexandre Magno

and an excellent introduction in German to modern concepts of working:

Management Y, Brandes, Koschek, Gemmer, Schültken

facilitator, writer, speaker, entrepreneur |

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