I'm not one of those professors whose office is encased floor-to-ceiling with books. By the way, I think academics do this to intimidate their visitors.
You can't build an adaptable organization without adaptable people - and individuals change only when they have to, or when they want to.
An adaptable company is one that captures more than its fair share of new opportunities. It's always redefining its 'core business' in ways that open up new avenues for growth.
What's true for churches is true for other institutions: the older and more organized they get, the less adaptable they become. That's why the most resilient things in our world - biological life, stock markets, the Internet - are loosely organized.
To create an organization that's adaptable and innovative, people need the freedom to challenge precedent, to 'waste' time, to go outside of channels, to experiment, to take risks and to follow their passions.
I'm a capitalist by conviction and profession. I believe the best economic system is one that rewards entrepreneurship and risk-taking, maximizes customer choice, uses markets to allocate scarce resources and minimizes the regulatory burden on business.
Trust is not simply a matter of truthfulness, or even constancy. It is also a matter of amity and goodwill. We trust those who have our best interests at heart, and mistrust those who seem deaf to our concerns.
During the ten years I lived in the U.K., I frequently attended an Anglican church just outside of London. I enjoyed the energetic singing and the thoughtful homilies. And yet, I found it easy to be a pew warmer, a consumer, a back row critic.
If corporate leaders and their acolytes are not slaves to some meritorious social purpose, they run the risk of being enslaved by their own ignoble appetites.
I am an ardent supporter of capitalism - but I also understand that while individuals have inalienable, God-given rights, corporations do not.
An enterprise that is constantly exploring new horizons is likely to have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent.
A well-conceived product excels at what it does. It's close to being functionally flawless - like a Ziploc bag, a radio from Tivoli Audio, a Philips Sonicare toothbrush, a Nespresso coffee maker or Google's home page.
Obviously, you don't have to be religious to be moral, and beastly people are sometimes religious.
When a politician bends the truth or a CEO breaks a promise, trust takes a beating.
The real damper on employee engagement is the soggy, cold blanket of centralized authority. In most companies, power cascades downwards from the CEO. Not only are employees disenfranchised from most policy decisions, they lack even the power to rebel against egocentric and tyrannical supervisors.
I live a half mile from the San Andreas fault - a fact that bubbles up into my consciousness every time some other part of the world experiences an earthquake. I sometimes wonder whether this subterranean sense of impending disaster is at least partly responsible for Silicon Valley's feverish, get-it-done-yesterday work norms.
Fact is, inventing an innovative business model is often mostly a matter of serendipity.
I was frustrated for a long time with my colleagues in the business school world and with so many management authors who didn't really see themselves as innovators. They were glorified journalists.
In most companies, the formal hierarchy is a matter of public record - it's easy to discover who's in charge of what. By contrast, natural leaders don't appear on any organization chart.
As human beings, we are the only organisms that create for the sheer stupid pleasure of doing so. Whether it's laying out a garden, composing a new tune on the piano, writing a bit of poetry, manipulating a digital photo, redecorating a room, or inventing a new chili recipe - we are happiest when we are creating.