Management and impact, why companies are reconnecting with life

Management and the governance of organizations that emerged from the previous industrial revolution owe their rise to the economics of mass production, highly predictable, focused on yield and a highly processed mechanical design. Today, the ’30 glorieuses’ seem far away and the level of commitment at work is dramatically low. A five-year plan resembles more of a stylistic exercise, and younger generations no longer dream of large corporations, who were past champions of capitalism.

A double trend but the same movement

A double tendency, which could very well only be one, is gaining ground in our globalized society.

Firstly, vertical management, based on subordination and authority of certain individuals, adapted to an organization which is seen as a “machine”, does a poor job of recognizing the entrepreneurial capacities, the initiative and talent of each individual on the one hand, and the ability to put their skills to use at the service of a team and to collaborate on the other.

Secondly, the company as a tool for creating value can no longer be summed up in a financial statement and a balance sheet. What is its raison d’être, its systemic social and environmental contribution?

This double tendency towards new generation managerial models and systemic management of an organization beyond the financial dimension is, in my opinion, part of the same movement.

A growing dynamic of reconnection to life

I perceive a growing dynamic of reconnection to life: 

  • an internal reconnection to the raison d’être, to the collective that “makes the company” to achieve it and an emphasis on the functioning of the teams that make it up, beyond a focus solely on individual performance,
  • a reconnection to an ecosystem in equilibrium with its social and earthly environment. for example, it is becoming necessary to understand what work can generate in terms of motivation, commitment, and the ability to fulfill oneself, but also in terms of illnesses, psycho-social risks and other burn-outs. The latter bear a cost for society and can be considered in a systemic matter. The same goes for the environment, and not only for carbon and global warming; I am thinking of the collapse of biodiversity, the proliferation of plastic particles in the ocean trenches, endocrine disruptors, the retreat of wild soils, unpolluted water sources, the disruption of the phosphorus and nitrogen cycles, chemical changes in the atmosphere and the acidification of the oceans. It turns out that these equilibria are linked to each other with a degree of tolerance, a degree of elasticity, most of which have now been broken. The most worrying example is of course biodiversity.

Responsible management and raison d'être, a winning combination

The new generation company reinvents its business models, reduces its negative impacts, it is based on regenerative principles whenever possible, and moves away from a linear or exponential logic of production quantity and programmed obsolescence. It favors economic models of functionality, seizing every opportunity to connect with the living, the only force capable of regenerating itself. Adaptive by design, it welcomes technological innovation as an opportunity to move away from linear reasoning and to emancipate society.

The most attractive companies already have everything going for them:

  • a managerial model that builds loyalty based on decentralized authority, autonomy, responsibility, transparency and trust;
  • a raison d’être with a social and environmental impact that motivates and inspires its ecosystem.

We are observing the transition from a Newtonian mode of operating characteristic of the “machine” organization to a quantum mode of living, the passage from a simplified representation of reality to the ability to embrace complexity, through permanent adaptation.

The consubstantial link between management methods and impact can be explained by this newfound logic of the human and living being at the center of organizational concerns.

In quantum physics, which governs the rules of nature, everything is both a distinct entity and part of a whole. The individual is a talent that expresses itself with varying degrees of efficiency within a team, and the organization is a cell within the greater ecosystem that is either more or less beneficial for the ecosystem.

Quantum physics reveals the essence of nature, long expressed by Chinese Taoist philosophy: “separation is an illusion”; everything is connected to everything.


At the final stage of the evolution of organizations (the turquoise holistic level of the dynamic spiral, or the teal of Frédéric Laloux), the notion of competition is fading in favor of interacting actors, aware that their social capital depends on their synergistic relationship within a greater network, the ecosystem.

Our challenge now is no longer just to slow down the degradation of work engagement and the environmental impacts of our activities, but to improve our societies and ecosystems, or in other words: to regenerate them.

Author : Luc Bretones, Founder at NextGen