Threefold Management meetings
21 September, 2018
This article follows that on Threefold Financial Reporting. While reporting numbers by the three spheres of the Threefold Social Order (TSO) is not really complicated, using these numbers in terms of the TSO correctly, in other words to change things, is more challenging. As shown in the previous article, a measure that has been reported needs ‘support’ from the other two independent spheres in order to ‘move’ it. This article gives ideas on how to set up a management meeting, or other meeting, so as to find a holistic and real way that could more reliably lead to change. It is also an article that strives for practical Anthroposophy.
The current methods employed by many organisations to drive change is with material incentives, status opportunities, and threats – the carrot or the stick. One can clearly see this being practised in the top level of, for example, sports and it has long been this way in business. How any of these approaches lead to changes of results, sporting or other, is often by manipulation of what already exists. There simply isn’t the time to change the underlying environment – as is required to change the reading on a thermometer – it takes time. These kinds of pressures and extreme fantasy lead to the clandestine changing of the entire thermometer by sourcing from a different environment, or reporting ‘fixed’, moments before the masters take a look at the reading – corporate fraud! A suggested approach that is quite different is given below. This approach has been discovered from the experience of working with the Threefold Financial Reporting numbers. It is all very well to have the numbers, but now what? How are these numbers or measures helping us to get the ‘society or motor’ turning better, sustainably? This is how we trialed it and what we discovered.
We used the DC motor ‘image’, (threefold commonwealth) as the image that we were following. The management team of say nine people was divided into three groups of three. The groups of three were asked to play specific roles. These roles are noted below.
Group 1: Promote and live for the Liberty magnet:
Humanity is to Nature as Light is to Darkness. You are the lens for everything that can be drawn out of our humanity. You want humanity thriving within our organisation. You don’t want the other two spheres to marginalise your desire for a healthy liberty sphere. You want all staff to be known and deeply understood, trained, developed and so on. You know that people are everything. If you get this right, your magnet is in the right position and strong.
Group 2: Promote and live for the Fraternity sphere:
The economy comes into being when we provide for the material needs of others. We need to do this efficiently and produce good quality, relevant products. I don’t work for myself but rather I provide this product for others, and they, another product for me. All I want is efficiently produced good quality, relevant products. I know that money only arises in the economic sphere. You accept that you have to pay taxes to the Equality sphere and make donations from time to time to the Liberty sphere. You can only contribute to taxes if you can be really relevant to the market and very cost effective in producing. You want better people to do this and you want all agreements made to be jointly made and fairly executed in a just way.
Group 3: Promote and live for individual rights and equality before the law:
Where people know that they are treated equally, they are prepared to invest more of themselves. You want all rules to be understood and agreed and policed equally and fairly both internally with staff, and externally with customers and suppliers. You want people to respect and admire the way you implement equality, administer taxes and distribute them according to the agreements made with the other two spheres. You want the economy to be the best it can be and you want the best people you can assisting you achieve your objective.
Once each group understood its specific role in the meeting, the overall objective was made clear. The overall objective of the design of the motor is to get the motor to turn reliably and smoothly. Their combined objective was common in other words. Here it is expressed.
Your combined objective:
To get the armature spinning evenly and faster.
(The regular and even spinning of the armature determines the success of the organisation. The effective spinning of the armature is determined by the magnetic fields in the magnets and the armature interacting at the right moment with each other, do not disturb each other by moving towards each other, are 120 degrees apart, and are of the same strength and distance from the armature. The three magnets are Liberty, Fraternity and Equality.)
Putting the measure before the meeting.
We took our Threefold report that is displayed in Excel and chose for example the measure of Waste. (What follows is a simulation and summary but very real and close to what can be achieved.)
The Ops Manager, responsible for waste, indicated that he was having problems with waste from both the machine condition and the care and skill of the staff. He himself was part of the Fraternity trio.
- The Liberty trio interjected and asked what human development needed to be done and who was doing it? They made suggestions on mind soul development of operators as well as sharing the effects of the waste on the others in terms of skills development and having a mentor and that late deliveries to customers resulted from waste.
- The Equality team asked what agreements and standards were in place with maintenance staff and operators and whether they were reminded of these agreements in the interests of the whole? They asked where and when the individuals were reminded of the agreements made and what was done to keep these all on record per person. They reminded the Ops Manager that his team needed to be efficient otherwise we would not be of any use to the market and that they, the rights sphere would do all they could to remind people that their commitments were to serve others not themselves.
- His own ‘colleagues’ in the Fraternity sphere asked him whether he was aware of the latest technologies and whether these were being employed or not. They asked him if the equipment that he was using was maintained to design standards.
In this way the Ops Manager could get a feeling for the fact that all three thinking processes were important for him to consider if he wanted sustained reduction of waste. He needs to consider that without humanity in his people, without them being aware of their commitment to the whole and him being committed to his part of these agreements, and without being aware of best practice, the waste number will not change sustainably. In this way, the other managers become aware of their need for holistic solutions and the importance of having to think in this threefold way – from these three aspects. It was obvious to us that the management structure would slowly morph into something new and it would not be of a hierarchical nature. We wait with interest to meet this challenge as it appears to us.
For completeness, I want tackle a measure from the Liberty sphere for balance sake in the same way as one from the Fraternity sphere as was the case above. Let us take a measure like Throughput per staff cost. Throughput is sales less direct variable costs (DVC). Sales represents the relevance of our ‘providing for the needs of others’ while the DVC’s represent our efficiency in producing. Staff cost is simply the total cost of staff in Sales and Operations. We would expect this graph to have an upward trend if we are in any way successful with our Liberty strivings. This measure is a Liberty measure because if we understand the sources of value creation as firstly Nature addressed by Human Labour, and secondly as Labour directed by Human Spirit (Intelligence), then we know that both product relevance to the market and efficiency can only be changed through the incorporation of the humanity element in us. The development of this in Humanity falls into the hands of the Liberty sphere in the TSO.
Let us now assume that the graph is on a marginal downward trend. Both the Sales Manager and the Operations Manager have a part to answer for in the graph’s trend. Remember however that we have the three teams also ‘present’ in their role as thinkers and backers of their specific sphere in the TSO as well their common goal of getting the motor to turn. Within the management meeting now a discussion occurs that goes something like this:
- Liberty sphere – We have done all this training and development but it is not showing in the graph. Was there a specific problem in sales volume or price over the reported period or not? Was there a specific write-off or cost shift over the period under review? Assume the answer is no. They then ask of the Sales and Operations Managers where they are having problems with staff and whether it is a skills, experience, motivation, understanding, or other matter.
- They debate together with the Fraternity sphere the desired input into the staff issues raised and some form of intervention is decided upon like the need for observation exercises, or the need to assist people link the percept to the concept for better understanding.
- The Rights sphere might want to add in that it is critical that the numbers are checked to ensure that we are reviewing numbers that are factual and correct.
In this Threefold way, the management team comes up with a real and sustainable way of changing the trend of TP per Labour cost. Over time, because we find ways to bring the three elements into play in balance, the human element is strengthened and so change is brought about on the ground, on earth in a Threefold way.
In closing, I hope that this article has indeed met the expectations put forward in the opening paragraph. These were that Threefold meetings, structured something like what has been put forward, can make a real difference in finding sustainable solutions for a better world. While we ask you to join the search, please note with earnestness what lies as principle behind what has been portrayed here. It is this:
When we as human beings can hold the concepts clearly in our inner lives, and while holding them there, we can address daily issues in this way with the intention of allowing a better societal norm to incarnate on earth, it is going to happen. This is ‘being the change you want to see in the world’. “Being” is a verb, a doing word – by “change” we all assume it means for better which means for the Good and the True, in Love.
I acknowledge in all I write that as I write it I am only able to write what I can at the time. When I write I listen to my inner most being, my independent life of soul, for hints of support in truth as well as for warnings of personal bias, prejudice, and desire for status amongst Men and Women. I try to write only the Good and the True but I know that I fail at times. I sensed this failure in completeness when I re-read the article some time later. For me my attempts are honest and I feel them to be advantageous to society despite their shortcomings. As a consequence, I do not alter or remove them. I am on a path and feel that the path itself may be important for some.