It’s 2010 – What Universe Do You Live In?

For all the sophisticated management thinking these days, why is it most managers only see half a world – the world of economics – as opposed to the “other” equally formidable world of identity?

A short, provocative article in Newsweek last month challenged the notion that we’re forever having to choose between science and the humanities, as if they are mutually exclusive. It occurred to me that companies do the same thing, if unwittingly, when they pay rapt attention to the economic ‘universe’ we all inhabit, but virtually no attention to the ‘identity universe’ that’s also ever-present and inescapable in its impact on business success.

Why is that?

Is it because managers can’t quantify its effects? (That’s no longer the case, with the results of the Identity Impact Survey which lend hard evidence to the quantitative impact of identity on employee engagement and business performance.


Is it because we don’t have the tools to manage identity, as we do with economics? (Ditto, from above.)

Why, however, doesn’t matter as much as why not…Why not open our eyes to the “other” universe that governs organizations? Why not combine them, consciously, into a seamless, more holistic, management discipline aimed squarely at value creation? If economics provides the capital model of how companies work, then identity provides the human model. They belong together. They are symbiotic.

When I was a kid, I always needed someone else on the end of the see-saw to make it go up and down, in a steady, rhythmic way. As a high school student, I recall learning about the need to keep the scales of justice in balance. Today, I see no less a need for managers to balance the discipline of economics with the discipline of identity, when making decisions about strategy, brand and operations.

It’s only logical.

It’s the future.

Who’s going to go first?

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