“An organization’s fitness—like that of an organism—cannot be assessed in a vacuum; it is a product of compatibility with the surrounding environment.”

General Stanley McChrystal

With the present-day cynicism towards large institutions, we have lost our sense of their potential. The complex states of government, academia, corporations, networks, and multinational nonprofits are an evolutionary marvel. Before trying to dismantle them, we could step back and appreciate our abilities to gather, coordinate, and accomplish remarkable feats. How can so many people serve a common interest effectively?

This has been accomplished through human ingenuity, modern technology, and the transactional exchanges of value that are less and less effective at motivating employees, buyers, partners, and citizens. People don’t like being commoditized or coerced, and that’s what has been happening inside and outside of many organizations.

We see different possibilities emerging — organizations, large and small, becoming attractive forces of the best talent, most inspiring innovation, and loyal customers.

What if . . .

  • Employees were consistently excited to contribute
  • Innovation came naturally with little effort
  • Leadership was abundant, clear, and respected
  • Customers and partners were flocking to you

This is the potential of a relational business where the energy in the workplace, products, services, and advocates is palpable. Trust, purpose, and high quality interactions create profits and wellbeing.

How do these organizations get created? Transformed? Maintained?

There is no playbook for building these organizations because the secret sauce is in the dynamics within every interaction.

Relational business design is for organizations that want to address these dynamics, creating the most favorable conditions for these interactions to take place — in offices, labs, stores, factories, homes, the Internet, and classrooms. Working better together does not happen overnight. It takes time, awareness, cohesion, and action.

This is why Canopy Gap exists. The plans do not create the change. The interactions do.