Corporate personhood – The basis for legal recognition that corporations, as groups of people, may hold and exercise certain rights under the common law and the U.S. Constitution. The doctrine does not hold that corporations are “people” in the most common usage of the word. As such, corporations can hold on to concepts or things just a person would. There are many good articles about “people” letting go. The Art of Letting Go: by Tony Schwartz is a good example of a person letting go within a business. But it’s not a business letting go of what it’s holding on too.
Wikipedia has many examples of letting go in a social context while searching for Letting Go on Google leaves you with the standard personal journeys of releasing from Ego. And those are very important lessons that build our lessons for letting go on a personal level. But how does a corporation let go? A collective group of people most likely have not been exposed to these ideas or teachings. Importantly, they most definitely have not been trained on how a corporation can let go. That is a foreign concept that must surly end in no good. Corporations like people compete. They hold on to victory and defeat. Build empires and markets through steadfast dedication and iron will. Where is letting go in that? What spirit drives a company to let go of it’s collective ego? Corporate personhood as a legal definition is not the whole story.
Leading by example, a CEO and Cxx team embody the Corporate personhood. John Francis “Jack” Welch, Jr was a “spritual leader” of GE during the 1980’s. Welch’s public philosophy was that a company should be either #1 or #2 in a particular industry, or else leave it completely. Thus, letting go. By instituting this philosophy, he was setting the permission for the company to question itself and it’s goals. Much like Tony White is a Clinical Psychologist and Transactional Analyst identified THE TWO EGO STATE MODEL where the parents lead judgement and people know and ask permission to question, leaders need to lead companies to do the same in questioning corporate culture.
So what happens if you hold on too tightly with both hands? You take a real chance at losing a grip on opportunity when it passes by. Ironically searching google for Holding on to tightly leads us to the same personal exploration with no mention of the corporate personhood. This training is critical in the event you want a nimble company that can sieze opportunity. Leading by this new power of letting go is critical for a corporation to succeed. Only leaders that let go can teach it. There are many levels a Cxx team can demonstrate letting go. From pet projects, to setting the corporate agenda like Jack Welch did, or making hard choices when an old revenue business is about to pivot to losing marketshare. It takes a special power and conviction to put a company into Corporate Yoga and training it’s corporate personhood. Teaching it to be flexible and nimble while keeping the important aspects of identity and revenue intact. Holding on firmly but lose enough to grab opportunity when it comes.
How would you use this new power? How would you demonstrate letting go. What proces would you follow to implement Corporate Yoga in the pursuit of letting go?