Designing For Tropophilia: Building Beautifully Tropophilic Organisations!

When a sudden random event hits you, it makes you stronger if it does not kill you, i.e., it helps you become tropophilic. In other words, it makes you more than antifragile. It makes you able to benefit from it and deal efficiently with chaos and uncertainty and, therefore, benefit from the impact of future improbables.

From biology, we know that heterosis (i.e., hybrid vigor or outbreeding enhancement of the offspring) comes about when the best traits of the parents are passed onto the offspring, as opposed to inbreeding.

A simple example of proactive heterosis or saliency is human vaccination. By taking a small hit now, through a vaccine, one can better deal with a major hit in the future. By proactively building one’s immune system one can, eventually, attain tropophilia.

Tropophilia incorporates proactiveness and removes asymmetries and monocultures. It builds symmetries and heterosis. Ensures that the minority (with skin in the game) rules the game!

Tropophilia is built by the continuous directive correlation between the system and its environment.

Thus, Tropophilia further develops error-reducing-benefit-maximizing organizational structures where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Most HR efforts, if not all, are reactive practices based on signs and symptoms, such as employee disengagement, lack of empowerment, poor leadership, and conflicting assessments. Hence, they focus primarily on risks and vulnerabilities and not on strengths or capacities, let alone on tropophilia!

Low engagement and accountability (no skin in the game) continue to cost the global economy over $1 trillion annually and the 2017 Elderman Trust Barometer reveals a sharp decline in engagement and accountability across all sectors of business, private and public, especially with millennials who abhor restrictive organizations without a higher purpose.

Employers continue to be the victims of “expert” advice and struggle to determine what constitutes “best practices.” Best practices serve little purpose, if any, in Black Swan Domain.

Research have shown that six human requirements must be optimally satisfied before people can be expected to intrinsically develop responsibility for and commitment to their tasks. These are the building blocks for designing tropophilic organizations and are at the heart of Participative Design, Employee Engagement, and a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.

The first three requirements refer to the content of any job and are experienced differently from person to person. These first three criteria tend to be either too little (at lower levels) or too much (top management levels):

  1. Adequate responsibility and decision-making. The sense that the responsibility for the work done is with the one doing it and not above.
  2. Opportunity to learn continuously. Such learning is only possible when people are able to set goals that are reasonably challenging to them and get adequate feedback to learn and make corrections.
  3. Variety. People need adequate variety based on individual capabilities to avoid either boredom or fatigue.

The second three requirements relate to the social culture of the workplace and can never be too much:

  1. Mutual support and respect. Conditions that support common good over individual interest, getting help and respect from their coworkers; that don’t pit one against another.
  2. A sense that one’s own work meaningfully contributes to social welfare. This includes both the quality and the worth to society of the product/service, as well as the participant’s knowledge and understanding of the end use or purpose of the product or service.
  3. A desirable future. Put simply, a career path which will continue to allow for personal growth and increase in knowledge and skills.

You can waste valuable resources with “fun team-building games” that do nothing to change the organizational structure, or you can use those resources to change your organizational structure and watch your work culture flourish.

Team building is not about outdoor training but about organizational design and restructuring.

By restructuring the workplace based on Open Systems Design Principles, the six psychological criteria are met by default, thus achieving a positive directive correlation between the system effectivities and its environmental affordances, transforming rhetoric on responsibility into positive action.

The result is a culture of trust, transparency, and integrity. Thus, becoming a Tropophilic organization!

If you get caught unprepared in a Black Swan Domain it will be devastating. The only way to prepare your company is by making it Tropophilic, thus ensuring that every employee becomes an ideal-seeking individuals with a Day-1-Always attitude!

Living organisms can defy the misleading gloss on the second law of thermodynamics (Entropy), “They take disorganized bits and pieces of matter, and put them together in fiendishly complex and refined ways”. This is Tropophilia in action!

Time is the best detector for fragility and Tropophilia. And now, thanks to the power of Blockchain the whole process is sounder than ever!

To the Health of Your Tropophilic Organisation!

JC Wandemberg Ph.D.

President & Founder

Sustainable Systems International

About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store