Yesterday we started a list of rules for creating profitable 21st century business systems. Pretty simple. Pretty straightforward.
Let's start with "Joyous." First of all, what is a "joyous system?" As a noun, "joy" means, "intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness. The expression or manifestation of such feeling." As a verb, "to take great pleasure; rejoice." So, a joyous system is one in which its members experience, express and manifest great pleasure. These are the kinds of people I want to interact with. This doesn't mean those people express and/or manifest their happiness in some cartoonish "have a great day" manner. Far from it. That's the kind of bullshit people thought would make a difference in the 20th century. Fake real joy. What it does mean is that they take great pleasure from the activities they are engaged in. It means they are passionate about what they do. They like doing it. They like the people they are doing it with. They want you to like what they do.
Now, when the entire system is joyous, meaning, all the elements should be aware of the importance of joy, take joy into account when making decisions ("what impact will this have on the system's joyousness?"). Remember, the interconnectedness of joyous systems implies that each system element - ownership, employees, customers, suppliers - is thinking about joy as a factor in profitability. Maximizing the short-term pleasure of one portion of the system throws the joyous nature of the entire system out of balance, eventually leading to a tragedy of the commons situation.
But, this is not realistic. Certain elements of the system must be more accountable for the system's joyousness than others. Owners and titular leaders have special determinative roles in systems; their behavior (specifically through rule creation and enforcement) contributes most of the variance in the character of a system. They must create and implement the rule set they believe will deliver the best results.
"Create joy" is an easy rule to mock. It's a hard rule to implement. It's a key element in 21st century profitable systems, and will become even more so as all of us as customers become increasingly intolerant of business conducted according to 20th century rules.
Next: "innovation," in the context of joyousness.