This blog post was first published in 2010.
In face of the current events – The leaked Papers from Panama, the PM resignation in Iceland… I have decided to publish it again. The original post was named “The illness of the nation – Why is Greece suffering?“, today that title does not feel right, so I rename it. The critical question still stays the same: Are we learning something here, or we are turning a blind eye once again?
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This is not just an economic crisis this is a crisis of values.
What a month of uncertainty in the euro-zone and across the world markets. CNN writes of the eminent Greek default. Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy…
Laurence J. Kotlikoff today writes that “America’s debt woe is worse than Greece’s”
Where is this going? What are the solutions?
I would like to observe this phenomenon from a systemic organizational point of view, not only financial.
Why is Greece and many others before her (USA, UK, Island, Argentina…) in such a mess? Are we learning something here, or we are turning a blind eye once again?
In May 2009, I have used a diagnostic tool developed by the Barrett Values Centre, to measure the values and the culture of Macedonia – Greece’s northern neighbour. We also measured the entropy within the Macedonian system as well as the level of alignment in it. By doing this Macedonia not only become the first country in South East Europe to have measured its culture, but has become a strong indicator of the cultures of other Balkan countries. To the reader that intends to have greater insight in this matters, I suggest to read the whole diagnostic behind this measurement including the links that are given in this text.
Macedonian culture is similar with the cultures of the other nations in the region (Turkey, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Serbia, Monte Negro, Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia), therefore the Macedonian diagnosis could be useful in understanding some of the problems the region is having at the present.
The measurement shows high level of limiting values (read behaviours) within the culture of Macedonia such as corruption, bureaucracy, nepotism, blame…etc. Being born there and knowing the Balkan cultures I can say with conviction that these behaviours are also present within the Greek system. Macedonia has 48% of entropy.
Judging by some previous experiences and measurement, it seams that the Greek entropy has reached critical boiling points of over 50%. When Argentina’s banks collapsed in 2001 similar measurement was done few months before. It showed 60% entropy. In Iceland the measurement was done in 2008, it showed 54% entropy. That year Island economy collapsed. In the USA 2007, entropy was 52% and we all know what was happening there. See slide 11 (Argentina) from these presentation 18 (Iceland) 22/23 (USA).
The leadership and the people in these countries and those who are trying to help them must understand that some of their biggest pain, problems and obstacles are results of their national values and culture. If they don’t make the effort to change these behaviours they will continue to suffer on economical, political and in many other areas. This is also true for all other nations in the world.
The price of limiting values and toxic culture (blame, corruption, bureaucracy, short term focus, nepotism…) is staggering. For example if your organization or nation has 25% entropy, this means that every 4th day is unproductive and lost. On global level the price of limiting values within our culture is simply mind blowing. The slide 41 in this presentation says it all.
When a human gets flue, the body reacts with developing temperature in order to fight the enemy (viruses).
When a human system gets ill and develops large levels of entropy (toxic values and behaviours in the system) people go on the streets and demand for change.
From Egypt and the Arab world, protesters in Athens, to students in Chile and anti-corruption demonstrations in India, people within the system are showing big signs that something is ill within our nations and like cancer is attacking our economies, destroying wealth, health, education, environment. We need to look in our cultures to find out why we are having temperature so often these days, and change the values in the system that are not serving us any more.
Leaders all over the world need to follow the examples of some smart and wise leaders from Scotland Ulab, Australia, South Africa, Latvia,…and use such opportunities to mobilize the systemic energies and channel them in the right creative directions by measuring the national cultures of their countries and start meaningful dialogues on values (things that matter) on a national level, where the whole system participates and gets aligned.