Humanizing Work

Humanizing Work

Driving human initiative to outrun change


We live in a world where the future is less and less an extrapolation of the past. Change has become the new standard. A nice cliché, but no less true. Change is relentless, ruthless, and sometimes shocking. Organizations that wish to remain relevant will therefore have to adapt continuously. And that puts people at the heart of the organization.

Why? Modern business faces complexity every day. Complexity comes in many forms. But here’s what they all have in common: it always takes people to understand complexity and devise ways of dealing with it. And that’s where we come in. We make work more human-centered to stimulate human initiative and drive change.

How it all started

At The Rookie Minds, we are brought together by a shared belief that real vibrancy comes when we keep looking at the world through rookie eyes. But a rookie mind needs space. That is why we broke with the stuffy hierarchy and old-fashioned ideas of how to structure organizations. Instead, we built an everyone organization: the Rookie Minds for and by the Rookie Minds.

And then we asked ourselves: what would happen if we used the experience, we gained to enable other organizations to create space and make people the heart and soul of everything they do? Then everyone can contribute in their own passionate way to what really matters now!

Back to basic

Humanizing Work is our vision of how to encourage human initiative to contribute to the big challenges we face. We believe that people should once again be at the centre of organizations. In the end, an organization is nothing more and nothing less than people using their talents to achieve a common higher purpose. To streamline that process, we once invented rules, procedures and systems that helped people to work together effectively and efficiently to achieve the purpose. But somewhere in the past few decades, we have promoted the rules, procedures, and systems from means to an end.

Humanizing Work therefore first of all means ‘back to basic’. What was the first starting point again? Exactly, people who use their talents to achieve a goal. And that is why Humanizing Work starts with the fundamental needs of people: to develop ourselves, to be part of a community, to enter into meaningful relationships and to have our voices heard.

4 quadrants

We then linked these fundamental needs to Ken Wilber’s All Quadrants All Levels (AQAL) model. The AQAL model provides opportunities to continuously improve the conditions in which we work and the practices that we apply, because it looks at organizations holistically. How did we link fundamental needs to Wilber’s model?

#1 Embedding an everyone culture

People’s desire to be part of a community often stems from a shared passion to make a difference and break new ground together. An everyone culture lives that shared vision and is safe and demanding enough for everyone to contribute to it. From a people-centred DNA, as a solid basis for realizing human potential and maximizing impact.

#2 Creating human-centered structures

Everyone wants to make their voice heard in order to make a difference. This is the essence of creating people-centred structures: encouraging human initiative to contribute from day to day. Removing bureaucracy and management bottlenecks enables us to uncover creativity at all levels in an organization and free it up to make smart decisions.

#3 Cultivating a learnership mindset

Responding to people’s desire to have the opportunity to develop their abilities, to become better at something that matters and, above all, to remain relevant. Innovation cycles are so fast that knowledge has become fleeting. In order to grow and continue to use all our human potential, it is more important than ever to develop a mode of continuous self-renewal.

#4 Stimulating conscious behaviour

Organizations form a complex network of relationships. One of shared values and mutual interests. Encouraging conscious behaviour contributes to our need for an inclusive and interconnected way of working. If we act more meaningfully, we will be able to establish lasting relationships, develop a healthy business and create sustainable value for everyone involved.

Humanizing Work Environment

To adapt to the future of work, we need to be able to respond to the ever-increasing pace of change. What we need now more than ever are organizations that are as bold, entrepreneurial, and nimble as change itself. To do this, we need to encourage human initiative and build environments in which people can work to their natural best. Embracing the perspectives of Humanizing Work helps to create environments that people want to work in, that respond quickly to changing business dynamics and that empower everyone to contribute. When organizations become as capable as the people who work within, they can maximize performance and outrun change.


(1) Ken Wilber’s All Quadrants All Levels (AQAL) model is the basic framework of the Integral Theory. It suggests that all human knowledge and experience arise from four original perspectives, which can be mapped along the dimensions of “inner versus outward” and “individual versus collective”. Everything that happens, every event that happens, every problem you face can be viewed from these four different angles. By paying attention to all four quadrants, we can design strategies that have a deep and lasting impact.