Tomorrow is Thursday.
Today is Wednesday.
There, see how easy that was?
The future back to the present.
When asked what my “approach” is (in interviews, at client meetings, by peers and stakeholders) I always say, “End State back”. Which confuses. And always brings me back to Repetitive Disillusionment (yes redundant).
Why is it so hard to take a breath and imagine a future?
Is it the consciousness of breath or the imagining part that is difficult?
So in order to induce a little wonderful into their day I say something like:
“None of the many motivations to take action are triggered unless the action (change being multiple actions) makes sense. A picture is worth a thousand words, even if conjured up inside someone’s head. Visualizing, describing and, possibly, defining an end state, the future, is the most important part of change management. And the FIRST part.
Working on the End State Description starts the change process. It requires empathy, looking at the roles needed in that future, thinking of the talent needed at that spot, possibly going through some emotions just imagining what that end state could be like. If that process is long enough a very important thing happens. All involved begin to think of change in terms of the future and a destination.
With that the the present can be looked at first with a cursory glance and then with a fine toothed comb. The combing should be for the things existing that work and/or belong in that future. The parts and pieces that do not line up are the things that will have to be addressed soon, in the present, to reinforce “make sense”.
When the future and the present can align, with a look ahead perspective, then the journey can start and change can happen.”
The explanation seems to morph and adapt depending on who I talk to, but, you get the point.
Wait, you DO get the point don’t you?
I am convinced that a part of any change “failure” is a present perspective.
The wonderful comes with the reactions I get from my different explanations. First strange looks, then a lean in to my explanation, followed by specific questions that show they have lived the opposite. My wonderful comes when they give me the inevitable, “if only”, story. As in “if only” you had been here to talk us through the last change.
To be clear I think it is fantastic to LIVE in the present, to notice things, to be in the moment. When it comes to change that is often impossible without being clear about the destination and having a sense of the journey ahead.
The difficulty everyone seems to have seeing and constructing a future in order to facilitate change disillusions me. The fact that an explanation and lots of future perspective repetition makes for fast learning of an End State Back approach is wonderful. Together the process makes me Wonderfully Disillusioned.
I have spent days thinking about what this post should say and shudder to think of the writers block I will get at 1000…
There are other bloggers of change that get deep into supporting evidence and references to previous work (Gail Severini at Symphini hosting The Change Whisperer blog is a great example along with Jennifer Frahm at Conversations of Change). I am guilty of opinion I guess.
My forte is probably my prolificacy.
The first rain is inspiring me to do a Spring cleaning (in the middle of a mixed metaphor) of my previous 899 posts. I am hoping there are gems of information and insight in there. The treasure should be easier to find.
Plus I am totally ready for some CHANGE!
I will remember writing every one of those posts (which is weird because I sometimes mix up my kids names- our brains are strangely organized for things). Hindsight always has insight. Insight tends to be the foundation of prolific writing. If you like what you have seen so far and you are willing to look for your own gems, let me know. We all need a little extra push once in a while.
At my 900th blog post, 14 years of consulting, having set foot in 70+ companies, a great list of peer connections and a few contrarian conference speeches here is a bullet list:
- Change management probably is not needed (We do not Need Change Management).
- There is a scary separation of those who have (and control) and those who do (and must take orders).
- There is a lot of change in organizations, most not done well, which creates behaviors that some models call “resistance”.
- 70% of the effort we put in to change is a waste of time (or some other ridiculous 70% fear stat).
- Big firms, while supposedly addressing needed behavioral change, also work to create revenue enhancing dependence.
- There is Tactical Change and there is Strategic Change (and there is TRUE Transformational Change).
- Not to be confused with true sustainability, organizations want to own their own change.
- Hence the huge trend lately to try to make consultants employees.
- There are thousands of consultants, internal and external, chasing solutions and running away from root causes.
- Chasing solutions can be very profitable for consultants and very safe for clients, leaders and organizations.
- No don’t worry I am not going to do 900 bullet points… but,
If you like big lists (and comical big lists):
700th An Essay on Change
600th Enough posts now for lists, series, digging into my approach and more
500th A stroll through the history of Horizontal Change
400th All 400 posts lined up
300th I proffered a tidbit list of more insights, tools to use, things I have seen.
200th was a short list of favorite posts.
100th I gave that many tiny insights.
Yes somehow I zipped right past 800.
In the middle of all this writing I added some twists in order to look at change from different angles:
On Wednesdays I write about things that make me “Wonderfully Disillusioned” (sample-from my frustration with the current trend for procurement relationships Middle Men, admittedly one of my favorites because I like the stepping stone analogy).
On Fridays I write about Fast Change (around us) (like the iPotty).
On Saturdays I define, and then place completely out of context, a word a week (Credence).
Tuesday is feeling like a good day for guest posts…
On the way to 1000 I am promising myself and readers some redesign, some additions, better organization, a white background option (with a CSS choice a reader could follow their preference) and a continued contrarian voice.
900 blog posts. Time to catch my breath, leverage hindsight for the future and change a little.
Heather Stagl over at Enclaria has a nice succinct post listing, “Four Reasons Leaders Need Change Agents”.
She didn’t mention external or internal although did say, “When there are people in your organization who are dedicated change agents…”. That still does not indicate internal or external. I will save that discussion for my next post.
The Four Reasons:
Heather’s post stands on its own, but, of course, I see some add-ons and twists of thought that might be helpful in the interest of never-taking-things-at-face-value and always-digging-just-a-little-deeper, for knowledge and understanding.
Heather’s take was feedback as a form of crisis protection-recovering from the “cringe-worthy” were her words.
How about feedback as insurance?
Experience in 70 different cultures with four or five times as many leaders, for me, makes it pretty easy to predict what will happen when certain things are done and said. If this change agent to leader relationship is trusting and equal then discussion will reveal potential smart moves and not so smart moves.
Feedback requires something to have happened. Planning and strategy conversations always have an element of the past (can’t predict outcomes without comparison). Those past elements are a perfect time for change agent feedback. That kind is easy because the “crisis” has passed and the discussion may just prevent the next.
All change requires mediation.
This is a crucial role and competency for change agents.
My add here is that is can be very beneficial for the mediating change agent to “pretend” a perspective and then make an argument for it. If they are really good they can do it twice for both sides of the discussion. Complete neutrality isn’t always the most effective approach.
I personally have never liked the, “I hear what you are saying… blah, blah, blah” form of mediation. Sometimes the change agent needs to insert refined opinion into exchanges. (The added bonus is that others- leaders- get taught how to make arguments that can be heard).
Transparency because of lack of authority was Heather’s take.
Back to that trusted partner relationship between the leader and the change agent, my add- the addition of a conduit for information.
Stakeholders love and cling to anyone who represents the owner of the change. If a change agent can walk the fine line of representing the owner without jeopardizing that leader or the change, information can fly back and forth.
In terms of communication adept change agents can quickly flatten the organization. (I have always thought that is the element that drives project managers crazy- we are able to make things happen quickly because we step right past political obstacles).
We understand informal communication which can be the underlying foundation of change or the liquid soil that is a sink hole waiting to happen.
Change agent ability and competency transfers through the organization is Heather’s take.
This is true and most applicable at the tactical level. I have always thought change agents at a tactical level are simply teaching, modeling and mentoring the learning of leadership skills (that we used to have and that companies used to pay to have). Capability when it comes to change is about competency and experience. Change agents bring the experience and can teach competency.
My add is that change agents (especially multi-organization externals) bring a capability that the organization does not, and arguably cannot, have internally. We often make it OK to temporarily go around internal politics and OK to call out organizational root causes. When a light is shone on politics and root causes, capability increases geometrically (pretty darn fast).
The chance for: feedback, neutrality, communication and capability follow a change agent everywhere they go.
A vacation (without preloading blog posts) and a more disillusioned than wonderful (Wonderfully Disillusioned Wednesday’s posts reference for new readers) couple of days has created a writer’s block funk.
Being an eternal optimist (admittedly hardened as I get older), roadblocks, setbacks and obstacles take a while to build up enough for numbing “funks”. It happens once in a while though. I have come up with a strategy to get past and overcome this personal version of quicksand. Do something I really like that always works to make me feel better: DREAM.
When I make things up, when I ask why and what if questions about things I always perk up over possibility.
This works for big remodeling projects at home, it works with career development and it works at client sites for change big and small.
The key is to realize you are dreaming. (Few of these big fantasies every become reality).
Dreaming About Change Management
This latest funk has a lot to do with change management as a specialty/industry/practice.
Here is the CM funk list:
- Third parties in the way
- Status quo that is consistent from organization to organization
- Packaged template based, heavily marketed, approaches
- Tactics over strategy
- The Plexiglas ceiling (my new term for the inability for anyone woman or man to rise to executive levels)
- Ridiculous fixation with “resistance” and so resistance-fighting
- Constant homage to guru’s of the past
- Contracting from the middle of the organization
- Invisible or non-existent owners
- Review processes that slow change to a snails crawl
OK I’ll stop (there is a lot more though…).
Because people are people.
Even for dreamers like me it is often easier to just do things the way you always have. When everyone starts to operate that way, one place looks like another. And one person acts like another. And we get “human nature”.
While this frustrates and irritates me I get it. I also get the underlying structure that people-who-become-the-same tend to create.
But what if there was an organization with one person or filled with people who understood the why answer and wanted to do something about it? Just What if…
Let’s make this dream sequence easy (and practical) by matching the previous funk list:
- Consultants especially, contractors probably, would be sourced by internal resources.
Why is it that organizations are so intent on making project management, change management, strategy and planning internal, but are willing to divvy up the acquisition of outside resources? That is arguably the most important role in the process of change. And you outsource it? Direct contracting is in the dream. Practically is has to be cheaper. It certainly ties the organization together tightly with outside influence. Thanks to LinkedIn sourcing is easy these days (those outside recruiters have no secret hiding places for resources).
- This dream organization would work to constantly tweak status quo.
Maybe in the big dream they would actually start from scratch. They would look at their performance management process (and in many ways eliminate it). They would look at the way they communicate (start-up screen comms., a useful well designed portal, a system of one step editing and approval, cascade and direct to stakeholder processes, etc.). Creating this organization from scratch is my own ULTIMATE dream. This is the one I use when I am depressingly “funked”. If I ever get to help create this dream I will be able to say I made it, officially, in this career. Anyone else share this dream?
- Templates would be for recording information not guiding process.
Enough said about that funky and pesky-like-a-mosquito-at-night problem.
- Strategy first.
There are organizations that mostly just do tactics. They say they have a strategy, but it is more strategic implementation. Quarter to quarter to the next quarter with no one realizing four quarters make a year and a couple of years make a strategy. In this dream place high level talk would be about 3-5 years from now. Later conversations would be about what that means for today and tomorrow.
- Actual hierarchy.
I never thought I would say this, since I am not a fan of directive organizations, but companies really need to go back to old-fashioned org charts (that get published, that people can see and use). That status quo, group think thing creates a LOT of buck passing. The nature of business and society here in the US at least over the last 15 years or so is lots to the top few and little to the others. Anyone notice the org charts started disappearing at the point this started happening? Org charts are one way to have accountability. I like my dreams to be free-flowing and open. In this one category my dream would have some rigidity, structure and accountability. And it would have a clear way for people to rise to higher levels.
Resistance is an active force against something. People often hesitate and consider and evaluate change. They often get a little nervous about new things (if they learn to dream the nervousness is the kind you get before a great performance). In my mind (or dream) resistance is sabotage- active, on purpose and meant to hold something back. And of course it doesn’t exist in my dream (or in the real world).
- No reading.
I would like to say this is kidding. You can read my stuff… One of my funk items is that people read one or two things, usually the most available and most heavily marketed (and written at a 7th grade level), and then become change experts by the end of the weekend. It shocks me that so many people just parrot from the past- nothing original from them. And then they suck everyone around them into their guru initiated low-level approach and perspective. In my dream people read with a discerning eye and they act having read A LOT (from every angle). OK maybe in my dream we have to go all the way back to the education system and teach discernment (Note: the new teaching standards, because of the internet and opinion over fact, have this built-in to the new approach-Kudos to whoever pushed that).
- Contractors contracted in the middle.
It makes sense for specialist resources to be contracted in the middle. These are the people who do the work of an employee. They are needed because the organization does not have that capability, because that expertise is only needed for a short period of time and/or because the organization wants to learn that talent. (That is the spot where contractor starts to cross with consultant). In my dream middle of the organization leaders do what they do well-tactical approaches to strategy.
- Visible, existent (and accountable) owners.
In my dream world senior leaders know how to create long-term strategy. They know what those creations mean to them and their peers personally. They care about both the organization and the people (and they are rewarded for that [and rewarded realistically], not personal gain). When they have that mix-we have moved to the dream stage now-they own the results. They are active. They follow through. They actually DO some of the hands on work. Lately my dream has looped in the Board of Directors. Because in the grand dream they were once these dream owners. Now they oversee that process. They OWN accountability and results. Through others yes, but they have the leverage to make it work.
- One stop exchange.
My answer, in my dream and the real world, to the question, “If you could do one thing at every place you assist what would that be?”. The easy answer is reduce decision-making around exchange to one stop (OK maybe two to compromise). In the dream people are good at talking, interacting, keeping up with information inside and outside their organization (you know like consultants). Because they do this, are like this, when it comes to deciding things and interacting they have thought things through. When you think through you do not need quite as much editing and review. (and no the permission process is not “extra” thinking).
So there you go. It took close to 1400 words and my longest post to break the funk. Funk broken though!
The, my, change management dream has: direct contracting in the right place, flexible status quo, templates as data, strategy first, Org Charts, possibility, discernment, active Owners and one stop review. To see even one of these happen would be a dream come true.
Gail Severini’s post today, “the Enlightened Program Manager-Partnering with Change Management” got me thinking.
She says (correctly by my experience):
“The reality in most organizations is that strategy is parsed into Strategic Business Units and/or Divisions and the leader assigns it to a program manager to organize.”.
What if all strategy in organizations was not treated the same?
We have to start with those situations where this really makes sense-transformation.
True transformation- not something that just picked up the label because it is big and/or Enterprise wide. If the organization is really going to be different after this change- process, approach,technology and people (yes it is probably all of the above)- then a different kind of strategy is called for.
This would be a strategy that is orchestrated at the highest levels- CEO and Board of Directors. Everything would connect (and would be communicated as connecting) across the organization. If this is a picture it would be one map as a whole with parts and pieces within. And it would not be the map (I have seen many of these) that is drawn AFTER the parts and pieces have been parsed.
As an aside this parsing process is similar to a present to future perspective for change. It almost eliminates any view of the whole. Contrast that to strategy that is whole focused and high in the organization and an end state focus for change. Both give the whole, provide context and effectively put the “parsing” into perspective.
If all strategy were not treated the same there would always be an element that raises work (which carries lots of internal political baggage with it) to a level that is shared by all.
What if the “Program Manager” was above the units and divisions?
One way to do that would be to elevate those Program Managers Gail mentioned to this higher level-if only for the transformation.
This is done frequently in organizations by naming an SVP as the leader (In my taxonomy this would be the Implementary Leader) of the transformation. The inherent problem with this is that now you have a peer leading a horizontal (the one with the “S” ego’s and reputations). In my pie in the sky vision this Program Manager would be a role that stays after the transformation. In fact it might have been a role that was created early on in the organizations history in preparation for the big change every company goes through eventually.
I see this role as the business version of a very high level change management consultant. (In fact they would partner as right and left/left and right, in a perfect world).
The CEO would still need to be the owner and own the change, but this set up would signal to the organization that there is also an important leader to implement (and in this case the support of a senior change person who will focus on the whole, the context and the people).
What if unit and division tactical strategy scaled up?
You could edge toward this structure by creating more scale up from inside the organization to a holistic strategy.
Most companies would argue they already do this with some version of committees, executive summits, golf games etc. I have been in 70+ companies as a consultant and have yet to see any of these arrangements do anything more than quickly parse work. They all basically scale stuff up and then get parse stuff back in (maybe it is more of a grand permission process than strategy).
All strategy is not the same. Approaching transformation as if it is a program of Divisional/Business Unit work streams is status quo. Change and status quo do not blend well.
It has been suggested that I use my name more often, that I am at a place where people can recognize me, that it is time to put a face to the feistiness. For 13 years (four of them blogging heavily) I have made a point of NOT using my name. Today’s title is my first baby step to making this name usage thing OK. My own end state back change description and process has this as a step. Change is hard. This makes sense now (and always did in my own personal march to end states). So I am trying something new.
I wrote these, some people seem to like them, so we tack my name onto them.
As of mid 2013 these are the most popular of my …oops…Garrett’s posts:
- Change Management End State Focus
- Change Management Career Paths- Secrets Revealed
- Explaining Change Management
- 5 Factual Stages of Happiness-Kubler-Ross Life-giving Replacements
- Trusted Partner
- The Hard Side of Change Management- Reflections on How Change Has Changed
- Why I Think Buy-in is Another Term to Put on my Rarely Use List
- Rates, Fees, Time and Value-The Consultant Client Contract
- Time and Change
- We Do Not Need Change Management
Number one has stayed there permanently, which is great because that perspective is the core of my approach, style and writing.
Number two flew up to the top in popularity in the last couple of months. Could it be the economy is taking off again?
Number three is usable. The simplest explanation for CM is work to strategy/strategy to talent.
Number four was my first tongue in cheek post. I even used my full name facetiously.
Number five is one of my favorites because it lists out the qualities of a great client. A Trusted Adviser post goes with it.
Number six was my first “review” of something out there in the cloud. It may be popular simply because that article has long, long legs.
Number seven was my first go at word play. I still can’t stand that term (buy-in not word play).
Number eight has inched its way up the list and continues to hang in there. Most of the post is still true. What has happened in the last year is independent rates for senior consultants have jumped to that $180 US rate (third party $120-140). (Consultants if you are taking those 70 and $80 an hour rates you are selling yourself WAY short- I would also seriously question whether those are the place you want to practice change management). And, I knew this would happen and waited patiently, senior leaders are beginning to reach out on their own to very high level independents. When things aren’t quite going right two things happen: organizations put a TON of effort into trying to do everything themselves or (sometimes “and” at the same time) executives line up a way to get things right quickly.
Number nine is my favorite. Change Management is all about time manipulation. As practitioners we have to get people to see time differently than they currently do. This was my shot at explaining.
Number ten was tongue in cheek. It was also a title test. Fun titles do not usually show up for searches. Unless you can get that short set of words to hit home. This post has always been in the top ten. One title that works I guess.
Still one of my favorites (far down the reader list though) because it was fun to think through is C Level Change Management Primer. I suppose I am cheating to make a link for it.
Garrett’s top ten posts as of May 2013- an interesting mix of choices by readers from career tips to perspective to word-smithing and snark.
Big change around the corner?
Thinking of setting up some kind of group to organize and consolidate your change work?
The end of that thought about the change group thing is where you need to pause.
Do this wrong and I guarantee you will reinforce your current problems and stroll along with them into your future.
Enough organizations have gone before you to illustrate what works and what does not.
Change Entity is For?
Most change management tends to jump quickly to the to-do list (and so it fails in some way).
Most organizations that want to set up a change group follow the same process (and so the groups are busy hives of the same status quo).
Ask, and answer, why you want this group. (And you thought gathering “best practices” was the first step).
I will change a word to help you- group becomes “entity”. Change Entities are different.
If your organization is about to go through genuine transformation (transformation is an overused word sometimes used disingenuously) a change entity might make sense. In this case the entity needs to be autonomous, it has to be connected as a partnership to the CEO/Top Leader and it has to have leverage and visibility.
For the really big stuff it absolutely HAS to have early outside influence. We just do not see the future from our own present without help.
“Why” in this case is to craft, guide and build toward a brand new future.
Does your organization come up with plans and then pass them off to someone or some function to “implement”? Is that really working for you? Could you make a list of how that is not working?
A Change Entity placed high enough, with enough autonomy, can knit together strategy and work. One well designed (outside influence set up correctly will help here too) can even help to craft smart strategy. If not crafting then planting the seeds for smart ideas.
Implement was in quotes earlier. Integrate and implement have a different feel and a different meaning. Implementation ends, integration continues. As you are thinking through this change entity thing keep in mind times when continuation makes sense and times when beginnings and endings need to be clear.
Are you short of competencies?
Is half of your stakeholder base contracted?
Is the reason it is tough for your organization to change because the resource loading takes so long (and never really fills needs)?
You can create a change entity that pays attention to old fashioned OD. Use projects, programs and initiatives as the forums to build skill and competencies. A change group can pay attention to who those externals are and how that knowledge and capability is being transferred to internal resources.
Improve Project Process
This is the most common reason Change Functions (a purposeful change of our word) are created.
The project teams are not doing their job.
STOP again. It is likely not their fault, but a combination of many things, that is making projects “fail”.
A well constructed change entity that knows CM is very different from project management, can help address the people equation, the project process itself and the ties to strategy and competency building.
Has to be said- do this on your own and things will get MUCH, MUCH worse. This is a scenario where a trusted adviser is your best bet. That and some dedicated, talented internal leaders.
This is the most common kind of change group with a long list of “should not have done’s”. The amazing thing about these groups is that they do not see the damage they are doing. They often have motivators beyond actually getting change to happen…
Maybe you just want to make the future arrive smoothly?
Maybe you are a young organization that will most likely change soon, but you are not sure when or what that might be?
Maybe you want to build capability and capacity?
A change group calmly designed and put together before that fact (the fact being inevitable change) gets your organization ready with all the tools, processes and a few good people, to tackle that upcoming change.
That entity can morph and grow when the change arrives. In the mean time it can also help facilitate our other categories of project process and strategy integration. If you truly are small all that is close together now- manageable.
Are you thinking of a Change Entity for your organization? First ask for what. Good answers might be: true transformational change, strategic integration, organizational development, improving your project process or smartly preparing for your organizational future.
I coach soccer.
A parent volunteered to create a website with Shutterfly (quite the smart marketing idea for a photo company to provide this service for free). Looking at the preloaded site I realize most of the things I am keeping track of as a coach are there (the parent loaded what I gave him). But not everything. As the coach I have information that should not be shared (or at least have levels of security)…
For a previous post, “Change Management What to Keep Track of”, I looked at what might go in a CM spreadsheet.
Now I am wondering about the spreadsheet itself.
This is why: My information will always have to be entered twice.
In the soccer scenario when a parent adds vacation time I can choose to also put it in my spreadsheet. If a parent gives me vacation information, and I want that available for the team, it has to be recorded twice.
The same thing happens on engagements. I have had this double entry scenario when making lists of competencies. It is helpful for stakeholders to know who the experts are. That talent recording will always be in my CM spreadsheet.
Reactions to This
- If websites (for organizations usually SharePoint) can sort then what is the point of the separate spreadsheet?
- If the practice was to make most things public then the whole issue of recording to show you have done something goes out the window (and you get others to do the tactical work).
- CM processes will/would have to change if information is really “web based”. Do we store the things we look at but don’t want others to see separately, or just keep that information in our heads? (I always have a file that looks a little like the red, green, yellow process I pick on to keep my own notes on individual and group stakeholder motivation).
- What would be the reason for having a public forum? (In the case of the soccer team it could be as a place to share all of the information that might otherwise fly around in emails. The same could be said for the organizational version).
- If you build it will they come? (hint the answer is not so much).
A portal could replace spreadsheets (or another type of file) or it could be twice the amount of work for the change team. Where is the balance between transparency/information and secure storage/note taking? Thinking this through with soccer as a comparison has me wondering about some assumptions we are making about change management’s engagement process and exchange of data.
A site has started in England that might be fun to watch.
Their preamble, and a great post title on Business Week “Clever People vs. Dumb Organizations”, caught my eye.
It is meant to be a forum where people (my words now) can call out the “dumb” thereby reaffirming inequity and, we hope the site creators are going in this direction, do something to make organizations a little smarter. Smarter organizations, by association, will support full potential.
The purpose of this site is to create a virtual place where people frustrated by “Dumb Organisations” (Organizations if you are American) can investigate different views as to why clever people seem to produce organisations that most employees view as underperforming their potential.
This is so true.
Dumb organizations absolutely get in the way of performance, ability to utilize competency and, you have to think, profit.
Let’s go after those dumb organizations and make things better, right and smart!
Before you go storming the castle of dumb consider this: dumb is the symptom.
What you need to look for, to get improvement (always… why is this so hard to comprehend for change?) is root causes. Don’t ask why the dumb came about, don’t analyze the current environment of “dumb”, don’t dwell on all the ramifications of organizational dumbness.
Figure out what is causing this!
Did I say “what”? I meant who or whom .
Still chasing them would, at this point in the dumb cycle, be following symptoms. Those people or persons are now playing in the world of dumb.
Dumb Root Causes
If some (most?) organizations are dumb, I am guessing we can agree on that generalization, then why?
The resources (compensation) that organizations can give to employees are finite. If you were to graph that money out, especially here in the US, you would see a pyramid. I have created a visual representation for you:
Behind every organization’s dumb is a clever person(s).
Let’s face it business is all about hoarding at the top. Start a business you will know what I mean (as clever as you are).
The dumb is created to protect resources.
Protection of resources also equals power. When you have more money than you need there has to be some kind of incentive bonus, right?
This may not be the correct word to use, but since almost all organizations go from the big cheese pyramid to locked-in-structural-dumb it might fit. The pyramid starts early in the organizations history. The structural elements that reinforce it build as the organizations grows. Think of all the things that we assume have to be present in big organizations- governance, performance management systems, hierarchy, acronym titles, steps for pay, etc. These are all Group think. Yes, there ARE organizations that do not have one, two or more of these things (although in fairness those companies probably have informal hidden versions).
Somehow we have all become dumb by having let this happen.
The people who create this are clever and the people who buy into it… my kids would be calling me out for using that “D” word over and over.
So now we need clever people to overcome the dumb?
(Snicker: hey this is what change management practitioners do- the real ones anyway, the others help to reinforce the dumb…the pay is more consistent there).
What will probably not work is to pursue the symptoms of dumb, chase down all the comments this website will produce, thinking that will somehow change things.
Most organizations need some serious transformation to change dumb to smart in order to fully utilize (and fulfill) the competencies of their employees.