Bending the Organization to Our Will in 2016

In our modern world, organizations are routinely bending nature to their will for our benefit.

Yet, this control doesn’t transfer to the routines of organizational life.  We plan project portfolios using metrics we know aren’t effective, conduct annual performance appraisals that achieve little, and spend months to fill vacancies even though candidates are readily available.

We can do better.  All we need to do is classify the obstacle in way of reaching our goal.

  • A personal belief
  • An organizational rule (written or unwritten)
  • A regulatory policy
  • A law

I have yet to find an obstacle that couldn’t be moved a little or a lot once it was classified.

In 2016, name what is holding you back.  Then, go remove it.  The world you want is possible.

Why not try?

I covered this same topic in a slightly different way back in 2012 in a post, “Which Rules to Follow – A Story.”

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New hats

I’ve begun or am soon to begin several new roles simultaneously.  The process of starting so much new is reminding me that change stimulates the mind in ways that learning within a role never can.

Assuming a new role requires so much probing, listening, sensing, sending, receiving, and interpreting that every nerve seems activated.  I’m both more awake and more exhausted than I’ve been in a long time and the combination is often (though I’ll admit not always) exhilarating.

If you’re finding it hard to hit the peaks of alertness (or the depths of despair) because you’ve settled into a rut, perhaps now is the time to climb out of the rut and put on a new hat and try on a new role (or two or three) and see what happens.  All kinds of new possibilities might open up.

Why not try?

Hats!

Photo credit: arbyreed via Compfight

 

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New Approaches

When you want a step change in an outcome in your organization, you can’t look to tweak your status quo to get there.

You must find a new approach and embrace it.

Here are a few blog posts about new approaches.

The outcomes we want to achieve are possible and we can achieve them in a short amount of time if we’ll only understand how to hook our efforts into powerful currents of energy in our organizations (i.e., people’s self-motivation) and allow them to express it fully.  Nearly everything we’ve learned about generating outcomes is time-consuming, dehumanizing, and dull.  Let’s put some life back into our approaches and let people’s energy carry us to the outcomes we want.

It works.  I’ve seen it.

You can too, if only you’ll try some new approaches.

Why not try?

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Fearing Sight

In Hans Christian Andersen’s legendary tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, a vain emperor is made the fool by two scheming tailors who play on the emperor’s vanity and sell him a suit of invisible cloth.  The tailors claim only those “worthy” souls can see the cloth, hence binding the emperor and his most loyal followers into a pact of lying first to themselves (“Oh, yes. I must be worthy. I shall say I see the suit.”) and then to each other (“I can see it! I can see it!”).

The story reaches its climax when a little boy yells out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”

A game of Chess

The Emperor’s New Clothes was first published in 1837. More than 165 years later, it’s message still informs our lives.

Who are you in the story?

Are you the emperor asking for any news that validates your self belief?

Are you the tailor selling lies to those eager to believe their own delusions?

Are you the courtier desperate to belong and willing to go along to get along?

Are you the child pointing at the truth?

Perhaps you are the child’s mother who shushes him and thus kills the truth (while calling it an act of love)?

You know who you are.

The next question is: Who do you want to be?

Choose well.

photo credit: Creative Commons License AvidlyAbide via Compfight

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Policy Buffers in Germany

HoltinGermany
photo credit: twitpic of @FrankLangeFocus

Yesterday Steve Holt presented our topic at the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization (TOCICO) International conference in Baden, Germany.

Jack Vinson was gracious enough to write a post about what he learned.

The core message of “Fire the Consultants” wasn’t to actually to fire the consultants, but to stop what consultants are usually pushed to do, which is drive people to change.  The results they achieve, if they achieve any, gained by driving people to change then disappear as soon as the consultant does.

The alternative is for consultants (both external and internal) to drive change instead.  If they pursue the change and work to allow others to join the change (instead of being conscripted into its service), then the change will advance and sustain.

Yet, driving change is not enough.  Often change efforts require the conscious use of a policy buffer, a personal or group agreement to behave differently than the organizational norm and a willingness to act to sustain that different behavior against attacks.

Thanks go out across the seas to Steve Holt (@skholt) for carrying the thoughts spawned from a summer thinking day two years ago all the way to Germany to share with the fabulous people who attend TOCICO.  It is my hope that the concepts of driving change and policy buffers help them create the world they want by sustaining the changes they are making.

Policy Buffer

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