A: Your organization is successful but you can’t understand why it is successful.
B: Your organization is not successful but you can understand why it isn’t successful.
Which option did you pick? Why?
My choice is B. I would rather have an unsuccessful organization and be capable of understanding why.
Why? Thanks for asking.
Because then I could choose to act on that knowledge and make the organization successful or I could start other organizations and make them successful or I could…do just about anything because I possessed the capability to learn, understand, and apply that learning.
If you choose A, what do you get? A successful organization. Yes, but that’s it. You don’t have knowledge so you don’t have anything transferable. You have one successful organization. That’s not enough for me. Would that be enough for you?
I offered the choice above as a choice between A and B because I couldn’t bring myself to offer the third option.
C: Your organization is not successful and you can’t understand why.
I see too many people picking option C as their way of organizational life. Worse, they try to fool themselves into thinking they’ve picked option A by pretending their organization is successful when it isn’t.
Option C suggests they can’t understand why. Should we say that is a real incapability or is it more often an “unwillingness” to understand? My guess is the large majority fall into the “unwilling” category. That’s good because it means there’s hope they could become willing.
Perhaps if more of us celebrated our choice of B, celebrated how much our capability to understand helps our organizations (and us), and celebrated how knowledge is a personal good and an organizational good, then maybe we could slowly eradicate options A and C. Maybe…
Why not try?