Don’t Just Think Outside the Building: Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter's recommendation doesn't go far enough. Instead: think differently: A paradigm shift in management is needed
Viktor Markowski's insight:
When the firm is focused on short-term profits and the stock price, sending engineers and salespeople on expeditions to identify new opportunities in unfamiliar countries is unlikely to have much impact.
In essence, Principle #2 asserts that every purported ‘right’ can and should be reframed in terms of interlocking mutual responsibilities. Shifting the emphasis from ‘rights’ to responsibilities makes the desired-outcome of each ‘right’ much more achievable in real-world practice:
> a focus on the interlocking and interdependence of responsibilities identifies how the desired-outcome can be achieved
> a focus on the mutuality of responsibilities provides active protection against paediarchy and other ‘rights’-based dysfunctions
>any asymmetries in responsibilities can be highlighted, and where necessary can then also be described in defensible yet challengeable form – for example, the lesser ‘response-abilities’ of children relative to adults
Analytical thinking is hitting the laws of physics and has been found wanting. The analytical mindset is at the foundation of our educational systems, our political systems, our financial systems and the business of business, all of which are reaching the end of their effectiveness in a world characterised by increasing complexity, volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity. This is being felt by many, but the awareness of what underlies it is lagging behind, so in an effort to ameliorate chronically low employee engagement, increasingly low voter turnout at elections, poor customer loyalty, or low attainment at school, we deploy little tricks or try to invent new “tools” or “techniques”. However, all the tools and techniques in the world are useless to really address these issues if they come out of the same old mechanistic, analytical mindset. A more sophisticated mindset is required first. A new kind of thinking, not a new trick devised out of old thinking, is required.
In the last few decades a new scientific paradigm has been slowly emerging: complexity. This paradigm departs from the reductionism, determinism and materialism of classical, Newtonian science by focusing on the non-linear interactions between the components of a complex system. Out of these interactions new properties or forms of organization emerge, a phenomenon termed self-organization. The present paper will sketch the basic ideas of the complexity paradigm, and then apply them to social systems, and in particular to groups of communicating individuals who together need to agree about how to tackle some problem or how to coordinate their actions.
Very few entrepreneurs, board members, or investors give much thought to leadership development. That's a huge mistake.
Viktor Markowski's insight:
Very few founders, startup CEOs, board members, investors, and others supporting the entrepreneurial community actively pursue and advocate disciplined, professional leadership development. This is an enormous missed opportunity.
Entrepreneurs, especially founders and startup CEOs, need not wait to be encouraged to do this work. They should not consider their own development as a nice-to-have, an indulgence, or an unnecessary expense. They certainly should not delay until their jobs are threatened by their poor performance.
Here are seven reasons (among many) that every founder and entrepreneurial CEO should actively develop their leadership, and a question about each.
The culturally intelligent organization, Globalisation & Offshoring. Management Thinking. The culturally intelligent organization: Management and Business News
Viktor Markowski's insight:
Most of us know what a culturally intelligent individual looks like. We have more than 15 years of research that answers that question. And we can predict someone's global potential in light of their CQ scores. But what does a culturally intelligent organization look like?
As soon as we have ‘order’, or ‘control’, over the context, the fact of entropy should warn us that we’re already starting to lose it. Once the loss of ‘order’ or ‘control’ moves far enough towards a tipping-point, we’re likely to be pushed over the Inverse-Einstein boundary into uncertainty and ‘unorder’, whether we like it or not. The key here is to realise that that far side of the Inverse-Einstein boundary is the only space where counter-entropy becomes possible – in other words, a place where we can leverage the uncertainty itself to reframe the structure and capability of the variety in our ‘control’-system, and thence to revitalise our ‘useful-order’ in the context.
In the longer term, what entropy really tells us is that the only way to maintain order is to let go of order - and to know when (and under what conditions, and so on) to hold onto order, and when to let it go. That’s a real skill in itself… for which the key trick is to choose to let go before it’s forced upon us by that decay of entropy.
Some quotes that made me smile and think - and vice versa
...the only real law is Murphy’s: if something can go wrong, it probably will.
Yet Murphy’s is so much of a law that it also has to apply to itself: hence if Murphy’s Law can go wrong, it probably will.
In other words, most of the time, Murphy’s cancels itself out. Which is why we get the illusion that things are predictable, that they follow rules.Which in reality they don’t:....
The primary purpose of rules in organisations is to speed up decision-making and to clarify roles and responsibilities. Since organisations are also systems in their own right, all of the notes above about the limitations of rules in systems-design also apply here. The natural decay over time of relevance and appropriateness of rules is also a key source of organisationalentropy, which, if not addressed, will eventually cause the decay and death of the organisation itself.
The ISO-9000 quality-system standards provide a useful worked-example of layered structure to manage rules in an organisational context. At the point-of-action, work-instructions provide explicit step-by-step rules, and guidance on how to address expected variance. When the work-instruction becomes insufficient, we turn to procedures that, in effect, describe how to adapt or redefine the work-instruction to fit the context. When procedures prove inadequate to cope with the actual variance, we turn to current policy for that overall scope; and if and when a context occurs where policy will not fit the case, we turn to the vision, as the ultimate anchor for the overall organisational-system.
In both of these cases, systems thinking forces us to look at the whole, not the individual parts. It is the job of the modern manager to re-vision their function from one of “controller” to one of “steward”. The focus is on purpose, values and meaning. What does this business exist to achieve or create in the world? What values will guide us in doing this? How is this meaningful for the people who work here? It is the role of managers to ensure that the correct conditions exist for these things to be realised, not to tell people what to do.
If we are systems thinkers, we don’t lose the ability (or valuing of) analytical thinking; we are, however, extending ourselves in our abilities to apply both when applicable. There may be something of a butterfly’s “essential being” that existed when it was a caterpillar, but I think we’d all agree that “caterpillar” and “butterfly” are two entirely different things. ”Butterfly” is not merely “Caterpillar 2.0″; it is “butterfly”, incorporating some elements of, and transcending “caterpillar”, if you like.
It’s about working with things as integral wholes. It’s about thinking bigger. Water is inherently wet. We cannot understand water’s wetness by breaking it down into its component parts; oxygen and hydrogen. Neither of those elements has an inherent quality of “wetness”. Similarly, with businesses, we cannot get a truly comprehensive understanding of them simply by breaking them down into their component parts. Everything is connected to everything else and we are limited in our abilities to manage them effectively if we isolate “problem parts”. Making a holistic assessment of the system will give us a bigger picture view that highlights strengths, inter-relationships, tensions, the forces at work (both from within and without the system) and areas of hope (where intervention can be applied).
This post continues an ongoing conversation about The Coherent Organization. While I’ll focus on interchanges among Harold Jarche, Clark Quinn, and myself, as with everything at the Internet Time Alliance, the discussion bears the fingerprints of Charles Jennings, Jane Hart, and Paul Simbeck-Hampson as well.
Although the term 'networked organization' is not as prevalent as it was in the late 1990s, many of us in our professional lives network as a matter of course. And at the organizational level the need for structures and arrangements that are agile and responsive to their environments are as important as ever. In this K-Briefing, we explore the key elements of organizational structure that can help organizations remain competitive and innovative in the highly connected global knowledge economy of the 21st century.