“The greatest danger in times of upheaval is not the upheaval itself, it is acting according to yesterday’s logic.” (Peter Drucker)
Organisations are living systems
Not everyone has to agree with this, but for me it has become an important insight. To understand the point of my article, I will briefly explain my starting point: One of the first important decisions I made was to revise my image of organisations. I had experienced my employer of many years as a more or less well-oiled machine. But this image finally crumbled when this organisation was compelled to restructure in order to survive in a competitive environment.
The author of the following article is Michael Clark. Now retired, he is pursuing a lifelong interest in communication. This led him to language studies, to teaching language and contributed much to his work as a business analyst. He has lived and worked in multicultural and multilingual environments in different countries for most of his life – currently in California.
As already explained in the first part, the uncoupling of waiting from the stimulus entails higher uncertainty with regard to the probability of occurrence, which is increased by temporal extension.
An example: in the course of a project, people realise that its complexity is significantly higher than expected, which per se leads to the increased probability of failure. Researchers call this “dissociation”, i.e., the resources available to humans while waiting, include freedom of action, self-stimulation, temporal range and communicability.
Isn’t “let go” a wonderful expression? In German it has a special meaning for yeast dough: allow it to rise. Only when yeast dough is allowed to rise long enough, i.e. to ferment away in peace, will it grow (ideally even doubling and tripling its volume) and thus develop into the basis for a delicious loaf of bread or a special cake. If it is not allowed to rest, the bread will become firm, flat and sometimes even moist inside. I have baked many loaves – believe me, you don’t want to eat bread like that.
When I met a client (an executive in a German corporation) for coaching shortly before Christmas, she told me with a tired expression on her face: “Yesterday I had continuous virtual meetings or phone calls from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and not a single break! And not for the first time.” And when international time shifts are added to the mix, the first meetings can start even earlier and the last ones end very late. I asked her why she let them do that to her. She looked at me in surprise because she hadn’t thought about whether there was anything wrong with it.
There is another magic word in the enchanted world of project management: resilience. At least that’s my impression, based on the frequency of mentions in blogs like this one, specialist portals, articles and so on. Whether IPMA or PMI, the term appears everywhere as a key ability for leading projects, but also as a characteristic of projects. Wikipedia defines resilience as ” ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis.” Brief internet research shows that no cliché is omitted here and that there is no fun in buzzword bingo because someone can always call bingo too quickly.
I stumbled on to this question when I noticed in the media that were more and more reports of Chief Officers than of the already familiar CEO (Chief Executive Officer.) I have managed to accustom myself to CFO and COO. But with Chief Knowledge Officer, Chief Learning Officer, Chief Digitalisation Officer I am starting to have concerns about where this development might lead. We are now talking about the C-Suite, meaning the executive level. Not so long ago, vice presidents were flooding the carpeted floors. What will follow? Wikipedia (as of 05.05.2020) lists a good 50 CxOs. Amazingly, no Chief Project Officer. Why not actually? At least he can be found on the websites of international project management organisations. OK….
I often get the urge to write in reaction to things that have a negative impact on me. Not necessarily just aggravations. Often it is people making things too easy for themselves. I notice time and again, for example, that there are spelling mistakes on many signs, or that journalists, who ought to be trained in this area, cannot get their grammar right. I’m neither a language specialist nor a purity fetishist, but I do believe that it doesn’t hurt to at least make an effort when you do something. It makes your own statements and actions a lot more credible.
Only companies that constantly question themselves and have the courage to make new discoveries and break fresh ground remain stable. Joseph Schumpeter’s concept of “creative destruction” is more relevant than ever!
Who has the courage to do this?
(This sign seen hanging on the fence of a major construction site at Coventry Railway Station.)
Editor’s note: We have already introduced this friendly animal to you in 2019 with the article “Blame Management.” For the following text we thought it would be appropriate to get our “scapegoat” out of the archive once again!
After part 1 of this work finally exposed the perfidious and anti-democratic machinations of the big brewery mafia without mercy, now the announced continuation.
What has Sars-Cov2 to do with guilt? The answer is short and to the point: I have an suspicion.