Networks work better than your business works today. That’s a challenge we like to throw into conversation, and we explain why at greater length on our Organizational Design webpage. Here, we’re looking at it from the atomic level of the individual team member.
We believe that a good part of human potential remains unrealised – frustratingly for both the individual and the organizations of which he/she is part. Yet, unlike those ‘visionary’ management posters that peppered office walls in the late 80s and early 90s, we don’t think encouraging words and stock photography suffice to improve things!
When we say someone is institutionalized we mean they have been rendered apathetic and dependent after a long period in an institution. It is not a particularly kind word, but in the objective sense it describes perfectly the challenge we have in encouraging network working.
The dominant organizational systems have let us all down.
As the engineer, statistician and management consultant W. Edward Deming pointed out:
The fact is that the system that people work in and the interaction with people may account for 90 or 95 percent of performance.
His associate Peter Scholtes urged:
Improvement efforts should focus on systems, processes, and methods, not on individual workers. Those efforts that focus on improving the attentiveness, carefulness, speed, etc., of individual workers – without changing the systems, processes, and methods – constitute a low-yield strategy with negligible short-term results.