« business model innovation (more again on what the heck is that thingamy?) | Main | driving by rear mirror - or not (practical thingamy example #1) »


Dennis Howlett

What about GE? No-one would deny they have been incredibly successful over a very long time. Look at how Neutron Jack developed a great company. They continue to be great. A lot of hierarchy there. Or the one where hierarchy is the talk of the day: Microsoft. There are good and bad hierarchies so let's not throw out the baby with the bathwarter just yet.

Let's at least see where hierarchies really do fit and how tagged structures might, in the first instance add value. Rome wasn't built in a day. Hugh didn't become successful for 5 years.


Dennis, you're quite right of course, better to pour out a liter of two of bathwater and see if and when the baby gets out all by himself ;)

It's abit like extreme business planning, agile programming etc - try it out one step at a time, get results, get better, try more, more feedback...

As said otherwhere, who am I to know exactly how my customers might use our system? Ditto for who am I to know how hierarchies will change or even be replaced?

I can only have a hunch and offer an alternative that allows for an agile path in that direction... :D

But the post was more of a friendly nudge to my adopted home country, the land of Grand Ecoles and huge (for me incomprehensible) respect for the higher placed - including a tendency to shake ones head at responibility - you've lived here, suspect you have an idea... ;)

And one thing I am rather sure of, very rigid hirearchies in mind and practice does not compete favourably with the more nimble ones!

Dennis Howlett

For sure - in large corps, this has to start as edge, skunkworks etc


"In a failing business the leadership takes the blame, or is blamed. In French cycling the riders and the foreigners gets the blame."

Isn't that exactly how music business works...?

(no, I'm not even putting one of my regular smileys behind that sentence)


Niko, think you found a common denominator there: In cycling and music the "leaders" are not very visible, in business the management is... blame the one visible I guess - not take responsibility.

But, what about football? Hmm... seem the "managers" there have some visibility - for whatever reason - and do get blamed too... wonder why football is so different? Teams so big that none sticks out?


Dennis, much belated - but I still think you need the hierarchies, unless you have an alternative that works to "run the processes"!

For now the organisational hierarchy is the only viable method - that's why I'm hard at work on a practical alternative you know ;)

Nick Barnes

Dennis, let's look at Microsoft by all means. Let's look at this graph, and see just how successful that hierarchy has been over the last 5 years:


Yeah, gotta get me some of that hierarchy.

Microsoft died in the mid 90s. It just hasn't stopped moving yet. We don't have enough hindsight yet to tell whether it was killed by the internet (remember how 'The Road Ahead' dismissed the internet and the web, in December 1995), or by open source (which Microsoft is still struggling to understand). No wonder they see Google as their chief rival - a company which revolves around the internet and which both uses and supports open source.

And which has very little hierarchy.

Thomas Otter

Hi Sig..
Back to cycling.
The lack of hierarchy and clear leadership at t-mobile in the last tour were the reasons why they were so dismal. Compare that with CSC today. Cycling teams are all about hierarchies - clear roles. climber,sprinter,leader,bottle carrier....

The most important question.
Who is going to win the tour?


Hi Thomas,

good question... but I'm a big fan of Bjarne Riis so I'll cheeer them on - Basso perhaps?

A tad in disagreement on hierarchies and cyclists though - roles does not necessary require a hierarchy, as in "A group of people who form an ascending chain of power or authority" - suspect the chain is simple, Bjarne... then the rest :)

BTW, trying to set aside enough time to get myself up to speed for next week's departemental time trial championship... gonna be hard that... no massage, no Directeur Sportif... sigh...

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo


  • Phone: +33 6 8887 9944
    Skype: sigurd.rinde
    iChat/AIM: sigrind52

Tweet this

Thingamy sites

  • Main site
  • Concept site

Tittin's blog


Enterprise Irregulars


Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter


    • Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)


    Blog powered by Typepad
    Member since 01/2005