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David

Hi Sig,

I totally agree with you that habits, while feeling safe, can be problematic and kill innovation.

However, we are creatures of habit; it is entirely and inherently human to have (and live by) habits.

I have come to believe that the real issue is that we need to develop the habit of continual review and analysis of current habits - to amend, discard and create anew, as necessary. Of course, to do this we need to identify the habits in the first place.

A higher-order, derivative habit, of 'habit-review'.

What is needed, I believe, is a formal corporate organizationally instituted habit of identifying, reviewing and assessing all current habits. Such 'continual feedback' is a indicative of a true dynamic system and the means of continual improvement.

sig

David,

yes indeed, a habit of challenging habits, an every morning routine of testing all the assumptions that we do not know we do every day would be extremely good.

In fact people who exhibits such behaviour has a name - "Sceptics"!

What I'm not so sure about is if that's learnable, seems to me that some of us are wired that way while the vast majority are not.

It has it's negative aspects though, constantly clashing with authority is one. To put it like this, me as a kid and school was a bit like oil and water - not always a smooth combination :)

BTW, Taleb is a good example of a true sceptic, I find his books a pleasure to read as scepticism seeps through everywhere.

David

Very good points.

I do think that a new 'assumption-challenging' habit is learnable ... to some degree. I'll be the first to admit that to most people it would be unnatural.

That said, with regards to business: as employees, people are paid to 'do', so in this case, the 'assumption-challenging' is a part of the 'doing'. I think it'd be less of a challenge than, say, developing the new personal habit of morning exercise, or new diet. :-)

And, really, at what percentage of acceptance/buy-in/adoption would be considered a success? And what time frames? I think that at just 5% within a year, it'd be beneficial ... 10% would be great.

What d'you think? Achievable? Worthwhile?

You hit on probably the key 'problem': the clash with authority. In this case, it's the middle-managers that would perceive the greatest 'threat'. They're the ones who'd be responsible for implementing any new processes. Really, they just want to have their coffee/donuts and shoot off a few emails while putting in time until retirement :-) ... or, :-(

sig

David,

when reading your point about "middle-managers" it suddenly hit me that I often walk into the same... eh... "trap", and see them as Dilbert portrays them. Perhaps not without reason as many has been tasked of being "conduite" for the work-flow decisions higher up and the result from lower down.

Thing is that - surprisingly perhaps - Thingamy and it's radical principles get lots of interest from that level! There is probably much displeasure over the "mailbox" part of work, and even more over rigidity of the whole thing. Much more unrest at this level than on top level I sense.

There is something else, even more stifling than being the cog in the machinery and that is the compartmentalization of responsibility: Line and product managers have very clear goals and purposes which are easier to fulfill if focus is strong and new ideas or methods kept at bay. Understandable but quite bad for the overall long term results I would argue: It's the mid-level management layer that best understands the business, it's problems and opportunities, but as long as they only have negative consequences to work on such not much will happen development-wise.

S

David

That is surprising, Sig, and encouraging, to have so much interest from the middle managers.

Oh, my apologies to managers, 'middle' and otherwise.

I suspect that as with most people, they do want/intend to do good work, but are beaten down within 'the system'. That's why I have such an interest in designing anew, from 'scratch'. Sometimes it's best to work from outside/beyond an existing system. Sometimes it's the only way to achieve significant changes/improvements.

Of course, with so many organizations already in existence, redeveloping organizational systems - by design - is vital.

No small feat, that's for sure.

But your Thingamy seems to be a means forward.

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