In a recent workshop, I asked the team to state their goal. The number they gave me—expressed as a volume of safe, reliable tonnes—was a good deal less than the design capacity of the plant. A little surprised, I asked them what was going on.
Business is and has always been a reflection of and a transmission vector for the culture of its age. Business in our age is increasingly infected by what the evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad calls “idea pathogens”. If those of us in the world of business don’t dare to speak freely and give expression to heterodox
Complex systems, by their nature, generate a tangled web of connecting causes and effects. So it’s surprising how often solutions aimed at fixing root-cause issues come down to a binary choice: do ‘X’, or don’t do ‘X’. Both can seem necessary—the classic dilemma. So what’s the way out?
Many organisations confuse their goal with their vision, mission or purpose. When I help my clients define their goal, I specifically ask for an answer of at least how much by no later than when? It’s not a target, but rather a bearing with two coordinates. If you can make more, sooner, then why not?
How structured is your thinking? No less a figure than W Edwards Deming made the theory of knowledge one of four pillars in his System of Profound Knowledge. And yet, in my experience, very little structured thinking goes on in our modern workplaces.
Our evolution has been a constant struggle to find the balance between the chaos of primordial nature and the order of cultural development. As a species, our primal wiring is to fear the unknown. But nothing remains the same, and all things must pass.