Growing Out of Capability

As a business enterprise grows the more people it employs and correspondingly it comprises greater diversity in skill and knowledge. In short, the enterprise becomes more complex.  Unfortunately all too often as it grows a shift in the businesses’ purpose-in-practice occurs, especially if it becomes a publically traded business.  Yes of course Wall Street adds its requirements! The resultant organization will be quite different from the entrepreneurial enterprise from which it grew. Continue reading

A Matter of Results

It seems we are obsessed with results.  We conduct life as if results are the only things that matter. To most results by any means are results just the same.  We manage by results, we define problems by results, we define our job by results, we make individuals accountable for results, we cause harm to others in the pursuit of results, we cheat and lie to show results, and we even define our self by the results we get.  Just look around and you will see that results—and getting them now—are all that matters. Continue reading

Leading the Bottom from the Top

Leading from the top presents many challenges—you could also think of these as responsibilities—that have an impact on the viability of the enterprise. How do you maintain the energy that supported the growth of the business from its inception?  Whether the enterprise is new or old, this challenge is the same. Continue reading

Objects or Subjects

Newton’s laws of motion afford the quantification of the motion of matter (i.e. objects) and correspondingly by way of calculation the determination of the movement of the objects.   It is because of these laws we can determine the effect of two objects interacting (colliding), such as when a golf club hits a golf ball or what happens when we try to move a large object without applying an adequate external force.

Given that the conception of our system of economics was informed by Newtonian mechanics, it is not surprising to see J.B. Watson’s and B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism—the use of the stimulus-response—informing the methods of management. Just as Newton was able to precisely determine the movement of objects, management theorist and practitioners sought a similar result for the behavior of people. Continue reading

When Order Means Control

Since we organize to serve a purpose, our sense of order is context dependent, not an absolute. In other words, while everything could be in order, the order in which each is in is not the same—all order is not the same order.  For example, the order of my desk suits my purposes and the order you create on your desk supports yours’.  To the degree that our purposes are different, correspondingly it is likely our desks will be ordered and managed differently. Continue reading

Uncertainty to Chaos

What do you do when faced with uncertainty?  Consider for example that you are scheduled to arrive at a meeting location where you have never been and are uncertain about the length of time it will take to get there, what do you do?  If you are like most you leave a bit earlier, just in case.  Or consider you are not quite sure exactly how many ceramic tiles you will need when remodeling your kitchen, what do you do?  If you are like most you order a little extra, just in case.  I could go on, but I think these two examples are sufficient. Continue reading

Mind Before Money

Often those in authority within an organization—frequently referred to as ‘the leadership’—use the thing they believe is valued by most as a way of resolving a complex problem. That is, they throw money at it! While it does cost money to solve problems—energy is often expended—this does not mean that everything can be solved with the offering of money.  A recently announced U.S. government initiative clearly illustrates this common practice.

The U.S. government initiated The Race to the Top that essentially offers a bag of cash—$4.35 billion to be exact—to get the attention of those in authority of public education within each state. However, as noted in the Wall Street Journal, “the U.S. has been trying without much success to spend its way to education excellence for decades.” [It should be noted that although this amount is substantial, it is less than 1% of what is allotted for education nationally in a year.] Continue reading

Hey Einstein, Solve This!

The Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm that informed the Industrial Revolution has provided a way for us to order our world, solve problems and realize tremendous benefit.  Accordingly our gain in knowledge and associated technological prowess have provided us the ability to develop many different scientific fields, explore the far reaches of outer space, improve medical care—adding years to our life expectancy—and also to destroy the world with a push of a button. Continue reading