We often hear the need to put some order in Division A, or to restructure X and Y by putting them under the same roof, or to address the strong mis-alignment of Division B. This kind of conversation can go for ever with all people conversing going in circles, wishing somebody would decide to strike.
Not unusual, in my experience, that the conversation remains at a high level ‘process and systems’: Division A is persistently difficult and not responding adequately to commercial needs; X&Y not talking to each other and leaving all of us suffering the consequences; Division B lives in cuckoo land whilst the rest of us need to pick up the pieces. There is consensus!
When I have tried many times to bring the conversation to the next level down, (behaviours, as you would expect me to do), the panorama unfolds towards a very different situation. Now we have plots and characters. So, that bunch around Division A, the two infamous project leaders of X&Y, and the new manager in Division B, these are the culprits.
Suddenly, a catastrophic failure of organizational structure that was begging for full restructuring whilst consuming a lot of collective energy, has been reduced to the behaviours of a few names and surnames. Now we are talking.
If I push the envelope and ask for a picture in which those names and surnames, usually a handful, and, believe me, in many cases one, could be surgically removed, then I see lots of aha! and lots of smiles, and signs of true happiness, freedom, liberation, you name it.
So the problem is not that Division A is persistently difficult and not responding adequately to commercial needs, is it? It is Peter, isn’t it?
And not that X&Y are not talking to each other and leaving all of us suffering the consequences. Do we mean that Mary and John hate each other, and don’t talk to each other?
And is the entire Division B that lives in cuckoo land whilst the rest of us pick up the pieces, or is John the new guy in charge the one in cuckoo land?
Our tendency to play a, mostly unconscious, ‘halo effect’ that bypasses the hard(er) task of calling a problem by the name on the passport, is quite incredible.
I wonder how many Big Reorganizations by the hand of the Big Consulting Groups could have been or could be avoided by Minimal Invasive Surgery.
And you would be back home for dinner.
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