Tom The Architect

Technology and other Interesting Stuff

Tag: change

People and Permission to Change are the foundation of great things

I have just started reading “the myhts of innovation” by Scott Berkum and Ron Bieber has just posted a great post titled “Agile, Lean, or Common Sense and Permission To Change?”. I have spent a fair amount of time talking with Ron and others about change.

I find Ron’s point interesting:

What Semler’s story shows me is that if people are given the freedom to work the way that is most effective, they will. More than that, if you invest in them with trust, they will want to do these things as their commitment to the company will obviously go up based on how they feel they are treated.

Semler essentially created a self optimizing system, the people are the company. The employees of Semler’s company were changing and they were also the direct recipients of the outcome of each change. The organization and the people were one in the same, so positive and negative outcomes on the organization were positive and negative outcmes for the people.
Then Ron asks:

Is methodology and process really the answer, or is it deeper than that? Is it the way we treat employees that cause inefficiencies?

The reality is that most corporations, their people and some of their processes are not one in the same. This lack of alignment is due in my mind to the many complex factors that are symptoms of the “Corporation” even more challenging the “Public Corporation”. Hence, Methodologies are needed to be the proxies, the translators, the enzymes that allow groups of people and even processes to create environments were effective and efficient change can occur. Getting people that are willing to change, then giving them permission to change, and giving them ownership of the outcome of their changes will create an environment where the system optimizes for the benefit of the group.

The reality we face is that most leaders of corporations are not skilled at finding the right people, and are not comfortable giving people the permission to change beyond the permissions traditionally “allowed” within corporations. This is why there exists an “Innovators Dilema”, why GM still makes ugly and crappy cars, why NASA still uses the space shuttle, why leaders in companies have stupid metrics for innovation and why we need methodologies. They create safe areas within organizations where people can change and own the outcome. Some organizations cannot even create enough change to adopt these methodologies.

Great things do not come from doing nothing or that same old thing.

New Theme

Well as you can see I have changed my theme. I was getting a bit tired of the old theme. It was a good theme it’s just time to part ways. I am now using Cutline from Personified. I haven’t seen it in on many sites and I thought it looked great. So I am working out the changes I am going to make. If you have any issues drop me a comment.

Lawrence Lessig pursues Root Cause and Growth

Lawrence Lessig wrote yesterday that he is shifting his academic and activist focus from IP to legislative corruption. With his efforts over the past 10 years largely thwarted by the corruption of the legislative process. I believe that Mr. Lessig has been extremely effective in explaining the impacts and the value of a more open society. Describing a key reason for the change he writes,

I had learned everything I was going to learn about the issues I’ve been working on; there are many who would push them as well, or better, than I; perhaps therefore it was time to begin again.

Letting go of a leadership role and seeking opportunity for growth takes a maturity and self-awareness not often found. So I commend and thank Mr. Lessig for his efforts and look forward to his coming works.

Look out Washington one of the sharpest minds around is now focusing on you.

The change in corporate technology ecosystems

I again was listening to the Grand Central Gang from the Gillmor gang. My only comment on the whole podcast is simply the choice in changing software platforms is not solely based on the technology. In my experience significant change in corporate technology ecosystems is heavily influenced by its IRR and if it is significantly greater than the IRR of current solution. There are many innovative technologies that get adopted slowly because no one is able to produce a cash flow analysis that can move the company into action.

As geeks we sometimes see the potential in technology but the realization of that potential usually trails significantly. This is due in some part to the inability of us geeky folk to relate the technology to the business. In addition to our geekyness corporations (read large) like to have projects that have high batting averages (read no failures). Even more limiting is the corporate desire for not only high batting averages but high power numbers (read no failures and big returns). Short term thinking of many middle managers adds to the ideas of no failures and big returns.

This is why we see time and time again small upstarts using technology to redefine a market and beat established companies.

Links:

Gillmor Gang RSS Feed
Grand Central Gang

Change

The law of unintended consequences

Serendipity
Murphy’s Law
Perverse effect

I’ve seen enough of Murphy’s law and perverse effect.

Come on Serendipity.