Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Systemic diseases of organizations

In what kind of organizational situations the usual approaches remain ineffective? Below, I present eleven pictures of such situations. We could call them systemic diseases. In my next blogs I will consider them one by one from the perspective of system dynamics and of constellations. I start with an artist's impression of each type of situation. That may touch you also at an intuitive level.
Remember, any similarity with your own organizational situation is by accident!

  1. A crotchety manager with a square face and heavy jaws sits crouched in a meeting behind his stack of reports and position papers. Everybody sits uncomfortably in their own invisible partitions. (Displeasure, tension, mutual distrust.)
  2. People argue in a jeep on a rock plateau, blaming each other. They are stranded. How to proceed? In which direction to go? Or better wait and see? (problem-makers quarrel)
  3. In a moonlit night the tomb of the founder. His statue looks with dead eyes conceited into nothingness. But one feels somewhere, somehow a spying, suspicious stare. Next to the tomb is an open grave. It might be yours. (shadows of the past)
  4. In a Chinese palace garden a school of fish jumps out of the water in gracious arcs, their scales glistening in the sun. The fountains behind them produce a rainbow. In a gilded boat, rowed by servants, the prince looks about in great satisfaction. Even the fish jump for him. A big carper lies gasping and dying on the bottom of the boat before his feet. He studiously avoids to look at it. (The top sponges on the workers. The next echelon is breaking under the strain. A financial black hole is approaching.)
  5. A chess player in a simultaneous display. His real competitor is not among his opponents. His attention drops. What is doing here? (Incessant action without any strategy.)
  6. A cylinder is pulled through a half-open gutter, again and again and again and again. To minimize friction, they say. It is never good enough. (useless perfectionism)
  7. A lot of buzz in an auction room. Small groups watch each other surreptitiously. Bidding is about to start. Who will go home with what? (everything is politics)
  8. Somebody is repairing a complicated machine. Others hand over tools or spare parts. Every time it seems to work, but then it doesn’t - as if the devil has a hand in it. Gremlins have a field day. (solvable problems remain unsolvable)
  9. A Japanese house with many complicated paper walls and especially complicated paper ceilings with many layers. It seems designed by a crazy architect. (managing by abstract numbers instead of real facts.)
  10. Nails are hammered in a huge wooden plate. Threads are stretched and wound between them. It doesn’t result in a recognizable picture. Grown-ups play children’s games without pleasure. (unthinking application of management techniques)
  11. An audience listens enchanted to a wise and brilliant speaker. They leave in a daze, no idea what to do next. (management by fads)

No comments:

Post a Comment