Tag: systems

Empowering Leadership

Some pundits proclaim that leadership rests on charisma, the ability to create a vision, or “presence.” Teams do need a vision and a compelling goal.  But do teams need one charismatic leader? No.Teams need leaders of a different sort. Teams need leaders who don’t need to be out in front, who are able to work

Continue Reading →

Pendulum Swings and Oscillating Systems

An effective hierarchy provides enough central control for coordinated action in achieving the aim of the organization. At the same time, the hierarchy must provides enough autonomy for subsystems to function, self-organize, flourish. Yes.  But how to do that? Let me walk you through a scenario that describes the challenge. I’ve seen a number of

Continue Reading →

Still No Silver Bullets

Not so very long ago, I made my living writing code. My colleagues and I did our best to understand what our customers needed, and to write code that was easy for other programmers to understand, solid, defect free.  When our managers asked us how long it would take to create a new feature or

Continue Reading →

Curing System Blindness

I’ve been writing about seeing systems, and got to thinking about a company I did some work for a few years ago–because they were a great example of how focusing on events leads to blame and prevents people from seeing patterns. Here’s the story.  The customer service organization in this company had serious problems with

Continue Reading →

system blindness

One of the big problems I see in organizations is that managers who want to improve productivity pull the wrong levers. For example, one company I know of decided to improve performance by ranking everyone in the company from 1…n, and firing the bottom 10%. Not surprisingly (to me at least), performance didn’t get better.

Continue Reading →