I hate triangles. I’ve had countless implausible ones drawn for me earnestly by people trying to demonstrate some linkage or another between things. I am sorely tempted next time it happens to ask “Why equilateral? Are you sure it’s not scalene?” and why couldn’t it be?
I reckon people draw them as they fit neatly into a “I’m strategic, you’re tactical, but he’s operational” point of view. There is an implicit assumption that like North is always at the top of the map, the important bit is where the pointy top bit is. Hence where anything “strategic” resides.
They do map on neatly to a hierarchical organisational diagram, fewer at top, more at bottom. But I’m not convinced.
The real world is always messier than a triangle. Just as there are no straight lines in nature, purpose doesn’t trickle in a rationed stream from above in neat canals of planning routes.
In a command and control organisation, purpose comes from all sides all at once. There are professional developments in fields like planning and development control or education, that change the planning regulations or the Early Years stage. These don’t come neatly bundled at the start of a financial year to be woven into the planning cycle.
The triangle is always playing catch up, trying to reflect what has already been decided. This is why I don’t like them. They purport to show a rational model of strategic planning, but they instead are a cover for a far messier and real organisational clinate.
And if they don’t make sense in command and control land even, then they certainly have no place in ST world where change emerges through experimenting in the work. What shape would that be, a lotus flower?
Dump the triangle, nobodies fooled. Whatever shape organisations plan in, there are no straight lines and even fewer pointy corners.
I was going to have this as my Christmas post, til I realised that this blog is one year old on 12th September. Which is tomorrow, making this Blogday Eve. Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.
Christmas, birthday, it’s all cake and presents isn’t it?