No fresh hell sweetie.
Just the latest incarnation of a stale and very familiar hell.
Do you recognise this…
- yawning at yet another exactly-the-same organisational transformation?
- wiping sleep out of your eyes at yet another whizz-bang IT venture that’ll save lots of money by costing lots more money?
- teeth-grinding during another department play-away-day involving pieces of string, assigning people to a category and hugging?
More importantly, ever looked around at everybody else around you NOT noticing that things just keep on repeating themeselves?
That they are gawping open mouthed at how THIS time it will all work, because THIS time XYZ and ABC and yadda yadda and blah-de-blah?
Yes, course you have, youre reading this blog aren’t you?
One of the treats of going systemsy is the new found ability to see world in patterns of repeating activities rather than a constant stream of brand new and uniquely conceived events.
Seeing the world in systems means looking at the larger long-living patterns not the smaller temporary details. It means seeing climate change over decades, not looking outside your window at the snow and seeing today’s weather.
It is the larger long-living patterns that produce and define the details of the here-and-now, but they aren’t as visible as the detail. You have to step back and look and ask different questions, and you’ll see them.
In organisations that have little to no memory it isn’t possible to see the patterns so they live in a perpetual NOW. Like a goldfish being astonished at just how far they can swim without the scenery changing.
If a big new change effort is planned through a project board, with themes and strands and ooh simply everything that would excite a programme manager, then….its the same as every other culture change effort that came before it. Purely because it’s being done in the same way.
If there is a new performance management system, with more robust reporting and a shinier IT system to report it on with dashboards and ooh simply everything, then…it’s exactly the same as every other performance management system because it IS a performance management system.
The shiny new things are the latest current incarnations of the tawdry old thing they’ve been doing for years. There’s a dead simple list of managament approaches, here. Spot the things on the left hand side that your organisation does.
Look at the design of work.
If your place approaches this through regular restructuring, then it is doing the same thing over and over again. It is tinkering with the detail of the hierarchy. Doesnt matter how many iterations there are of this, it is still merely tinkering with who sits where. Don’t be fooled with who ACTUALLY sits where this particualr year. It’s still just the seating plan, nothing else.
Look at Decision Making.
If it is separated from work, then it doesn’t matter if it is with a project board, a programme board or a theme board. It doesn’t matter who sits on these boards either. The very fact that there IS a grouping of people, no matter what they are called, who are making decisions about the work whilst in a room separate from it, that is the defining characteristic. And if that doesn’t change then nothing has.
So, what’s this to you, dear reader?
1: It ‘s very tiring, due to Altschmerz
n. weariness with the same old issues—the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years, which leaves them soggy and tasteless and inert, with nothing interesting left to think about, nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried long ago.
It really is very tiring. You might want to consider just not bothering.
2: People prefer talking about fresh hell to stale hell, it’s more exciting
“Removing context makes it much easier to engage people with emotions such as surprise, or outrage.
Our news media instinctively removes context, because “look at this inexplicable s**** that just happened” sells more papers than the more depressing “look at this inevitable s**** that will no doubt keep happening”.” [Frankie Boyle]
It really isn’t interesting to most other people.
3: It doesn’t end until the organisation changes fundamentally, or you leave
It really isn’t likely to change before you leave. That’s something you might want to consider.
In order to end this wearying post on a high note, here is a picture of a happy little girl and her cat.