How to have an organisational detox!


Ever wanted to empty your mind of organisational bumf?
Start again with a fresh clear mind, untainted by this year’s key strategic priority aims? This seasons value statements cluttering your head up too much to think straight?

Have an organisational detox!

The purpose of a detox is to remove harmful unwanted elements from your life, to leave only the things that you need and do you good.
People these days have digital detoxes and news detoxes, an organisational detox is very similar to them. Just as social media is full of gossip with no substance, and news is a constant onrush of events, organisational culture is mainly wind and air that pollutes the mind with nonsense. Nonsense can only harm, cos it’s knowledge you want, not wind-baggery and corporate posturing.

The essence of an organisational detox is to remove the toxins of the noise generated by the operation of a normal ordinary command and control organisations, and replace it with the simple clear signal of knowledge of what is actually happening.

There’s two steps you have to undertake…

1: Understand the difference between signal and noise

Signal-to-noise ratio is sometimes used informally to refer to the ratio of useful information to false or irrelevant data in a conversation or exchange. [link]

There is so much noise in organisations. Noise is any information that is false or irrelevant or otherwise not useful. Not useful to what? To achievement of purpose, ie customer purpose. Meeting what matters to customers should be what matters to organisations. It mainly doesn’t, although it will think it does, and it should.
So the toxins you want to get rid of is all that noise that gets in the way of the signal.
So what is signal? Signal is authentic knowledge, knowledge of what customers need, what matters to them, how the system is meeting that need and what matters, what is happening to help it, and what to hinder it, and ultimately why your workplace does what it does.

2: Distinguish between the signal and noise you encounter

See the pic below…


If you don’t do the conscious splitting up of signal and noise, deciding…

  • what is authentic and useful, and
  • what is inauthentic and not useful

…then you’re just bathing in pure noise unable to determine what to act on and what not to.

The signal to noise ratio in most organisations is quite high. ie simply boat loads of pure noise that should be ignored and a tiny amount of signal, if any. Finding the signal in that is impossible without a conscious deliberate decision of that is signal and that is noise.

Here are some suggested areas of noise you’ll want to avoid.

1: performance reports

There’s an awful load of nonsense in performance reports. This is because the wrong measures are measured the wrong way. This effectively shuts out any authentic knowledge of how your organisation is performing. So bin ’em. Go on. There’s nothing there for you.

2: anything about values or culture or transformation

Just stick your fingers in your ear and “la-la-la-cant hear you” etc Values and culture and that, if they’re good it’s because you’re doing the right thing, if they’re bad it’s because you’re doing the wrong thing. So concentrate on doing the right thing and ignore all talk of values. It’ll be HR doing the talking anyway, and you know what they’re like.

3: meetings

FOG- Fact , opinion or guess. Play that game anytime anybody says anything in a meeting.

  • A fact is something independently verifiable.
  • An opinion is a statement about the fact.
  • A guess is a prediction of a fact.

In most meetings there are no facts, only opinions and guesses all masquerading as facts. Avoid meetings.

4: talking about work

A different sort of thing than a meeting, its an informal meeting. Might happen at the watercooler, if you’re American, or the tea-room, if you’re normal. If it is gossip about who dislikes who etc, then pay rapt attention. This is good stuff. If it is gossip about which bit of your organisation is being reorganised into which other bit and what unlikely name it is likely to adopt next, then avoid, it’s rubbish.

5: your work

Most jobs do nothing to help the customer. Remember Sturgeon’s Law?

You’re probably plate spinning at best. Do your work, that’ll keep paying your mortgage, but try not to pay it any attention.

Avoiding all this might leave you with little to actually pay attention to at work.


It is essential to avoid the noise if you don’t want to drown in ignorance.
There IS signal to be discovered, but you’ve got to go work for it, it isn’t just laying around waiting for you unlike the noise. The good stuff has to be excavated.

Here’s where to go to find it!

  • Walk to the work. Authentic knowledge is nowhere else.
  • Understand demand. That’s where you’ll find your purpose, walking in the door.
  • Understand what matters to the customer. Now you know what matters to the organisation. Simple eh? No need for values.
  • Understand how capable your organisation is at meeting “what matters” . Find out your true performance, minus the red triangles and gold stars, it’s a real eye-opener.
  • Find out why work is the way it is. Track how customers are dealt with, beginning to end, from first contact to last. Look for all the things that help and hinder meeting customer purpose.

BAAM! There you go. Authentic knowledge, all signal, no noise.

And I bet you feel a whole lot better for it.





This entry was posted in all wrong, command and control, plausible but untrue, systems thinking, vanguard method and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to have an organisational detox!

  1. Pingback: Fact, opinion or guess – Wikity for PKM

  2. Pingback: Clarity First Newsletter, June 9, 2017

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