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Survive And Prosper

The purpose of a living system is to survive and prosper. There are different levels of systems. For example, there’s the organization, the organizational unit, the organizational group, and the organizational worker. Each of these human-composed entities can be considered a System Of Interest (SOI) unto itself and, as the figure below shows, SOIs are nested and connected.

If you believe my BS assertion that the purpose of a SOI is to survive and prosper, then each SOI may (and almost always does) choose to do whatever it can to survive, regardless of the cost to other internally nested and externally coupled systems. Of course, since everything is connected, the actions chosen by one “subsystem” to optimize its survival can (and almost always does) degrade the survival chances of those subsystems nested within it and those systems in which it is nested. For example, if a Bureaucratic Overhead Org Group (BOOG) like “purchasing” puts a boatload of Draconian procedures and forms and approval barriers in place to show how “important” they are, they degrade corpo performance by hindering timely acquisition of external equipment and services needed to get the job done. Schedules slip, which means customers aren’t delighted, and the people in other SOIs think twice about ordering tools that could make them more efficient and happy.

The dysfunction is even worse than you think. When a member of another SOI tries to point out the inefficiency of a BOOG to the so-called BOOG Leader (BOOGL), the auto-defense instinct kicks into high gear. Clever BOOGLs (and they must be clever because they got themselves appointed as a BOOGL in the first place) twist the situation out of whack. The instigator and his/her native SOI are made out to be the cause of inefficiency in the BOOG. This is done, of course, so that the BOOGL and his/her BOOG can survive and prosper. It’s so sad that ya gotta laugh…… LOL!

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