Posts Tagged ‘dysfunction’

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!

High Falutin’ Titles

March 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Along with a whole bunch of co-workers, I’m a member of the professional networking site It’s a great site and I highly recommend it.

It’s interesting to browse through the profiles on LinkedIn. Everybody’s a freakin’ manager, or director, or chief-this, or chief-that. However, when you read their accomplishments, you can’t tell what the freak they’ve done.  They seem to mostly describe the functions of the org areas that they’ve worked in. WTF? Of course, I don’t have any facts (I only use facts when they bolster my argument and I auto-reject all others 🙂 ), but I’d bet the farm that most of these people don’t direct or manage anyone and they haven’t done squat in years. They’re each, OMG!,  a dreaded individual contributor. I picture them, perhaps wrongly, walking around flaunting their titles, manipulating people (instead of helping them to develop and grow) and barking out non-sensical orders that they’ve pulled out of their arses. They behave this way to look/feel important and they actually fool a few people for a while.

It’s sad, because I think that at the core of their souls, all people want to do the right thing for all. However, the shining light at their core has been trapped in no man’s land by layer upon layer of ego. The culprit behind ego inflation in the corpo world is a dysfunctional org structure.  Specifically, it’s the obsolete 150 year old pyramidal, hierarchical structure of entitlement that all dinosaur corpo citadels pay homage to.

“Enough with the rant, got any alternative ideas smarty pants”? How can you mobilize a large group of people to change the world and prevent chaos from reigning without a corpo pyramidal caste system? One way is to organize as, and more importantly, operate in accordance with, a circular ring structure where all rings are directly connected with robust and high bandwidth communication channels. Instead of managers in the inner rings, there are leaders. Leaders focus more on developing people instead of enriching themselves.


So you say that the multi-ring design is nothing more than a squashed hierarchy with the innermost node representing the CEO? You’re literally right, but not figuratively. The main reason for operating your org structure as a flat concentric set of rings is to eradicate the deeply ingrained 1000s of years old “I’m better than you because I’m higher up in the food chain” mindset that unconsciously pervades all hierarchies. Sure, the people residing on the inner rings still have the responsibility to make org-wide decisions, but they do so with a more down-to-earth and people-centric mindset.

A non-conforming, ring-based company organization can’t possibly work, right? Blasphemy and off with my head! I know of at least one company that’s successfully implemented the “ringo star”. Semco Inc. of Brazil. If it piques your interest, Google them and/or check out the articles bookmarked in this twine: The Magic of Semco.

Thanks for listening.

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