Archive for Organizational Change

Everyday Matters in the Game of Organization

Why do you think that Dilbert cartoons are so funny? Perhaps because they represent the experience of so many in the everyday life of an organization. Yes, the pointy hair boss spewing management speak and disengaged from what is actually happening, while the individual contributor  (I just picked up that term somewhere and wanted to use it) like Wally is learning to play the game and respond in humorous ways that shed responsibility and hold commitment and power at bay. And how is it that the average contributor learns to play the game of organization?

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What we are not going to talk about


The leader, very facilitative by nature, welcomes everyone to the conference room. She reminds everyone how this meeting was proposed and that the topic at hand is to understand the “goods” and “bads” of something that has happened in order to learn. She then explains … “What we can talk about is what happened on project X. What we’re not going to talk about is Y and we’re also not going to do is critique the individual who has left the organization that was on project X. This isn’t about Mr. A.”


 Quizzical looks, a few tentatively raised hands.  She calls on one. “So just to be clear what can we talk about again?” 

“In general terms we can talk about X”, was the response. 

Another raised hand, “So we can’t talk directly about B then?” 

“Well yes if that applies we can talk about B, we just don’t want to bash A”, was the response.

Another raised hand, “So I’m not sure what I’m supposed to talk about now.”

Another comment, “I think we might need to talk about things more broadly than just X”.


Car Chases and Org Change

Why Did I Watch?

Last evening I sat down to watch TV and there was breaking live news story of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) chasing a white pickup truck. The suspect had been changing lanes erratically.  When the CHP attempted to pull the truck over on an LA freeway the driver had fled off to surface streets.  I invested 30 minutes in watching this play out live, what’s up with that?  I have to admit it was annoying and mesmerizing at the same time, I couldn’t bring myself to change the channel, I didn’t want to miss the ending.

For those of you interested in the result. Here is a 3 minute news video including the PIT maneuver being superbly executed by the CHP.

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