Rightshifting Transitions (Part 1)
[From the Archive: Originally posted at Amplify.com Mar 2, 2011]
The Essence of the Three Rightshifting Transitions
Part 1 – Ad-hoc to Analytic
The Marshall Model proposes that there are three fundamental transitions that any business will encounter on its rightshifting journey (i.e. the journey to significantly improved organisational effectiveness).
Encountering these transitions is inevitable, although businesses generally do not recognise a transition when they (most often, unwittingly) bump into it. And given the low probability of making a successful transition, any one business may repeatedly bump into the same transition some number of times.
The first transition, and the one we’ll discuss here today, is that from the Ad-hoc mindset to the Analytic mindset.
Ad-hoc to Analytic
Few businesses, when starting out, recognise the need for – and value of – discipline. And even those that do recognise this need will, at their outset, likely have few disciplines in place. New and successful ad-hoc businesses can grow for some months or even years before they get to the point where the folks in charge decide that “things just can’t go on any more being as disorganised as they have been”.
At this point the business begins to tinker with introducing some management structure, methods, controls, policies, procedures, oversight, etc, and thus begins the transition towards the Analytic mindset.
For those people in the business who have been used to making things up as they go along – and equally, not used to being held accountable, nor to following processes, conforming to standards, and so on – these changes can be very traumatic. Some of these folks may grudgingly adapt, others may quit, and some may even be required to leave (i.e. fired).
If the transition is successful (and many are not), the business finds itself with a markedly different view of the world of work, where management hierarchy, budgets, meetings, lines of reporting and so on replace the previous free-for-all. It’s almost always less fun, but at least it’s generally a little more effective than continuing in the the near-chaos of the Ad-hoc mindset. Customers are probably a little happier, and growing the business becomes a little more tolerable and predictable once more.
Thus the successful Ad-hoc to Analytic transition educates a business (retrospectively, for the most part) as to the value of discipline. Of course, some things are also lost along the way, most notably in my view, any kind of humanity and respect for the individual.
Next time we’ll take a look at the second transition: from the Analytic mindset to the Synergistic mindset.