[Tl;Dr: A list of e.g. Theory-X memes that Analytic-minded organisations will find themselves giving up as they become more synergistic and effective.]
I have recently been giving a series of internal presentations about growing an effective Product Development capability, using ideas from Rightshifting and the Marshall Model as a general framework.
To one slide I talk about the intellectual baggage that any e.g. Analytic-minded organisation will find itself abandoning on its journey to Radicalsville.
Aside: If such baggage is not abandoned, then it’s inevitable that the journey will be.
Another term for “baggage” might be “premises that have become (or always were) invalid”. Here’s a list of such “invalid premises” that I tweeted this morning:
- Invalid premise: Management is necessary and desirable.
- Invalid premise: Hierarchy is the best way to e.g. organise, coordinate and align.
- Invalid premise: People must be told what to do.
- Invalid premise: Predictability is a function of tight control and e.g. conformance to rules.
- Invalid premise: Predictability has no downside.
- Invalid premise: We don’t want any problems.
- Invalid premise: Coercion through e.g. fear, obligation, shame or guilt does not alter cognitive function (ability to think well).
- Invalid premise: Jackal culture, jackal language is the best and only way to motivate and direct people.
- Invalid premise: Feelings and emotions in the workplace are unprofessional and out of place.
- Invalid premise: Theory X.
- Invalid premise: Productivity and performance of individuals is down to the individual – their innate talents, skills, experience and attitudes.
- Invalid premise: Effective knowledge-work is best achieved through factory-like conditions.
- Invalid premise: Efficiency is King, effectiveness a nice-to-have.
- Invalid premise: Highly (local) optimised parts of an organisation means an optimised (whole) organisation.
- Invalid premise: Cost Accounting gives reliable numbers that can be safely used to guide decisions.
- Invalid premise: Rationality trumps intuition, emotion and humanity.
- Invalid premise: Conscious thought trumps subconscious thought.
- Invalid premise: Man is a rational animal.
- Invalid premise: Organisations as machines.
- Invalid premise: People are as interchangeable as cogwheels.
- Invalid premise: Fast is better than slow.
- Invalid premise: Anyone gives a hoot about profits.
- Invalid premise: “Telling people things” means they will respond rationally and so come to see things differently, and thereby behave differently.
- Invalid premise: My organisation works just fine.
- Invalid premise: Meaningful dialogue is an unnecessary luxury.
- Invalid premise: Investment in e.g. organisation-wide dialogue skills has a poor or uncertain ROI and is not worthwhile.
- Invalid premise: Knowledge (grey muscle) work is no different than physical (pink muscle) work.
- Invalid premise: Extrinsic motivation raises knowledge-workers’ productivity.
- Invalid premise: Truths are absolute.
- Invalid premise: Context doesn’t matter.
- Invalid premise: A comprehensive plan is a necessary prerequisite to any endeavour.
And here’s some contributions from the community:
- invalid premise: Software development is “engineering”, so it’s not knowledge work.
- Invalid Premise: Conforming to a standard is all that is required (to produce good work).
- Invalid Premise: Regular reports tell people all they need to know.
- Invalid Premise: “Projects” are the one and only way to organise and control work.
- Invalid premise: Positive feedback – let alone real compliments – are a distraction and will render people complacent.
- Invalid premise: Highlighting failures will help people improve.
- Invalid premise: Appearing reluctant to engage in a certain activity is a sign of weakness.
- (See also the suggestions in the comments section, below).
Have you any invalid premises you feel might be worth adding to this list?
One addition I can think of:
“You first have to think about every thing, and make a complete plan, before you start doing things”.
Thanks. Added. 🙂
– people at the coalface are too stupid to make smart decisions and take the right actions.
– people at the top of the organisation know better than the people who actually do the work.
– there are parts distinct from the whole
– you can say one thing and do something completely different and it makes no difference
– you can get cooperation and collaboration to show up in a competitive context
– the content is more critical than the context
– human minds are distinct from human bodies and what the human body needs can be ignored
– reality can be cheated and long range effects will not catch up with us
– answer is more important than the question
– theory takes priority over what is so in the world
– learning can occur in the classroom devoid of context and engagement in the real world
– new is always better than the old
– there are no side effects
Better stop now.
All the best
Experience is more valuable than intelligence and discovery
Stamina and courage distinguish losers from winners
Strict division of responsibility keeps people productive and avoids unnecessary noise
People can work without a plan or vision as long as they get clear tasks
Managers are more creativity than the employees
You can rephrase/change/add if you want
-humans are resources
-managers know best
-people are not to be trusted
– It is not necessary to take an interest in and care about the people you work with.
Invalid premise: It is someone else’s job to understand you
Invalid premise: A knowledge worker may not improve process without explicit permission from management
Invalid premise: Management must choose between getting results and treating people with kindess and respect
Invalid premise: Managers see the whole picture
Invalid premise: Those “higher” in the org chart are superior to those “lower” in the org chart
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invalid premise: Software development is “engineering”, so it’s not knowledge work is based on the invalid premise ‘engineering is not knowledge work’
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Invalid premise: Groups make better decisions than individuals