My Work

My Work

My work of the past ten+ years tells executives, managers and employees:

  1. What is the root of the problems in their organisation
  2. What to do about it (how to fix it)
  3. Why they won’t do anything about it

The Root of the Problems

The root of the problems in your organisation is the collective assumptions and beliefs (I generally refer to these as the collective mindset) held in common by all people within the organisation. Most significant (in the conventional hierarchical organisation) are the assumptions and beliefs held in common by the senior executives. In the Marshall Model I refer to the most frequently occurring set of collective assumptions and beliefs as the Analytic Mindset.

In knowledge-work organisations in particular, the Analytic Mindset is at the root of most, if not all, major organisational dysfunctions and “problems”.

What to Do About It

The way forward, leaving the dysfunctions of the Analytic Mindset behind, is to set about revising and replacing the prevailing set of collective assumptions and beliefs in your organisation with a new set of collective assumptions and beliefs. A collective mindset less dysfunctional re: knowledge work, one more suited to (collaborative) knowledge work. In the Marshall Model I refer to this new, more effective set of collective assumptions and beliefs as the Synergistic Mindset. Yes, as an (occasionally) rational, intentional herd, we can change our common thinking, our set of collective assumptions and beliefs – if we so choose.

Why You Won’t Do Anything

You may be forgiven for thinking that changing a collective mindset is difficult, maybe impossibly so. But that’s not the reason you won’t do anything.

The real reason is that the current situation (the dysfunctional, ineffective, lame behaviours driven by the Analytic Mindset) is good enough for those in power to get their needs met. Never mind that employees are disengaged and stressed out. Never mind that customers are tearing their hair out when using your byzantine software products and screaming for better quality and service. Never mind that shareholders are seeing meagre returns on their investments. Those in charge are all right, Jack. And any suggestion of change threatens their relatively comfortable situation.

So, what are you going to do? Just ignore this post and carry on as usual, most likely.

– Bob

  1. Hi Bob – hope you’re well my friend. How often do you find the collective mindset realise they have a problem, let alone want to do something about it? In your experience, is it usually a lone voice in the organisation instigating the shift to the right? If so, what tips do you have for lone voices trying to ignite change?

    • Hi Ian, mustn’t grumble.

      It’s not so much that the collective consciousness of an organisation discovers it “has a problem”. It’s more like a sense of unease in certain quarters. And the unspoken suspicion that things could, maybe, be better somehow. I was asked this same question at GilbFest last week. I suggested then (and repeat here) that, as per the Vanguard approach, piquing folks’ curiosity could be a way to start. Myself, in such situations, I ask some questions. This both serves to invite some curiosity, and to test the waters. If folks don’t engage with my questions, then the organisation probably isn’t ready to consider change.

      Looking at the whole issue in another way, I like to draw an analogy with (individual) therapy. Many folks have issues which could benefit from therapy; some few of those folks may consider engaging with a therapist; and some few of those who do engage will find the resolve to take advantage of the support of the therapist and change themselves.

      • I like the questions approach – I find the most powerful way to influence is to simply ask the right questions. I’m still sharing the Marshall Model with folks to help them make sense of the conflict and struggle they face when confronted with the Analytic org mindset.

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