Monday, August 23, 2010

Adopting that which does not work

Ever sat eating a sandwich on the banks of the Rhine - in the freezing cold - wondering why organizations are structured in the way they are ? Why for example do organizations continue to believe that adding head-count increases productivity ? When the team gets too big, simply split it into two or three and add more staff (which, supposedly does not violate any rules - The Mythical Man Month). This thinking is quite obviously wrong, yet it prevails in most large organizations.
Why are organizations (for the most part) structured in some sort of arcane hierarchy, is this due to functional or productive necessity or just pure laziness - not exploring more innovative ways to organize. Of course there are considerations, labour laws, social order and the pecking order necessitate the gradual progression through an organization. It is easy to see how and why the hierarchy is needed and created, but, how do we rid ourselves of it ?
Maybe it is just because it is what we are all used too, or the way it has always been. There must be some reasoning behind it right ?Why are we all judged by our titles (not helped by LinkedIn) and not by a measure of what we actually have done. We could all have a number on our lockers, instead of a title ? Maybe those school systems of coloured stars would work ?

I am not suggesting that everything in the current system of organization is inadequate or incorrect, however, I do feel there is room to explore new forms, which we may have overlooked or are now possible due to technology and the professionalism of management. Many of the systems we use to organize our daily lives and our corporations cannot be thought to be the best or optimum. In our organizations, we should stop implementing structural organizational things in "known" ways, because "that's how it is done", we should think a little more.

By the way, the Rhine is very beautiful. Germany has many very talented people and equally many not so talented ... as you would expect.

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