I love Keith's real life situation because this is what people face all
the time. It appears to me that the key to this is that the company, led
by these C&C people, is already in trouble. This has to be the leverage
to jolt them into rethinking their values.
At the same time, it is important to understand in this situation that
once an organization has evolved beyond the C&C approach, C&C has not at
all disappeared from the scene. It has moved down into the organization
and is being managed effectively by lower level people. Therefore, it is
not required for an LO adherent to give up adherence to C&C or to
misportray themselves as C&C advocates. It is, however, required that C&C
methods be moved to the right level in the organization. What a good LO
person can do to alleviate board member concerns is to discuss moving C&C
responsibilities downward so as to free up their and your time to deal
with the strategic troubles you find yourselves in.
Since the company is in trouble, they and the president need time to
overcome these problems. Get the board to join you in developing a
scenario in which they would feel comfortable moving C&C downward so as to
free them to attack the company's troubles.
Another issue will be the need to integrate the apparently -- but not
really -- conflicting needs of process-oriented versus functionally
oriented organizations. However, this will probably not need to occur
until a second or third stage of evolution.
It may well be that the board would be helped by developing a view of
where they would like to be several stages into the future. For example,
in a typical C&C org, control is the key. If the senior people can be
freed from controlling -- if they can delegate that and feel comfortable
that controls will be managed appropriately -- then they will be better
able to release power, and turn their own attention to more strategic
There exists a model for organizational evolution in this environment, and
it might help the LO person to organize his or her thoughts, but it may be
inappropriate to introduce the notion to the senior people until they have
had time to 'develop' it themselves first. The LO person can however
introduce the notion that the organization can evolve -- perhaps rather
quickly -- to a situation that will free them and the president to deal
with the strategic issues, and thus lead to a healthier company.
>Let's create the following real life situation:
>You are a credible contender for the CEO position in an organization that
>you believe has a culture that would flourish as an LO. The Board are a
>typically traditional set of executives who have achieved their current
>position being good at "command and control" and want to see that kind of
>manager as CEO.
>You are pretty sure that if you portray yourself as that you will get the
>position and then be able to convince them to try a different approach
>because the company is in trouble.
>OTOH if you expose them to your ideas about an LO, you will make them
>uneasy and they will likely pick a command and control candidate who you
>know is quite good.
>So you can get the job by compromising yourself and then make a genuine
>difference, or you can stick to you honest set of values and let the C&C
>candidate take the company down the shute....Keith
>(PS this is a real situation and the C&C guy is having lots of trouble)
>Keith Cowan <72212.51@CompuServe.COM>
Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>