Everyone wants that perfect team. We are taught from the time we start in business that the secret to project and corporate success is getting the “very best” people in the right positions. The “dream team”. Get that right and you are 90% of the way to giving the competition a real butt-kicking.
That’s what we imagine. Excitement builds. We’ll get the best people, from the best schools, people who are “up and comers”! Get me the “A” performers! No “dead wood” on this team!
What a load of crap. Continue reading
Phil Baker….what the hell were you thinking? For anyone vacationing off planet this week, the Canucks lost and Canada’s reputation for education lost as well. Philip Baker – the dean of the University of Alberta’s medical school was caught plagiarizing someone else’s convocation speach.
Funny how that works, Phil. You see, I’m not a Dean. I’m just a part time instructor at a couple of universities. And cheating is a real problem for me, anyway. This year I made a speech to my class – I wrote it myself. But I fully confess to stealing the ideas from a number of my professors years and years ago — probably about the time you took your undergrad, Phil. My profs said what I said at that class.
They said – if you cheat and I catch you, the consequences will be severe. Continue reading
“There are strangers among us.” The lady was referring to the consultants that her company’s executives had hired.
The phrase hit me like a brick.
I’ve been a consultant for over 15 years – half of my career. It’s funny, you don’t get into this game unless you have some desire for feedback. Given how competitive consulting is, you also have to be a bit of an over-achiever.
I confess. Yes. I was that kid in school who had all the answers — the one the teacher eventually stopped asking, or looked vainly to each side of hoping for someone else to raise their hand, eventually returning defeated to reluctantly accept the offering of the impatient know-it-all in the front row. For anyone who worries about my social status, you can rest easy — I got over that part. In university I became the guy sitting at the backs. Still an over-achiever, but now a rebellious one — I learned to be cool and disdainful. But I still knew the answer. At least that’s my perception. Continue reading
As I think about the passing of a dear friend, David Hall, somehow I keep hearing these words ringing through my mind. For the literary minded, the quote is of course, the final words of Arthur Miller’s famous play, “Death of a Salesman” where the protagonist Willy Loman’s wife, Linda, is mourning the death of her husband.
“Attention must be paid.”
Why these words as I think about David? I’ve struggled with that. David was certainly no Willy Loman. Certainly not a salesman. But he could have been, I suppose. David had qualities that any salesman would love to have. He had that affability, that charm — a warmth. When you met him, he was impossible to dislike. And easy to like.
I remember the first time we met at his cubicle in the IT department at Inco — back in the days when it was a Canadian company. Continue reading
The sad reality of change is that most attempts at organizational change are destined to fail. Sometimes the failures are overt and obvious – the change encounters a wall of opposition that simply cannot be overcome. Contrary to the famous Star Trek quote, resistance is not futile. It’s often covert. But it’s also very effective.
But let’s say you do everything right and manage the resistance and you even get some initial results. Are you destined for success? Rarely. If you come back to that same organization weeks or months later you may see some of the trappings of the change – but it’s real effect will more often than not be undetectable.
But it’s better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all, right?
Actually, not really. Continue reading
This just in. A group of scientists today announced that they has successfully created a vaccine which is almost 100% effective in preventing any change within an organization.
A spokesperson for the group claimed that they had decoded the basic DNA of organizational change and come up with a fool-proof method of ensuring that change was prevented totally or if any change variant did manage to get instilled in the organization, that it would be short-lived.
Since change itself can get started in a number of ways, the scientists stressed that it had to be systematically attacked at a number of levels. These multiple strategies, have an added bonus. They not only destroy the current infusion of change — but these anti-change factors actually work on the organizations own immune system. Initially, they work to destroy the initial change itself. But incredibly, they teach the immune system of the organization to find and tackle new and different changes.
“Soon, the organization becomes protected from change whatever the source,” said one of the researchers.
Okay…. I was just kidding. But it struck me today that this isn’t too far fetched. A lot of organizations actually DO things that build up their resistance to change. There are a lot of ways that this happens. I’ve covered some that I’ve been thinking of. Let me known in the comments below if you agree or add your own observation.
Here’s what I was noodling on when the idea of corporate immunity to change came to me. Continue reading