In business teaching, we stress stuff like continuous improvement. You have to be doing something to improve to stay ahead or even up with the competition. The New Zealand All Blacks are a magnificent example in Rugby Union, but it’s more difficult to pin down their success than we think – otherwise every other team would be doing it. ‘Learning organizations’ will let competitors examine them close up, confident the real “learning structure” of their success will not be seen and copied. You certainly ain’t going to get any answers listening to some obsessive sports freak or academic geek who has read a text book, or published a few articles. CEO hagiographies won’t help either; they are all written in hindsight, to bloat the ‘great leader’. Most people have no idea of the role of continuous improvement in beating the experience curve. When you watch an All Black ‘keeping it simple stupid’, you are watching a moment in complex history and massive, training produced skill. If you think this is simple, you are stupid.
You may even think the success of the All Blacks is about rugby and irrelevant to more general society and business. It is in a way, yet if you can’t piece together the detail of something as in the public domain as All Black success, what chance do you have on more complexly hidden competitive advantage? Women uninterested in rugby get the main points more easily than obsessed men, but few manage to realise they can’t have grasped the real “learning structure” and neither has anyone else, unless they can replicate it, leap-frog it and so on. Most people remain at the level of KISS meaning just do what is easy, and never have a clue about how planning, practice, drills and learning to have faith in those around you make the complex look simple.
We also talk about removing roadblocks to progress. Just one of a potential hundred here is the statement that no one from the outside could ever understand – something that would render spying obsolete, but cops and almost everyone says as surely as a metronome ticks. Policing is not done for police officers, it’s done for the public of which they are part. What does the average cop bleating about no civilian knowing about his job know of organisation design? None of them have ever done this type of work. What we would have to understand is why so many cops bleat some equivalent of ‘my wife doesn’t understand me’. There is something important to redesign in this.
There’s a lot of work I’d want to do before a class or live project group looked at a reasonably sane proposal on police (or any other redesign) like this one from Banksidebabble, or we started to take in some of the detail at thinbluelineuk (Steve is saying there is a link to 13 minutes BBC at his site now).
You have to do something to disrupt whatever chronic arguments are in place and around which people take sides instead of taking part in problem solving or dissolving. This is a deep shock to most people’s systems. Abroad |I use Wittgenstein, in the UK I tell jokes. The UK is now the most seriously unfunny place I work in, with little sense of humour, massive, unfounded arrogance and backwardness. We are feudal and are expected to beg our hopeless managers to change. Management is the most serious block to needed change in the UK. Unions are a pin-prick in comparison. We pay a dreadful, wasted set of rents to management groups from politicians, bankers and the bloated ranks of ACPOs and the rest. The joke is we leave change in their hands! They don’t want any!