Lately there has been a lot of buzz about employers asking potential employees for their Facebook passwords. I heard yet another story about this over the weekend. While I don’t feel employers should be asking for social media passwords, this post is more about the irony that employers want social passwords but are not asking […]
My report “Job Postings – Hiring for IT’s Past” published today on Gartner.com. This Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) report is a wake-up call for IT organizations because it shows that most IT organizations are hiring for the wrong requirements. In late 2011 and early 2012 we sampled current job postings in six major job […]
“In a big company, you never feel you’re fast enough.” Beth Comstock, the chief marketing officer of GE, is talking to me by phone from the Rosewood Hotel in Menlo Park, California, where she’s visiting entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. She gets a charge out of the Valley, but her trips also remind her how perilous the business climate is right now. “Business-model innovation is constant in this economy,” she says. “You start with a vision of a platform. For a while, you think there’s a line of sight, and then it’s gone. There’s suddenly a new angle.”
Within GE, she says, “our traditional teams are too slow. We’re not innovating fast enough. We need to systematize change.”
“The business community focuses on managing uncertainty,” says Dev Patnaik, cofounder and CEO of strategy firm Jump Associates, which has advised GE, Target, and PepsiCo, among others. “That’s actually a bit of a canard.” The true challenge lies elsewhere, he explains: “In an increasingly turbulent and interconnected world, ambiguity is rising to unprecedented levels. That’s something our current systems can’t handle.
“There’s a difference between the kind of problems that companies, institutions, and governments are able to solve and the ones that they need to solve,” Patnaik continues. “Most big organizations are good at solving clear but complicated problems. They’re absolutely horrible at solving ambiguous problems–when you don’t know what you don’t know. Faced with ambiguity, their gears grind to a halt.
“Uncertainty is when you’ve defined the variable but don’t know its value. Like when you roll a die and you don’t know if it will be a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. But ambiguity is when you’re not even sure what the variables are. You don’t know how many dice are even being rolled or how many sides they have or which dice actually count for anything.” Businesses that focus on uncertainty, says Patnaik, “actually delude themselves into thinking that they have a handle on things. Ah, ambiguity; it can be such a bitch.”
“Technology forces disruption, and not all of the change will be good. Optimists look to all the excitement. Pessimists look to all that gets lost. They’re both right. How you react depends on what you have to gain versus what you have to lose.”
Yet while pessimists may be emotionally calmed by their fretting, it will not aid them practically. The pragmatic course is not to hide from the change, but to approach it head-on. Thurston offers this vision: “Imagine a future where people are resistant to stasis, where they’re used to speed. A world that slows down if there are fewer options–that’s old thinking and frustrating. Stimulus becomes the new normal.”
The “i” generation – not quite the selfish focused gang that was recently called out in the UK by its Chief Rabbi and noted by c|net’s Chris Matyszczyk. Like prior generational movements, this one too is misunderstood. The “i” generation is about the importance of the individual which is profoundly different than focusing selfishly on […]
I have been working with several different perspectives on governance, strategy, it architecture and enterprise architecture. I have read several books on the three topics and as such I have been able to build a model for categorizing the literature. … Continue reading →
All organizations at some time in their history have experimented, gained knowledge, and operationalized it – experimentation is synonymous with entrepreneurialism. Entrepreneurs test many theories as they launch an idea. They are not afraid of making errors and learning from their mistakes. As they refine ideas and gain more knowledge through experimentation, they eventually reach […]
Last week’s post “Replacing Taylorism as our Management Doctrine” called for the end of Taylorism. Thankfully, I am not the first to call for the end of Taylorism or to write about human characteristics which businesses frequently ignore. There are many before me who have added significant insights into this debilitating management doctrine and all […]
Over the last 239 years, organizations have been applying hierarchy, and top-down command-oriented management. This mindset erupted with the dawn of the steam engine in 1771, and in the late 1800s it was honed to razor sharpness by Frederick Winslow Taylor – the father of efficiency thinking and the science of productivity. Taylor’s work is […]
This past Thursday my colleague Kirk Knoernschild pointed out a blog post by Alistair Cockburn about Taylorism creeping into the world of agile. Alistair’s post ignited a discussion within Gartner’s IT1 team reflecting on how it applied to our own agile work practices. What follows are some of my insights about the dangers of Tayloristic […]
So many things in our life are governed by the idea that we can control the outcome. Take strategy as as an example. For years strategists have operated under the false notion that strategies were conceived, plans created and execution of the plan happened. This resulted in an elite view of conducting strategy and the […]