Friday, January 25, 2013

Systems blindness

People fail to do smart things, even though it's obvious to everyone else what the right thing to do is .
I have done that also:I have done dumb things even when knowing in my heart , that it was dumb.For example I did drive to fast , in a street with speed limit of 50km/h,I've punished my daughter because she had a bad school report, etc .Everything had a reason to do it , but i didn't see the impact of my decisions on other things neither the unexpected consequences.
Also in the company I've worked , I have seen this :people are desperating at the dumb things their managers are doing.They trow their hands up in frustration at the dumb things the company ask them to do.
By this I am not saying that people are dumb, but their are many factors as to why we do dumb things.
Company's has policies, procedures, tasks, structure , communication lines  in place which will create a system,culture and behavior.This system will say  what the people in the system has to do , and how they have or will behave.
When the system is pushing for the short term decisions , internal competition, control and other dumb( read not for purpose) things , you cannot blame the people in the system:
It is often the system of management that is dumb, not the people within it.
You cannot blame the people for playing by the rules, you set for the game, and it is unfair to say your manager is dumb when they are doing what the system is set up for them to do.

This is where leadership is coming:Avoid systems blindness!!-See the relationships in a system!

- We have to be convinced that our organisations are open systems with a well defined purpose, and that the emergent property of this system is not the sum of the performances of the elements , but defined by the interrelationships and dynamics between the elements and subsystems.
- Senior leaders has to recognize these dynamics by taking a bigger picture view.They have to diagnose the working of the whole, and not seeing the business as a bunch of bits and peaces , some working well and sum working badly.
- Senior leaders has to recognize that system behavior and rules will impact the people behaviors.
- The place to exert influence ( the leverage point) is not to focus on what the people are doing, but at the level of values and mindsets.Culture is the thing out of which the results!!
- Senior leaders has to promote ongoing learning, and has to emphasize on the importance of key relationships in the business:they have to be created and maintained by information and knowledge.

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