Ask a CEO what kind of culture they have and they will describe the kind of culture they want, as if it exists instead of describing what is really going on
I think that’s a common feature of what I’d call a goal-centred model of change a paradigm that’s fairly prevalent in organisations. I think change often happens more organically when we focus on being clearer about where we are now; the setting of ideals often becomes a toxic way of denying the reality of the present.
The post continues with this point about efforts to implement Enterprise 2.0:
…. there is little point starting with a claim that you want one type of system – one that helps people work together and get stuff done – when the requirements suggest you want a very different type of system – one that manages and monitors what people do.
That’s a familiar issue for me. There’s a kind of creeping bureaucratisation that can stifle more human ways of organising.
This reminds me of a piece by John Naughton: The Old Person’s ICT Curriculum, poking fun at the reductionist awfulness of this country’s ICT curriculum.
There’s a surreal quality to the QCA’s ICT curriculum. It conjures up images of kids up and down the country trudging into ICT classes and being taught how to use a mouse and click on hyperlinks; receiving solemn instructions in the creation of documents using Microsoft Word and of spreadsheets using Excel; being taught how to create a toy database using Access and a cod PowerPoint presentation; and generally being bored out of their minds.
And then the same kids go home and log onto Bebo or MySpace to update their profiles, run half a dozen simultaneous Instant Messaging conversations, use Skype to make free phone calls, rip music from CDs they’ve borrowed from friends, twiddle their thumbs to send incomprehensible text messages, view silly videos on YouTube and use BitTorrent to download episodes of ‘Lost’.
And when you ask them what they did at school today they grimace and say ‘We made a PowerPoint presentation, Dad. Yuck!’
This reminds me of one of my favourite little parables (I know I’ve used it here before):
God created the truth. The Devil took a look at it and said, “That’s great, I shall organise that and call it… religion“
Hat tip to James for the Naughton article.