13 Secret tips to retart your Organisational Agility
Here are a few great techniques to slow down any organisation, although you may find you are inadvertently experiencing them already:
- Reliance on email — Change depends on lengthy unstructured email conversations (potentially with large attachments). In fact, email conversations drives your entire organisation. You frequently need to resend or chase when seemingly simple requests inevitably get “lost”, missed or ignored? (11.c.2, 11.c.3)
- Official channels — Making simple changes are prohibited or made extremely difficult. You are generally directed down “official channels” which decreases the likelihood and timeliness of getting anything done (11.a.1, 11.b.13)
- Allergic to listening — Instead of listening, management like to tell you what is happening, what to expect, and what you should be doing. This often involves lengthy speeches about their personal experiences and/or views using questionable anecdotes (11.a.2). In a negative way, these “meetings” are often impactful to your work (11.b.11)
- Analysis paralysis — You can’t negotiate change with a single person. Rather you have to “walk” change around multiple stakeholders (perhaps more than once) and elicit agreement from “everyone” in an intricate mating ritual of minor adjustments, emails, meetings, committees, and/or boards (11.a.3)
- Chintzy criticisms — Change gets criticised and rejected for reasons totally unrelated to its potential value (e.g. minor typos, format, process abnormalities or shortcuts) (11.a.5, 11.b.2)
- Bugaboo — You find stakeholders warn you to be cautious or to slow down due to their percieved fears, which they put down to their vague or irrelevant “past experiences” (11.a.7)
- Decisive indecisiveness — You find any hard won decisions that you have successfully extracted from stakeholders often get overturned, revisited or reopened in subsequent forums or meetings (11.a.6)
- Approval, on top of approvals — If you are successful in extracting any kind of agreement, you find you are referred to an hitherto unmentioned set of approvers to get “additional” higher level sign off (11.a.8)
- Subservient to calendars — Change depends on meetings with extremely busy stakeholders that require at least two weeks notice (ideally a month or two) in order to “align” calendars (11.c.5). When you hold the meetings, discussions meander and reach no firm conclusion (and repeat)
- Constant questioning about quality — Stakeholders expect perfection, or the illusion of perfection, even when a product is clearly good enough to deliver value (11.b.7). Stakeholders apply regulation, red tape and/or process beyond what is reasonable (11.b.14)
- Crystal balls — You are expected to plan or forecasts to such a minute level of detail, perhaps even needing to resort to a “plan for a plan” (11.a.1)
- A lack of focus — Your team works at an unjustifiably slow pace, gets easily distracted, is irrational, or just interrupts you with alarming regularity (11.d.1, 11.d.2)
- Talk about tooling — Your days get filled with talk about poor tooling rather than the work at hand (11.d.5). Your team express desires for super high quality tools that are difficult or extremely expensive to procure and that would likely be overkill (11.b.5)
If any of the above organisational filibustering sounds strangely familiar, you may be following an “Intelligence-led” approach (definitely not the same as an “Intelligently-led” approach!). In actual fact and although extremely unlikely, it may even be the case that you are witnessing the disruptive effects of a malign Intelligence Agency.
Whilst the above are common complaints within many large companies, they are all published techniques from the CIA to disrupt, impair and sabotage organisations, albeit with a small amount of creative license to bring them up-to-date with our modern work environment.
If you are interest in learning more about how to further retard your organisation’s performance, the references in brackets can be found within the CIA sabotage handbook: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2012-featured-story-archive/simple-sabotage.html
For everyone else, consider embracing Agile, and perhaps also check out the Beyond Budgeting movement.