Have you ever wondered why so many social & business problems keep getting worse even though we devote so much time, treasure, and human talent to their solution? Have you ever wondered why so many people have dreams they never achieve? Have you ever worried about why so many people have stopped dreaming? Have you despaired that so many good people now feel it¹s impossible to improve the system? We have!
We already know that our attempts to solve specific problems have resulted in overly complex, disjointed, fragmented programs that focus so tightly on specific problems that they lose sight of the holistic needs of specific people in business, and their relationship to the larger society.
With such narrow vision, all our good intentions are doomed to failure. All those separate programs compete for treasure and talent, too much of which must then be devoted to the needs of the “system,” and not the needs of the individual, and none of which can be devoted to solving needs outside the scope of the program, even if those needs are more urgent. Because of the competition for talent and treasure, the resources often run out too soon. Then, all you can do, is apply band-aids, not effect a cure.
Complexity and Fragmentation is the disease in business exasperated by the 21st Century
In my opinion, the answer lies in a broader, holistic vision of human and business relationships and potentials. Such a vision makes it possible to conceive a system so much simpler that its very simplicity empowers individuals in business that flow on to the entire society.
‘as simple as necessary – no simpler’ Albert Einstein.
In the story that follows, we are presenting you with a great deal of what we have learned in managing high tech business and the organizational psychology of how people work best with other people.
Let me introduce the story of the ‘Wise CEO’ using a quote from Albert Einstein:
The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
Now more than ever organisations have a need to move the higher levels of thinking enabling them to solve the ever increasing complexities of running a business in this global environment.
This allegory ‘The Wise CEO’ is a simple compilation of what many wise people have tought us and what we have learned ourselves. – The One Minute Manager
We realize that the people working for the ‘Wise CEO’ look to you as one of their sources of wisdom.
I have lots of statistics to support the following ‘People are the business – but organisations only make use of 30% of their knowledge.
Holographic methods to solving global issues. Our holographic view of an business as simple as necessary no simpler.
In life cycle project management – A wise man is one who does in the beginning what a fool does in the end.
Good judgement come from experience – Experience comes from bad judgement.
Never lose a lesson learned.
Actually solve problems as simple as necessary no simpler
The inspiration comes from Albert Einstein;
“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited by time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and the affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
In business the universe is the “One Company” we work for:
Move the thinking back to the concept/feasibility
In the story that follows we present you with a great deal of wisdom – – –
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” John F Kennedy.
RISK & UNCERTAINTY
At the core of every business there is risk and uncertainty – the well being of the organization depends on how well these are managed.
The ‘Wise CEO’s’ aim is to achieving ‘self-regulation’ such that a holographic organisation can successfully manage ‘systemic/complexity/ & risk/uncertainty’ by enabling people to think simultaneously across a range of time-frames that achieve optimum performance.
However performance is about capturing business intelligence at all levels, from all sources, inside and outside the business at the right time before organizations can achieve remarkable performance.
The other side of the equation is about the people involved. Our research found that learning to do something that people want to be able to do is an important element of making work really satisfying. The ‘Wise CEO’ would not try to change the culture, but would evolve the culture in a direction toward collaborative learning thus increasing performance. Risk and Uncertainty are equal and opposite forces within business and we have spent a lot of time to gain the wisdom how to manage uncertainty.
In this section we are not focused on risk governance, assessment, quantifying and aggregation or control, but we are about the time it takes to respond to changes that affect the business. From this perspective the toughest challenge is to successfully building strategic internal partnerships that eliminate human factors such as:
- Risk = people, procedures, technology, infrastructure, organisation, hierarchy etc
- Uncertainty however is purely human and is the major driver in decision making. Learning about uncertainty will assist the business with the evolution of a high performance work culture, and lower the incidents of stress in the work place.
To us a Learning Business is about achieving remarkable levels of performance, but also, about making it rewarding and satisfying for the people involved.
Language and its effects on business, culture and behavior
a) Language as a part of learning is undeniable – so when we say “we know what we know better than we know what we don’t know”, we are being cute. Each instance of the word “know” in this sentence has a slightly different meaning.
b) The transfer of information absorbed by people/organisation is filtered through a distorting mesh of experiences, memories, prejudices, current preoccupations, pet theories, hobby-horses, needs, wants and aspirations.
Every business has its own language and culture which is evolving constantly, the trick is to control this evolution by a process we call Business to Process Reporting (BPR). A business language designed to prevent the importation of new terms, that are not understood, without proper authority or explanation and which can not be found by technology at the touch of a button. BPR is a consistent language which is subject to logic, such that statements about what should be, are qualified, rather than asserted as absolutes. BPR is developed using ‘proof’ concepts and high levels of objectivity.
People and the Business to Process Reporting (BPR)
BPR is a single process that implements ‘Integration and Performance Measurement’ It is the people technology framework that provides people with decisions information and move risk management into the concept/specification phase before the tender is placed for the design phase. A tool to ensure the supply chain performs as required. The ‘Wise CEO’ eliminates litigation resulting from knowledge gaps between the Contracts and Operations Group of Departments.
Standardization is a key benefit of the BPR process. It makes visible areas within the plant and the control systems that lead to a modular design and results in clear functional specifications. Standardization is also the key in reducing costs in maintaining overall compliance and Corporate Governance for the life of the project. “BPR” is the corporate tool that allows people to ensure corporate risk management reporting for continuous disclosure are incorporated in specifications and reduce costs of ‘Integration Testing’.
The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein
BPR is part one of the Triple lens learning system able to move people to a higher level of thinking.
The Second Secret
To support people in managing corporate Knowledge (K) and overcoming their own unreliability; we developed a set of symbols that establish & maintain the relationships and connectivity between people, their technology and the corporation. The symbols maximize ‘complexity/systems thinking’ to ensure a dynamic and appropriate set of connected communications is in place, making visible how all components work together for the life cycle. It establishes systemic patterns and relationships between industrial and electronic age risk that can be ‘standardized by people’ including ‘standardized software’. This simplifies procedures and reduces training needs in risk mitigation for the life cycle. In some industries K becomes ‘systemic K’ that most effectively focuses K into the concept phase such that the contract documentation makes the supply chain deliver a ’good health’ foundation for the operations phase. The lens and the symbols implement ‘optimum performance measurement’ – overall dependability and its subsets of availability, reliability and serviceability, giving the power of K and communication to operations people such that they can use past/present K in combination with performance measurement to forestall the law of unintended consequences in the future with ‘remote’ support as and when required.
The Third Secret is described in Systems
I believe it was the intent in the words of JFK:
“We live in an age of interdependence as well as independence – an age of internationalism as well as nationalism”.
The future of the West lies in a partnership – a system of cooperation, interdependence and harmony where peoples can jointly meet their burdens and opportunities throughout the world.
In the early 90’s my team recognized that by the 21st century, intellectual wealth would be the economic engine for prosperity. We developed a new business model, a triple bottom line learning system (TBLL), which assists leaders to usher in an unparalleled era of collaborative advantage – beyond competition. In short, economic strategic planning for a country, a company or business requires aggressive strategies to increase profit currently locked within intellectual capital.
We understand knowledge performance indicators and network structures, knowledge roles and skills, innovation and collaborative management technologies. We have simple solutions that will assist CEO’s to mange risk and uncertainty simultaneously including the risks of managing change. To us, an effective change management system is an essential component of a new business model.
The ‘Wise CEO’ would plan to shorten the response time to expand and move into the space generated by changes that eventuate from our turbulent business environment. Furthermore the Wise CEO would disturb existing market space to create space for the new products of the company.
We are passionate about Actually solving problems as simple as necessary no simpler.
As many of you already know, economic is a function of knowledge; and innovation is how one puts knowledge into action and that any strategy must be international in scope.
But new strategies requires new KPI’s.
We are passionate about the evolution of a common language and shared vision that could transform the destructive competition (the ultimate form of competition being war) into the art of global collaboration.
The Wise CEO gathers that no one has developed really solid key performance indicators (KPI’s) in the area of connecting people with each other (or other aspects of knowledge sharing). In the absence of these KPI’s we have done an excellent job of rationalizing why they aren’t necessary. While we obviously have to be careful about the effort invested in the measurement space, KPIs are very important particularly when senior leadership is looking to lower Sales and General Administrative costs. It is also very important in being able to determine if you are achieving the goals of your initiatives.
We can wave our hands at this all we like but identifying good solid measures of our success will never go away.
The KPI’s we are passionate about are;
The wisdom of our innovation in systems is the way of securing your future?
What follows are bits and pieces we can use to move around.
STAR Series with Rony Dayan Knowledge Manager of the Isreali Air craft Factory
From: Kurt Rieger
Subject: KM & Change Management
Hi Rony and all
Thank you for the kind reminder that my ‘techno’ language is not understandable at times.
‘The amount of white elephants representing unused systems within companies purchased by managers thinking they found an easy solution to a complex problem would be the pride of many zoos.
That’s the start of the complexity problem – managers in their “own isolation” justifying systems that in the end lead to knowledge silo. Part of the problem is the ‘system’ of education – with the half-life cycle of a University degree ranging from 4 years to a matter of just a couple of month after graduation in itself leads to knowledge silos.
Organisation by necessity has become the educator – learning paid for by the corporation – currently not retrievable? The problems of these system goes even deeper – corporations having spent $300-500 million will persevere with systems that fail to provide expected gains- efficiency down – people grumble continuously – high stress in the workplace – more on this later
Corporate judgments are affected by the rate of change in the external and internal business environment and many decision are made with only 20% of the necessary information. Leading to management spending 80% of their time on making their decisions right – making an efficient change tracking ‘system’ essential.
‘Procedures are the way used around corporations to make them act as squads. The very raison d’etre of Hoshin Kanri, discussed in another message, is to enable the propagation of the CEO’s policy to each and every employee of the company. To state the demanded bottom line, and to let it happen anyway anybody wants, is not to run the company.’
Yes procedures HAD a place – I have independently audited Corporate procedures for over 25 year – the way they are prepared (by convention) they are too rigid/inflexible/cumbersome – and in many cases are written by managers that have never been ‘where the action takes place’ and as per human failing they fail to ‘pin accountability’ on anyone’s chest. Thus you have the examples where management blames the shop-floor for failures – in many public cases the courts are ruling ‘systemic management failures’. To me procedures, as they are now, have only one function – External Auditors ‘must have procedures to audit compliance – be it Sarbanes-Oxley, QA, TQM, Six Sigma, OHSA and any Technical compliance issues. However, in the case of safety procedures; organisation have lost out to the rate of change in the digital age and can not keep up with procedures (safety/risk/performance) that are practical and applicable. Complexities of the digital age led to many instances where organisations can not keep up the rate of change in skills enabling people to write procedures. – Standards are in a similar situation. (Standards for digital communications are still in the process of being prepared, I am on the local committee for IEC standards) Thus organisations contract out their procedures and thus their risk management obligations. Could speedy change management of procedures be the key to a successful business? – I doubt it. Procedures, because of their nature and intent also introduce problems of complexity that remain hidden in organizations.
This leads to informal management systems that overcome these problem at the place of action, at a specific time to suit a local environment (But is the solution safe?) In my auditing experience I found procedures hide complex problems until too late – usually related to hi tech business solution introduced by managers – it is a circle of change that required high speed change & control management. Bill Hall gave us some good examples.
Thus I would say that procedures as a basis of doing business are inappropriate for the digital age – the half-life of industrial age management is well and truly over. Knowledge about Sarbanes-Oxley, QA, TQM, Six Sigma, OHSA and any Technical compliance issues are the starting benchmarks for a learning business – and it has to be as simple as necessary – no simpler. Albert Einstein.
However, people call these ‘systems’ when in fact they are band aids on problems left over from the industrial age when acceleration of change started after the Word War II.
‘Technologies will always be there to serve you, but they need to fit an environment of people culturally ready and with a set of rules by which ‘things are done around here’
Let me take this to the Board/CEO level of making business judgment – and ask these questions:
are there adequate procedures in place to communicate corporate business judgments?
Are business judgments passed to managers?
– Do managers use the above white elephants to implement them?
– Does this reinforce knowledge silos?
I would dare say that we are ‘thinking too narrow’ in dealing with learning.
‘If by systems you mean processes, workflows, procedures (and you probably don’t), then I fully agree with you, though by itself, it won’t be enough, and if you haven’t transmitted the culture, you won’t be going very far; if you mean technology (and you probably do), then I’m afraid this is what would be a waste of money (a challenge for a challenge).
Let my try and put a label on this one – in this way: ( Will it succeed? – let me know) – Risk = people, procedures, processes, technology, infrastructure, production performance, etc. (essentially everything in doing business) – Uncertainty however is purely human and affects culture.
If you place these on a neutral axis then risk is at the high and uncertainty is at the low end of the Y axis.
When we go into business, risk is high – humans are relatively “unaware” of the complexity of risks within the business – thus uncertainty in humans is low – people are in their comfort zone, Then events happen and people learn which raising their level of uncertainty – additional risk mitigation (learning about the risks) takes place to lower risk, peoples uncertainty is on the increase. This cycle continues until there is the as low as reasonably practical (ALARP) level of risk – humans uncertainty has reached its maximum – more events happen and decisions are made (back to the top of this page) These decisions (usually digital solutions) increase corporate complexity – events happen in time and business becomes even more complex (we introduce more and more digital technology – which in this case are systems) thus the X axis of this graph is systemic/complexity thinking in Time. (again we go back to the top of this page).
Risk and Uncertainty are the equal and opposite forces within business and I have not read anything about the management of uncertainty? Stress in the workplace is becoming pandemic? Is that why the movement of CEO’s is on a 4 year cycle – it takes that long for them to reach their level of uncertainty?
For example: I was given the task of establishing the reliability of power station plant – I took samples of data and analyzed this. What I found raised my level of uncertainty such that I went to my boss and informed him of the ‘mess’ – I was told that statistical techniques would sort out the mess – I am no expert in statistical techniques – thus my level of uncertainly rose above the neutral axis and I departed from the organisation.
The challenge for a challenge is in lateral thinking – We developed a new business model that deals with risk/uncertainty & systemic complexity thinking simultaneously. We asked ourselves – What will change the behavior of people in organisation and what means are necessary to realize this?
Humans accept that all of us are unreliable (in many instances this depends on how well we slept) and as management we must accept that – thus we looked at assisting people in supporting them in overcoming their own ‘unreliability’ relative to their place of work – thus lowered their level of uncertainty for the benefit of the “organisation”.
The pressure of ‘performance’ also raises the level of uncertainty – Some of us are talking about high reliability organisations – in this digital age, this by itself fails to meet legal obligation for managing risk.
Overall Dependability and its subset of availability, reliability and serviceability are on the corporate risk menu – including hard/soft and people ware. Currently corporations are unable to deliver on software/people-ware reliability – this raises the uncertainty of certain people within organisations and in my extensive experience software upgrades are ongoing activities.
This demonstrates that organisation are learning – but are they learning ‘the right stuff’ – Corporations are unaware of the crisis of hidden knowledge explosions within organisation. I have theory on why – and the solutions is in managing uncertainty – which has a corporate flow on into the future when long term decision making has to take place. Thus the risk/uncertainty model has two application – internal and external and the external requires additional skill which are not taught at University.
That is why we developed a new business model, incorporating a new system of measurement, which ensures knowledge is recorded, categorized, quantified and then independently verified and validated such that learning outcomes improve business performance. This may sound time consuming, however our business model makes this an on line function. This is an essential component in managing uncertainty within a highly dependable organization.
This ensures new knowledge is dynamically transferable to the point of need or opportunity, thus ensuring a practical and high performance business; “as simple as possible – no simpler” Albert Einstein.
It is wonderful to see people’s ‘lights go on’ when they can find what they need, when they need it, understand it and turn it into action to help them to mitigate the risks delegated to them by management (in many instances procedures introduce errors confusion and frustration – I call this barrier in human connectivity/language). Gathering and using explicit/tacit K simultaneously – which with practice becomes perfect. However, there is change and complacency needs to be managed.
Change is the law of life and those that only look to the past and present will miss the future JFK Everything in business has a learning component- but this is only of benefit .
when its timely.
Knowledge by necessity is always incomplete thus our new business model requires ownership/Equity in K which comes from within corporations – the local environment – local conditions and local people – it needs to support the CEO/BOARD/Chair of the Risk Management Committee in meeting their external reporting obligations.
This requires a method of collecting, correlation and retrieval from learning business to an organization capable of dealing with the knowledge economy.
I’m not sure I follow you in the difference you make between a learning organization and a learning business, and in what way do you see it as being narrow. So maybe you would like to rephrase those questions, or maybe anybody else would know how to answer them.
If you want a learning organization you must first build a learning business – otherwise how would you know how to organize them – Thank you Rony – hope this throws some light on the system I am talking about dealing with Risk/uncertainty and systemic/complexity/time managed by people for the people which affect the health and well being of individuals and the ‘One Company’.
Acknowledgement – Colin Benjamin (Horizon Network Pty Ltd) for his work on
Knowledge Inc Editor Britton Manasco, and contributors: – Peter Senge, Richard Karash, Steve Davis, Tom Stewart, Joseph Pine II, Dorothy Leonard-Barton, Paul Strassman, Michael Schrage, William Brides
There are hundreds of examples where even the BEST CEO’s suffer from systemic management failures – and in many instances it is the pressure to respond or perform ‘on time’ which raises the level of uncertainty leading to bad experiences.
Just one Example: NASA Space Shuttle disasters
Time is the enemy in managing uncertainty. the State of Knowing Cycle
is the disease which CEO’s need to solve.
The Wise CEO would design a systems to simplify complexity and reduce fragmentation to eliminate knowledge silos. A systems that is the glue for the organization.
The third secret is the system design which glues secret one and two into the corporate culture