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Whole Earth Review

Classic obstacles

Classic obstacles – organizational management

J. Baldwin

* Overemphasis on defense of position, class, or reputation.

* Too much love of the familiar and routine. Fear of discomfort.

* Evaluating new information and ideas for form rather than content.

* Failure to create a climate of acceptance for new ideas.

* Inordinate concern with turf and title boundaries. Be interested in everything.

* Overspecialized education; insuffidently comprehensive view.

* Lack of deep dedication and commitment. Beware enthusiastic lip service.

* Unrealistic and incomplete job descriptions/titles; unclear lines of responsibility.

* Failure to provide responsible persons with the authority they need to carry out their work.

* Failure to delegate authority in order to prevent work overload.

* Overdelegating authority; there must be a boss.

* Fear and avoidance of responsibility.

* Failure to personally follow through and support your ideas at all stages, including the dirtyhands work.

* Unneeded chain of command. Compartmentalization of people reduces accuracy and interrupts the flow of information.

* Permitting information bottlenecks to occur as a result of red tape and authorization procedures intended mostly to establish or maintain power.

* Bucking decisions up to the next level merely to cover ass.

* Failure to provide a (safe) means of criticizing superiors who may be wrong.

* Unwillingness to doubt conventional wisdom and respected sources.

* Accepting without question expert opinion (including yours) that “it can’t be done.”

* Succumbing to jealousies that divert and distort focus and energy.

* Overemphasis on competition both in and out of house.

* Overemphasis on cooperation both in and out of house.

* Fear of being seen as too aggressive.

* Fear of being seen as weak.

* Failure to address the causes of low self-confidence and self-esteem.

* Feeling apathetic and powerless.

* Fear of making mistakes or being thought a fool.

* Fear that your ideas will be stolen. Hiding can deflect needed information.

* Believing that you “can’t understand it.” If “they” can comprehend it, so can you. Don’t mistake jargon use and in-groupiness for superior intelligence.

* Failure to define the problem and its territory clearly.

* Failure to do your homework.

* Narrowing and defining the problem too soon. Take time to mull it over.

* Not making time to think things out deeply.

* Believing that fantasizing and dreaming are a waste of time.

* Failure to fish or cut bait; also known as the “time to shoot the engineer” effect. Endless modifying and talk can prevent action.

* Failure to distinguish between cause and effect.

* Failure to distinguish between opinion and fact.

* Failure to investigate the obvious.

* Failure to search for and identify patterns.

* Mistaking “should” for “can” or “will.” Beware unrealistic promises to and from.

* Inappropriate timing, espedally in presenting ideas or products.

* Failure to develop the influence, PR, and money needed to boost your ideas.

* Failure to accept or nurture ideas that your work has inspired in others.

* Bumming out everyone, including yourself, with depressing talk of failures and weaknesses. It helps to phrase your goals and requirements in positive language, e.g., “The assembly should be as light as possible” gets better results than “Excess weight should be avoided.”

COPYRIGHT 1994 Point Foundation

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group