What business are you in?

From Tom Haskins, are two views of business today.

Exhibit A:

“There are firewalls and silos to stay inside of. There are lines of authority to conform to and procedures to execute. There are consequences for stepping out of line, going around someone or finding loopholes in the policies. There are scripts for handling phone calls, policies for handling exceptions and rules for procedural compliance.”

Exhibit B:

“Networks may function with routers to redirect linear transmissions through a past of least resistance. Networks support search and find processes that come up with unforeseen options. Networks reconfigure themselves to accommodate changes. They do not go on hold because local resources are tied up. They do not overtax a reliable node and fail to spread the challenge system wide. They get things done by letting the network do its thing.”

And then I remembered this cartoon from Hugh:

dinosaur001.jpg

So what business are you in – Silos or Networks?

I’ve noticed that even many so-called “new economy” companies are still based on the command & control models of the industrial age. They’re like dinosaurs wearing mammals’ clothing but they won’t be able to keep warm during the next ice age.

We’re hearing a lot about the millenials demanding a more flexible workplace and I think that with the impending demographic crunch here in North America, we may not be far from a real change in the dominant model of how we work. Let’s make sure that we have some reasonable options.

5 Responses to “What business are you in?”

  1. Mark Berthelemy

    I understand entirely what you’re saying, but when your “business” is funded by a government which is accountable to a society that demands command and control, how do you change?

    Reply
  2. Gilbert

    Businesses do not have to chose between Silos or Networks. They can be a combination of both or
    even something else. Not much to learned from dinosaurs in this case.

    Comment about exhibit B

    “Networks may function with routers to redirect linear transmissions through a
    past of least resistance. Networks support search and find processes that come up
    with unforeseen options. Networks reconfigure themselves to accommodate changes.
    They do not go on hold because local resources are tied up.

    They do not overtax a reliable node and fail to spread the challenge system wide.
    They get things done by letting the network do its thing.”

    There is a lot to learned from the above paragraph. We have to learn how to let the network do its own thing.
    We have to let the items flowing in the network flow along the path of least resistance. Artists know that you get
    best results when you go with the grain of the material. Going against the natural flow of a network does not represent
    an optimal use of energy.

    The Path of Least Resistance concept plays an important role in systems
    with a high number of interactions. Nature tends to persist paths of least resistance
    over other paths. So ask yourself what your industry has to do to follow the path of least resistance.

    Nothings says that you have to follow the path of least resistance to succeed. Following this path
    just makes it easier to succeed”.

    New economy companies will gain an edge if they follow the POLR principle. We have seen many
    products for the Internet that are not designed to go with the flow of the network. We have seen many
    standards that do not go with the flow.

    Follow the rules of nature and you will do well. In large systems. Enthalpy and Enthropy optimization is critical.

    Harmony and good use of energy important.

    Gilbert

    Reply
  3. Jason Young

    @Mark: I find the notion that society demands command and control to be absurd. I essentially work for the government and the people I interact with want people that can think for themselves, that are empowered to find solutions, and work for leaders that know what is going on. “In control” doesn’t mean “managed by control.”

    Reply

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