Adaptive Process versus The Sourcerer’s Apprentice


“Adaptive processes are therefore not about being chaotic, creative, un-structured or non-compliant but about using the real-world dynamics of work to create a process that fulfills all goals, follows all compliance rules and can change at the drop of a hat to be better NEXT TIME.”


The most effective, and sustainable, way to facilitate organizational change is to focus on improving business processes. Especially, key processes like R&D portfolio selection, product design and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales, and fulfilment strategy. If we get these processes right then the right culture and the right people will follow. Process is driven directly by business and customer needs. Culture and behaviour follow process.

Baker Street Publishing

The consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton has published a wonderful collection of articles on culture titled, Don’t Blame Your Culture: Instead, make the most of it for raising your company’s performance.  Jon Katzenbach is one of the leading authors.  He is a respected 50 year veteran of the organizational change wars.  See the video below.  I recommend the collection to decision coaches.   The collection is offered for mobile apps, e.g., iPhone, iPad, Android devices, etc.

I’ve learned from experience that there are four levers that a CEO can work with to change an enterprise: the people, the organization chart, process, and culture.    The organization chart is easy to change so we see lots of CEO’s try that.  It is also relatively easy for a CEO to change people.  Some CEO’s are even foolhardy enough to make a direct attack on culture.   Most of these change…

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‘Systems Thinking’ isn’t about change for change’s sake and if/WHEN someone tells you that it is I would encourage you to question their motivation and knowledge!

John Wenger explains WHY in this, typically well-crafted and informative article…

quantum shifting

A poll in October of 2011 put the approval rating of the US Congress at just 9%.  When Rasmussen pollsters asked Americans if they approved of the US going communist, a full 11% said they were OK with that; two points ahead of Congress.  To put that into context, during Watergate Richard Nixon’s approval rating was 24%. BP, during the Gulf oil spill, hit 16 %.

To me, these figures illustrate the erosion of trust in those who set out to lead us and, I suspect, an erosion of faith in the systems that puts those leaders there.  It’s not just a crisis of democracy, it’s a much wider crisis of leadership: in government, in business, in churches.  The expenses scandal in the UK.  Widespread sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests and covered up by bishops.  Credit ratings agencies giving the thumbs up to banking systems at the heart…

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FS Innovation:: better without the painful pricks – a lesson from healthcare


The Financial Services sector would rather indulge in (other people’s) blood letting, whilst trying to tackle today’s problems with yesterday’s tools,  than recognise the societal benefits of exaptive behaviour!

I “understand” that the thought of meaningful change is uncomfortable for many people but, surely, we can no longer afford that to be the case in a sector that continues to profit from inflicting financial suffering across the globe – with all the implications for society and the planet.

WE need to learn from THEIR mistakes, even if they have not: they have no known cure! The theories and tools, with which the highly complex financial systems of modernity were created, are no longer sufficient to contend with the level of complexity that sustains them.

Deep cultural change cannot begin until the practices of using correlations in data from our past to attempt to predict our future are recognised as nothing more than guesswork given credibility by the highly paid and highly qualified, individuals who build the risk models.

Healthcare, moreso than any other sector, has shown us how we can, more effectively, PREVENT &/or CURE the ills that afflict  COMPLEX SYSTEMS…and systems don’t get more complex than that which enables us to diagnose and treat ourselves!!!

“When we see the need for deep change, we usually see it as something that needs to take place in someone else. In our roles of authority, such as parent, teacher, or boss, we are particularly quick to direct others to change. Such directives often fail, and we respond to the resistance by increasing our efforts. The power struggle that follows seldom results in change or brings about excellence. One of the most important insights about the need to bring about deep change in others has to do with where deep change actually starts.”

Robert E. Quinn

“Big Data”: Competing through data [McKinsey Quarterly]


The data advantage

Most great revolutions in science are preceded by revolutions in measurement. We have had a revolution in measurement, over the past few years, that has allowed businesses to understand in much more detail what their customers are doing, what their processes are doing, what their employees are doing. That tremendous improvement in measurement is creating new opportunities to manage things differently.

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