Do we focus on people or the systems? What is your take?
Working within a dysfunctional organization run by old mindsets can be exhausting. To change this, should we focus on the people working within them or the system itself?
"95% of performance is explained by the system, 5% by people" (Deming, Ackhoff). Of course the "system" is much more than the org chart and includes people's thinking that drives the system's outward manifestations.
So yes: focus on people if by that you mean changing their thinking and shaking up their unsupportable beliefs. But working in people as mostly understood by contemporary managers and their L&D departments (as in "fixing" people through coaching, "upskilling", etc.) won't change anything...
In a previous post we introduced the concept of “middle-manager-less-organizations” (MMLOs for short). These companies run their businesses successfully without a middle management layer. Large and small, they point the way forward for organizations wanting to go beyond the traditional hierarchical/bureaucratic model, a way of organizing that is increasingly outdated and has deep roots in ‘industrial age thinking’.
In 2005, Vineet Nayar became the leader of Indian IT and consulting company HCL Technologies. As a result, 25,000 people looked up to him and waited for his direction. But there was a problem. "I knew in my heart that we as leaders had done nothing to win the trust of our employees."