You Are Responsible For The Flood

You Are Responsible For The Flood

Matt HealeyTuesday,29 July 2014

The Snap:

No single raindrop thinks it is to blame for the flood.” That is one of the retired despair.com demotivators. If you are not familiar with demotivators, please visit the site. Personally, I find a lot of inspiration there.

The Download:

The next time I hear someone tell me that “It will only take a few minutes,” or “It is a simple change,” I may change them from living to dead. If you have not guessed it this is another post about corporate life. Specifically the challenges associated with the culture of consensus. In many organizations there is a degree of pride in managing to consensus. You have to get everyone buy in on a topic before anything can get launched. And when everyone is responsible for something then no one is.

The problem with that approach is that it leads to a culture where way too many people have veto authority over everything and there are rewards for slowing or stopping progress. Managers get the feeling that if they are not making changes then they are not doing their job. So every review cycle something gets added. Often the justification is that “It will only take a few minutes.” Now that may be true, but it has been my experience that nothing takes a few minutes. Further, when there are 5 or 6 people who are all making changes, then a “few minutes” quickly becomes a few days. It becomes even more frustrating when the comments from the reviewer conflict. Then you get the added “few minutes” becomes several meetings where the differences are discussed, often resulting in a compromise that incorporates the worst of both suggestions. Finally, to make sure that all of the changes are imported, each person then wants to “see the document again before it goes out.” Great – now a few changes have become multiple review cycles resulting in an endless series of delays. And people wonder why companies can’t get anything done.

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Image Credit: Flickr (change to B&W)



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