Food for Thought V15: Inertia Syndrome – Too overwhelmed to change

I was researching about decision-making (again) recently and I came across this article by the late Dr Russell Ackoff, a “Systems Thinker”, called “Why few organisations adopt systems thinking”

In the article Dr Ackoff writes about how organisations are naturally resistant to change and opines on our tendency to find a scapegoat when things go wrong from something we have done, although we seldom need to find a scapegoat for something we did not do. 

Ackoff says: “The deterioration and failure of organizations are almost always due to something they did not do.”

It is most definitely my experience that in today’s world where executives must do more with less, it is incredibly difficult to find the time to consider new ideas, solutions or business constructs.  It is far easier to keep doing what we are doing, no matter how bad it is.

The answer is of course simple.  We need to force ourselves to take time out for thinking.  As individuals we should do it every week, if only for 30min.  No emails, no phone calls, not while driving a car or on a bus.  In the right place with pen, laptop or tablet at hand (with email notification turned off!).

As teams we need to do it quarterly although the tendency is to do it yearly.  Think back to that last annual planning session.  If it was more than six months ago and you have not had the team back together for some thinking time, there is a strong possibility that the plan you hatched needs adjustment.

So, some food for thought.  I hope it gets you to stop and think for half an hour each week.

If you know you need to get the team together, give me a call. I’ll help you run some analysis and get some creative thinking going using the techniques I have come to love over the years.