Re: Boring firms `are killing creativity' in the workplace

Jim Campbell (
Fri, 09 Dec 1994 09:35:48 MST

A thought on the Boring issue that in my mind belongs in the
discussion, Organizational understanding and a technique that is
both illustrative and instructive. I was preparing for a presentation to 100
people on team building, the title of which was "Team Building: Tuning Up Your
Response Ability".

The technique consisted of a ball of wool long enough to connect 30 - 40
people, the ball is handed to one person who makes one wrap around their hand
and then passes the ball to someone of their choosing, and so on until the
ball is exhausted.

The result is that they weave a "cat's cradle" linking the group together in a
"random" way. I put the quotes around random because each new link is founded
on the basis of a good idea at the time the ball is passed. I then compare
this living metaphor to the evolution of organizations, any organization,
YOUR organization. All of the links were built on the basis of a good idea or
good need at the time with all the care and thinking of the deciding
group(guided of misguided). The point is that the organization did not evolve
through premeditation or with the intent to damage at the decision time. It
is most often in the hind sight that the decision may look bad.

NO ONE is to Blame.

That final statement usually gets a little discussion going, ranging from there
must be someone at fault after all look at the mess, to I never thought about
the way we got here, to what's the next step. That evolutionary process is
well developed and is the working model for most decision making within
organizations today.

The shift that has to take place at various points in the developing process is
at some point some group or individual has to sort out some of the mess and
make it into a more orderly process. A big challenge in a big organization. Why
not just leave it boring rather than risk the slings and arrows from those
who must experience the change.

The final point is the need to develop full system/organizational perspective
in everyone. If we are to be able to change and survive, we will need all of the
collaboration, cooperation, ideas and knowledge, at every level in the
organization, to reorder the cat's cradle. The dialogue base that can develop
from here, in support of the reorder, may be of the think-pair-share
progression I mentioned observing in my introductory note.

I find this No Fault perspective a very effective discussion leader in freeing
the thinking for experienced managers and board of directors workshops that I
facilitate. Seeming to free up the thinking into where do we go from here.

Your Thoughts.............please..

Jim Campbell Email: Campbell@HG.ULeth.CA
Phone: (403) 329-2753 Fax: (403) 329-2685
Training & Development, Human Resources
University of Lethbridge
4401 University Dr., Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1K 3M4