Information access and flow LO11484

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
17 Dec 96 19:36:15 EST

Replying to LO11461 --

I like Bill's approach to reducing hierarchy. His method, if I can
interpret, is to minimize or eliminate the 'power' trappings of hierarchy,
which in turn allows for the free flow of information. This is an
important difference from eliminating hierarchy. For example, I am
sitting here with an article by Jack Welch (CEO GE) in which he says
repeatedly, 'eliminate hierarchy'. But if you watch what Jack does, it is
not the same as what he says. What he does is much more like what Bill
Harris describes. He eliminates the bureaucracies, the stumbling blocks,
the impediments, the bottle-necks that overly hierarchic organizations

So while Jack says one thing, he actually does another. He forces the
hierarchy to do what it is best at doing, which is delivering the messages
about what it is we are about, and deciding our strategic directions.
Jack Welch is no sympathico listener. He knows what he wants -- freedom
to operate like a small company -- and he intends to get it. This is not
a democracy. On the other hand , when it gets to the details of how we
create this small company feel in a huge entity like GE, he knows he
cannot decide that, but he must create the environment in which everyone
can create that feel. So he is creating that environment, and if you want
to be in the hierarchy at GE, you'd better be supporting that goal.

This is the proper role and niche for hierarchy. When hierachy gets into
the task of control -- whether it be details of the business or of the
flow of information -- then it is exceeding its proper role in the


Rol Fessenden
LL Bean, Inc


Rol Fessenden <76234.3636@CompuServe.COM>

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