Standard Process Kill Productivity Because Standardizing Destroys Local Knowledge

(c) 2010 Ardfern (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Most executives that implement a PeopleSoft or SAP are surprised that productivity takes such a dive in the departments that these systems were supposed to automate. Departments that are dependent on the data see some productivity increase as information becomes more available, but many tasks that used to take a moment (or could, if you were pal-ly with the clerks) now takes a long time. T…

Job Role (Social Role) Defines Your Behaviour: Wilfred Brown & Elliott Jaques

At rehearsal of Oliver Twist (Broadway, ca 1912). Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

Behavior is as much defined and limited by the role that a work inhabits as his personality and the quality of his relationships within the company. Lord Wilfred Brown, the Managing Director of Glacier Metal Company for decades and a major management thinker in his own right, was insistent on this point. You can even take this farther than he did: the social role you inhabit (or are forced into)…

Trust Is Necessary To Society. The Glacier Model Builds Trust

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There’s a fascinating paper at the IMF by social capital guru Francis Fukuyama (Social Capital and Civil Society – Prepared for delivery at the IMF Conference on Second Generation Reforms) that covers his reasoning behind social capital being called “capital” at all. Besides being interested in how to create societies, I’ve always found him a lucid writer who discusses a topic that relates to t…

Why Leaderless Groups Go Fascist

Benito Mussolini conciona la folla in Piazza Duomo a Milano, nel maggio 1930-Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-09844 / CC-BY-SA

I recently tweeted that “As long as you advocate leaderless groups, the power-hungry will control you. The answer is more complex.” Asked to provide some more, I figured I’d do it here since it ties into some of the workplace stuff we’ve been talking about (from when Wilfred Brown was MD/CEO of Glacier) and the new model of Evangelical church organization.

I’ve talked about this issue befor…

New Church Model Isn’t: Multisite Is Regurgitation of the Model They Hated

Church near Junction City, Kansas. c 1942. Vachon, John, photographer. US Library of Congress collection.

This continues my examination of American Evangelicals’ organization of their churches, both lay and clergy.

One of the big things in the Evangelical world, a real “game changer” they say, is the multisite church. You’ll hear them say things like “twenty years ago, the Holy Spirit was moving and doing a big thing. And people listening to Him said, ‘It’s time to develop a multi-site churc…

Jim McCarthy’s Core Commitments

Employees at Mid-Continent Refinery [ca. 1943 Tulsa, OK (LOC). By John Vachon]

I’ve been reading Jim McCarthy’s materials lately. He used to be in charge of the Visual C++ group at Microsoft. His work there was nothing short of phenomenal: MS-VC++ came out of nowhere and demolished its long-time rival. Sure, MS has scads of cash but that wasn’t the whole picture. Borland went from 85% marketshare to nothing in a very short time because McCarthy’s team had put together a…

Lord Acton on Organization

Tranquility. Lonely Pier towards Tahaa Island

Wilfred Brown (along with Elliott Jaques, to a lesser extent) understood what Lord Acton understood about power. They created a constitutional system of rights at Glacier Metal. Here’s why it’s important.

Can Entrepreneurs Save Newspapers? Even in Chicago?

“Can Entrepreneurs Save Newspapers?”

Dunno. But you might. Newspapers are dying. Which means that it’s a great time for a hidden high potential to get into the News business with a completely different model.

Crains Chicago has video on some new ideas coming out in town (that’s Chicago) to solve the newspaper problem. Both the Tribune and Sun-Times parent companies…

"You Can’t Handle Big Things Unless You Have An Organization"

Maybe it’s obvious, but humans built organizations because they helped them achieve things. Networks are nice, and very useful, but the Organization (which is a subtype of network) works in more specific ways.

Daniel H. Burnham, the famous Chicago architect, felt something of this. Donald L. Miller, in City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America (1996), notes that…

Using Requisite Organization to Manage Staff in an Evangelical Megachurch

Winter at Lofoten (2008). By Tackbert. Public Domain.

The Rev. Dr. John Morgan is the head pastor of a growing independent Evangelical church in New Mexico that uses the mega-church model. Morgan wrote a chapter in the GO Society book (disclosure: I edited that piece) that does a good job describing his efforts and how Work Levels play out in independent churches.

In these churches, the local congregation is the only authority over the pastor.

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