Models of organisation 4
Many years ago I had a Sunday out with friends. It was hot, sunny, idyllic. We wandered as the mood took us. In the Oxfordshire country we came upon a medieval church in the centre of a village. We went to evensong. We may even have sung ‘The day thou gavest Lord is ended’. We went to the village pub afterwards. We felt not only uplifted spiritually but immersed in an almost mystic vision of England. I loved it and I still do. It is rather wonderful that it can still feel like this, and there is something in it that is important to hold on to. But there is also a nostalgia for a world that is disappearing fast.
It is a truism that people tend not to welcome change and that is as true of our corporate selves as of our personal lives. Over time organisations develop processes and habits that seem to work and which become part of the organisation’s sense of itself. These are not readily questioned or given up. If the organisation becomes less successful people in it may even start to believe that its declining fortunes are a failure not of the organisation but of those who are no longer supporting it. They have ceased to ‘get it’. The answer is to work harder, to ‘keep calm and carry on’ or to develop a new marketing strategy. These responses don’t usually work. If it is suggested that the customer may have a point and that more radical change is required, the organisation will often defend the way it does things as a matter of principle. Continue reading