Why are Organizations Slow to Respond?Organizations are only human.
Organizations share many characteristics with the people that populate them. Organizations are born, they mature, they age, and they die. The life expectancy of most is about 15 years and only 5% last longer than 50 years.
Occasionally, some organizations resist these all too human tendencies and thrive. They continually reinvent themselves. They confront rigidity. They become serial innovators.
We create over time, our own and our organization’s rigidities. Individually, we develop rigidities in the form of biases, lack of self-confidence, and habits. The human mind is quite adept at this in order to create efficiencies. We can only process so much. Organizationally, we create rigidities like structures, performance management and reward systems, supporting cultures and capabilities that while necessary to some degree, often prevent us from adapting rapidly. Worse still, we add complexities to existing structures, processes, values and norms, without ever rethinking and possibly eliminating obsolete ideas and procedures. All of this can cause entropy and our demise.
Rigidities are not going to go away, but we can learn to manage them better. Feser says that organizations that want to become serial innovators must do the following:
If company leaders do not accept challenge and diverging views, neither will the organization.After all, organizations are only human.
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