Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ambiguity, bad showers, and organizational restructuring

You look at your company or organisation. It has grown. Times have been good. Now times are not so good. The profit margin has shrunk. Cash flow is starting to become a problem. You look at your company. The last time you really looked, (you have been so busy making money or providing your service that you haven't really had the time or the impetus to stand back and have a good long hard look) it was smaller and less complex. Now it looks a mess compared to how it appeared before. You are not really sure what everyone is doing. It matters now that everyone is productive. It matters now that in a time of falling income somehow the cash flow situation is made more comfortable. Almost all the data you see is worrying. This is no longer a time of expansion and spend . Spending when there are copious amounts of inflow is easy. You can convince yourself that almost anything is worth a punt when things are good. The risk of loss is low. Even if it doesn't work there is enough money to ride over any errors. Taking risks is easy, the overall impact on the business, when things are growing and going well, of a bad thing happening is minimal. When we are closer to the edge of moving into a loss situation the impact of risks could (perceptually at least) be greater. We are now in a mindset of poverty consciousness as opposed to a mindset of abundance consciousness. This affects our perception of risk and uncertainty.

"a mindset of poverty consciousness as opposed to a mindset of abundance consciousness"

So what are we going to do?

Well it is obvious that if things stay on the current course what we fear is very likely to happen. This is a downwards spiral we need to halt and if possible reverse before things get critical (or even more critical if we are already at a crunch point).

Hmmmm a no brainer really. We need to act fast, work out what bits of the organisation are profitable and which aren't. Then we need to reorganise (reorganize - translation). Simple, neat and logical.

Or is it? This week I will have a look at the thinking, myths and rethinking about organisational change, decision making, the role ambiguity plays and what this all has to do with bad showers (of the bathroom type).

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