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20 Jan

Each new fragment contributes to the image that is forming in my mind.

with the immortal words “Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own particular way.” And so it may be with organizations: they have an unlimited variety of ways to fail, but perhaps only few by which to succeed.

In the spirit of Tolstoy, I will not try to list all these ways to fail—blogs have their limits—but present a framework by which many seem to get it the immortal words “Happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own particular way.” And so it may be with organizations: they have an unlimited variety of ways to fail, but perhaps only few by which to succeed.

Derived from passages in my books Managing and Simply Managing. Choose the proper words or move the proper pieces while respecting the proper rules to make the proper picture. Some of this is fine when an existing category fits. But problems fester when there is a misfit, or a forced fit, or no fit.

I want to fly with ideas, not be grounded by some rules. They are not about breaking the rules so much as creating new rules to get around old rules are broken. Puzzling puzzles require solutions that are outrageous—until they turn out to be obvious. A patient falls between the cracks of medical specialties.

To quote Isaac Bashevis Singer in what could be the motto for the effective organization: “We have to believe in free will; we’ve got no choice.” The Integrative Thread Lewis et al.’s most important conclusion may be:(p. Effective organizing is a tapestry woven of the threads of reflection, analysis, worldliness, collaboration, and proactiveness, all of it infused with personal energy and bonded by social integration. Look, I’m a word guy who goes blank in cross-word puzzles (although I delight in inventing words, like TWOG). In the affairs of state, treat diplomacy like a game of chess.

Effective organizations harness the “collective mind.” © Henry Mintzberg 2018. On a table, beside this game of ours, sat a jig-saw puzzle, its pieces strewn about near the box that showed what picture to make. These games are too pat for me, too circumscribed, closed-ended. And in life, find a partner on a dating site that lists categories of compatibility.

Many of the people in effective organizations think and see for themselves.

The Analytic Thread Too much attention to analysis can be dysfunctional in organizations, but so too can too little, leading to organization.

Two additional threads are shown: at the beginning that of being personally energetic, and at the end that of being socially integrative. The Energetic Thread “In approaching problems within the family, [the healthy ones] explored numerous options; if one approach did not work, they backed off and tried another.

This was in contrast to many dysfunctional families in which a dogged perseverance with a single approach was noted” (p. In my own experience, a remarkable number of effective organizations, and their managers, are reflective: they know how to learn from their own experience; they explore numerous options; and they back off when one doesn’t work, to try another.

Looking for the key to effectiveness in the light of analysis may be misguided, but expecting to find it in the obscurity of intuition is no more sensible. Thinking for ourselves requires that we be worldly, which is defined in my dictionary as “experienced in life, sophisticated, practical.” An interesting mixture of words—and perhaps as close as a set of words can get to what many of us want from our organizations. Eliot that has been overused for good reason, people should be exploring ceaselessly in order to return to where they started and know the place for the first time. To appreciate other people’s worlds does not mean to invade their privacy, or “The trend toward an egalitarian marriage was in striking contrast to both the more distant (and disappointing) marriages of the adequate families and the marital pattern of dominance and submission that so often was seen in dysfunctional families” (p. These days, we hear a good deal about teams and task forces, networking and learning organizations, joint ventures and alliances. I don’t like doing jig-saw puzzles and other games that come in a box. I prefer puzzles beyond boxes, including the box called “thinking outside the box.” Recently, I joined some family in Toronto for a game that I was told I would love, as soon as I figured it out. With no box in sight, the picture has to be constructed from these fragments and connections. It used to let the kids build their own thing, instead of assembling 3-dimentional jig-saw puzzles.

People have to know formally and explicitly as well as informally and tacitly. describe the most dysfunctional families as presenting (p. We hear a great deal these days about globalization, but not much about worldliness. (See my earlier blog on this.) To be worldly means to get into the worlds of other people—other cultures, other organizations, even other functions within our own organization. Many “subordinates” have become colleagues and many suppliers have become partners. All managerial activity is sandwiched between reflection in the abstract and action on the ground—“refl’action” is a word coined by one of our IMPM participants. I never did figure it out, perhaps because I never cared to figure it out. (I took this photo of my work table at home, exactly as I had left it earlier, while puzzling over this TWOG. Here in Canada, kids used to learn hockey on some local pond.