Do It Yourself

Posted: September 27, 2012 by Matthew Hanwell in Main

Following a visit to a service point the WiFi signal on my mobile phone became poor to none existent, even when sitting right under the router! I had a feeling that it must be a simple problem that would be straight forward to fix. Being an engineer at heart (and not wanting to pay someone else for something I can do myself), and having watched a short ‘tutorial’ on YouTube, I proceeded to open up the device (warranty had expired). 11 very small screws and a few pieces of plastic later, I found the problem, a bent connector, straightened this, put it all back together and hey presto – back to full signal strength J

This got me thinking about connections and just how little you can do for yourself at work!

Large organizations are divided up into Units, Divisions, and Functions. There are rules, procedures and policies that are created to ‘control’ what individuals can or can not do for themselves. Simple things like moving your desk – no you can’t do that, it might cause a health and safety issue, you need to contact facilities, make a formal request, wait a couple of days. Arranging travel – need to use the official travel tool, fly on the preferred airlines, and stay in the chosen hotels even if these on an individual travel basis maybe more expensive. Bring your consumer device (phone/tablet) to the office, installing some software – we don’t support that, it creates a security issue, whatever.

Large organizations can run like well-oiled machines, the inner workings need to stick to the role within predefined tolerances, doing just their job, no more, no less. The machine needs to be lubricated with large amounts of trust to ensure the parts work together without causing too much friction….if the world remains fairly constant this machine like approach will deliver scale and efficiency.

But it is extremely difficult to change large and highly complex machines. The machine appears to be working, so if it isn’t broken don’t fix it. Or perhaps there is a fear of changing any one part or component, as this may cause unforeseen friction with at least the adjacent parts, and potentially extending to the whole ‘value chain’, and possibly leading to fatigue and ultimately failure (at least of parts or components) as the level of trust diminishes.

Unlike my phone it is far from obvious in large organizations when the component parts are not working together, when the signals are not at full strength. Of course ultimately these weak or no existent connections between the parts of an organization will show up in the products and services, the customer will experience them, and then ultimately they will be reflected on the dashboards of the financial results.

How many bent connectors are there in your organization? Time for some DIY ?

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