Tag Archives: organizations are broken

Most Organizations Are a Kludge– Fundamentally Broken And Many Are Just Held Together with Duct Tape…

You hear it daily: Government is dysfunctional, nothing gets done, conflict, confrontation… these are just a few signs that the process of government is broken… But these are also the signs and realization that many corporation, organizations… have the same issues. More often than not organizations are broken in some capacity, e.g.; customers are being ignored, internal processes are running amok, Internet website is a ghost town, productivity is down, expenses are out of control, profits are non-existent, management cannot agree on a strategy… And yet many corporations continue to function… these organizations might be described askludge, clumsy, messy, lack of decisive decision-making… they have ugly structures that more or less deals with issues but in very inefficient way– they are kludges that are held together with duct tape…

Kludge (rhymes with nudge), Oxford English dictionary defines it as; to improvise or put together from an ill-assorted collection of parts…  According to Sheryl King; kludges can also be seen as– innovative allowing an organization to stay-up and running despite its clear need for a more fundamental solution to improve performance… Quick fixes enable organizations to achieve a near-term operational continuity, but at expense of sustained corporate innovation and performance… In a nutshell, the more organizations opt for kludging, the more they are on the road to ultimate failure… However, many organizations become habitual kludgers and muddle forward…

In the article Organizations Are Broken by Greg Satell writes: It’s an era of technology but many organizations are not capable or smart enough to keep pace with the changing disruptive landscape… the changes are ubiquitous but many organization don’t know have to deal with them… Yet much like organizations themselves– the strategic planning process, which is the fundamental tenet of corporate strategy, has become a victim of its own success… In the quest to strive for ever greater efficiency, rather than more innovation– the process is getting more complicated, more granular, cumbersome… and the outcomes are marginal at best…

Management needs to rethink and shift their strategic model from– ‘pushing’ workers to achieve, instead to ‘inspire’ workers to achieve… According to Jack Welch; our planning system was dynamite when we first put it in… thinking was fresh and the actual ‘process’ of planning mattered little– it was the ‘ideas’ that really mattered. We then hired a head of planning and he hired two vice presidents, and then he hired a planner; and the ‘strategy books’ got thicker, and the ‘printing’ got more sophisticated, and the ‘covers got harder’, and the ‘drawings’ got better, but the ‘results’ got poorer… This is a sure sign that the organization is broken…

In the article Top Signs That an Organization Is Broken by Liza Mock writes: Are you and the people you work with happy? Is it easy to get your job done without jumping through hoops? If yes, chances are that your organization is healthy… If not, there is a fundamental flaw in the way your organization is structured… Consider these common mistakes:

  • Structure That’s Out-Of-Touch: An out-of-date organizational structure where the old hierarchy that management embraces remains in place, but it no longer reflects marketplace reality… A ‘stay with the status quo’ strategy keeps the organization from thriving… and it’s a sure sign that the organization is broken…
  • Unclear Roles & Responsibilities: Unclear management roles are one of the biggest sources of conflict within an organization. This leads to confusion, unmet expectations, and ultimately makes people feel demoralized and a common source of organization dysfunction… and it’s a sure sign that an organization is broken…
  • High Attrition Rate: When workers feel powerless they become disengaged and ultimately don’t  care much about work, which in turn leads to high attrition rates… A high turnover rate is a sure sign that an organization is broken…

In the article Fix A Broken Organization by Ben Peterson writes: Have you ever seen what happens when an organization goes bad? Spoiler alert; it’s not good… When you don’t have the right strategy, the right culture, the right talent… then the consequences are disastrous… Overcoming a broken organization is never easy– when you see signs of trouble, or when you are looking to achieve better results, then be prepared to take some difficult steps... Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Rebuild with best principles, not just best practices: This means focusing on principles, not practices. Take time to identify the organization’s DNA… Do an honest organizational assessment; identify its purpose and the things that inspire your customers, employees, management… and clearly define the mission and vision statements… these principles establish a firm foundation for the organization…
  • Be humble and open: Rebuilding an organization is hard, and it requires everyone ‘to be the very best they can be’, beginning with management… and they must show genuine humility and acknowledge the organization’s shortcoming with stated actions to fix them…
  • Rip and replace: When fixing a broken organization you can’t always afford to spend time tweaking failed strategies and initiatives… Find the elements that are not working and simply replace or eliminate them… Dig deep and figure out what exactly motivates the team, the customers, the partners, the suppliers… not just financially, but psychologically as well…
  • Implement values: Defining cultural values for the organization means nothing if they are not integrated into everyday work… Finding the right people and, perhaps equally important, weed out those who don’t share the organization’s common values are key to fixing a broken organization…

Keep your eye on the gauges: All organizations need maintenance to survive and thrive… It’s an ongoing process that requires constant attention and care. It requires honest and continual assessment of all the factors that impact performance of the organization. Hence, always be prepared, at any time, to make any necessary adjustments, within exception, to fix a broken priority in the organization or speed-up the journey to an ultimate goal…