I’m learning that it’s much easier to see the problems, the issues, in other organizations.  It’s just flat tougher to see them when you’re waste deep in the environment.  Is that how you’re finding it?  In other words, when you’re looking at your own organization (depending on how long you’ve been in it) you may not really be able to see where things aren’t connected where they should be.  Or where there’s an extremely obvious disconnect.

There is a story I’ve heard about study done with a remote South American tribe where the researchers piled red, yellow, blue and green tiles of various shades onto a blanket and then asked the people to separate them into piles based on the color.  As the researchers watched they noted the fact that their subjects were sorting the tiles into only three piles.  Red, yellow and blue/green.  They learned later that in that culture blue and green were seen as shades of one category.  Wish I could find the source.  But I haven’t as yet located it.  But it makes a facinating point.  Depending on the expectations of our culture we may not even be able to see a distinction.  Depending on how long we’ve been part of a culture (organization) we may not even know that we’re quite out of step with what’s possible.  I tripped across this quote yesterday.

"Most ailing organizations have developed a functional blindness to their own defects.  They’re not suffering because they cannot resolve their problems, but because they cannot see their problems."  John Gardner (quoted in The Leader of the Future 2).

Makes the point, doesn’t it?  How can you see then?  I think you’ve got to bring in an outsider.  I think you’ve got to have a mind that is open to the idea that the way you think it is might be clouded by something you can’t even see.  I know this sounds a little Matrix-like, and it is.  Not quite blue pill/red pill, but close.  When you’re in an organization and you’ve been there long enough for your memories of the outside to fade it becomes increasingly difficult to actually see what is happening.

Again, how can you return to clarity?  How can you actually see all of what’s happening?  I think you’ve to bring someone in from outside…or get out more yourself.  What do you think?

I’ve written on this a couple times before.  You can get more on it with Diagnosing Your Corporate DNA and Drucker on Decisive Action

How Well Do You Self-Diagnose?