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Leadership & Business Wisdom

BALANCE CONTINUITY AND CHANGE

PRECISELY BECAUSE CHANGE IS A CONSTANT, THE FOUNDATIONS HAVE TO BE EXTRA STRONG.

The more an institution is organized to be a change leader, the more it will need to establish continuity internally and externally, the more it will need to balance rapid change and continuity. One way is to make partnership in change the basis of continuing relationships. Balancing change and continuity requires continuous work on information. Nothing disrupts continuity and corrupts relationships more than poor or unreliable information. It has to become routine for any enterprise to ask at any change, even the most minor one: “Who needs to be informed of this?” And this will become more and more important as more enterprise come to rely on people working together without actually working together – that is, on people using the new technologies of information. Above all, there is need for continuity in respect to the fundamentals of the enterprise: its mission, its values, its definition of performance and results.

Finally, the balance between change and continuity has to be built into compensation, recognition, and rewards. We will have to learn, similarly, that an organization will have to reward continuity – for instance, by considering people who deliver continuing improvement to be as valuable to the organization, and as deserving of recognition and reward, as the genuine innovator.

ACTION POINT: When you make a decision or a change, ask yourself, “Who needs to be informed of this?”

ORGANIZATIONS DESTABILIZE COMMUNITIES

IN ITS CULTURE, THE ORGANIZATION ALWAYS TRANSCENDS THE COMMUNITY.

Modern organizations have to operate in a community. Their results are in the community. Yet the organization cannot submerge itself in the community or subordinate itself to that community. Its “culture” has to transcend community. Companies on which local communities depend for employment close their factories or replace grizzled model-makers who have spent years learning their craft with twenty-five-year-old “whiz kids” who know computer simulation. Every one of such changes upsets the community. Every one is perceived as “unfair.” Every one destabilizes.

It is the nature of the task that determines the culture of an organization, rather than the community in which that ask is being performed. Each organization’s value system is determined by its task. Every hospital, every school, every business, has to believe that what it is doing is an essential contribution on which all the other in the community depend in the last analysis. To perform its task successfully, it has to be organized and managed the same way. If an organization’s culture clashes with the values of its community, the organization’s culture will prevail – or else the organization will not be able to make its social contribution.

ACTION POINT: If Wal-Mart wishes to move into your neighborhood against the wishes of the neighborhood, what actions should Wal-Mart take? Under what conditions would it be wise for it to withdraw its move?

“When diplomacy ends, War begins.”

ADOLF HITLER

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion […] but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”

SAMUEL P. HUNTINGTON

“Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.”

IAN FLEMING

“Palestinian and Israeli leaders finally recover the Road Map to Peace, only to discover that, while they were looking for it, the Lug Nuts of Mutual Interest came off the Front Left Wheel of Accommodation, causing the Sport Utility Vehicle of Progress to crash into the Ditch of Despair.”

DAVE BARRY

“In a rich moonlit garden, flowers open beneath the eyes of entire nations terrified to acknowledge the simplicity of the beauty of peace.”

ABERJHANI, ELEMENTAL

“International politics, like all politics, is a struggle for power”

HANS J. MORGENTHAU

“In the emerging world of ethnic conflict and civilizational clash, Western belief in the universality of Western culture suffers three problems: it is false; it is immoral; and it is dangerous.”

SAMUEL P. HUNTINGTON

“…foreign policy is a matter of costs and benefits, not theology.”

FAREED ZAKARIA

“I always wondered if the good people who send us bibles really think that hookworm and hunger are healed by scripture? Our patients are illiterate.”

ABRAHAM VERGHESE

“War made the state, and the state made war”

CHARLES TILLY

“When diplomacy ends, War begins.”

ADOLF HITLER

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion […] but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”

SAMUEL P. HUNTINGTON

“Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.”

IAN FLEMING

“Palestinian and Israeli leaders finally recover the Road Map to Peace, only to discover that, while they were looking for it, the Lug Nuts of Mutual Interest came off the Front Left Wheel of Accommodation, causing the Sport Utility Vehicle of Progress to crash into the Ditch of Despair.”

DAVE BARRY

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