Since high school, I have been interested in playing role-playing games, especially the Sci-Fi role-playing game Traveller. The adventures of a future where humans travel between the stars and meet other races and experience all sorts of exciting things still appeal to me today.
In one such adventure, the adventurers, i.e. the characters played by the participants, were on a planet where they encountered another character, a so-called NPC – Non-Player Character – who was superior to them in terms of technology. This character was a so-called “boss” in computer games or “supervillain” in a Bond movie. One that is the most difficult opponent in the adventure.
The incident took place in a large basement room. “The ‘supervillain’ threatened the adventurers with his superiority and the adventurers tried to fight the ‘supervillain’. But they did not know that it was impossible in this particular situation. The adventures would continue as they had to find the right equipment to deal with the ‘supervillain’.
– The man comes towards you with his bright body shield gleaming. What are you doing, I asked?
– Let’s shoot at him, the adventurers said in unison.
– The energy from your shots is absorbed by his shield. He approaches you menacingly. You can see on the right a couple of drawers and a door. What are you doing, I asked?
– We’ll shoot at him, the adventurers said again. And so they did. They went at it with everything they had. Laser shots and projectiles flew through the air.
– “The energy from your shots is being absorbed by his shield,” I said again and continued, “it seems to be getting stronger the more you shoot.
I then informed them that he was approaching, and that to the right they see a couple of boxes and a door. I ended as a game master does when you want to know what the adventurers want to do, with the words “what are you doing?”.
What was the answer, do you think? Well, it was the same answer, that they keep shooting at the “super villain”. With the same results as before. I continued to point out that they saw some boxes and a door to the right. They took no notice at all.
Solution: “We’ll work with everything we have and we’ll be fine”
One thing that I experience in the real world as well, is that there are solutions for situations where businesses find themselves. But they don’t take notice. They keep doing more of the same. “Let’s give it everything we’ve got and we’ll be fine,” they seem to think, and hope for better results.
There is currently a lot of debate about the regions in Sweden and their crisis of making ends meet. Large deficits are now emerging. Solution? Yes, to start cutting back on the healthcare provided and to reorganize.
Are you over 70 and have an inguinal hernia? Yes, you may have to live with it. Do you have hemorrhoids which are irritating and painful? Then you may have to live with it, because it’s possible, it’s just more annoying than life-threatening.
An obvious solution is to make things worse for the people you serve, i.e. the patients. At the same time, there is always an alternative solution or solutions. They may not be realistic in an emergency situation like the one you are in now, but they would have been if you had been proactive and taken these measures 10 years ago.
For example, it is known in all businesses that I meet that the organization’s silos (the division into departments, units, etc.) are obstacles to the good implementation of what the business is working on. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that pipes are a strength of the business, but always an obstacle.
Why is nothing done about it?
If this is the case, why is nothing done about it? The answer, as I see it, is that it’s too hard for us humans to give up the privileges and security of being in a cubicle. The other is unknown to us and thus we feel unsafe.
The truth is that there are many businesses in the world that do not have a line organization and thus do not experience these silos. There are alternatives. Options that many people have pointed out to me over the years. I’ve written in my book A bit like the Dalai Lama but for organizations about how to go about seeing a business without a line organization. It was written 11 years ago.
The solution is there, but we are not ready to listen, because we are too focused on solving the situation with “more of the same”. Reorganization, where we move managers and staff around, will solve the problem. We focus so much on it that we miss the alternatives.
“It hasn’t worked the last 15 times, but this time it’s me, the big boss, who’s taking charge, and it will work, and this will be the last reorganization ever…”
Well, we know how that goes.
Thinking in a different way
Just as I, as a game manager, have pointed out that there are a few boxes and a door, leading to a solution, I and others have pointed out that there are alternatives to the age-old line organization. Options that create much better customer focus, better working environment and cost less money.
In other situations where it does not work, there are other solutions. For example, problems are often solved by buying another system support. This will not make you happier. There are also alternatives that people do not really want to embrace. You need to think in a different way.
The options are there, as long as you choose to see them and then choose them. “The ‘door’ is there. You decide if you want to take it or if you want to continue fighting with the “supervillain”.
Your “super villain” may be the large budget deficit, poor working environment, low quality, or whatever. Problems that you do not have the right conditions to successfully combat.
Are you interested in knowing more? Just reply back to this email and we will get in touch to arrange a free consultation to discuss your situation.
See the door and take it. I can tell you more about the door in your cellar.
PS. What happened to the adventurers? Did they find a solution, you might ask? Well, it didn’t go so well, unfortunately. They did not heed the call that the door was there as a better option than continuing to fight the supervillain. They kept firing at him diligently, making his shield stronger with each added energy.
The supervillain fought almost all of the adventurers, except two, who took the hint that the game master, i.e. me, was nagging about that door. The two managed to get out, only to find opportunities to fight the supervillain in a second subsequent battle. With the right tools, they succeeded.