Organizational Development

Yesterday we had our staff retreat. I actually really enjoy these. When I was just out of college, I thought about pursuing organizational development. I love the untangling, and the feeling at the end when the actually important goals are defined, and the required to-do’s just sort of fall into place. Here are a few interesting things I learned about and took away from the day.

"Requisite Organization: A Total System for Effective Managerial Organization and Managerial Leadership for the 21st Century" – Elliott Jaques. To read.

Visionary, Strategic, Operational, Tactical. I learned that this is one way to think of the hierarchy of organizational work. The specific dates aren’t set in stone, but visionary work is thinking 5-10 years down the road, strategic is a little bit less (2-5 years), operational is shorter still – maybe a year out, and tactical work are those short term to do’s that move the projects along. Our facilitator was saying it’s because this gets out of whack that managers with 20 years of experience, who want to finally reap the rewards of putting their time in, hate their lives. They’re entrenched in tactical work, when they really want to be up in the operational or strategic work. It’s why so many do nothing all day but put out fires in email, then do actual "work" in the evenings or on weekends. I don’t have the experience to completely understand this perspective, but I get it enough to see the truth in this.

We also talked about all the common frustrations with email overload. Our facilitator recommended we read up on how Toyota implemented some really interesting email protocols to get their internal email communication under control. I looked, but couldn’t find anything about this.


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