Re: The non-learning organization?

Subject: Re: The non-learning organization?
From: "Cathy MacDonald" <camacdonald -at- core -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2006 19:06:53 -0600

Rebecca Stevenson said:
> How do you cope when you see your organization making very, very,
> basic errors?

I'm a charter member of the Basic Errors Coalition. Through my longevity at
various contracting adventures, I've been able to watch product names change
every six weeks, program managers rotate in and out of half the positions in
enormous Fortune 50 firms, and entire departments quit to join competing
firms, yet the Great Apes at the Top never seem to figure out where all the
money is going. Actually, the accountants are burning it by the fistful in
big cauldrons in the basement.

Today, at my Place of Bidness, I heard good news: the company is finally
going to adopt an actual documentation standard! And guess who's going to
create the standard and associated templates? That's right...the SOFTWARE
DEVELOPERS! There's a signpost up ahead and Rod Serling is smirking next to

The dogsbodies at the bottom of the heap (myself included) do their jobs
well and advance glacially through the ranks, but the next thing you know,
some chucklehead who reads an IT article in Northwest Airlines' onboard
magazine (those things should be confiscated and burned) decides to enforce
Total Quality Manglement or roll out "Activities for Achieving the Vision,"
which become jobs in themselves. And then it's Enterprise Microsoft
Project, then "Voice of the Customer"...until somebody wakes up and says,
"The Emperor Has No Clothes and His Toupee is Hideous."

Then the organization discovers that the underlings have been making fun of
The Boss and his incoherent attempts to rally the troops. (At one
contracting adventure, anyone who ridiculed the organization's phrase "I've
got an opportunity for you," -- an obviously translucent version of the
phrase, "Here's what I want you to do" -- could be fired instantly. Now
THAT'S the way to boost morale!) When the 15th management scam was foisted
on (what was left of) the troops, it was finally time to Get Back to Basics.
No more high-priced consultants and managerial gurus. And the cycle begineth

Rebecca, here's my remedy: In jobs where you don't know whether to laugh or

-Get comedy recordings on CD, (Robert Klein, Monty Python, et al.) and
listen to them on headphones. Stack them on your desk in CD cases labeled
"The Definitive JavaScript Resource" or "Advanced XML Transforms." While
you're listening, if you have to laugh or snort, make it sound like a sort
of strangled cough so as not to attract attention.

-Play on-line games with your colleagues. I used to be fond of this game:
You send an e-mail to a friend with just two initials in the message (for
example, SS). The friend gets 30 seconds to e-mail back a the name of a
famous person/sports guy or whoever has those initials (e.g., Soupy Sales.
Yes, I am older than dirt.) You get 1 point each time you come up with a
legitimate famous person. There are many variations on this: International
capitals, vegetables that begin with J, presidents' middle names, etc.

- Go to (headphones a must)

- Or to:
9.swf (headphones a must)

- Or to:

Hope this helps.


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