Being cruel to be kind

I often take digs at management, the media, and institutions of various kinds, lumping them together as “the grown ups”. This may seem like sniping from the sidelines.

But those are the very groups I spend my days helping. Many of you who are reading this with will work for those groups. For all the enthusiasm for startups, and even the likelihood that smaller groups may be characteristic of the future, most of the world is run by large, bureaucratic, organisations, and most of the world work for them, or are influenced by them. They are not going away in a hurry.

Or are they?

The referendum in Scotland showed how frustrated we are becoming at the political status quo. Even something as apparently stable as The United Kingdom has been shown to be surprisingly fragile. Our financial institutions have been found wanting for several years now. Geopolitics look like going into meltdown with the actions Putin and ISIS. Even our supply chains are stretched so taught in the name of efficiency it wouldn’t take too many logistics computers going down for us to be fighting for places in food queues.

We are going to have to get better dealing with these challenges. Some believe that in order to do so we give up on our current solutions and build new ones faster. I don’t think we have time. I believe that we have to reinvent our institutions from the inside. We have to take individual and collective responsibility despite the challenges of hierarchical command and control environments. We do this by thinking harder, talking to each other more, and taking more frequent small steps forwards. Unleashing trojan mice. Repeated small steps of bravery.

This is what I help people to do and this is why I think it matters.

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