Hooked on control

Chris Rodgers challenges the everyday complacency with which managers claim to measure results and assess the value of interventions

Recognizing this disconnection between mainstream thinking and the messy, complex social dynamics of organizations is not a counsel of despair or a call for inaction. On the contrary it releases managers and consultants to focus on the everyday reality of organizational life rather than requiring them to collude with the view that it’s all measurable … and it’s all controllable … and it’s all predictable.

In my coaching work, I often find the conversation starts out with abstract descriptions of organisational problems. It usually becomes much more alive when we narrow the focus to a single specific example of an exchange in a relationship: he said X so I said Y. We might then spend a chunk of time exploring all the many different versions of Y there could be, variations of words and tone, of intent and posture. Eventually we seem to get a sense of a breakthrough or insight that I rarely get from abstract discussions about the future of the organisation.

I think that links to what Chris says here:

From this perspective, evaluation is not something separate. It is a normal part of the ongoing sense making and action taking process from which outcomes emerge. It’s here, in the ‘open play’ of day-to-day interaction, that the perceived value of formal investments and informal propositions is continuously assayed, lessons learned, and their intended benefits realized – or not.

Hat tip: Penny Walker

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