Old paradigms & practices
It’s amazing how long outdated practices persist in our beliefs and our organizations. I can only speculate about the reasons for this: Perhaps because they are relatively simple and because they work quite well in the short term.
Interestingly, the limitations of all these practices have been refuted early. Which are these in detail:
- “Competition between individuals creates wealth for nations” according to Adam Smith (1776). Refuted by John Nash’s game theory (1950): Competition among individuals within the organization creates a lot of friction and loss. We are more concerned with ourselves than with success in the market.
- Bureaucracy and singular hierarchy according to Max Weber (approx. 1894). Refuted by Parkinson’s law of bureaucracy growth (around 1950): Parkinson shows how bureaucracy multiplies itself. Almighty rulers always develop into dictators.
- Efficiency-driven “Scientific Management” according to Frederic Winslow Taylor (1911). Separation of thinking and execution. Today’s meaning refuted (VUCA and Taylor bathtub): The importance of mechanical work, which is controlled by clever managers, decreases dramatically. In today’s complex world of work, Knowledge Workers best plan and organize their work themselves (Peter F. Drucker).
New paradigms & practices
As we have seen, the old practices were disproved pretty early. Nevertheless, they persist to this day. Now what are the new practices:
- Quality focus and PDCA cycle according to W. Edwards Deming (approx. 1950)
- Flow, Pull, Continuous Improvement, People Empowerment: Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno (1950-1960). Attention! The first goal is not to eliminate waste. (see here)
- Theory of Constraints & Critical Chain according to Eliyahu M. Goldratt (1978).
- Systems thinking and the learning organization according to Peter M. Senge (1990).
The problem with the new practices is that they are not easily accessible. They have to be understood and usually even “felt” before you really understand them. In addition, time and effort have to be invested before the first fruits can be harvested. But after that, things work much better and smoother and more pleasant for everyone.
2020! A new decade has started. So why not start with good intentions about new paradigms and practices?