As Hippocrates noted: Art is long, life is short, opportunity fleeting, experiment dangerous and judgement difficult.
Any joint endeavour can be modelled using this THEE Tree map. The map can help in ●foreseeing difficulties ●orienting improvement ●assisting in handling blockages. It can also serve as a base for creating further useful intellectual technologies suited to the setting.
Common settings for cooperative efforts include:
So, you are invited to develop and post applications suited to particular settings, and identify common errors of managers in those settings.
As settings can vary greatly, and situations in those settings even more, no prescription or guidance can be offered on precisely where to focus or what to do in any joint endeavour.
Ideally, all Centres and Channels should be operative in a constructive fashion, but the patterning reveals that imbalances and absences can be worked around to some degree. In most everyday situations, experience, intuition, reflection on the situation and group discussion are the best and only guides for necessarily pragmatic decisions.
● Why big projects so often fail to deliver what they promise.
● The effect of ignoring participants in projects.
● How cooperation can be spoiled by powerful charismatic leaders.
● What politicians commonly do that leads to failure.
● How rationality often precedes failure.
● What goes wrong in the public sector.
[These hyperlinks go to the drop-down boxes below—a long way below when open.]
Why do large complex endeavours so often fail to deliver what they promise?
In this diagram, it is assumed that the project is driven from L7: a need to face the future.
In everyday management, autonomy and control are perceived as far preferable to dependence on predictions or cooperation: so Guidance is unwanted, and the L3-L2-L1 triangle is primarily used.
Where cooperation across boundaries is unavoidable, the key addition is the L4-L3S-L3P triangle. This should ensure the provision of Relevance and Fulfilment, with results bolstered by Drive. However, often these Channels are handled negatively as shown.
As a result, shared goals and values may be agreed upon in a meeting, but then the consensus is ignored when everyone gets back to their own duties.
Introduction of L5), rational options (L6) and unity around potentials (L7) with their associated Channels—is far more problematic. Often they are rarely seen.considerations—solid relationships (
As a result, there is no Genuineness, Willingness, Commitment or much of the various other crucial influences required to get results in cooperative ventures.
A working group is often formally established to deal with a problem that has Relevance for many.
The group produces analyses (L6S) to address the deficiency. This leads to Proposals, but relationships in the group are weak, and so consensus in the group lacks Genuineness. There is also little Demand for any change in standards (L3S) to deal with the original problem.
Individuals with relevant expertise (L3P) are either ignored or in disagreement about the proposals, so Validation is withheld. Commitment and Fulfilment are also minimal.
Improvement is possible, but as no-one is controlling participants (L2), organizational Stability may be affected and the problem remains unresolved or rapidly returns.
Charismatic-pragmatic leaders may be more concerned with themselves and their power over people, than with the group and its shared endeavour.
Such leaders go about Generating new ideas that Stimulate everyone, but then they compromise Viability of projects because of the absence of systematic analyses and proper Proposals.
Clarification of the usefulness and feasibility of the ideas is absent, as well.
The result Re-directs the group consensus despite no formal Proposals or actual group Willingness.
Participants are genuine in their agreements and the ideas may provide them with Fulfilment as experts as it alters their work Focus.
However, Confidence and Drive are weakened within the group, and proposed changes lack Relevance, so Improvement overall may be rather limited.
At a further extreme, weak managers and politicians sometimes expect a single Channel, like loyalty-based Willingness, power-based Drive or to carry the whole burden of ensuring cooperation.
The result is that nothing happens other than meetings, talk and paperwork.
Projects containing Proposals that Re-direct the business may be disconnected from realities at L7 e.g. the CEO's visionary plans require the organization to unseat an established leader in their home market.
Unworkable proposals often come from management consultants appointed to help the CEO Drive through change. Their Proposals, commonly based on imposing the latest fashion and data from the last firm they worked with, rarely involve the group properly.
In such cases, Criticism is not permitted Re-direction of efforts is weak and there is Unwillingness and minimal Commitment from divisional and departmental heads.
The public sector has great difficulties with poor cooperation, because there may also be a high degree of public interest and professionalization (e.g. in health care, education, the military, social services), and no-one involved can simply choose to walk away. Duty has to operate as a motivator, as well as, or rather than, personal interest.
It's different for businessmen: They recognise that it is best to work with partners with whom long-standing harmonious relations exist. However, they are always ready to walk away if cooperation is unsatisfactory (i.e. poor functioning in the Tree, largely unconscious in their minds, but guiding them nonetheless)
In public sector agencies, phony cooperation by managers and professionals, to meet political orders, can consume time and money over decades while failing to produce significantly worthwhile results.
This Tree shows an all-too-common picture.
The link between the actual future and proper handling is not subject to Clarification, but rather Obfuscation. Individuals may see some sense in the initial ideas, but regard the Proposals as they stand as Impractical. So, instead of Guidance, the politicians issue Commands.
The proposals are not subject to genuine criticism from within the service. Instead, loyalty must be demonstrated by Submission. In this situation and based on staff’s past experiences, key Channels like Confidence, Genuineness, Willingness and Commitment, are largely filled with negatives like Distrust, Deception, Reluctance and Expedience (respectively).
At lower Levels, the politician's approach uses methods of Compulsion—threatening, blaming, bullying and highly targeted spending or specific legislation. But compulsion is intrinsically unable to improve the awful dynamics of cooperation, or the Invalidation of proposals by professionals at the coal-face. Standards used are often Irrelevant and employees at all levels become Disenchanted.
Investigate other intellectual technologies of the .
Originally posted: July 2009