Preventing Dry Rot

Leadership Memo 2023-7

We have been discussing Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s leadership traits for the last 3 months. If you missed them, you can read them here. However, I know that not everyone gets excited about management and leadership concepts. But most of us can profit from such information at work, at home, or at school. Even as individuals, we may find some of these principles coming in handy.

If organizations are not to become stagnant, they must renew themselves – stay continually fresh. Some years back, I found some excellent guidelines for this shared by John W. Gardner in a Harper’s article entitled “How to Prevent Organizational Dry Rot.” I’ve condensed some of his thoughts here.

  1. No Number 1 provided!
  2. Don’t kill the spark of individuality.
  3. Cultivate a climate where comfortable questions can be asked.
  4. Don’t carve the internal structure in stone. Most organizations have a structure that was designed to solve problems that no longer exist.
  5. Have an adequate system of internal communication.
  6. Don’t become prisoners of procedures. The rule book grows fatter as the ideas grow fewer.
  7. Combat the tendency toward the vested interest of a few. In the long run, everyone’s vested interest is in the continuing vitality of the organization.
  8. The organization must be more interested in what it is going to become than in what it has been.
  9. An organization runs on motivation, conviction, and morale. Each person has to believe that his or her efforts as an individual will mean something to the whole and will be recognized by the whole.
  10. The profit-and-loss statement is not a clear measure of present performance.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Does any of it sound helpful?

And what about your personal renewal? To paraphrase my earlier statement: If individuals are not to become stagnant, they must renew themselves – stay continually fresh.

Think it over. Go back and look at those ten statements in that light … then try them on for size.

We should be more interested in what we are going to become than in what we have been. Let’s use this mid-year month to do some self-reflection.

If you want to discuss what those ten statements mean specifically for your organization or for yourself, reach out to me, and let’s have a conversation!

Latest happenings:

I’m so excited to let you know about SFBABAM’s (San Francisco Bay Area Business Agility Meetup) 2nd-anniversary celebration event happening this week! We’ll hosting “Spin & Win: The Wheel of Agility” game and our past speakers are returning as the panel of judges. And… we have prizes! So, come join the fun and RSVP now!

When: 12 July, 11:30am PDT, 2:30pm EDT, 19.30 BST, 20:30 CEST.

The final episode from the podcast series called “Change is the Only Constant” by Our Agile Tales is out! In this 6th and final episode, we continue to talk with Evan Leybourn, the founder of Business Agility Institute, and our conversations turn to the theory of constraints and agility. Since this new episode builds from our previous conversations and is in fact the conclusion of our conversation, I highly recommend listening to the previous episodes first.

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Stitcher or you can click here.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: