Safe Zone Hack from Steve: I’ve just finished your book “Hacking Work”. I absolutely agree with the need for it, and was overjoyed to see that others see this need besides myself! I’ve been working in SQA and business analysis for 13 years, and have pushed for this entire time, thinking I was alone.The problems we need to hack around are cause by the fears of extremely egotistical people (senior executives) that they will be less important if they admitted what needs to be fixed. They will sacrifice absolutely anything to maintain their illusions, including their company.
I have a perfect example of this sort of self-destructive behavior…
Several years ago I was hired as a manager on a project critical to the companies’ survival. I received carte blanche from the parent company CIO to make all changes needed. My user-centered workarounds: I immediately redesigned all tools for users, removed penalties for reporting problems, instituted penalties for NOT reporting them, restructured the team, and built custom processes to identify and eliminate the sources of issues. Performance improvements were 300% within 2 months, documented annual ROI was solidly 7 figures and everyone on the project loved the new working arrangements.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: However, I later learned the CIO was angry because someone else came up with successful ideas. He reversed my changes, created new draconian reporting rules to cut performance, and doubled our workload twice. After still meeting deadlines, he laid off the entire group. Major clients left because their needs weren’t met, and company morale dropped to nearly zero because of this one person’s ego. This example is also only one of many.
The Root Cause Reason Behind Our Need to Hack: The only way I see this issue changing is to remove the executives as a hindrance. Since they refuse to choose to change, they need to either be forced to change or removed. By force, I don’t mean logically. I mean they do it, or their ego is shattered or they get fired. This means putting in corporate controls that allows workers to control the fate of executives, attaching negative consequences to executives for poor company performance (i.e. lead anchor and gold staircase, no gold parachute). Either that, or start new companies using these new principles that are vastly more efficient. Then push the dinosaur companies into extinction one by one until they either change or completely or get replaced by the new generation.
I’d prefer a more cooperative way of doing things, but the global economy isn’t waiting for us to change. Besides, you can’t have a logical discussion with irrational people, and the people making decisions usually fall into that category.