Been a while since I’ve been in a ‘formal’ meeting. It was a good and fruitful one – was focused, and achieved its aims. Gave me food for thought. Realised meetings are one of many things I don’t miss about being part of a hierarchy! Hahahaha…
Made me think again about how often organisations, by virtue of their structures, end up generating excessive, unnecessary work for the people who work in them. I’m not even talking about situations where useless work is caused by ineffective managerial styles. Even with the best of managers, people experience lots of inefficiencies everyday in their worklives. Because it’s not possible to have everyone know everything or be everywhere at once, documentation is necessary. And not just any form of documentation, but formats that can be understood all across the organisation. Jargon. Templates. Nuancing. Because all of it will be there for posterity. We break ourselves up into teams and functional areas so that the organisation can be more effective in its meta-aims, but the tradeoff is often plenty of tension at the interfaces as sub-cultures form and departmental goals are established. Sometimes the unnecessary work is created not because organisational structures are poorly chosen, but because people pre-empt each other or project expectations on others. So we over-extend ourselves 90% of the time to avoid the ‘big boo-boo’ that has a 10% chance of occurring.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying organisational structures are altogether bad, or that people should never try to think ahead or have expectations of each other. That would be an extreme view. Organisational structures bring necessary order; and people often act the way they do because they genuinely want to do an excellent job – a job to the best of their abilities, to serve the organisation well.
It’s just that too often, organisations reach a point where their structures control them. The ‘creators’ end up being under the mercy of the ‘created’ that has spiralled and taken a life of its own. That is sad to see. Sigh. … Oh well. Fleeting thoughts. Been a while since I’ve thought/written about this kind of stuff. Feels familiar, yet not. Feels more weird than comfortable.
Sigh. These thoughts tire me – or maybe I’m already tired to begin with. Signs for the season to come? Perhaps.
Anyway. So we went down to our event venue after the meeting. It’s a really nice facility – wow! The ceiling of our room reminded me a lot of a school trip to Sweden that I took many years ago, for some reason. Space, maybe. Yes, space. At least, an illusion of it here. We simply lack space here. Again, I think it would make so much difference if we had more space and weren’t in each other’s faces all the time. Space that would awe and humble us, and revive our sense of wonder. Space into which we could throw unimportant, insignificant things and thoughts and focus on what matters. Space to imagine possibilities – and begin to live them out.
Instead, where there is lack of space, our perspectives literally and metaphorically become smaller – we become nearsighted. And when everything is within reach and comprehension, we also end up with an unrealistically big view of ourselves. We exert ourselves in figuring out how we can hold on to the small bits that belong to us, and prevent others from trespassing.
Sigh. These thoughts tire me. Or maybe I’m already tired to begin with. Signs for the season to come? Perhaps.