Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Little Things

There are days when it is easy to conclude that there are no little things.

Some small item triggers a glitch which in turn spirals into a significant setback. Such events are enough to create a paralyzing level of paranoia but the danger of the little things, of course, lurks not in a spark but in erosion.

The slow and barely perceptible decline can be far more dangerous than the sudden fall because it trips no alarms and may even be accepted. With erosion, the abnormal quickly appears to be normal.

Historians studying the decline of great empires seek out the small turning points that, taken together, aided the descent. Business and governmental organizations need to do the same investigative work and I would suggest that the first area to examine should be subtle changes in the values. The overarching assumptions may remain the same as before but seemingly minor modifications of the core values are the real change masters.

Ancient Rome's shifts in the responsibilities of leaders and citizens may have had more to do with its fall than any weapons or strategies of the "barbarians."

No comments: