Friday, May 27, 2011

Doing Things

When you are in a seriously passive organization, one of the most amazing things you can do is to do things.

Such organizations like to appoint committees and produce white papers and hold meetings, lots of meetings, and rethink matters, and then split the difference and, when the dust has settled, move on to another activity which is really just another form of inactivity. The person who enters such an organization and wants to do things is a threat to stability; a walking breach of professional etiquette. He or she will quickly be labeled as rash or overly ambitious or simply ignorant of the nuances of decision making.

The advocates of doing little or nothing will not regard themselves as such. They will be able to cite a multitude of occasions when they proposed a motion or named a subcommittee but, when pressed, will be able to give little evidence that they have moved the organization forward.

At that point, they get Orwellian. They will define inactivity as progress and regression as a form of victory because, after all, we have to live in the real world and there are times when pushing forward is just reckless.

And when will they want to move forward? Some day, they reply, just you wait.

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