Just as efficiency overpowers effectiveness, the demands of today always overpower the needs of tomorrow. That’s why the pressure you feel to do the daily work keeps you from spending as much time with your family as you want to. It’s why the pressure to hit this quarter’s numbers makes it so hard to maintain your exercise regime. And it’s why you never want to have functions that are focused on long-range development (branding, strategy, R&D, people development, etc.) reporting to functions focused on driving daily results (sales, running current marketing campaigns, administration, operations, etc.). For example, what happens if the marketing strategy function (a long-range orientation focused on branding, positioning, strategy, etc.) reports into the sales function (a short-range orientation focused on executing results now)? It’s easy to see that the marketing strategy function will quickly succumb to the pressure of sales and become a sales support function. Sales may get what it thinks it needs in the short run but the company will totally lose its ability to develop its products, brands, and strategy over the long range as a result.
From John Pearson:
Terrifying…because Gen. McChrystal’s war on Al Qaeda (AQI) was unlike any the U.S. military had fought before. Any! He writes, “When we first established our Task Force headquarters at Balad [in Iraq], we hung maps on almost every wall. Maps are sacred to a soldier. In military headquarters, maps are mounted and maintained with almost religious reverence. A well-marked map can, at a glance, reveal the current friendly and enemy situations, as well as the plan of future operations. Orders can be conveyed using a marked map and a few terse words.”
But to out-think and out-gun Al Qaeda, everything had to change. “For most of history, war was about terrain, territory held, and geographic goals, and a map was the quintessential tool for seeing the problem and creating solutions,” the general notes. “But the maps in Balad could not depict a battlefield in which the enemy could be uploading video to an audience of millions from any house in any neighborhood, or driving a bomb around in any car on any street.”
Then… (and here’s my favorite metaphor for all organizations that must move from “complicated to complex”): “In place of maps, whiteboards began to appear in our headquarters. Soon they were everywhere. Standing around them, markers in hand, we thought out loud, diagramming what we knew, what we suspected, and what we did not know. We covered the bright white surfaces with multi-colored words and drawings, erased, and then covered again. We did not draw static geographical features; we drew mutable relationships—the connections between things rather than the things themselves.”