Centralization frenzy ?

I cannot believe this.

I was recently told of a new manager coming on board in a Health center, due to the massive re-engineering our good God/Minister has imposed. This manager spent a few days looking around and called a general meeting.

“Well… I have been told you are a very professional and autonomous team.”

A good start …or so I thought.

“Well… what I see is a team that was abandoned…. I will take back control from now on.”

Stunned silence.

This did not happened in 1548 but in 2016.

I have been reading very potent stuff in the last few years about how organizations redefine themselves. Although the specific recipe varies from one organization to the other, there is one very clear trend : 3D leadership.

Well… I call this 3D leadership to simplify the whole thing.

As Albert Einstein once said… simplify as much as possible… but not more. Ah… Albert…

Here is my take on that glorious trend.

  • Develop autonomy : train, educate and make people think.
  • Decentralize power : delegate responsibilities AND authority to those autonomous people around you.
  • Discover synergies : improve interactions between your colleagues and reap the benefits !

Ah yes, the fourth D…

The three dimensions we all know are length, width and depth. Or movement in space. The fourth dimension is time. My fourth D is also about time and space : Direction.

Direction is to provide vision in time and space. Where do we go and why do we go there.

And believe me, it does take time. Time to make people understand and believe the vision and time to get there, if ever. Hence the importance of the why…

About everything I read is about a variation of this.

  • Take care of the people.
  • Define a grand vision.
  • Use the collective intelligence.
  • Distribute power.

Call it holocracy (Robertson), teal (Laloux) or a morphogenetic field (Sheldrake), something amazing happens once this energy is released.

And the opposite is also true.

It is well documented that corporate mergers rarely produce the promised saving on scale and smoothness of operations. Centralizing power, purchases and decisions in general simply slow down the whole organization very rapidly.

Unfortunately, people are the ultimate victims of this centralization frenzy. Remove from them the power to decide and they die. Or burn out. Just check recent data on the increasing burn out rate! Humans strive to perform and to get better.

Centralization frenzy takes everything out of most people. It literally sucks the life out of them.

I live in a province where our health minister is sick. So is our health system. To think that this man is a doctor makes ME sick.

What we have seen lately is quite extraordinary.  A centralization frenzy is a weak word to describe what is going on.

It so reminds me of chancellor Palpatine in the Episode 3 : please give me full power… just for a short time to qualm the rebellion…

Next thing we see is the same guy naming himself emperor… for life !

Ah well I have a tendency to dramatize.

But then, by looking carefully around the globe I see the same thing. The recent Panama Paper scandal is just hitting us and we already understand that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Power is centralized. Money is concentrated around a few individuals.

Nature taught us anything is that abundance eventually kills. Look at a bacteria on a petri dish. It grows to form a colony and eventually the colony dies… it starves itself. Look at our cities, bloated and choked by traffic jams. Look at our governments, so big and complicated, so engulfed in procedures and regulations that nothing gets done.

And instead of being inspired by organizations that extracted themselves from conventional management practices to flourish, our leaders decide to look the other way, towards failed corporate mergers.

Hmm… ultimate failure of the mergers but enrichment of a few individuals. At the expense of the rest.

Ah… Centralization frenzy has a reason to exist after all.

I like to say that the ultimate power is the own you spread around you. Some people like to play God but ultimately have very little power. Only the power we allow them to yield.

But then, here lies a huge challenge : when will we refuse this abuse?


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