Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Organizational Power and the Limits of Cinematography - or any - Strategy

commentary by Roger Erickson

The power of cinematography as an organization tactic is easily seen. For example, in the Fools on the Hill Movie.

It's also clear - just from watching the movie - that familiarity with the tactical tool is there, but the actual goal, intent & strategy is still superficial.

That superficiality is actually a serious threat. Everyone lacking both Situational Awareness and the ability to adequately manage situational awareness in real time ... STILL thinks that there actually is a verifiable "one, most important thing we can do."

And, of course, most are initially also certain that what THEY are personally certain of ... is certain to solve all problems if simply scaled up to be an assumed certainty for all. Most of the time, that's a fallacy of scale. For example, if you stand up at a sports stadium, you'll likely get a better view. Therefore, obviously, if EVERYONE stands up, they'll ALL get better views. Right?  For most suggestions, we can't predict the outcome, and must practice finding out, the sooner the better.

Our naively distributed certainty in the face of uncertainty is a constant threat to all of our distributed efforts, even as it simultaneously provides the roots of our Adaptive Rate. All the metaphorically blind men groping a group situation still offer themselves the best avenue for success. They just have to organize, compare notes, and use their imagination.

Given we have 315 million and growing "situationally blind people," how do we generate the group agility needed to master constantly accelerating change and increasing complexity?  Do we all just keep leaping to our feet at the Situation Stadium, while getting more and more frustrated?

Group Practice? There are endless ways to initiate and continue organized practice, but here's one set of suggestions, just to get someone's ball rolling.
[If you, as another scout, have even better suggestions, by all means, let all of us hear them, yesterday if possible. And no, 50,000 offers to buy yet another book, for $50, or even $10, just isn't feasible.  Just pick up a phone and call, or send a free pdf, NOW!]

First off, remind everyone that we face constant, distributed, statistical SELECTION tasks? A temptation to organize?

Second, remind them that all continuous selection tasks depend upon scouting - i.e., sampling - strategies, re-sampling and the tempo of re-sampling?

Third, keep everyone comfortably practiced at both the process of continuous checking and re-checking AND the practice of rapidly and openly sharing more, if not all, of our sampled data, at high tempo, and upon demand. Pass-through societies are agile societies. Tuned Situational Awareness = Selectively Tuned Knowledge Throughput, whether in a network of computers, neurons or humans.

Fourth, keep everyone comfortably practiced at coordinating the amazing return-on-coordination available with scalable teamwork, and everything that teamwork entails. Behaviour drives mood in individuals. Group practice behavior drives social mood.

That all boils down to a fairly simple cultural mantra. Continued success of our "more perfect union"tracks the quality - including tempo - of our distributed decision-making, and we should focus most on all those, constantly changing things that improve distributed decision-making as a cultural property.

Even group or distributed Situational Awareness doesn't help if we don't have an adequate and adequately distributed sense of our own Adaptive Rate. This is an ancient observation. To map our survival to changing conditions, we must know both our "opponents" - our situations - and ourselves. In a continuous re-mapping task, it helps immensely to know, leverage and even prod the Adaptive Rate of both ends of the mapping process.

We've always known that. We just don't maintain adequate practice at actually performing it. In general, more OBT&E might help.

If we want to manage our net, National Adaptive Rate - our NAR - why not formulate an open measure of NAR, similar to NIPA, and then practice managing it? Biofeedback works. Social feedback does too, if we bother to adequately sample it, openly share the feedback, and act on it.

No comments: