Do Business With Good People

Robot_with_a_heart

While most companies run to do business with anyone with a checkbook or credit card, some amazing others are more discriminating.

In interview on Leadership in the New York Times (24 December 2011) with Ori Hadomi, the CEO of Mazor Robotics(they make robotic systems that aid in spinal surgeries) he states: “You can’t afford to working with people are not good people [you need to be selective]…you need to look at your vendors and your customers the same way.”

He actually “told one our salespeople recently that he didn’thave to sell our product to people who were not nice to him.”

Wow–this is powerful stuff.

It’s not about just the money, it’s about the meaning and feeling good about yourself, the organization, and what you are achieving,

Similarly, Hadomi has a different–better–philosophy on the role of the management that typically sees itself as making sure employees get the work done and work hard.  Hadomi states: I believe that my role is not to make people work, but to give them the right working conditions, so that they will enjoy what they do.”

On making mistakes, often a punishable offense in organizations, Hardomi states: “It’s natural that we make mistakes.”  The main thing is that we learn and solve them for the future.

With planning and communicating, while many organizations play their stakeholders and stockholders telling them everything is going to be just great–and this often is pronounced when companies reassure investors and others right before they were about to fall off the proverbial bankruptcy cliff.  However, Hardomi tells us that while positive thinking can help motivate people, it can also be dangerous to plan based on that and that instead in Mazor robotics, he establishes an executive as the devil’s advocate to “ask the right questions [and]…humble our assumptions.”

In working out problems, while email wars and reply-alls fill corporate email boxes, Hardomi cuts it off and says “after that second response…you pick up the phone.”  Problems can be resolved in 1/10 the time by talking to each other and even better “looking at the eyes of the other person.”

As we all know, too often, the number and length of meetings are overdone, and Hardomi has instead one roundtable a week–where everybody tells what they did and are planning to do–this synchronizes the organization.

Who does Hardomi like to hire, people that are self-reflective, self-critical, and can articulate their concerns and fears. These people are thoughtful, are real, and will make a good fit.

Hardomi sets the bar high for all us in breaking many traditional broken management paradigms–he is paving a new leadership trail that especially from a human capital perspective is worthy of attention and emulation.

(Photo adapted from herewith attribution to Gnsin and Honda)

>Conflict Theory and Enterprise Architecture

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“Conflict theory states that the society or organization functions so that each individual participant and its groups struggle to maximize their benefits… The essence of conflict theory is best epitomized by the classic ‘pyramid structure’ in which an elite dictates terms to the larger masses. All major institutions, laws, and traditions in the society are created to support those who have traditionally been in power, or the groups that are perceived to be superior in the society according to this theory. This can also be expanded to include any society’s ‘morality’ and by extension their definition of deviance. Anything that challenges the control of the elite will likely be considered ‘deviant’ or ‘morally reprehensible.” (Wikipedia)

In the organization that we work in, today—modern times—is everything copascetic or is there inherent conflict, and how does this affect EA? And how is this impacted by EA?

We all hear and read the message from the top—from the executive(s) in charge—messages of unity of command, unity of purpose, and unity of structure. “We’re all in this together!”

However, the reality is that there are power struggles up and down, sideways, and on the diagonals, of the organization—this is conflict theory! Those at the top, wish to stay there. Those at the lower rungs, wish to climb up and check out the view. The organization is a pyramid, with fewer and fewer senior level positions as you go higher and higher up. Everyone in the organization is evaluated by measures of performance and is competing for resources, power, influence, and advancement.

I remember learning at Jewish day school, that people are half animal and half angel. Sort of like the age old conflict of good and evil. Freud, for the individual, put it in terms of the id and superego.

On one hand, conflict theory pits egocentric and selfish behavior against the greater needs of the organization (and the goals of EA) to share, collaborate, integrate, and go forward as the army slogan states, “an army of one!” The individual or group in the enterprise wants to know the proverbial, “what’s in it for me?”

On the other hand, User-centric EA is about collaboration: collaboration between business and IT, collaboration within the business, collaboration within IT, and even collaboration outside the agency (such as through alignment to the department, the federal EA, and so on). The collaboration takes the form of information sharing, structured governance, an agreed on target and plan, and the building of interoperability, standards, efficiencies, enterprise solutions, and overall integration!

It is not easy for EA to be a counterbalance for conflict theory. The organization needs to provide incentives for positive behavior (and disincentives for negative behavior), so that everyone is encouraged to team, collaborate, share, and look at the bigger picture for the success of overall enterprise!

I’ve seen organizations take steps toward building unity through team awards, criteria in everyone’s performance evaluation for teamwork, and actual mandates to share information. These are positive steps, but more needs to be done to make the enterprise flatter, more collaborative, and remind all employees that they work for the end-user.