Schlagwort-Archive: Blind Spot

Digital transformation – the end of technocrats

In business, decision-makers feel free of the small influencing factors. And yet the flapping of tiny undertakings can create a huge storm. More and more computer power enables increasingly complex calculations of these micro influences, which are used as the basis for decisions. Especially indecisive top managers, who have a hard time making decisions, like to hide behind such calculations. The basis for a decision is for them not the convincing forecast or the feeling for a good business, but the result of a calculation that is based on assumptions, which results in the resulting variables. What the technocratic decision-makers oversee is the fact that this kind of decision in the context of the digital transformation will be taken over by the computers and thus announces the end of the technocrats.

The following reasons result from their world view, which, far from vision and gut feeling, lose sight of the decisive part of success.

  • Factual constraints as basic conditions
    The compelling necessities are reasons for a decision, which cannot be influenced by decision-makers. This forces them to make decisions that they do not actually want to make, but have to. The basis for this is the reporting system that uses key figures to make weak points visible. This form of externalization is typical for someone, who does not feel responsible for his actions.
  • Technical progress as a goal
    The effects of the reign of experts have so far been particularly evident in totalitarian states. The planned economy relied on strict guidelines and the allocation of resources by experts, who develop and decide the solutions on a drawing board without consulting the people concerned or to use their abilities. The selective perception and the Semmelweis reflex prevent these nerds from making a holistically justifiable selection.
  • Fairness as a blind spot
    The logic of the measurable facts overlays the view at the interaction of quantitative AND qualitative variables, which influence each other with a time delay in complex effect networks. Above all, subjective aspects, such as righteousness, are difficult to grasp and are ignored by experts, because they can hardly be incorporated into a formula. Digital transformation makes it possible to calculate more, but then the machine no longer needs technocratic decision-makers, because the algorithm can do that by itself – better, faster and more reliable.
  • Rationalization as a Reason
    Since the digital transformation began in the seventies, the image of a company has changed. While Henry Ford has done everything he could to vertically integrate the whole aspects of the value creation, today’s activities are not only distributed among different companies, but even worldwide, with the aim of achieving the lowest possible depth of production. People as actors are successively replaced by machines. The remaining tasks will be outsourced to third parties as cheap as possible. Technocrats act like sport addicts, who cannot stop becoming more powerful and fitter at the same time until breakdown. And that in spite of the fact that they are sawing off the branch, on which they are sitting
  • The human being as a statistical-technical function
    Even though the perceptions of the employees and leaders are hard to transfer into numbers, statistics provide a remedy – for example, to describe personal motivation at work: In Switzerland, in 2016 three aspects were most important to employees: a good relationship with their colleagues , an exciting job and cheap working hours. It is more convenient to deduce the measures from such calculated results than to talk to the own staff, what they think is right. Decision makers who use formulas to calculate their decisions are as anachronistic as the horse-drawn coachman more than a hundred years ago.

Bottom line: Today’s deciders are stuck in a corset of compliance, general data availability and unmanageable VUCA. They forget thereby the decisive part of success – the people. Everything happens so quickly everywhere that the well thought-out reaction is no longer possible. The comprehensive breakdown and investigation of a fact into its components cannot be accomplished with an extra effort. Digital transformation automates most routine activities – and caution! Also the technocratic decision-makers will soon no longer be needed, because in the future the employees are making the decisions, since they are closer to the customer and on site. What remains is the overall management of the company, which can no longer be delegated to a formula that makes a prepared decision. The intuitive entrepreneur, who relies on his gut feeling and is committed to ethical values, replaces that way the technocrats, who become incapable of making decisions because of their corset. The digital transformation, which is seen as the last resort for avoiding personnel costs, replaces its promoters with corresponding software and initiates the end of the technocrats.

SVC – Capacity killers from the top

Division of labor is determined by horizontal and vertical distribution of tasks. The enemy of this arrangement is the micro manager, who interferes with the tasks of the employees. A typical form is the supervisor call – the capacity killer from the top.

SVC2

Originally the supervisor call had to terminate the function of a running program on a host computer. Programs did not come to an end due to errors in the program code. In order not to restart the entire computer, a SVC could interrupt this program. It always had to be decided, whether the procedure is frozen in an infinite loop or it simply had to process many data. Surprisingly there are executives, who proceed according to a similar pattern in their organizations. They interrupt ongoing tasks regardless of the consequences. How can you recognize them?

  • Like the leopard cannot change its spots, we all have to live with our selective perception. We only consider what attracts our attention in the respective moment the most. Also decision makers cannot escape from this bias. As soon as people draw positive or negative attention with their activities, it can happen that a superordinate instance is motivated to a direct interference despite all delegation.
  • Similarly the blind spot works, which makes the look at specialties impossible. For executives these are mostly the restrictions that are imposed by money or time budgets, which they are not willing to accept. In the US, bosses invented for this purpose “stretched goals”. In the mean time we know the negative effects, if the bow is overdrawn.
  • Good leadership is characterized by an overview of existing and already used resources. As soon as this overall picture is missing, the requirements add up much higher than the possibilities that are available. Fatally the employees are double-charged for this deficit, since they are additionally accused of not being ready to make enough efforts. This produces a continuous discontent, which lowers the usual performance.
  • An important instrument of the leadership is setting goals with a certain prioritization. Long-term planning offers for this the general framework. The damage that is caused by the repetitive change of priorities is immense. Nothing is accomplished. Desired changes do not take place. Personal goals are not achieved.
  • A common approach is the temporary overriding of processes, hierarchies and schedules. And this happens, after the structures were developed, coordinated and decided. But why are you superior, if you do not have power to set this order off whenever you want.
  • It is also popular to assign special tasks spontaneously – past all the installed chain of command. This going around the established rankings with an overriding from top to the bottom is multiplied by the frustration of the ignored levels. Eventually the commitment of the involved people sinks because of their expectation of the direct interference, since they cannot assert themselves in any case.
  • The executives, who want to hold the pressure on the pipe by always coming up with new ideas, are particularly difficult. They undermine thereby the efforts of the employees to convert the ideas that they had just brought on the way. From the outside they seem to be creative and active bosses, who promote new things. That they bring nothing to an end, you usually see after they rose to their level of incompetence.
  • Superior people, who do not trust their employees, are condemned to the fact producing only what they can deliver by themselves. Even though the decisive delegation of tasks would increase dramatically the effectiveness of the own area of responsibility.
  • Those people are also remarkable who make their own ideas the measure of all things, despite missing arguments and out of complete hubris. They live out their Because-I-Want-It syndrome and do not even make an effort to consider the arguments of the others. It is only a matter of time, before the organization will uncover them.

Enterprises can overcome these exemplary symptoms of capacity killers, by taking care of their corporate culture. The most important tool is thereby the regular reflection of the way how executives behave and get to a decision. This is done with an open exchange of opinions within the top team and through employee surveys. Based on this, new ways should be found, in order to avoid awkward behaviors like SVC.

Bottom line: Leadership needs clear goals, roles and a consistent implementation. Superiors have to be thereby role models, who are passed on through all levels. In the positive case this happens for the advantage of the entire staff. Harmful behavior, on the contrary, can have life-threatening effects for the company. A good start is the persistent avoidance of the SVC – the capacity killer from the top.

I do not see anything, …

There are many reasons not to notice circumstances. Without the appropriate view to the happening it is asked too much, to observe anything at all. Since this defective vision does not happen deliberately, referring to aspects of the current situation is a crucial pre-requisite, in order to better jointly recognize connections. The right moment for additional descriptions is the statement „I do not see anything, ….“

NikkoNSee

For better understanding, we can look at the reasons for blind spots.

  • … because someone or something interferes my view.
    In front of a wall that has neither door nor window, with best intentions it is not possible to see, what is behind the wall. For better insight there are no other ways than striking a breach into the wall or to look behind it from a higher view point or by smartly walking around the barrier.
  • … because I carry blinkers.
    The own field is the basis for certain findings. However, sometimes your own experience is a bar to see. The internal convictions work like blinkers that do not let through any attractions, which take place outside of the professional field of vision. In such a case it is crucial to irritate people in such a way that they turn their heads into the desired direction and register new points of view.
  • … because I suffer from some sort of visual impairment.
    As long as the view is not sharpened by formative experiences, although you can see the happening, yet you cannot recognize the relationships. This blur leads to false conclusions and thus to an incomplete picture. In this case additional explanations are needed, in order to receive a high-contrast and meaningful picture.
  • … because it is too bright or too dark.
    Favorable lighting conditions are a requirement for a clear view. If one is dazzled by too much information, then this flood outshines the own horizon. If one receives too few inputs, then one stands in the dark and has no visual aid. In such cases the crucial information should be made available in a manageable quantity, in order to have something recognizable
  • … because there is nothing to see.
    If someone does not see anything, this can also be due to the fact that there is nothing to see at all. If empty words and abstract terms are used that do not state anything substantially, there is also nothing to recognize. In this case it is worthwhile to make abstract messages more understandable.
  • … because I may or should not to or because I have to shut my eyes.
    Internal information that is classified as secret has to be treated confidentially. They cannot do anything else than closing their eyes and not speak about it. This does not mean that there is nothing to be seen, but for legal reasons you are forced to keep silent about it.
  • … because I can’t do it.
    There are cases, in which one does not refer to it, since there are no proofs or simply no words to talk about it. An interactive discourse can provide clarity. In these cases for the aspects that you couldn’t express previously are jointly developed and documented.
  • … because I do not want it.
    The reasons, why someone does not want to show something, reach from the current personal mood to professional reasons. Lacking acceptance or commitment create a personal distance that leads to the fact that someone shut oneself off. A simple way to cover this is to say „ I do not see anything, … “. For this reason you should not forget to analyze, whether there are reasons for a not-wanting.

Bottom line: „I do not see anything “ is not a statement that you should simply accept. It has to be the starting point for discussing the reasons of this apparent blindness. As soon as you become aware that there might be many reasons, it makes sense to investigate and bring some light on the issue. Eventually you will be seeing more.

The unnecessary blind spot

The bigger a project, the more people are involved, the interim results and milestones are created, the more coordination is necessary and the higher the costs are. A lot of effort goes into the reporting for the decision makers and the committees. Unfortunately, the project team rarely determines the target group profile. These characteristics of the deciders have a large influence on the effectiveness of communication. The resulting, unnecessary blind spot leads often, despite good results, not to an adequate appreciation.

DerblindeFleck

Many push the fact to the back of their mind that the workload of the project is today less than fifty percent technical problem solving and more than fifty percent communication. The reports have a special function, since they introduce and explain the results. Thus, they contribute crucially to success and failure. Misunderstandings and wrong classifications undermine objectively good results. A main reason for the unsatisfactory presentations is the misconception that a good solution is already sufficient, in order to be successful.
Imagine the inventor of an all-purpose knife for the kitchen that no longer blunts. He shows short videos, in which the knife is used to cut vegetables, fish and meat like butter. As a special effect, he tested his invention under continuous use in a slaughterhouse for four weeks. The video shows butchers ramming the knife several times into pigs and cutting them into pieces, even though the target group consists of housewives, not butchers. With his objective demonstration of the efficiency of the knife, he awakes inadvertently murderous scenarios within the mind of the public. Accordingly, the presentation fails to have the desired effect.

An important element during the preparation of a presentation is the consideration of the individual characteristics and conceptions of the respective target group. This requires an early profiling. The creation of the profile is possible without larger effort, if you use the correct structure (e.g. self-image http://ow.ly/wsIjz).

With the clear understanding of the target group, the following aspects can be achieved.

  • You provide the target group room for their associations, by limiting yourself on information according the interests of the target group. The nominalization of specific activities creates connection points to their everyday experiences, e.g. the cutting of vegetables, the carving of meat.
  • The connection of the results with the experiences and convictions of the target group facilitates them to integrate the messages into their understanding. Generalizations and classifications elicit many thoughts, e.g. food is also a feast for the eye; the cold kitchen thrives on cutting.
  • The use of examples out of the experience areas of the listeners activates their presumptions and existing explanations for cause and effect and links them to the presentation. Thus, role models supply a variety of associations, e.g. the most important tool of star cooks is the sharp knife; good food becomes a successful dinner with a good knife.
  • With the definition of crucial terms, you prevent that the listeners use their imagination in the wrong direction. They create a basis as objective as possible, e.g. the knife functions in all areas of the kitchen; continuous tests did not produce any indications of wear.

These aspects are especially valid, if it comes to the abstract topics of the economy. In these areas, the danger to misinterpret a presentation is big, since the range of interpretations goes quite far. Terms, such as goals, results, satisfaction, economics etc. are interpreted differently by the listeners. It is important to understand the attitudes of the target group in advance and to incorporate indispensable explanations based on these insights. Reports, tailored to the respective target group, ensure that the results can be appreciated accordingly.

Bottom line: The profiling is a simple approach, in order to prevent the unnecessary blind spot, the fuzzy target group conception. This way, you convey more effectively your interests and results.