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Organization design quotes

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Document published on my blog http://www.organizationdesign.net …

Document published on my blog http://www.organizationdesign.net

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  • 1. A few of myfavoriteorganization designquotesNicolay Worren Nicolay Worrenwww.organizationdesign.net www.organizationdesign.net
  • 2. ”The war is not won with bayonets, but with effective organization” (Unknown) My take on this…We tend to think that we will become succesful if just get better or more resources. Yet the best resources in the world will not win the war forus – unless they are organized and coordinated to achieve the goal.Source: I am afraid I dont know who this quote is from – I came across it in The Art of Time by Jean-Louis Servan-Screiber (1984) but he does notprovide the original source.
  • 3. “Architecture does not create extraordinary organizations by collecting extraordinary people. It does so by enabling very ordinary people to perform in extraordinary ways” John Kay My take on this…Some organizations that consist of people with modest talents are still highly succesful; other organizations do not succeed – despite the greatindividual talents of their employees (I have myself observed examples of both at close hand). This quote could be the motto for the organizationdesign discipline.Source: Kay, J. (2003) Foundations of Corporate Success.
  • 4. "The neglected leadership role is the designer of the ship" Peter Senge My take on this…Once a structure is created, we tend to take it for granted, even though it was designed by someone with a certain intention in mind. By the way,I have often wondered why they dont teach organization design in leadership courses – most leadership courses seem to deal primarily withinterpersonal skills. You certainly need interpersonal skills to be able to resolve a conflict among your crew – but you also need the"architectural" skills involved in designing a ship (read: organization) that reduces the chance of conflict appearing in the first place.Source: Senge, P. (1990). The leaders new work: Building learning organizations. Sloan Management Review, 32, 1.
  • 5. “Ambiguity is great for certain kinds of creative activities but it is the mortal enemy of systems design“ Stephan Haeckel My take on this…Effective organization design relies on our ability to create clarity of purpose, boundaries, and context. Unfortunately, this ability seems to bequite limited as many employees in large organizations are uncertain about their role and the mandate of their unit.Source: This is a quote from a talk that Haeckel did at Wharton business school a few years ago. See his excellent book Adaptive Enterprise formore about his perspective on things.
  • 6. “Man cannot conceive of an organization that some are not capable of subverting” Russell Ackoff My take on this…We can come up with all kinds of clever designs. Yet, designs are only blueprints and, sadly, we always run the risk that intentions will beundermined during the implementation process.Source: Ackoff, R. (1981). Creating the Corporate Future. John Wiley & Sons.
  • 7. “(…) if any particular organization isn’t screwed up now, it used to be, or soon will be! That is the reality of organizational life” Geoffrey M. Bellman, My take on this…Another sinister quote, from a consultant who had listened to the complaints that managers voiced about their own organizations. I guess it isa bit of a warning to the technocrats among us (such as myself) who believe that given the right tools and processes, we can create the perfectorganization…Source: Bellman, G. (2002). The consultants calling.
  • 8. “(…) if df - Insert your favorite - Other suggestions?If you have a favorite quote related to organization design that you think I should have included – feel free to propose it for future revisions ofthis little collection! You may suggest it by leaving a comment below the blog post.