January 27, 2006

The second lesson

I learned two big lessons when I wrote Bigger Isn’t Always Better. The first is neatly summed up by the book title. It’s the subject of many of the posts preceding this one.

The second may sound less punchy, but it’s just as significant:

Fixing an organization’s problems – as necessary as it might be – is not the same as setting it on a course for growth.

Many downsizings (and mergers) are billed as necessary prerequisites for future progress, but the record shows this is seldom the case. Instead of real growth, most downsizings beget only more downsizing (and most mergers, more mergers). Fixes like these may be necessary to insure an organization has a future, but they are not drivers of future progress. And, sadly, they are often offered as substitutes for having a plan for real growth.

It’s useful to make a distinction between the, sometimes vital, work of “fixing” a situation and the different activities that are required to "grow" beyond it. Go to the LINKS on the right and click on BOOK EXCERPTS for more details about these differences and the dueling mindsets that are behind them.

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