Individual Competence vs. Organizational Efficiency LO28897

From: chris macrae (
Date: 07/25/02

Replying to LO28888 --

HI Terje

I suppose as someone with first class honours in maths, I'd be lost in a
world with no numbers. My point was not no numbers, but obsessive
number-management destroys human relationship systems.

What is obsessive numbers management? I guess I would love to hear
people's opinions on this list and even more if they have ever devised a
process that has guarded their organisation from such addiction

However I will reiterate these points:

Our Transparency Standards Community at is united in
believing that numbers addiction at top and every managerial level is the
lurking crisis of transparency; if we are right the bad news is that
clearing out the corrupt is only the small part of the job of
rediscovering capitalism that produces. Numbers addiction is the main
professional unlearning of our times.

I will go as far as proposing a lemma of learning organisation system - a
strawman you all can pull down. Wherever an organisation culture is such
that every managerial decision is framed more than 50% by numbers it is
spinning viciously, destroying human relationship value. This is what
over-accountancy has done in an age that is supposed to be
knowledge-connecting, service integrity honouring, communally networking
around innovation foci... numbers (as the monopoly corporate governance
measure) hinders all this human relationship system sustainability, and
worse the social harm of corporate governance by numbers put us all in
peril, it extinguishes the fundamental rule of relationship reciprocity
common to all the world's main religions.

Since writing my original posting I was referred by a friend to the work
on the Theory of Constraints at It
emboldens me to repeat my prosecution of the numbers (blind or guilty)
when their main white paper begins:

The core constraint of virtually every
organization The Goldratt Institute
has worked with over the past 16+
years is that organizations are
structured, measured and managed
in parts, rather than as a whole. The
results of this are lower than expected
overall performance results,
difficulties securing or maintaining a
strategic advantage in the marketplace,
financial hardships, seemingly
constant fire-fighting, customer
service expectations being rarely
met, the constraint constantly
shifting from one place to another
and chronic conflicts between people
representing different parts of the
organization, to name a few.
Once the barriers that block those
parts from working together as an
integrated system are removed,
significant and sustainable improvement
in each and every problem
mentioned above is the result.
What blocks organizations from
tearing down these barriers? Organizations
are often so consumed by
the pressures to achieve their short-term
performance targets, that taking
the time to plan for the future is a
luxury they can^t afford. Or, they
have plans for the future, but are
faced with the difficulties of balancing
the risks of change with the opportunities
they create ... if it ain't broke,
don't fix it!

chris macrae Transparency Standards Community

>From: "Terje A. Tonsberg" <>
> Maybe so, and your point is well taken, but the numbers are not the
> problem. The problem is lack of a proper perspective on them. I don't
> think this can be improved by throwing out the numbers. In fact, that
> would probably make things much worse in most cases. You don't get rid of
> ignorance by enforcing more of it. If someone can't put a number in a
> proper perspective, how much would his perspective in general improve with
> less numbers? They are still the same people, with the same cognitive
> capacity and knowledge. In my experience, dealing with people who are too
> focused on numbers is MUCH better than those who are uneasy with them.


"chris macrae" <>

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