The splitting (de-wholing) of human activities LO29513

From: syntagm (
Date: 11/14/02

Replying to LO29487 --

helLO dear friends

John Zavacki wrote:

> One of the issues I see here is not the splitting of human activities, but
> the combination of them. As we become more and more cross-functional in
> the operations of our daily grind, leaders can become less managers and
> more coaches and mentors. On the surface, this is what we want, wise old
> man archetypes to cope with the jesters and the Lost Boys and the like.
> The problem comes in when the leader absolutely relegates management to
> counts of parts and dollars and forgets that conflict can be creative, but
> that consensus is not the same as unanimity and that decisions must
> sometimes (because of confidential information, context, history) be
> unilateral. If anyone else sees this, I'd like to continue dialogue.

I sat for two hours in a call centre today. It belongs to a major bank.
They take 18 000 inbound calls a month. On the surface its a world-class

Below the surface its part of a complex process that no-one really
understands. The conflict is far from creative. It is debilitating. If you
understand Eli Goldratt's conflict diagrams then these are textbook cases.
We need coaches and mentors but I don't see any. I hope in your world of
work and experience you still have some. We don't. One of the things I
miss most in that setting is cross-functional understanding, that too is
sadly lacking. The mental model most people have of Africa and South
Africa is framed by Third World images. That is only part of the truth,
our major corporations are as cutting-edge as you can get anywhere, I have
seen financial institutions in the UK and in Europe, in some respects we
work in an even more aggressive and unforgiving context. Fritjof Capra
writes eloquently of the Living Organisation. My own feeling is that it is
still trapped in the Newtonian 'the-company-is-a-machine' paradigm, and
the machine is sick (Enronitis perhaps :>)

kindest regards

Chris Klopper


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