Accidental Adversaries LO13716

J.C. Lelie (
Sun, 25 May 1997 23:22:42 -0700

Replying to LO13628 --

Hi Paul

> Upon reviewing the 5th discipline Fieldbook, I ccame upon the
> accicdental adversaries arcchetype. Has anyone any working familiarity
> with this ?

We often encounter this archetype in functionally divided organization. We
have some examples in:

1. logistical situations (for instance: servivice dept. whishes to call
for components (fast but expensive) while purchasing wants to buy a lot
(cheaper but slower in emergency situations). In this case service
departement reported to a kind of production manager while purchasing was
part of the financial department).

2. Also we found a nice case of accidental adversaries three layers deep,
due too a series of internal customers) in a public transport organisation

3. and in R&D-environment (marketing/sales wants quick fixes while R&D
wants fundamental approaches). In my experience, the archetype is
difficult to diagnose (especially for the 'adversaries'), but rather
simple to solve, when surfaced.

4. oh yes, and a couple of years ago i found a situation in a merger of
two paper-production facilities and sales organisations. Here we had two
intertwined accidental adversaries. Then i was not so skilled in making
the right intervention and it blew up in our faces.

> Can it be applied to individuals (the example concerns Wal
> Mart and Proctor &Gamble) ?

yes, i happen to be in one at this moment with my boss.

> By reviewing the maps and working along the
> idea of setting up some parallel proccesses that enhancce both area's I
> think that improvement can be had and maybe some learning all around --
> but I have been told to expect some animosoty.

We have modified the 'beer game'(from the Fifth Discipline) to create a
game situation in which participants can develop an understanding of these
kind of systemic situations. They start talking about the game and end in
solving their own situation. But it takes a lot of time to implement these
kind of strategies, because:

1 symptom fighting is much easier, and

2. structurally changing these situations requires not only top-management
involvement, but also some skills in recognizing these situations.

When somebody does this intuitively, no problems arise. When not, there
will be problems, but then recognition of these kinds of processes is more
difficult. It is a real knot of the Gordian type.

Good luck.



Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (J.C. Lelie) @date@ @time@ CREATECH/LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development - + (31) 70 3243475 Fax: idem or + (31) 40 2443225

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