Is it alive? LO16439

Dr. Steve Eskow (
Wed, 7 Jan 1998 09:21:29 -0500

Replying to LO16421 --

Ben Compton write well of the shift in his thinking about organizations,
and illustrates with Microsoft and Novell.

Perhaps he and other may find it useful to know why some of us continue to
cling to the basic metaphor of organization as "team"

First: there are different kinds of teams playing games that require
different ensembles of skills.

If, then, Bill Gates is playing baseball he can strike out 6 times out of
10 and still be a brilliant batter.

But baseball is not as useful to this analysis of Ben's as is football.

Bill Gates is the Joe Montana of his world, a cunning, skillful, do it all
quarterback. He and his coaches have assembled a world class team: those
failing to perform are ruthlessly and quickly cut. Gates and company spend
the appropriate amount of time studying the teams aligned against them,
and the shifts in the environment with which they must contend. Gates is a
superb "reader" of the other teams and of the forces and constellations
that are emerging.

Like Montana, and all of us, forced to make quick readings of new
environmental challenges, he sometimes makes a wrong judgment call and
gets thrown for a loss, eg, his early call on the Internet. Unlike other
lesser quarterbacks he is quick to recognize when he makes a wrong call,
does not stubbornly stick with that call and repeat the play that caused
the loss.

Gates, then, learns from his errors, and is quicker to abandon the past
and the plays--and the players and coaches--that worked yesterday but have
no place in today.

Entropy, it seems to me, or self organization, or notions of Microsoft as
a living organism in an ecological world have little or not explanatory
value, while the team metaphor, limited as it is, emphasizes "reading"
gthe changing environment and developing those skills of "reading,"and
making those "team" adjustments that allow the organization to move
forward in the new "game."

But it sure isn't "self organizing." It's Gates organizing.

Steve Eskow

Dr. Steve Eskow
President, The Electronic University Network
288 Stone Island Road
Enterprise, Florida 32725
Phone: 407-321-8770; Fax: 407-321-4861


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