Hierarchy the only hope in crisis? LO23043

Ian Saunders (tpians@cix.co.uk)
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 22:46 +0100 (BST)

Replying to LO23013 --


A quick response as I want to get into the debate and know that I need to
compose a longer message another time.

1. There are almost certainly other patterns that work in a crisis and we
should investigate them and see if they work in particular kinds of crisis
better than others. I suspect this is true.

2. Following hierarchy, for any reason, only works well (ie people
actually perform well and strive to optimise their performance, if the
people have had some input, involvement with the establishment of the
hierarchy, or positively accept it as having value.

If people don't have this then

a. I would not expect people to follow blindly
b. Leaders might be surprised when they don't get followed blindly.

AND this is often the case. Organisational leaders expect followership
without investing in the processes, and behaviours that then enable the
leaders to call on blind followership. Leaders often see this this as a
one way track unfortunately.

How we define crisis is also important. As a former soldier I could
understand that there were times when I needed to be confident that people
would do as told and as I expected. Life or death was sometimes the
consequence. So we trained to make sure people understood roles,
responsibilities etc. We were not perfect by any means and I resigned my
commission because I felt that areas where such blind faith was not so
important did not offer the opportunity for other styles etc. [I was lucky
enough to have one great squadron commander who never made me feel like I
was in a hierarchy whatever the circumstances. So I believe that personal
style has a lot to play.]

You have to earn unquestioning followership. It is not a given.

I look forward to this thread.

Ian Saunders
Transition Partnerships
'Harnessing change for business advantage'


tpians@cix.co.uk (Ian Saunders)

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