Changing Direction: How to Keep Cultural Inertia from Limiting Productivity

"The reason men oppose progress is not that they hate progress, but that they love inertia." Elbert Hubbard, American writer and philosopher. "Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia." -- Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize winning French biologist and surgeon. Dictionaries define "inertia" as a tendency to resist change. In physical terms, a body in motion tends to stay in motion in a straight line, while a body at rest tends to stay at rest. But other types of inertia exist, and cultural inertia represents the one that applies to most of us most often. You probably know all you care to about bureaucratic inertia, for example. Once a bureaucracy makes a rule, woe to the individual who tries to buck it. Similarly, some corporate cultures resist change, often to … [Read more...]

Blowing Past the Bureaucracy: How To Think More Like An Entrepreneur

"Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies." -- French author Honoré de Balzac. "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." -- Laurence J. Peter, Canadian-American educator and formulator of "The Peter Principle." Remember the Biblical story of David and Goliath? It's a classic of its type, right up there with Jack and the Beanstalk. In both cases, a little guy shocks the world by using speed, agility, and audacity to bring down an "unbeatable" giant. Corporations must become nimble and flexible enough to out-maneuver larger competitors. Consider Apple, which the late Steve Jobs saved from terminal bureaucratitis with innovative thinking and outside-the-box leadership. Jobs didn't just blow past corporate bureaucracy; he scoured … [Read more...]