Fix The System Problem, Not The People Problem

I love Paul Taylor’s perspective in Fix The System Problem, Not The People Problem. He points out that many managers look first at the people structure of an organization when it is struggling:

People often resort to blaming individuals rather than acknowledging systemic issues due to a psychological inclination for self-preservation. Additionally, societal and organizational cultures may emphasize individual accountability, discouraging a systemic analysis. Almost ALL of the leadership BS our organizations are clothed in focuses on individual accountability, the way we measure performance, the way we conduct performance reviews. It’s all down to you.

The point is—don’t resort to a re-org just because it seems too hard to figure out what the systemic issues are:

The next time you see a proposal for a restructure, ask if there’s been any attempt to tackle the underlying causes of the problem. Look for any changes to the actual system. If you can’t see any—it is doomed to fail.