Rube (Reuben) Goldberg, was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting unnecessarily complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. This gave rise to the term Rube Goldberg machines for any similar gadget or process.
You may have made your own Rube Goldberg machine as a child. Unfortunately, you never expected to experience the Rube Goldberg Effect later in life. Rube Goldberg machines are unnecessarily complicated methods of doing a simple task. Many of us encounter great difficulty and resistance to accomplish the most simple tasks. This is particularly the case when it comes to change initiatives. The greater the need for change, the greater the level of difficulty.
This is where so many changemakers run into this difficulty. Their DNA is very different from that of the organisations they work in. One thing they do not have time for or are not skilled at is organisational politics and therein lies a huge problem. In legacy bureaucratic organisations, idea meritocracies do not exist, so even if a new strategy could catapult the organisation into a successful future, a killer strategy will often be rejected.
When a changemaker cannot or does not want to navigate the organisational politics, a transformation programme will likely fail.
Another problem is that organisations whittle down the amount of change agents they can attract into the business. It will not be enough to be visionary and understand transformational change. The change agent must be political astute to boot.
This organisational Rube Goldberg effect, means that organisations repel the very people who could possibly transform them. Eventually these people leave out of intolerance, burnout and/or frustration.
Satisficing and The Compromise Conundrum
The term “satisfice” was coined by American scientist and Noble-laureate Herbert Simon in 1956. Satisficing is a decision-making process that strives for adequate rather than perfect results. In “The Organised Mind”, Daniel J. Leviton tells us, “Happy people engage in satisficing all of the time, even if they don’t know it.” However, changemakers find it difficult to satisfice, they know it means omitting important elements in order to reach a compromise. Change agents know that satisficing means putting lipstick on a pig, rather than committing to real transformation.
Here is the Thought to ponder. While all change requires some level of compromise. The most important thing is to never compromise on your values. If your personal values are at odds with the values of the company you work for, you will need to leave. Staying will eventually lead to frustration, unhappiness and even illness. I leave you this week with the words of Janis Joplin…
“Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.”
THANKS FOR READING
If you like these thoughts on #reinvention, #transformation and #innovation, you will enjoy my forthcoming book: “#Undisruptable: A Mindset of Permanent Reinvention for Individuals, Organisations and Life.” now available for pre-order and now available as a highly visual, enjoyable and immersive masterclass for organisations presented with passion and fun, virtually or otherwise.