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Do any of these stories ring a bell with you when thinking about your organization? 

"We planned the project well using critical path scheduling and displaying Gantt charts. Things were going pretty well until about a month before the deadline. Then everything went to hell in a hand basket. An assumption that we never even bothered to consider proved not to be true. We had to do a whole bunch of work over with a new assumption. Overtime, stress, short tempers and blood pressures increased. Costs exploded. The original intent of the product had to be compromised.Ē 

"We had a very technical goal. So we wished to run a flat organization because when everyone knew what was going on, we could react faster as changes occurred. Initially, it worked out fine. But when the group grew, we lost control. Despite our intent to remain flat, we had to resort to a hierarchical organization.Ē

Some of our key people were literally working around the clock. They slept under their desks. We didnít have any way of breaking up what they had so well integrated in their own heads so it could be coordinated in several heads. So we let them be. But their personal lives were put on hold, their families gave up on them, and eventually we lost them because they burned out.Ē 

"Our competition continually comes out with new products that involve incredible new ideas. Our people donít seem to have that sort of creativity. They havenít a clue.Ē 

"I know we have lots of frustrated employees because they cannot get our attention to listen to their ideas. But we have only so much we can deal with at a time and just canít give adequate attention to new problems or opportunities. We are probably missing out on their good ideas, and they leave us to join our competitors because we donít listen.Ē 

"We have gurus that come in to lecture us on why we should empower our people so they can react faster with less management overview. But how do we make them accountable for the decisions they are making on their own? We are told to flatten our organization. But as the organization grows, we are loosing control. We have tried to get more decisions made by cross-functional teams. But whatever you call it, committees just donít work. They tell us to share our knowledge. But no one wants to share the information that makes him or her vital to the organization, particularly when times are hard and we are beginning to have layoffs.Ē 

When we try to take all this advice, itís like the man who was asked to keep his shoulder to the wheel, his nose to the grindstone and his ear to the ground, and somehow get his work done and create miracles in that position. It just canít be done. We have spent more money on these fads than we have ever recouped. We are now beginning to hear from others that they are facing the same sort of difficulties.Ē 

"We try to respond quickly to new situations as they arise, but we just arenít able to. Our competition somehow beats us to the punch."

 If you recognize any of this in your organization, you are living in what is soon to be called the Ďold paradigmí. A shift in paradigm is a fundamental change in the way of thinking. We wonít shirk. Thatís exactly what we will propose.

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