Give me an audience...

There is a lovely moment at the start of Joseph Riggio’s TedX talk when he relates a conversation between himself and the co-ordinator who is inviting him to take part in the conference:

“You’re asking me if I’m willing to speak?.... Give me an audience....  Of course I’m going to speak!”

I’ve been working and inquiring alongside Joseph at Ashridge recently and I really value the way that he speaks. 

One of his observations goes like this: 

"The first rule of change is that no matter how good your preparations or predictions are, you’re going to be wrong. How can you possibly lay out 5 year plans, 50 year plans, 500 year plans? How can you do this? It’s incomprehensible to me."

It's incomprehensible to me too. But organisations still invite us to do this. Way back in my early consulting career I was asked to appraise a very thick book which turned out to be an Organisational Plan stretching for 11 years.  I had wondered whether this was some kind of numerically informed planning cycle mysteriously using prime numbers but was told, "No... it was supposed to be a 15 year plan but we had to keep changing it..."  

I asked how much the 60 person 'planning department' was costing.... 

On Joseph's website I see that not only he is a PhD in strategy in leadership but, possibly more importantly, he is an ordained priest in good standing of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude.  A key Dudeist credo is:

“Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man.”

This could sit well in the world of a complexity informed, dialogic, action inquirer like myself.

In service of planning departments everywhere, I think I might join.


Steve MarshallComment