Organizational Agility

November 14, 2019

Fleas can jump many times their own height, but not elephants.

Large organizations cannot be versatile. A large organization is effective through its mass rather than through its agility. Mass enables the organization to put to work a great many more kinds of knowledge and skill than could possibly be combined in any one person or small group.

But mass is also a limitation.

An organization, no matter what it would like to do, can only do a small number of tasks at any one time. This is not something that “better organizations” or “effective communication” can cure.

The law of an organization is concentration.

Yet, modern organizations must be capable of change (aka Change Capable). Indeed it must be capable of initiating change, that is innovation. It must be able to move scarce and expensive resources of knowledge from areas of low productivity and non-results to opportunities for achievement and contribution. This, however, requires the ability to stop doing what wastes resources.

Peter F. Drucker - The Age of Discontinuity

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