Permanent Transformation in the Enterprise

PMI United Kingdom Chapter

Ian Whittingham, PMP is a Program Manager in the Business Transformation group of a leading global news and information company. The views expressed here are his own. You may contact the author directly at ian.whittingham@thomsonreuters.com.

If you stay at an organization long enough, eventually, someone is going to quote Peter Drucker at you. It might be a consultant warning you of the perils that lie ahead as you prepare to embark on re-organizing your sales teams so that they can be “more agile” in going after new business opportunities. Or it may be the newly appointed CTO (the chief transformation officer) who wants you to know that she knows all about the challenges of trying to re-make your company and take it in an entirely different direction.

Or it might be shared with you in a tone of confidential, seen-it-all-before resignation as the director of technical operations tells you that your data center virtualization project has been postponed—again. And out it comes, that catch-all explanation as to why you can never get anything done around here: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!”

Whether or not Peter Drucker actually said it, it’s become a cliché of contemporary corporate life and, like most clichés, its truth speaks from experience. More usefully, it captures the seemingly irreconcilable antagonism that exists when the visionary desire of strategy to forge ahead and break away from the old way of doing things collides head-on with the entrenched status quo of “that’s just the way it is.”

If nothing else, it has succeeded in…

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