When Parameters Are The Problem

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
by Kent Aitken RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Kent Aitkentwitter / kentdaitkengovloop / KentAitken

My post from last week was hurried and unfinished - there are caveats and implications left hanging. I'll get back to it next week (see: Millenials, Lego, and the Perimeter of Ignorance).

I recently ran across a business article about aligning your strategy with your environment. The hook was a cartoon of a man yelling "Why won't this gigantic square peg fit in this round hole?!" 

Standare fare, age-old advice.

Of course we should make sure that our strategies make sense in the context of our organizations' priorities, processes, and environment. Of course.

But maybe? Sometimes the square peg is what's actually needed, and it's really the round hole that needs a change. And altering the peg to fit the nonsensical hole perpetuates and legitimizes a poor system and leaves people in the dark about the fact that they need to rethink things.

The Creative Yes

There's a risk to pitching square pegs. The idea could get shut down completely.

The hybrid position might be highlighting the system's shortcomings through the proposal or business case. Typically, two to three options are on offer. Perhaps the new practice should be providing both round peg options that fit current parameters, and square ones that require changing parameters and redefining - more accurately - the problem.

And slowly, the parameters might change.