The Microsoft Dysfunction
Mini-Microsoft's "Vista and MS are really screwed up" thread at http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2006/03/vista-2007-fire-leadership-now.html is just fascinating.
of us who have worked in Dilbert's world can't find something to relate
to in this post's rain storm of comments. This is my favorite class of
Just suck it up, make the best of it and stop pointing fingers and get your job done!
Stand up and fucking do something about the problems instead of being a
part of the problem.
At the very least, acknowledge your part in the
problem, learn from it, and prevent it from
happening in the future.
you have been a lowly leaf in a very tall and wide company tree, this kind of
comment only drives the frustration nail further into your corporate
heart. Us leafs often try to change things. We lead by example. We make
the changes we can. We lower our lance and with a resolve most firm, take repeated charges at the
corporate windmill that is management, process, and culture.
truth we all eventually learn is: the success or failure of a
company is always because of its management. (I also have a corollary:
the success or failure of a company is always because of its workers,
but that's a subject for another time).
It's sad, I hate to
admit it, but a leaf can't possibly provide all the energy a tree
needs, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you care, no
matter how many life happiness units you trade in to make it work.
locally simply is not enough to globally change a company. Systemic changes
happen in management. Only management, in the end, can make the needed
large scales changes in organization and culture. The problem is, of course, management usually doesn't know what
changes to make. This is the function of great leaders and
they are in short supply.
Now the leafs at
Microsoft are no doubt working very hard. Much harder than most people
can imagine. Even as hard as the Great Generation of people in the
1940s worked. Yes, they work that hard.
But working hard is not
enough. A thousand employees pushing against a castle wall won't breach
the wall for your teaming conquering hoards. No matter how hard you
push the wall will stand. That's how the wall is built. That's how management ramparts are built too.
I think a small breach can be found in a later comment:
Microsoft's management is terrible. But it's always been
terrible. It was terrible in 1991
- ask anyone who suffered under, I
dunno, gregcr - and it was terrible when I left. It's
terrible now. But
the groups, at least, were usually small enough that non-management
could, to one degree or another, push management around, could do the push-back that
would save products.
was small enough that if, say, you grabbed your boss's boss in the
hallway and chewed him out for signing
off on something that you knew didn't and wouldn't work, that, well, you'd probably be okay in the end.
I like this comment because it is real. Face it, both management and workers, yes, even myself, are mostly terrible. We get it wrong much more often than we get it right.
Yet, there's something about being together in a small group that allows the Wisdom of Crowds
to mashup all the wrongness and occasionally flip wrongness into enough rightness that we get stuff done.
In a smaller group there's a correspondingly smaller Tipping Point,. You can do little things that make a big
difference with some confidence that there will be a pay back within your lifetime.
On a branch, if we are all leafs, we leafs can make a difference.