inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #26 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Mon 1 Mar 04 00:21
    
L.P., thank you very much for the compliments - and the questions. 

I'm also agnostic on Myers-Briggs. I once heard Elliot Jaques describe
it as astrology for managers, and the image has stuck with me. (I've
gotten in trouble by saying as much.) I also don't want to identify any
particular "Core Group type" -- because I think they vary so much from
organization to organization. I guess you could do a Myers-Briggs
profile of a Core Group and the organization, and you'd probably find
some distinctions. The same would be true of a Human Dynamics
(mentally, physically, emotionally centered) profile or a
kinesthetic-visual-verbal profile, or birth family order, 
or what-have-you. Again, I'm not quite sure how it would play out....
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #27 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Mon 1 Mar 04 00:27
    
Ron, I couldn't agree more with everything in #23. Your throwaway
line, "Don't ask me how I know this!" makes me curious to know more
about the circumstances under which you decided to leave one place (I
assume)... just curious,....

Getting corporate people to tell stories about themselves... I
especially agree with that....

I don't know Po Bronson's book. I've heard of it,  of course, but I
haven't read it. 

One of the things I'm supposed to write about next  (for Strategy +
Business) is the "community nature of innovation" -- based on Andrew
Hargadon's work. But also looking more generically. Does Silicon Valley
thrive because it attracts smart people or because it fosters a
community among them? 
Or are those reinforcing? (I am not sure they are; lots of places
attract smart 
people without having much of a community in them.)
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #28 of 107: Woody Liswood (woody) Mon 1 Mar 04 04:31
    
Hi Art:

I've got a question for you that is less about the book but about your
thoughts on the future.

Some context:  I'm here in Hong Kong and have been teaching a graduate
class about Human Resource technology and where HR is headed for the
future.  One of the conversations that developed was about
Organizatgional Behavior and what was the most current research and
thinking.   I recommend that they read, as I always do, The Age of
Heretics, and, now, Who Really Matters.  I also recommend that they
read "The Ropes to Skip and the Ropes to Know" by Ritti & Funkhouser.

But, in my thinking, I've not seen much come out of academia about how
organizations are developing for the future since Senge did his
original work.

Where are you on the future of Organizational Behavior -- as we teach
it in school and as it might be used as a tactical item in supervision
and management?

I ask this because, as I read your new book, I keep thinking that you
have really said that the culture of the organizatgion is the most
important part of understanding the organization and that you have
identified something many of us have thought about but not put into
writing quite the way you have done.
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #29 of 107: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Mon 1 Mar 04 04:31
    
Astrology for managers is a great term.
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #30 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Mon 1 Mar 04 05:37
    
Well, there are really two questions: What we know for sure about the
future of organizations and what kinds of organizations we might want
to create in the future. 

Let me start with the "future" issue that most people think of first:
Will hierarchies persist? Tom Malone, Shoshana Zuboff and a few others
have argued fervently that hierarchies are on their way out; that the
Internet (and other advances) will make conventional
command-and-control structures fade out, like unto dinosaurs. I'm
unconvinced. I buy what Elliot Jaques demonstrated: That the hierarchy,
at some level, fits with human nature. So it will continue. 

But I buy some other things too. 

1. The number of organizations is doubling roughly every 25 years. In
the US, at least. Worldwide, I'd guess it's at least the same rate, but
I don't know of any statistics on the subject. 

This, to me, is incredibly significant. It means the employment
picture is significantly different now from the way it was when I
graduated from college, in 1975. Why is "business" more acceptable as a
career than it was back in, say, 1967? Because people can be in the
Core Group more easily in business than they can in most government
agencies. And they can get into it more directly. 

2) The lines between government agencies, non-profits, and for-profit
corporations are blurring more and more. And they'll continue to blur.
Philip Bobbitt points out that the private contractors that came to
Iraq are the wave of future in all military endeavors. Peter Drucker
argues that the nature of organizations in all these arenas is
basically the same. In my view, they all amplify human activity in the
same way.  

3) Organizations will have more diverse core groups. Finally.
Demographics suggest as much. There just aren't enough "older white men
with executive-style hair" to fill all the executive slots. 

Diversity will mean serious diversity -- people crossing the boundary
of professional closeness, if not personal intimacy. I know that just
about every significant experience I've had of friendship with someone
from a different racial background has come about through work, and I
THINK the same is true for many people (except for those closely
involved with an intermarriage.)

Therefore, there will be two great "have and have not" barriers in our
culture (and, increasingly, in global culture.) The first will be: Can
you get a ticket into a job in an organization?  The second will be:
Can you get into the core group of a legitimate organization? 

The way things are going right now, there are a lot of people who
could not answer yes to either question. 

4. The size of significant organizations, on average, will probably
come down. In the class I teach on the future of the infrastructure,
there's a recurring scenario we call "Dinosaurs and Mammals" -- the big
get bigger, but there's always lots of smaller ones. I think there is
enormous pressure on middle-sized organizations (which are, after all,
major acquisition targets) but I do not necessarily buy the argument
that they disappear. I just think there will be many more small
organizations, proportionately....

5. The big question is: Will organizations mature? That, to me,
depends on the question: Will Core Groups mature? Will they start
looking out for the longer-term consequences of their actions? 

There are signs that the answer is yes, in some isolated cases. But
what I don't know is: Will the structural pressures on organizations
shift to encourage more long-term thinking? By structural pressures, I
mean the shareholder structure, and the governance structures, and the
laws, and the culture, and the demographic factors that influence
organizations, and the range of technologies... 

I don't know whether these will change, but I think the PERCEPTION OF
A  NEED for organizational maturity has never been so strong, and I
think it's getting stronger. For example: Donor organizations are
pumping money into Africa right now -- on a project by project basis --
to fund initiatives for dealing with the HIV/AIDS crisis there. But do
the organizations have the maturity to recognize what each other is
doing, or to build and maintain the necessary long-range infrastructure
(such as the presence of clinics and staff) needed to make some
treatments and prevention measures effective? Do they have the presence
of mind to seek out and incorporate learning from those who are unlike
themselves? 

I'm not sure. I do believe the organizations which can foster a
longer-term outlook will thrive. But I can't prove that, either.  If
history is any judge, to really build a sustained enterprise, you have
to have a commitment to long-term outlook -- and you have to place the
right bets. 
 
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #31 of 107: Joe Flower (bbear) Mon 1 Mar 04 09:38
    
Excellent set of thoughts, Art. Let me comment on the last one: Will
organizations mature? I have to say, "I don't think so."

Your thesis is valuable to the extent that it identifies
organizational behaviors and shows how they arise out of behaviors that
are basic to human nature. This can be an extremely valuable lens with
which to look at organizations. But it also suggests that there are
limits to how much organizations can "mature." Some factors (new
technologies especially come to mind) may introduce new constraints
that change behavior at the margins (viz. the way the prevalance of
amateur video cameras may have put a damper on public police
brutality). But the underlying urges (for simplicity, for clear
direction, for competition and self-preservation) that give arise to
core organizational behaviors will not change.
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #32 of 107: from CHRIS MACRAE (tnf) Mon 1 Mar 04 11:36
    


Chris Macrae writes:



My co-authors and I have been researching the mathematical system dynamics of
goodwill (aka valuing intangibles) for 5 years. Personally, I entirely agree
with Art Kleiner's diagnosis of the 3 greatest lies corporations tell about
caring for customer, employee and owner value. To restore governance of
corporations to serve everyone, we have ten value multiplier coordinates most
simply mapped as paired relationships of productivity and demand.

On the demand exchange, ask the leader of the organisation, which of these 5
stakeholders' greatest non-monetary needs are you prepared to be wholly
accountable to ensuring its priority of delivery is what the gravity of the
company's win-win communal purpose revolves around: employees, customers,
long-term owners, business networked organisations, societies at different
global localities?

On the productivity side, ask this simplified 3-way question: as well as
hierarchy is your organsaition designed to transparently multiply the
productivity of at least one 'preneurial segment (be these teams, personal
networks, practice communities) and at least one boundary to and from another
networked organisation. If the leader stutters on any of those 8 connections
with value multiplication, I would suggest distancing yourself from that
organisation in whatever stakeholder ways you and your networks of friends
can. Because its in the process of spinning value destruction of goodwill, in
all value compounding likelihood it will catch a terminal ilness within the
next 3 years.

Art is clearly already modelling the demand side. The reason why we connect
the productivity side too can be illustrated by this query: how many global
coporations do you know of that suffer from the productivity cancer of
valuing the strategy and pay of the top 30 people more that all the
knowledge, productivity and value service of the other 29970?

Chris Macrae www.valuetrue.com wcbn007@easynet.co.uk
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #33 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Mon 1 Mar 04 11:55
    
Whoa, Chris -- You say you model this mathematically? 

I didn't quite get what the "eight connections with value
multiplication" are.... 

I am looking forward to reading more about your work. My own efforts
to deal with the "production" side are in a chapter of Who Really
Matters that hasn't yet come up in this conference: "A Core Group Way
of Knowledge." 

It's the chapter on the "Integrated Learning Base," a concept I
cribbed (with credit) from the Harvard Business School 
historian Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. 

Essentially, every Core Group has an impact on the organization's
capabilities -- through the way it pays attention to the knowledge and
capabilities of people throughout the organization. 
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #34 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Mon 1 Mar 04 11:57
    
Joe, I too am skeptical about whether organizations will mature. 

But it raises an interesting question: What is the appropriate speed
with which we should expect an organization to mature? 

Faster than, or slower than, the maturation rate of a human being? 
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #35 of 107: from PAOLO MARENCO (tnf) Mon 1 Mar 04 15:14
    


Paolo Marenco writes:


very interesting and exiting the debate on yr book, Art.
I come to it from Chris , from our KB ( Knowledge management board).
I want to submit to you this simplification  of human being, in every sector,
and probably in every country.
To me the Human being is substancially divided in two categories: persons who
have as a goal the public( general, common) interest, first ; persons who
have as a goal the own personal interest .
 I recognize yr Core groups- that really exists , I found in my life of
innovation manager and consultant in Italy- in the second category ( widing
the sense of personal interest)
I'm convinced that the wellness of all the planet ( South plus north) will
increase if the organizations( business but also politics) will mature in a
sense to be ,to act,   the majority in the first category.
How can we move in this sense the world?
I think that there is a sort of capacity to go up from the bottom when you
reach it, after a very dark period , it comes a clear one and so on. Probably
technology will help us to increase the average - well being, passing from a
bottom to a top.
Today I have the possibility to Know you and many other people and circulate
good ideas. When we went out from the middle School in the seventies these
possibilities were quite absent, or more difficult.
Important is to share Knowledge and push open-thinking, against private-core
group interest...
my best regards
paolo marenco

www.storianelfuturo.org
www.ruvaris.it
http://members.xoom.it/swanhouse
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #36 of 107: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Mon 1 Mar 04 15:35
    
Art, would you say that the current management craze over "metrics"
(to measure employee performance) is an extension of the "Welchism"
that you describe in your book?
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #37 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Mon 1 Mar 04 19:38
    
Paolo, thank you. Two quibbles: I think most people have altruistic
and selfish impulses.... And I think we've learned that technological
change will not be sufficient for organizations to mature. Necessary,
perhaps. But not sufficient. That was one of the lessons of the
"reengineering" craze. 

Gerry, I have a chapter called "doggie treats" in my book to deal with
metrics and performance measures. I believe that most of the time,
these are communication devices designed primarily for three purposes:
1. Getting people to work harder; 2. Making it seem like everyone knows
what is going on; 3. Saving wear and tear on the attention of the Core
Group. Sigh. 
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #38 of 107: jane hirshfield (jh) Mon 1 Mar 04 22:08
    
Just a bit of side praise here--Art, I really appreciate the flexibility and
humility of your answers here, along with their thoughtfulness. It's been
interesting even to a person who hangs out as far from these kinds of
structures as society permits, at least on an organizational as opposed to a
social level.
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #39 of 107: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Tue 2 Mar 04 05:58
    
Hi Art,

I agree with <jh> - there's a quality to your attention and approach
to answering that carries a lesson of its own.  

I'd like to ask if there is any sort of related "Who DOESN'T Matter"
evolving group consensus that you've looked at?
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #40 of 107: Douglas Weinfield (bumbaugh) Tue 2 Mar 04 07:51
    
Douglas Weinfield writes:



I've been struggling with my response to "Who Really Matters" since I 
first read it, just after it came out.  I think, beyond all the "back 
book cover endorsements" that it is a breakthrough -  it begins to 
capture some of the emotion-laden aspects of organizational life and 
provide conceptual frames so that we can perceive them, discuss them, 
dance more elegantly and playfully with them. That's as much of a 
breakthrough as anything in "Good to Great" or "Innovator's Dilemma." 
In my judgement, less sexy, less analytical, and just as much a 
breakthrough.  I'm trying to be careful here neither to damn with 
faint praise nor to overpraise. There are few books I keep; this is a 
keeper.

I also have a number of problems with "Who Really Matters."  Some of 
my problems are literally my problems-similarly to Joe, I've rarely 
or never been in a Core Group, and I have some prejudices against 
them  - that Core Groups misuse power and other resources, that Core 
Groups bring us wars and other forms of misery that would be much 
less or non-existant in the absence of Core Groups.  Again, this is 
my prejudice-I believe there is some accuracy to it, but it feels 
mostly like a prejudice in the form I stated it.

But this is like shooting the messenger, no? Core Groups are there, 
Art is opening our eyes to their existence, and this is good. 
Arguably, what really bothers me about Core Groups is what I would 
call dysfunctional Core Groups-ones that do misuse power and other 
resources, that eat their seed corn, that pollute their organization 
with bad emotions, bad leadership, or other bad behaviors.

The one significant concern I have grows from my reading of "Who 
Really Matters" as presenting a perspective that is so highly 
appealing to Core Group members.

I mean, after reading "Who Really Matters," who wouldn't want to be 
in a Core Group? Imagine that you're in a Core Group. "I've got a 
multi-celled organism where the cells are human beings, and their 
primary goal is to love me!  As a result of their love, I get 
incredible material and emotional benefits that most of us never get. 
And the book tells me that this situation, which rewards me so 
handsomely, is arguably necessary for the advancement of humanity. 
Hey, I'm at the evolutionary apex! "


>The part I  never realized before is this:
>
>Who Really Matters is, in a way, a defense of organizations. Much of
>the book is right with you, Esau -- saying that, in a
well-functioning
>organization, you can have a highly fulfilled career whether you're
in
>the Core Group or not.

So, why do organizations need a defense?  Who's attacking them? What 
happens if the attackers succeed?  What happens if the attackers fail?

A concern I have here, Art, is that you may not be sufficiently 
distinguishing between a normative perspective and a descriptive 
perspective.  I think this is closer to the bullseye than the 
"tautological" criticism.

  Let give a little context here to clarify. For instance, I judge 
that NY Times columnist Tom Friedman confuses the normative and the 
descriptive all the time. In the "Lexus and the Olive Tree," for 
example, he describes the oncoming "Market World" in which the 
decisions made by many economic actors, including individual 
consumers and investors, will drive countries to more or less the 
conventional IMF recipe for economic success. Friedman presents this 
as "just the way the world is." Many reviewers have said, and I agree 
with them, that Friedman is actually inserting his normative 
preferences for what he thinks will be a good world into a 
purportedly descriptive statement.

How does this relate to "Who Really Matters"? My concern, Art, is 
that you are blurring the distinction between

"Core Groups are important to the way the organizations I have
observed work"

and

"Core Groups are inescapably fundamental to organizations' success."

(I'm exaggerating to clarify the distinction).

I guess I wonder how much "Who Really Matters" grows from your work 
with companies and organizations you work with and their Core Groups, 
and how much it is shaped by that work, and
and I wonder what it sacrifices, if anything, in order to present a 
perspective which I perceive as highly appealing to Core Groups.

It's been a while since I read "Who Really Matters," but my 
recollection is that it had abundant amounts of information on how to 
succeed in an organization vis a vis the Core Group, but had less on 
how the Core Group can itself be successful.

This points me towards what is most poignant for me about "Who Really 
Matters."  I want more. I want more about what distinguishes a good 
Core Group from a bad Core Group.  I want to know what makes a Core 
Group a good Core Group in terms of its own organization, and in 
terms of the other organizations with which it interacts, and in 
terms of other stakeholders-communities, regions, countries, the 
world.

There is undoubtedly a place for a "The Prince" about organizations. 
What I want, and what i believe the world needs, is a "Discourses" 
about organizations.
-- 
Douglas Weinfield
www.jdresume.com
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #41 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Tue 2 Mar 04 08:00
    
Whew. First of all, Jane and Keta, thanks for the compliments. They're
powerfully appreciated. 

Keta: Do you mean, are there people who are systematically ignored or
put down because everyone (all decision-makers) collude in doing so? 

As I say, whew. That idea never occurred to me. My first instinctive
response is to say, "Of course." It would help explain why people get
scapegoated. Or as Robert Fuller puts it in Somebodies and Nobodies,
people aren't scapegoated because they're of a different race or gender
or creed; racism and sexism and other "isms" exist as a manifestation
of the basic human need to single out somebody as beneath the rest. 

If that is truly part of human nature, then what does one do about it?
Do you condone it -- simply say, "Well, it's part of human nature, so
we've got to learn to live with it?" Or do you condemn it, and take the
stance of either quixotic perpetual fighting, or else "being a
victim?" 

None of these responses seem particularly appealing, at least to me. 

Which brings us to Douglas's question... 
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #42 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Tue 2 Mar 04 08:10
    
OK, I paraphrase Douglas' question this way: 

By articulating the idea of Core Groups, and showing how much power
they have, aren't we reinforcing their self-satisfaction and potential
for abuse? 

I like your distinction between --

a "descriptive" point 
("Core Groups are important to the way the organizations I have
observed work")
or, perhaps, more blatantly: 
("Core Groups are the way they are, and we'd better see them as they
are.") 

and a "normative" point 
("Core Groups are inescapably fundamental to organizations' success.")
and again, more blatantly...
("Core Groups are the way they are, and we'd better get used to it,
because it's historically inevitable and it ain't going to change.")

First of all, I'm not sure that I  buy that ANYTHING is historically
inevitable until it happened. The World Wide Web is historically
inevitable now (for instance), but it sure wasn't in 1992. (I know you
didn't raise this, but it seems implicit...)

My own way of dealing with this dilemma was to say, Core Group
structures do seem built into the nature of organizations, but there's
no guarantees of what kind of Core Group an organization will have. 

And great Core Groups, while they may not be fundamental to an
organization's success, make a tremendous difference to the
organization in the long run. 

How do you know a Great Core Group when you see it? Well, I sort of
dance around that question. I have some ideas about it, but for me it's
like asking, "how do you know a great person when you see one?" 

You have to develop your capacity to see. 

That's why I didn't write "Discourses." It's a great idea, and I've
been contemplating a book, or maybe a web site, called, "In Search of
Great Core Groups." 

Then I could fall into the same fallacy that Tom Peters fell into --
the temptation to freeze a judgment about a living system into print. 

I know... what alternative is there? 
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #43 of 107: from WCBN009 (tnf) Tue 2 Mar 04 09:10
    



WCBN009 writes:


> One of the things that most frightens me about core group theory is: it
> seems to warn us about the likely consequences of globalisation where more
> and more power seems to be in fewer and fewer big organisations' hands? If
> we mix together core group theory and the pervasive connectiviness of net-
> working technology, does it mean that George Orwell's Big Brother scenario
> has become the most likely one we'll all end up with? Is there a way out
> whilst Core Group theory dynamics explain what outcomes organisational sys-
> tems are capable of?
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #44 of 107: Douglas Weinfield (bumbaugh) Tue 2 Mar 04 09:37
    
Doug responds:

Art-

You paraphrased my comments as:

>By articulating the idea of Core Groups, and showing how much power
>they have, aren't we reinforcing their self-satisfaction and
potential
>for abuse?

That's not my point, or at least it's an incomplete rendition-as I
noted in saying:

>But this is like shooting the messenger, no? Core Groups are there,
>Art is opening our eyes to their existence, and this is good.

What I am saying is that by addressing Core Groups in the way you have
- by, as best as I can tell,  focusing on their positive aspects and
benefits to the Core Group members, stating little about their negative
impacts, stating little about how  people move into or out of Core
Groups, stating  little about: what makes them functional or
dysfunctional, what their roles should be, that "Who Really Matters"
too much supports the position that the current status of Core Groups
is just fine. 

That leads me back to the question I posed in my earlier post:  "Who
Really Matters" is in a way a defense of organizations.  What are
organizations being defended from?  Who's attacking?  What happens if
the attacks succeed?  What happens if the attacks fail?

As to the issue of  "How do you know  a great Core Group (or person)
when you see one?", for me, I first have to decide what "great" means -
and for me, it's crucial that I do so. Even if it's hard, both the
struggle and the results are enormously worthwhile.  And it's fairly
easy to identify a bad person -so, by mirroring, one can at least start
to identify the characteristics of great.

>How do you know a Great Core Group when you see it? Well, I sort of
>dance around that question. I have some ideas about it, but for me 
>it's like asking, "how do you know a great person when you see one?"

Art, i get that that's your experience of it.  And, it is really
unsatisfactory for me. If a person were to say to me, "You know, I've
heard people talk about great people, but I've never understood what
they're talking about," then I would believe that the concept isn't in
your repertoire. But if a person were to say to me, "I know a great
person when I spend some time with him or her, or read something, or
gain data in another way," then I would believe that person hadn't
thought it through. Yes, sometimes greatness is in the eye of the
beholder.  But it simultaneously in the brain and heart of the
beholder, and discoverable by introspection or conversation or other
means.

What makes a great Core Group?  Art, you're the expert - the world's
leading expert. (Yes, with awesome powers come awesome responsibilities
<grin>).  I can think of lots of places to start. We could look at the
characteristics of a great company, ala "Good to Great." We look to
the psychological characteristics of a maturely individuated human
being. We could look to  the kinds of criteria historians use in
identifying great leaders. 

Perhaps the most important questions in my judgment are "Great for
what? Great to accomplish what ends?"  Great at survival? - The
cockroach species looks to be pretty good at that.  Great at generating
wealth? Enron was doing well at that for a while. Great at producing
wonderful human beings? I thought that was the role of families and
educational and spiritual organizations. 

Where I'm going with this is that there is no single factor, no single
metric, that will identify great Core Groups; that multiple factors
are required.  My hunch is that there is an interacting or matrixed set
of factors that could be identified with a reasonable amount of work
-- and this forum could be a great place to start identifying!  What do
you think, Art?

Best regards,

Doug
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #45 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Tue 2 Mar 04 13:16
    
Re #43 (David?) -- I think there's a vital difference between
organizations - where core groups are appropriate -- and
communities/societies -- where core group dynamics by their nature are
probably abusive. 

Globalization to me is not necessarily a story of having more power in
fewer hands. (It can be, but it doesn't have to be.) Nor is it a Core
Group story per se. 

The way I like to think of it is: There's a coming governance crisis
in the US and elsewhere. Corporations and other organizations
(including government agencies) are driven by Core Group needs and
priorities. These are immensely powerful institutions and agencies. But
they exist in a larger society/community which should not be operating
on behalf of Core Groups at all. 

Where is the governance structure that can manage THIS dilemma?  
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #46 of 107: Art Kleiner (art) Tue 2 Mar 04 13:21
    
Re #44: Doug -- fair enough. 

Actually, I have begun to think about the factors that would
constitute Great Core Groups. I name a couple of them at length in the
book -- the "integrated learning base," and the ability to look ahead
50 years.  

There are certainly others. 

Doug, you're forcing me to live up to the courage of my convictions.
There are two routes to an answer. I could  wait until (like Jim
Collins) I've spent $500,000 and five years on an in-depth research
project to determine the results empirically. 

Or I could just say what I believe. 

Not having $500,000 or five years, I guess I've got to do the latter.
ANd I will. Here, even. But not tonight. 

I mean, what qualities DO Great Core Groups have? In your experience?
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #47 of 107: Joe Flower (bbear) Tue 2 Mar 04 14:52
    
There is a fairly straightforward place to start from in judging a great 
organization: A great organization is one that well serves all its 
stakeholders over the long term.

The problem with defining a great core group is quite different and more 
complex. It is almost inescapably tautological: a great core group would be 
one that is extremely good at accomplishing its ends, that is, the goals of 
the people that comprise the core group. So in this sense a great core group 
could be abusive to its environment and destructive to its organization, as 
long as it served its own ends. 

We could, of course, make up values by which to judge it from the outside. 
But that would not be descriptive, it would be normative.
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #48 of 107: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 2 Mar 04 14:56
    

Well, unless you are IN the core group, you don't want to see it be
a parasite.  You want the core group to have symbiosis with the 
organization and the other stakeholders, providing some mutual 
benefit.  (And "great" is normative by definition, of course.)
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #49 of 107: Joe Flower (bbear) Fri 5 Mar 04 10:54
    
Let's go back to strategy, Art. Early on, you said:

>there are at least four groups of people who can get (in my
>opinion) a "so-what" out of this: 
>1. Members of the Core Group (who have huge leverage over the future
>of the organization, if not its present); 
>2. Employees who are not (and probably never will be) in the Core
>Group; 
>3. People who take seriously the idea that the organization must
>change for the better; 
>4. People who want to influence the organization from the outside. 
 
>Each of these has a different strategy to follow.  

So walk us through this: If I were a member of a Core Group in an 
organization, what might I take home from your book? What strategy should I 
follow based on this insight?
  
inkwell.vue.208 : Art Kleiner: Who Really Matters? The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Succes
permalink #50 of 107: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Fri 5 Mar 04 12:12
    
At last I have the book!  You should know I'm just skipping here and
there, so your coherent arguments are still unfamiliar to me.   Feel
free to point me as needed!

re my question, "who doesn't matter?" - yes, initially I was just
vaguely thinking about various "isms", but now I'm realizing there are
two types of potential "not mattering" to be distinguished, and that
separating them maybe starts to get at a lot of the other questions so
far too.  

One is the polarized partner of mattering - the not mattering that
helps define what matters.  (I think a scapegoat would fall into this
category - in a negative way, a scapegoat DOES matter.)   It looks like
your book speaks a lot to this, and also doesn’t presume that there’s
always something profound to the source of the distinctions – the
example of an organization in a ski area where being a non-skiier (or
even a non-natural at it) keeps people out of the core group.

The other is the not mattering that is more like a fish not being
aware of water because it swims in it.   What interests me about that
is the whole thread of “defense of organizations” and <bbear>’s
comments about not being in a core group.   You say,

>Re #43 (David?) -- I think there's a vital difference between
>organizations - where core groups are appropriate -- and
>communities/societies -- where core group dynamics by their nature
are
>probably abusive. 

To me, it seems that perhaps the step of saying that the “decision” is
the crucial defining element for an organization is exactly what
highlights the thing organizations cause not to matter because they are
unaware of it.   An organization is on a trajectory.   (Side
question/comment: maybe if you talk a little about “hive mind” it will
make the book more accessible to people who don’t have it and are
following along.)  An organization is on a trajectory, but there is a
whole realm of work/activity that is cyclic.  It doesn’t have to be
discussed in gender terms, but in some ways, that’s easiest.  The
saying, “a woman’s work is never done,” originally referred to the fact
that as soon as you feed someone, they are already becoming hungry
again; as soon as you clean, dirt is arising; sustaining life is
tending a birth-growth-flowering-seed-decay-renewal cycle.   I wonder
if organizations inherently define cyclic work as “not mattering”?

That whole cycle can be hitched to a trajectory, but, I think the
question lurking around the margins of whether organizations are
dangerous to society, what never wanting to be in an organization is
all about, and the coming crisis you pose in <45>, is, “Do
organizations systematically evolve a consensus that sustaining life
doesn’t matter?”  Do they act as if trajectory can exist without the
background field?  In I Ching terms, “Where is the yin?”
  

More...



Members: Enter the conference to participate

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook