Remember when…?

Dear Drone – My company, like many companies, introduces new processes and programs all the time. Huge time and money are spent researching, training employees, setting up technology and generally changing everything we do to accommodate this new process. Then, after a few weeks or months, they decide it wasn’t a good idea and pull the plug. All this is common, I would think…I do things at home that I think will be a good idea, only to find out that they’re not…no biggy. The problem is that a year will pass…maybe two…and someone will suggest EXACTLY the same change again! No one will mention that “hey, we’ve done this a few times already and it never works”, so we make all the changes again, only to bail on it a few months in. So, WTF…are corporations really this idiotic? — Rat on a Wheel

Dear Rat – Ahhh…the fun of Organizational Memory! Unfortunately, most organizations are the equivalent of a late-stage Alzheimer’s patient: well-meaning, but really unable to remember what they had for breakfast anytime before 1960.

Here’s my advice for this rampant clueless-ness. Be a more positive version of Chicken Little, as often as possible, although not in that bitter ‘I’ve worked here too long’ sort of way that’s so tempting for so many of us. Otherwise, you get written off as a whiner and that’s not good for anyone.

Instead, ask who has the results of the lessons learned meetings from the last time. The slightly passive-aggressive point here is that you are ASSUMING that there were lessons learned meetings and are ASSUMING that someone from this current ‘new’ plan has reviewed those for pitfalls and potholes on the path to success.

Stay positive, and just keep asking the right questions: “Gosh, I’m really excited that we get to try this again because it seemed to have such promise last time. I know from last time that we had all these connectivity problems that got in the way, tell me again who’s using the lessons learned information to make sure that doesn’t happen again?”.

In the meantime, we’ll all cross our fingers for some improvement in organizational memory. Imagine what it would be like if someone actually trotted out the results from the last failed attempt and squashed a project before money and time were wasted! Ahhh…nirvana….


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.