Basically, no one is in charge

by Jon Thompson on May 24, 2009

It is really hot in Rome today. Summer has arrived in full force and I am sure it will get even worse. I am thinking that an AC unit might be needed if we are going to make it through the summer. I just joined a gym not far from my place that has a fantastic pool and after doing some laps this morning I am looking forward to heading back over there after the sun drops a little more. I am really getting to like the Italian tradition of just laying low on Sundays and I no longer feel guilty about spending the day reading, catching up on correspondence and (finally) writing another blog post. Thankfully, this post will be short and sweet.

I love this picture:


I know it is about as sexy as a piece of dried salt cod but for me shows the difference between how we think things function and how they actually function.  Basically, no one is in charge.  Well, ok, it looks like Cole is kind of important but in Rob Cross’ Organizational Network Analysis summary it turns out that Cole is some mid-level guy that just happens to be sort of important.  (How did I get here? I follow @timoreilly who follows @kanter who writes Beth’s Blog that has this story that featured Rob Cross.)

We spend so much time trying to tighten up and streamline structures that just don’t exist anymore, except for on paper, and we forget that our job is actually to spend our time making sure the world keeps turning.  It struck me that in so many businesses and organizations no one has any idea what they are doing.  We are all just technically proficient and there are so few people that can effectively orchestrate these proficiencies that we all just end up doing our best.  While not a new concept I always feel better for a while after each time I have this epiphany.

What I really like about this image is that if you stare at the diagram on the right long enough you realize it looks like a microblog, it looks like Twitter.  How messed up is that?  It doesn’t look like Facebook (actually, I have no idea what Facebook looks like because I hate it) and it doesn’t look like email, chat, etc.  What it does look like (at least to my heatstroked mind) is Twitter.

While I don’t think I am going to get a bunch of WTF!?’s because nobody is really reading my blog anymore and I will probably lose a few readers I also just might get you to add me to your Bookmark Toolbar if you are also feeling slightly bonkers today.  In any event please let me know what you think about my observation and whether or not you agree with me.

Personally, I think it is just fine that no one is in charge and that we’re all just winging it. We’ll get there eventually but first let’s see if Twitter can figure out what to do with their data.  That might give us some idea as to how get to where we’re going.

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