We’ve been asked by many of our customers for periodic, no-nonsense emails with just-in-time information for managers and knowledge workers on how organizations work. This is our 37th issue and we hope you enjoy it. Past editions are available on our website.
What We're Watching
As I watch the debate on healthcare I see a system in place that does not want to change. Systems like the status quo and anything that threatens that receives push- back. As a change management consultant I try to frame change within a systemic perspective. You could read a lot of books about how systems work but there's a better way; watch The Wire.
The title refers to wire-tapping, which is used by the police at various times through the series. While the series centers around the police, this is not a cop show. This is a show that brilliantly explains how and why systems affect behavior of individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.
The Wire played on HBO for five seasons and is now available on DVD.Set in Baltimore, it begins by focusing on the police and legal system fighting the drug trade. As the seasons progress, the inner-city schools, unions, politics, budget issues and the role of the media (newspaper) are brought in as factors of the system. Each piece is connected and you begin to understand why change is so hard. I have never seen a better depiction of how individuals try to change something and how their environment reacts. The character development and writing are so good; you'll forget you are learning something. This series won many awards and deserves a much wider audience.
It's a bit tough to understand the street talk at first, but don't let that discourage you. Start with the first season so you can get the story line. I guarantee you will get hooked. And you will not look at change efforts the same way again. And it might make you subscribe to your local paper to keep a strong press in place!