Challenging The Status Quo
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I've been teaching systems design for over thirty years now
and the mechanics for such work is fairly simple and straightforward. However,
as I've told my students, the Achilles' heel to systems work is not in design,
but rather in implementation. I've seen some truly wondrous systems fail, not
because of any serious design flaw but due to a general failure to recognize the
new system's impact on the status quo.
Changing the status quo of anything is not a simple task,
primarily because people are creatures of habit and form allegiances to the
processes and tools they use to perform their work. Further, there is a tendency
to develop a protectionist attitude by those who may view a change as an
infringement of a corporate or political fiefdom, something that will be
The one inescapable fact remains though is, "If anything
in life is constant, it is change" (Bryce's Law). We change for a variety of
reasons, e.g., economics, competition, politics, society, technology, legal, or
due to government regulations. Change is simply a fact of life. We may either
embrace change or stubbornly resist it, but ignoring it won't make it go away.
It is our duty, therefore, to challenge the status quo in
order to evolve and improve, which is something we must admonish our youth to
perpetuate. This does not mean we should change something simply for the sake of
change, which would be madness, but we should strive to seek new and improved
solutions so we can serve our customers or constituents better. For example, we
cannot escape certain laws and rules, such as those found in math and physics,
but we should certainly explore new ways for implementing them.
This means we must reserve the right to question and discuss.
Banning such discourse is like sticking your head in the sand. After discussion
though, if the status quo is still a sound and viable solution, fine, then it
should remain unaltered. If not, it should be modified and improved accordingly
(assuming it is cost justifiable to do so).
Regardless if a change is justified or not, be prepared to
ruffle feathers when implementing it. As Machiavalli correctly observed in "The
"It must be remembered that there is nothing more
difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than
the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would
profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders
in those who would gain by the new ones."
Just remember, progress is arrested when we surrender to the
status quo, that we no longer strive to exceed it. That would indeed be a sad
day. Stagnation is not an option.
Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant located
in Palm Harbor, Florida.
He can be contacted at:
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-09-03 12:57:12 in Personal Articles