I just finished my very first THiNKaha Book 48 hours after being introduced to the concept. In case you aren’t familiar with THiNKaha (http://thinkaha.com), and the Aha Amplifier (http://AhaAmplifier.com), it’s the brainchild of Thought Leader Architect Mitchell Levy. The books consist of 140 tweet-able quotes on a subject of your choice. Achingly simple and brilliant.
My book is all about organizational change. Before we go down the well-worn Organizational Development path…my perspective on change is heavily influenced (equally) by my work in two areas:
First, the field of Systems and Cybernetics—how organizations and other closed loop systems create their own behavior, and generate their own problems—even without interference from outside influences.
Second, I’m heavily influenced by my early careers in mechanics (I started out life as a motorcycle mechanic) and my four-plus years as an over the road trucker.
Mechanics taught me that there are cause and effect chains, and if you don’t figure out what they are and fix what’s wrong, you spend a lot of time just replacing parts and breaking down—again.
Trucking demonstrated to me that it doesn’t matter so much how you feel personally about things or how they “should” be. There “shouldn’t” have been a snow storm on May 1 that trapped us in Denver. The bottom line is you get the freight where it’s supposed to go, and you collect the money and make sure the check clears.
I started consulting to businesses and teaching cybernetics while I finished my Master’s degree in Cybernetic Systems, and subsequently taught another couple of years, when it was pointed out to me I’d need a PhD to keep doing that. Grinding my teeth, I packed up and went off to SUNY Binghamton and got a degree in Advanced Technology (Systems Science/Industrial Engineering), wrote my dissertation on the (to me) stunning realizations I had about how systems worked and how they played out in the real world. I finally figured out what it took to make a company WORK, and why so many of the don’t, or they work just enough to get by, but it’s painful for all concerned.
About six years ago, I did a series of podcasts called “The Short Version” because I have a short attention span, and want to cut to the chase. I also spent some energy trying to capture the nuggets I’d learned, and give people a glimpse into what became a “whole system” view of organizations.
But in the way a mechanic means a “whole system.” Parts and linkages and operations and chains of causality, like: The fuel mixture ignites, pushes the piston down, turns the crankshaft and through the transmission turns the wheels and propels you forward.
Now, I can go through all the systems mathematics, just like we could talk about physics and calculus as to why the vehicle moves forward (or not).
Or we could identify the parts, find what’s broken and why, and fix it so it goes. Not rocket science. But important.
There are some important pieces to understand about physics—in plain English—to explain the mechanics. No calculus required. That’s the level at which I work with people to understand organizational systems and other “socio-technical” systems that combine people and technology.
Hands down, the most important and difficult thing about organizational systems is that people think they can TALK things (and people) into behaving the way they want them to behave, and ignore the cause and effect chains that actually make things (and people) work—or not. But managers (and others) talk themselves into believing the story they want to tell, the one they want to be true.
Telling the truth, and getting people to hear it through their own mental models is the hardest and most important thing in these situations.
So, the shortest sentences, the fewest words and the most pithy communications (with pictures or short anecdotes) is the way to go, at least to get started.
That’s what’s in the book. Short quotes that help you see the fundamental systems rules…how that plays out in organizations, and how it looks from the mechanic’s eye.
You can’t talk your car out of having blown it’s transmission. Why do you think you can do it with an ailing marketing organization?
So I hope you take a look at the book, and at the brilliantly simple environment that Mitchell has created for readers and authors alike…and find some quotes that give you an Aha about that work situation and how to think different.
Let me know what you think. Happy reading.
P.S. You can read my book at bit.ly/KevinKreitman-Aha01. If you’d like to write your own, please ask me about how easy it is to do, or just go ahead and explore it yourself at this url: https://www.ahathat.com/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kevin Kreitman – Trained in systems, cybernetics and engineering, Dr. Kreitman’s major concern in life is why systems that look like they should work, don’t–and how to design systems that do. Her years as a motorcycle mechanic and over-the-road trucker focused her on the value of “getting the rubber to meet the road.” She has developed unique, insightful, humorous approaches to help organizations tune-up their operations, as well as overhaul them to expand, re-focus, and move into new markets. A sought after speaker and trainer, she is committed to making people and organizations stunningly effective and self-sufficient.
PIthy advice from a highly credible source! THANK YOU, Kevin, for sharing your hard-earned insights with us.