Coordination Chaos

Why should I care

Every organization declines to Coordination Chaos, unless Leadership knows what to do.


This is serious

Are you powerless in front of silos, confusion, and slowness? Is it difficult even to imagine a better way? Recognizing the signs of Modern Taylorism is both amusing and uncomfortable.

Management thinkers have given their warning. Allen Ward, Konosuke Matsushita, Clausewitz and von Moltke, Joseph Tainter, Chris Argyris and Gary Hamel explain the same pattern from different perspectives. Please check the entertaining video by Yves Morieux of BCG. A continuous stream of articles in management publications brings up the seriousness of the phenomenon.

Nokia Mobile Phones fell from 40 BN revenue and 9 BN profit to zero in five years.

Figure by Christian Sandström

Coordination Chaos was critical in the collapse of R&D productivity. It constrained the strategic decisions of the top management, and contributed to the management by fear.

Root Cause

The logic behind Coordination Chaos.

Specialization to Role, Function, Task, or a Technical Component seems to work. Unfortunately, it by definition creates a fragmented organization, queues, uncontrolled growth, heavy coordination - and Waterfall processes. You can manage them only in a slowly changing environment.

Systems Thinking shows beautifully, how everyday decisions of the management kill learning and grow the fragmented organization.

Please see also Bas Vodde explaining the danger of asynchronous dependencies and how to avoid them.

Control Mechanisms in Organizations explain how Bureaucracy grows inevitably in a fragmented organization. How can you avoid the Tayloristic trap of "Define better roles and responsibilities"?

The key is how to split a large whole into smaller well-functioning wholes.

Actionable Fearless Leadership

Build feedback mechanisms into the system.

Top management wants to build an optimally functioning and robust organization. In-built feedback systems enable empowered people to autonomously manage and improve their work.

Culture follows structure. LeSS, Large-Scale Scrum provides experience-based wisdom about changing the structures and culture.

Please get started at the Certified Less Practitioner course.

Actionable Fearless Leadership builds three feedback mechanisms in the organization, for technology, customer and the socio-technical system itself. Actions based on fast and direct feedback are effective.

Every senior person in the organization is a leader and change coach. They provide understanding about how and why the system works, on the spot when new situations emerge and clarity is needed.

You are the Fearless Leader. Check how we can support you in building the Culture of Learning.