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MNC Consulting Group Newsletter
November 2013
The Efficient Organization


Out of Chaos


In his 1907 book The Education of Henry Adams, Adams sharply criticizes 19th Century educational theory and practice. Writing that "chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit," his views on formal education as an inert collection of facts suggest that learning must extend beyond the classroom. If education is to be worthwhile, it must "breed life" rather than habit.


Adams' view that "chaos breeds life" is as applicable today as it was a century ago. Whether classrooms, business or personal achievement, it is through chaos that all things thrive.

The lovechild of efficiency, habit directly opposes chaos. In fact, organizations stuck in habit cannot thrive.


But wait a minute! Isn't efficiency an important element of productive and prosperous organizations? Yes, but over-efficiency can be a killer. 


In his book, Driven, Robert Herjavec recounts the story of the U.S. Marine Corps' use of high-speed computers to simulate battles and determine best strategy on the field. The result? The plan failed miserably-not because of the computers or the people involved, but the nature of the battlefield itself. Where computers are linear and logical (i.e., working within established rules), battles between groups are illogical and chaotic.  


Herein lies the quandary: Success in business and in life lies in that "narrow space between stability and disorder."


Organizations that grow do so with minimum rules and maximum opportunities-organizations mired in regulations and habit cannot thrive. And if truth be told, organizations mired in regulations and habits are that way because they don't trust their systems and processes in the first place. They have too much chaos. 


Embracing the chaos that spins creativity into new ideas that helps organizations thrive is for fearless leaders, those who are inspired by the possibilities of chaos. If you fear chaos in your organization, consider getting into a different line of work.


As a footnote to The Education of Henry Adams, the book won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize, after Adams' death. The irony is that no publisher wanted the book while Adams was alive-Adams self-published in 1907. You can read the book here.


Pursuit of Profit
Learning from Failure

Chaos is not for everyone. But everyone needs some chaos to thrive. However, too much chaos, like too much efficiency, is counterproductive. If you encounter too much of one or the other, you are bound for failure.


Let's face it: It is impossible to live without failing at something.  


Failure is not the problem. In fact, it can make individuals or organizations very successful. The key is whether we are able to learn from our failures.


Here are eight considerations for dealing with failure.


  1. Don't dwell on failure. If the first project was not successful, the next one will be better.
  2. Failure is not about the person. It is an event.
  3. Don't aim for perfection-just get it done. Better and better (not necessarily perfection) will come with experience.
  4. Exploit risk. Try something new despite your fear.
  5. Embrace change. It is a sure stepping stone to success.
  6. Get educated. A degree does not guarantee success, but it tends to reduce the incidence of failure.
  7. Surround yourself by knowledgeable people. Those that are smarter than you will help you reach that next level.
  8. Don't fly solo. The most successful companies are those that include key members of their organization in their plans and communicate their plans effectively.


Regardless of failure being a great teacher, most of us do not wish to fail or fail often. Success is more desirable by far.


To achieve more successes than failures, effective planning and execution of the plan are very important. And when the project (or plan) is implemented, evaluation of the implementation is crucial to learn from mistakes.


And in the words of Woody Allen, "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative." 


In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)


Don't give up. Surrender is a sure sign of defeat. Try the same thing differently next time to succeed. Learn from failure. Get inspired by failure. And be successful in everything you set to achieve for yourself. If all else fails, get inspired by TED. IMHO.


"It's fine to celebrate success, but it's more important to heed the lessons of failure."

 Bill Gates

About MNC Consulting Group
Our goal is to help you to dramatically increase efficiencies that immediately boost your profit margins.


ISSN 1925-8941   

Extreme Profits is a monthly electronic newsletter discussing how leaders can be more efficient and areas where organizations can save more money. 


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In This Issue
Out of Chaos
Learning from Failure
In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

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