Beyond Conventional Methods: A New Perspective on Organisational Failures

Article 4 of 7-part thought leadership series: Enabling ‘Good’ Innovative Problem Solving for Organisational Sustainability and Success

In this part of our series, we delve into the importance of rethinking our approach to analysing organisational setbacks. Traditional methods have their merits but often don’t capture the full picture of why failures occur. We critique standard practices such as after-the-fact reviews, gathering employee opinions, and relying on performance data, and propose the benefits of using Hartman’s framework for a more thorough analysis.

The Shortcomings of Traditional Analysis Techniques

After-the-Fact Reviews: These analyses are done after a failure and aim to pinpoint the reasons. However, they can be biased by hindsight, leading to a distorted view of events. They usually focus on immediate issues rather than deeper, systemic problems like cultural misfits or value disagreements.

Employee Opinions: Getting input from staff is vital, but it can be limited by their grasp of strategic choices or their openness to share honest thoughts. Fear of negative consequences or the pressure to conform can result in feedback that glosses over significant organisational challenges.

Performance Data: Sole reliance on numbers can offer a misleading narrative. Such metrics often prioritise short-term achievements at the expense of long-term health and may not capture issues such as low morale, ethical breaches, or strategic misalignments. They are also prone to manipulation to appear more positive than reality.

The Benefits of Hartman’s Framework in Diagnosing Organisational Shortfalls

Hartman’s framework, with its Three Dimensions of Value – Intrinsic, Extrinsic, and Systemic, offers a fuller view for analysing organisational failures, revealing deeper insights that traditional methods might overlook.

Intrinsic Dimension: This angle focuses on the human and ethical sides of decisions. Assessing failures through this lens helps leaders recognise how neglecting core values, such as staff welfare or ethical practices, can lead to downfall.

Extrinsic Dimension: This dimension looks at the practical impacts of decisions. It aids in understanding how misaligned objectives, inefficiencies, and a disregard for tangible results can cause negative outcomes.

Systemic Dimension: This involves an organisation’s structures, rules, and norms. Examining failures systemically can expose how outdated or inflexible procedures, weak governance, and misalignment with industry standards might contribute to problems.

Adopting a Comprehensive Approach in Analysing Organisational Challenges

For innovative problem-solving, we must go beyond conventional failure analysis methods. Applying Hartman’s dimensions allows organisations to grasp their failures more deeply. This strategy helps leaders not only to pinpoint immediate issues but also to address the underlying factors related to values, culture, and systemic operations.

As we continue our series, we’ll look at how blending Hartman’s dimensions with problem-solving phases can foster more robust and thriving organisations. This comprehensive approach is crucial not only for understanding past failures but also for averting future ones, ensuring decisions are ethically sound, strategically aligned, and innovative.

Keep an eye out for our next piece, where we’ll explore effective risk management strategies using Hartman’s framework to boost the resilience and sustainability of organisations in the complex modern business landscape.

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