sábado, setembro 23, 2017

O top-down é uma doença

Quinta-feira à noite enquanto conduzia ouvia este artigo, "O palavrão que vai trazer o futuro às empresas já" e não consegui chegar ao fim horrorizado com o grau de visão top-down tão ao estilo de o Grande Planeador.

Primeiro, o benchmarking com a Alemanha. Portugal não é a Alemanha! O que funciona na Alemanha provavelmente não será adequado para a realidade portuguesa.

Segundo, as empresas não devem mergulhar na Indústria 4.0 só porque está na moda ou há dinheiro público para torrar. As empresas têm ambições, as empresas têm desafios, as empresas têm problemas e constrangimentos e, a Indústria 4.0 pode ajudar quando surgir como uma resposta a desafios/problemas concretos não como algo de intrinsecamente bom independentemente das empresas e da sua orientação estratégica.

A melhoria não começa porque alguém resolve planear uma melhoria, esqueçam o velho PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act). A melhoria começam quando se compara o real com o desejado e se resolve mudar (CAPD) (Check-Act-Plan-Do). Recordo Scott Berkun:
"We didn't need a Department of Innovation to achieve the greatest technological achievement in human history: putting a man on the moon. We did create NASA, but its goal was not the vague and distracting mandate to "promote innovation", but to solve a specific set of problems, problems so hard that they demanded a huge amount of innovation."
Ou "For Successful Social Innovation, Start With The Problem, Not The Solution":

  1. "Start with the problem, not the solution. If you start with a solution, it may not actually solve the problem.
  2. Identify the “binding constraint” that is causing the problem. Be careful of coming up with a solution that doesn’t actually remove that constraint.
  3. Work with the user. We think we know what is best, but then we get it wrong. Listen to them and co-create a solution."

Visão sem acção não é mais que fantasia

Sinto que provavelmente padeço desta doença:
Para quem tem um martelo, ou sabe usar um martelo, todos os problemas são pregos.

Ao assistir a uma tertúlia/debate ouvem-se muitos argumentos, ouvem-se ideias interessantes mas no fim arruma-se a trouxa e a realidade continua na mesma.

Às vezes esses debates descambam para o pensamento de que Portugal é assim desde há não sei quantos séculos e não há volta a dar.

Quando trabalho com empresas, muitas delas PME, os empresários até podem apreciar algum nível de diagnóstico mas querem é acção, querem é mudar a realidade.

Uma PME consegue mudar a realidade?

Sozinha não, mas com a ajuda de um ecossistema e com o critério de sucesso do engenheiro, funciona o suficiente para ser útil, consegue mudar a realidade que lhe interessa ou onde está inserida.

Por isso, ao voltar a "Strategy for a networked world":
"For strategists, it is not only important that the key attention in VCS is the configuring offering (as it sets out the relations or interactions), not the actors; but also that these are designed and enacted over time
...
the strategist must have a broad view on who are relevant actors and must explore how they interact. A lesson from Actor Network Theory is moreover that, even though the strategist can aim at orchestrating a VCS, the VCS can never be fully controlled" 
Começo a pensar na aplicação da Actor Network Theory para desenhar um sistema (VCS) que junte n actores diferentes numa rede de interacções que se torne auto-sustentável e promova a mudança que queremos ver na realidade.

O velho provérbio japonês:
"Visão sem acção não é mais que fantasia,acção sem visão é apenas um pesadelo"
Sem este salto, um dia acontecerá o "bardamerda tertúlias/debates"

Salário mínimo - what else?

Quando um mercado está comoditizado, quando há um excesso de oferta face à procura, qual é a primeira regra que os incumbentes poderosos seguem?

Conluiarem-se com os governos para criarem barreiras à entrada ou à permanência dos concorrentes mais pequenos. Em vez de comprarem esses concorrentes, em vez de subirem na escala de valor, em vez de melhorarem face a esses concorrentes, em vez de seduzirem melhor os clientes... pedem coisas como estas: "Patrão da Jerónimo Martins quer “salário mínimo muito mais alto”".

Claro que esses mais pequenos, se tiverem pensamento estratégico, ultrapassam a dificuldade extra do salário mínimo mais alto. No entanto, a maioria não tem capacidade para subir na escala de abstracção para perceber o que está a acontecer e que alternativas tem. Por isso, apostam no que é intuitivo, no que é mais rápido, mais eficiência e menos interacção ... e quinam.

Este senhor sabe muito, dá a mão ao governo, coisa fantástica em Portugal para obter benesses, fica bem na opinião pública, esses sapos que gostam de ser cozinhados em lume brando, e elimina concorrentes.




sexta-feira, setembro 22, 2017

Os pescadores não são a Santa Casa da Misericórdia

A propósito de "Pescadores ganham mais com menos peixe" repito o que costumo escrever para os agricultores.

O papel dos pescadores não é alimentarem o mundo, não são a Santa Casa da Misericórdia ponto. O papel dos pescadores é ganharem a sua vida ponto.

Por isso:
"O preço médio por quilo do pescado vendido em lota subiu 6,2% nos primeiros oito meses de 2017 face a igual período do ano anterior, tendo passado de 2,01 para 2,13 euros.
.
Segundo a Docapesca, que gere 47 lotas e postos de venda, "esta valorização do pescado permitiu aos pescadores melhorar o rendimento face a 2016, apesar da redução do volume capturado de 66,2 para 64,3 mil toneladas, menos 2,8%".
.
No global, o peixe comercializado nos primeiros oito meses do ano fixou-se em 137,2 milhões de euros, o que se traduz num crescimento de 3,3% por comparação com os 132,9 milhões de 2016."
Num mundo onde se chegou ao fim da fronteira, em que já não há mais fronteira, tem de se perceber que o objectivo não deve ser atingido simplesmente à custa de vender mais e mais quantidade, mas à custa da subida na escala de valor.

Oportunidade ou ameaça?

Para quem, seguindo que orientação estratégica, isto, "Nike’s New Recycled Leather Shoes Look Like They Were Made From The Real Thing" é uma oportunidade, e para quem, seguindo que orientação estratégica, é uma ameaça?

O que seria necessário para isto ser uma oportunidade, ou uma ameaça?

instead of going high-touch...

"On a more fundamental level, the challenge for retailers like Toys “R” Us is that the basic function of a physical location has changed. Traditionally, stores were optimized for driving transactions. Cash registers were plentiful and easy to find, and success was measured with metrics like sales per square foot and average size of transaction.
.
Yet now a transaction can happen anyplace, at any time. From sitting at the kitchen table to waiting for a train, consumers have the power to browse, compare prices, and order from thousands of retailers competing for their attention. The attraction of endless aisles has been replaced by the thrill of instant gratification. Today physical locations need to do something more.
...
A more interesting development — one more pertinent to the challenges Toys “R” Us is facing — is the emergence of “shoppable showrooms.” At places like Bonobos Guide Shops and J. Hilburn’s “The Studio,” customers can get fitted, consult a stylist, and process returns, just like in a standard store, but these locations don’t stock any inventory, which allows for smaller locations and saves on costs. Nordstrom is now testing a similar concept.
.
Imagine if Toys “R” Us followed this model by opening up small playrooms where parents could bring their kids off to test a revolving selection of the latest toys. You can imagine how their little darlings would be begging them to order the toy that had delighted them for the past hour. With traditional physical locations serving as a distribution center, same-day delivery could be arranged at minimal cost.
.
Yet instead of going high-touch, [Moi ici: Em cheio para quem aprecio o poder das interacçõesToys “R” Us has opted for high-tech, rolling out new features like Find It Fast, to let customers see which stores had which toys, and using the loyalty program for better targeted ads and better product life cycle management. None of these ideas are necessarily bad, but they fail to address the shifting economics of retail. Rather, they seek to optimize a failing model."
O mesmo tsunami que varreu o jornalismo e a mesma resposta baseada na comoditização, baseada na corrida para o fundo, e que não resulta.

Trechos retirados de "Toys ‘R’ Us Is Dead, but Physical Retail Isn’t"

quinta-feira, setembro 21, 2017

"despedir é sempre resultado de uma maldade ou de preguiça da gestão" (parte VII)

Parte VI.

O que dizer da provocação, para muitos, deste título, "As Your Company Evolves, What Happens to Employees Who Don’t?"?
"When companies evolve at a rapid pace, often people cannot keep up. Some individuals who fit our company in its infancy became a weaker fit over time. They may have had difficulty keeping up with our company’s growth rate and the requirements of their evolving roles.
.
Often, I doubled down on an untenable position to keep an employee on because I didn’t understand how much harm the wrong fit could cause — especially when a person had been with us for so long."
O trecho que se segue faz-me recordar o caso concreto de uma empresa que recusava retirar um trabalhador que gerava reclamações, por causa de defeitos no produto em que tocava, porque não tinha posto alternativo para o colocar e não o queria despedir por causa da lealdade mostrada ao longo dos anos:
"People and the needs they fulfill evolve constantly, especially in small companies that grow very quickly. A good fit isn’t just about putting the right person in the right seat, but about putting them there at the right time.
.
One of the things that separates good leaders from great ones is the ability to recognize when those three factors are out of alignment and to act upon that information, particularly in the case of a loyal, long-term employee."
Postura louvável em termos humanos, por parte da gerência, mas depois não me venham falar de produtividade baixa.

Any efficiency measure applied relentlessly ...

Não tenho tido tempo para pesquisar informação sobre o que está na raiz do problema actual da Ryanair.

No entanto, no Twitter chamaram-me a atenção para Outubro de 2015:


Entretanto, na passada terça-feira numa empresa recordei o exemplo dos nabateus por contraponto com o fragilismo do esticar demasiado a corda com sistemas com respostas côncavas:
"Any efficiency measure applied relentlessly ultimately becomes inefficient."
Hoje, apanho estes textos de Seth Godin:

Claro que a minha proposta é outra:
"As a valuable contributor seeking to build a career, you benefit when you develop a unique asset, because that asset gives you the leverage to choose a niche in a system that respects optimization instead."

O poder da interacção para lidar para com o desconhecido

Mais do que o Big Data, apostar na interacção:
"As opposed to “complicated” systems, where (a) components and and variables, (b) their dimensions, and (c) their purpose in a given system are known; "complex" systems are those in which one or more of (a), (b), and/or (c) is not known.
.
Managing complex systems thus requires managing ignorance, which may even include the system's objectives
...
One way to address the ignorance that complexity entails is to “engage" counterparts with whom one co-addresses this ignorance. Such engagement connects the managers of these organisations together, … In “engaging with” (as opposed to one actively studying and the "other" being a passively studied), both parties co-explore something as well as each other and each other's way of engaging. In working together, they discover how the differences of how each would engage alone, and when compared, can help each party to ascertain the blind spots it would otherwise keep about a given issue.
...
In the management of this multi-relations and multi-role complexity, it must never be forgotten that counterparts themselves have their own agendas."
Trechos retirados de "Strategy for a Networked World" de Ramírez & Mannervik.

quarta-feira, setembro 20, 2017

"Build from your strengths"

"In their efforts to compete, business strategists often forget a basic principle: Build from your strengths. The most successful companies have a clear, well-articulated view of what's important to them and their customers. They understand that the way to win consistently is through what they do rather than what they sell.
.
These companies also understand that “what they do” is unique to them; they have their own capabilities and practices that no other company could quite duplicate, even if it tried. In that sense, building from your strengths is the most reliable way we have found to differentiate your company.
.
This advice is easy to state and difficult to follow — not just in business, but in every aspect of human endeavor. Focusing on what you are great at doing is intuitively compelling, but few companies drive their strategy this way. It’s too easy to get caught up in chasing what others do — fixing the inevitably long list of weaknesses in your company, or seeking out what’s new in a world of change.
.
But when you understand what you’re great at, and design your capabilities and strategy accordingly, you can define how you want to compete, and shape your own future rather than waiting for others to do it for you."
Lembrei-me logo de Youngme Moon e "Different"


Trecho retirado de "Design for Your Strengths"

Batota e modelos de negócio

"it has been found that business models cannot be static.
...
business models can be conceived as a set of relations and feedback loops between variables and their consequences, and recommend that strategic management should aim at developing these to create virtuous cycles, leading to an evolution of the business model.
...
it has been argued that business models cannot be anticipated fully in advance and that they rather must be learned over time through experimentation. Such experimentation could lead to business model innovation through trial-and-error learning. In line with these findings, one capability we identify as critical for fuelling business model change is to identify, experiment with and exploit new business opportunities.
...
business models can generate virtuous cycles e positive feedback loops that would strengthen parts of the model over time. They consider such virtuous cycles to be crucial elements in successful business model operation, and thereby suggest that different aspects of managing business models can reinforce their consequences. Similar to their conceptualization, we found in our study that the strategizing actions together with the critical capabilities worked as complementarities, meaning that in combination these elements fuel more sustained value creation through successful business model change over time.
...
The role of strategic management is then to develop such virtuous cycles."

Como não pensar no papel da batota. Tomar consciência do que está a funcionar e forçar a nota.


Trechos retirados de "Dynamics of Business Models e Strategizing, Critical Capabilities and Activities for Sustained Value Creation" de Leona Achtenhagen, Leif Melin & Lucia Naldi, publicado por Long Range Planning (2013).


Subir na escala de valor

"O melhor vinho branco do mundo é português"

Subir na escala de valor passa também por acções deste tipo.

Em vez de confiar apenas no gosto dos clientes trabalhar para desenvolver relações com outros actores do ecossistema. Estes jurados juntos funcionam como influenciadores dos potenciais compradores.

Ao mesmo tempo este activismo que destrói sistemas de criação de valor genuíno: "CDS-PP Madeira pede que Governo Regional apoie os viticultores em mais 0,40€".

Como é possível escrever estas coisas:
"por os viticultores “produzirem a matéria-prima para um produto genuíno e mundialmente reconhecido pela qualidade”"
Tão reconhecido que precisa de apoios...

terça-feira, setembro 19, 2017

We are all weird, and proud of it

Ainda me lembro de sair de casa por volta das 19h, já era noite de Outono de 2011, para correr a ouvir o livro "We are all weird" de Seth Godin. Logo escrevi "We Are All Weird - Um manifesto sobre Mongo".

Ao ler este texto de Seth Godin, "Beware of false averages", como não recordar com ironia os fantasmas estatísticos tão típicos do século XX e, sobretudo, sonhar com a esperança de um futuro baseado na metáfora de Mongo e na explosão de tribos.

As interacções como a base para a criação de valor

"As business becomes more system-like with "business ecosystems ("BE") ... becoming the norm and  not the exception, value and its production requires more system-like, networked, and emergent conceptual frameworks.
...
In the strategy frame we use in this book, we place interactivity as the focus for where value is created and assessed. Interactivity is, of course, also a major source of risk as well of value.
...
Our argument is that this central concern with the interactivity that has become so ubiquitous inescapably leads strategists to rethink value creation and strategy.
...
Attending interactivity also involves thinking of value as contingent, always located in a setting - no longer as isolated in things or individuals or groups - and dependent on those whom it connects and who co-create it as well as in termos of those it affects positively or negatively.
...
patterns of interactivity that enable the production or co-creation of value and values arise or can be designed.[Moi ici: Aquela situação da empresa que toma consciência que está bem e pretende perceber porquê, para fazer batota!!!]
...
So perceived patterns of interactivity do not therefore require any intentional design on the part of any particular actor, though they might arise in part because of such intent - and often do arise in this manner in business.
...
the notion of value arises for the strategist when one takes the perspective of an actor within a pattern of interaction.
...
how actors choose which interactions to privilege over others, and how they relate one interaction to another.[Moi ici: Como não recordar tantos postais deste blogue, como estes de 20072012, 2013 e 2014]
.
An organization's managers express its intents - and thus its values - by configuring interactions to establish (more or less) continuing patterns of activity with other actors. Are interactions with employees more important than those with customers? are interactions with shareholders more important than those with employees? For which of these interactions is the strategy primary constructed? These senior managers take views on what possibilities for value co-creation their organization is providing for which actors, and make choices that reflect and reinforce their values.
...
We consider this configuring of interactions as a design activity. We use the term Value Creating System (VCS) for the pattern of interactions intentionally configured by the strategic planning carried out by an organization. The designed interactions become manifested as "designed" offerings.
...
if the key to creating value is to design and co-create configuring offerings that mobilize others (who may have the role in the interaction of customer or supplier or partner or employee or investor, etc.) to co-create value, then a key source of success is to conceive the VCS and make it work.
...
value is not simply "added", but is mutually "created" and "recreated" among actors with different values. These multiple values are "reconciled" or "combined" in co-creating value, and as we shall see bellow, cannot be reduced to a single metric, like the price of a commodity.
...
We characterise VCS as designed activities that are part of much broader business ecosystems or business ecologies ("BE")
...
we consider strategy as entailing reconfiguring roles, actions and interactions among economic actors through designed configuring offerings that result in a given VCS.
...
In co-creation, it is the co-created offerings and the relationships these manifest, not the "business unit" actor, which becomes the central unit of (competitive and collaborative) strategic analysis.
...
Designing co-creation requires the strategist having the role of ascertaining and ideally defining the engagement and the dialogue that underpins designing novel and distinctive value creation."
Trechos retirados de "Strategy in a Networked World" de Ramírez & Mannervik.

BTW, como não recordar Storbacka e Nenonen:



O contexto tem muita força (parte XV)

 Parte I, parte II, parte IIIparte IVparte Vparte VIparte VIIparte VIIIparte IXparte Xparte XIparte XIIparte XIII e parte XIV.


"Many companies do a good job of analyzing and planning for competitive risks, such as new market entrants or the threat of substitution, but they give only pro forma attention to noncompetitive uncertainties, including cybersecurity, natural disasters, and geopolitical risk—even though the impact of these events can be immediate and catastrophic. And herein lies the proverbial problem and opportunity. The problem for companies—and sometimes also economies and societies—is what to do and how to react when things go awry (as they inevitably will) and there is no plan in place."
A importância do contexto. Agora imaginem quando uma empresa é liderada por fragilistas... olha! Veio-me à mente a recordação do "He puffed, and puffed and puffed one last time."

Trecho retirado de "Taking Advantage of Risk"


segunda-feira, setembro 18, 2017

Curiosidade do dia

"Juros da dívida portuguesa a cair para mínimos desde o final de 2015"

Quer isto dizer que se perderam quase dois anos?

Futurizar

""A crescente automatização de processos gera necessidades de pesados investimentos em processos produtivos que, para serem rentabilizados, exigem taxas de ocupação elevadas, no limite tendendo para a laboração contínua."
Mas Mongo não vai nesta direcção, Mongo é diversidade, flexibilidade, rapidez, irregularidade.

De um lado um exército clássico do outro uma célula da Al-Qaeda.

Mais tarde ou mais cedo as limitações do modelo (que impõem estas restrições de quantidade) vão gerar oportunidades para organizações tipo-Local Motors e quiçá, se os governos não continuarem prisioneiros das corporações, a uma réplica do que aconteceu com a explosão da cerveja artesanal.

Trecho retirado de "Fabricantes advertem que sucesso do setor automóvel depende de ganhos de produtividade"

BTW, a seu tempo veremos pedidos de apoio para os contribuintes, via Estado, apoiarem estas empresas a montarem represas para atrasar a sua inevitável derrocada/reformulação porque os seus clientes terão desaparecido e as Local Motors preferirão fornecedores mais pequenos.

"Work is interaction"

O marcador "interacção" regista a importância que ao longo dos anos dedico ao poder da interacção como fundamental para a co-criação de valor e diferenciação. Algo que agora encontro em "Strategy for a networked world" de Ramírez & Mannervik.
"The system of skills and responsibilities has been made on the assumption that all that has to be done can be known or forecasted with efficiency and insight.
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In mass-production, work corresponds mainly with what has been planned. But today, in more contextual problem solving, work corresponds mainly with complex engagement with the customer.
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Instead of skills the focus changes to contextual relevance. The most modern definition of work is “an exchange in which the participants benefit from the interaction”. Interestingly, cooperation is also described as “an exchange in which the participants benefit from the interaction”.
...
Due to the variety of contexts, work requires interpretation, exploration and negotiation. The interpreter is the worker together with the customer, not a manager.[Moi ici: Como não sorrir ironicamente dos morons que se ajoelham perante o bezerro da eficiência e acham que um bot é capaz de co-criar arte com um humano...]
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What defines most problems today is that they are not isolated and independent but connected and systemic. To solve them, a person has to think not only about what he believes the right answer is, but also about what other people think the right answers might be. Work, then, is exploration both what comes to defining the problems and finding the solutions.
.
Most decision makers are still unaware of the implications of the complex, responsive properties of the world we live in. Enterprises are not organized to facilitate management of interactions, only the actions of parts taken separately. Even more, compensation structures normally rewards improving the actions of parts, not their interactions.
...
To succeed in the new economic spaces we need symmetric relationships and open organizations. When customers are identified as individuals in different use contexts, also the sales process is really a joint process of solving problems. You and your customer necessarily then become cooperators. You are together trying to solve the customer’s problem in a way that both satisfies the customer and ensures a profit for you.
...
The industrial make-and-sell model required (explicit) skills as we still know them. The decisive thing was your individual knowledge and individual education. Today, in new economic spaces you work more from your network than your skills. The decisive thing is your network. Work is interaction."
Trechos retirados de "Rethinking skills and responsibility"

O que é um concorrente em Mongo? (parte II)

Parte I.

Agora acabo de ler estes trechos de "Geographic Patterns of Craft Breweries at the Intraurban Scale" de Isabelle Nilsson, Neil Reid & Matthew Lehnert, publicado por The Professional Geographer.
"The emergence, growth, and success of the craft brewing industry are a David versus Goliath story.
...
as an industry takes on an oligopolistic structure, it often produces an increasingly homogeneous product (American pale lager) that depends on economies of scale in production, marketing, and distribution to perpetuate its success. Although American pale lager has historically satisfied the palates of most Americans, there emerged a growing segment of the population that preferred craft beer. Craft beer drinkers prefer craft over mass-produced beer for a number of reasons, including its greater variety in terms of styles and flavors; the independent, local, and small-scale nature of craft breweries; and the innovative nature of the industry, which means that there are always new beers to sample. The growing popularity of locally produced craft beer mirrors what has happened in other food- and drink-related sectors; witness the increasing number of farmers markets and wineries across the country.
...
Early craft beer drinkers have been referred to as insurgents or rebels, who identified a “hot cause”—a desire for more choice in terms of taste, quality, and styles of beer. Hot causes, however, require “cool mobilization”; that is, someone must engage in actions that challenge the status quo and turn desire into reality.
...
Home brewing clubs provided a venue where individuals could hone their skills, experiment with new recipes, and share ideas with fellow enthusiasts. The clubs were critical in developing the culture of collaboration that is a cornerstone of the industry today. They also became the places where the seeds of revolution were sown, a revolution that manifest itself when, one by one, some home brewers decided to commercialize their hobby. Collaboration was particularly valuable for the early home and commercial craft brewers, as there existed only a small number of books on the brewing process. Hence, home brewing clubs became places where knowledge was traded and collective learning occurred. Home brewing clubs were akin to communities of practice. They were also places where tacit knowledge, such as demonstrating how to make and use brewing equipment, was exchanged."
Quando ontem à noite em "Strategy For a Networked World" de Ramírez & Mannervik li:
"Collaboration is at Least as Important as Competition
...
in the VCS aproach to strategy, collaboration is at least as important as competition. The decisive strength lies in how well the interactions within the VCS enable values to be co-created, i.e. on how well the actors collaborate, and how capable they are to attract and keep actors to collaborate with. This means that the roles they are offered in a VCS have to be attractive.
...
It follows that the ability to invite, interest, enroll, and mobilize others into one's VCS is more important than focusing on competing with opponents who provide similar products or services and have designed competing VCS.
...
competing organizations also can engage each other in collaboration to achieve a common value.
...
Collaboration helps the pie to get bigger for everyone; competition is about what size of a given pie one might take.[Moi ici: Este trecho é certeiro!]
...
The VCS framework invites and allows a focus on how to come together to "make the pie bigger", enabling better, and more varied types of value to be co-created among actors, by actors, and with and for other actors - jointly."
E:
"In a networked world, co-designed configuring offerings imply that strategy is as important in terms of collaborative advantage as it is in terms of competitive advantage - perhaps even more so. It is a world of business where those who design offerings with others create better design and value than others who do not collaborate in the designing."

domingo, setembro 17, 2017

Curiosidade do dia

"the trajectory of his interests can be traced in the titles of his books, from “The Moral Economy of the Peasant” to “The Art of Not Being Governed.” His best-known book, “Seeing Like a State,” has become a touchstone for political scientists, and amounts to a blistering critique of central planning and “high modernism,” the idea that officials at the center of a state know better than the people they are governing.
...
Scott argues that a state’s interests and the interests of subjects are often not just different but opposite.
...
Scott says, is that there is a crucial, direct link between the cultivation of cereal crops and the birth of the first states. It’s not that cereal grains were humankind’s only staples; it’s just that they were the only ones that encouraged the formation of states. “History records no cassava states, no sago, yam, taro, plantain, breadfruit or sweet potato states,” he writes. What was so special about grains? The answer will make sense to anyone who has ever filled out a Form 1040: grain, unlike other crops, is easy to tax. Some crops (potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava) are buried and so can be hidden from the tax collector, and, even if discovered, they must be dug up individually and laboriously. Other crops (notably, legumes) ripen at different intervals, or yield harvests throughout a growing season rather than along a fixed trajectory of unripe to ripe—in other words, the taxman can’t come once and get his proper due. Only grains are, in Scott’s words, “visible, divisible, assessable, storable, transportable, and ‘rationable.’ ” Other crops have some of these advantages, but only cereal grains have them all, and so grain became “the main food starch, the unit of taxation in kind, and the basis for a hegemonic agrarian calendar.” The taxman can come, assess the fields, set a level of tax, then come back and make sure he’s got his share of the harvest.
...
It was the ability to tax and to extract a surplus from the produce of agriculture that, in Scott’s account, led to the birth of the state, and also to the creation of complex societies with hierarchies, division of labor, specialist jobs (soldier, priest, servant, administrator), and an élite presiding over them. Because the new states required huge amounts of manual work to irrigate the cereal crops, they also required forms of forced labor, including slavery; because the easiest way to find slaves was to capture them, the states had a new propensity for waging war.
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War, slavery, rule by élites—all were made easier by another new technology of control: writing. “It is virtually impossible to conceive of even the earliest states without a systematic technology of numerical record keeping,” Scott maintains. All the good things we associate with writing—its use for culture and entertainment and communication and collective memory—were some distance in the future. For half a thousand years after its invention, in Mesopotamia, writing was used exclusively for bookkeeping: “the massive effort through a system of notation to make a society, its manpower, and its production legible to its rulers and temple officials, and to extract grain and labor from it."
Trechos retirados de "How Civilization Started"

Sorrio com ironia - go ahed morons (parte II)

Já depois de ter escrito a parte I dou de caras com este artigo, "The Tragic Crash of Flight AF447 Shows the Unlikely but Catastrophic Consequences of Automation":
"Our research, recently published in Organization Science, examines how automation can limit pilots’ abilities to respond to such incidents, as becoming more dependent on technology can erode basic cognitive skills.
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Automation provides massive data-processing capacity and consistency of response. However, it can also interfere with pilots’ basic cycle of planning, doing, checking, and acting, which is fundamental to control and learning. If it results in less active monitoring and hands-on engagement, pilots’ situational awareness and capacity to improvise when faced with unexpected, unfamiliar events may decrease. This erosion may lie hidden until human intervention is required, for example when technology malfunctions or encounters conditions it doesn’t recognize and can’t process.
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This idea – that the same technology that allows systems to be efficient and largely error-free also creates systemic vulnerabilities that result in occasional catastrophes – is termed “the paradox of almost totally safe systems.” This paradox has implications for technology deployment in many organizations, not only safety-critical ones.
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As automation has increased in complexity and sophistication, so have the conditions under which such handovers are likely to occur. Is it reasonable to expect startled and possibly out-of-practice humans to be able to instantaneously diagnose and respond to problems that are complex enough to fool the technology? This issue will only become more pertinent as automation further pervades our lives, for example as autonomous vehicles are introduced to our roads.
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Organizations must now consider the interplay of different types of risk. More automation reduces the risk of human errors, most of the time, as shown by aviation’s excellent and improving safety record. But automation also leads to the subtle erosion of cognitive abilities that may only manifest themselves in extreme and unusual situations."
E embora use essa metáfora muitas vezes, liderar uma empresa não é escolher um destino e um caminho. Durante a viagem o destino ou o caminho podem deixar de fazer sentido.

Processos são fluxo, são caudal


Duas empresas em que estou a trabalhar actualmente, e que pertencem a sectores económicos diferentes em cidades diferentes, identificaram como o seu problema principal a falta de um processo estruturado.

No livro "Balanced Scorecard - Concentrar uma organização no que é essencial" uso a metáfora de uma rua para ilustrar a importância dos processos para o fluxo do trabalho, comparando a moderna Avenida da Boavista no Porto, uma estrada larga e recta, com a Rua do Bonjardim, uma rua pré-Marquês de Pombal, cheia de curvas, constrangimentos e irregularidades.

Na consultoria e formação uso a metáfora do fluxo, do caudal:
"(processos são fluxo, são caudal, são vontade de cumprir um desígnio, são horizontalidade" (fonte)
"A versão obsoleta da ISO 9000, a de 2000, define processo como: “conjunto de actividades interrelacionadas e inter actuantes que transformam entradas em saídas”, não tem nada a ver com papeis, é acção, é transformação, é fluxo." (fonte)
"Um processo existe para cumprir uma finalidade: um processo é transformação, é acção, é fluxo, é aquilo que fazemos para contribuir para o negócio." (fonte
Em "Liberate Your Team with Clearer Processes" encontro:
"At their heart, effective processes are not about adding red tape — they are about enabling “flow.”
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Wherever there is an activity that happens repeatedly in your business, there is a potential flow. As a leader, you have the choice to leave this flow to chance, to control it, or to channel it.
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Think of a river. If the banks are not strong and defined, the river dissipates across the countryside and has little force. This is like the operation in which employees are given little guidance, and whose efforts meander or collide. Another river may have locks that strictly regulate how much water can flow when and where. This is a company that tries to control every step every employee takes every day. The entire system is rigid and slow, because management can never keep up with the exceptions and re-prioritizations, and employees’ time is consumed by filling out forms and following procedures.
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By contrast, a company with effective processes is like a river with strong banks. People’s attention and energy are channeled where they will have the most impact. The work environment, habits, tools, and methods guide people into doing things right the first time, based on a continually evolving set of shared best practices. No locks are required: Instead, employees are liberated to focus their creativity on developing new best practices, delighting customers, noticing changes in the competitive landscape, or tackling their company’s next moon shot.
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Designing processes this way involves looking at how work naturally gets done and where simple structures can increase the throughput of value"