Avoiding Flailure

12 Jan

I’ve started or been an early hire in several high tech companies, and now work for a big one.  Some succeeded (if you define success as reacquisition or IPO so someone else can fuck it up).  Some failed.  All had one thing in common: Avoiding the deathmarch, or if on it,  ending it and fast.

Few get everything right in the beginning.  The smart ones change course when they sense they are going down the wrong path.  Change requires innovation.  There is one small problem however,  summarized by this axiom:

Innovation is inversely proportional to organizational strength.

Organizational strength increases over time.

New companies and larger companies that have successfully survived a near-death experience (hello, Apple) can innovate.  Newer companies have little organizational strength, so change is easy.  Larger companies can only do this by purging themselves of existing organizational strength, and to do so radically.  In other words, they  must change their executives, discard, isolate or encapsulate the current organization, and reboot.

Apple, at one time,  needed a US$150 million investment from Microsoft to make payroll and survive.   The giant today is a result of a reboot in technology and mindset (OS9?  Power PC?) .  For larger companies the situation has to be this extreme,  as only a true rebirth allows for a return to real innovation.  Half measures don’t count.  Half-measures result in flailure, in other words,  being good enough, but no better, and in reality getting worse.

If you haven’t heard of flailure,  here’s a definition.

flailure: (noun): misfortune that occurs because of clumsiness; an accident that includes a wild flailing of limbs.

What does this have to do with hockey?  Well, everything.

The Senators have been in flailure state for a while now.  Doesn’t matter who’s fault it is.  Too many favorites.  Too many empires.  The only way forward is to take the great leap into rebirth.   This, of course, means that everything must be on the table,  from management to player personnel to expectations of the fans and the media.

Such a decision can only come from ownership.  The fans seem ready,  some media (not Sun media) are there,  it appears some players are there,  as is some management.   Is the team ready, willing and able for a rebirth,  or will it continue to sadly march along in seemingly endless flailure?


Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Eugene Melnyk, Scouting, Senators


2 responses to “Avoiding Flailure

  1. David Mackintosh

    January 12, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Damn, best thing you’ve written here yet. Keep it up.


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