Thursday, February 01, 2018

Things that are remarkable never meet spec

Recently came across the following notice on a notice board of a private tutor branch. Especially the point that I have underlined caught my attention.
It looks like the teachers here are rewarding the kids to complete the work keeping "accuracy" as the goal. There is nothing wrong with that, and parents love their kids if they can solve all the maths problems with no mistakes and get 100/100 in schools, colleges and A grades in universities.
However, what we all need to be concerned about is, the type of system/culture we are building for the future generation. We seem to be not encouraging the kids to learn from failures nor giving them a safe to fail environment. We are not telling them, it's ok to make mistakes. The teachers, parents are forcing them to be accurate and perfect.
These are the same kids, when they grow up will end up becoming managers in the large organisations, and start asking for "accurate" estimates(just like how the teachers in the above pictures are asking for pre-determined time and accurate goals), predictable plans, etc.
As I said before, there is nothing wrong in asking for someone to be perfect and asking for predictable plans. However, one needs to realise the consequences of the same on the system, which typically ends up sacrificing innovation and agility.
We are no more in the industrial era and, we don't need dollars, political power to topple large organisations. We just need someone with a good idea, a macbook, an airbnb bedroom and access to a wifi.
As we know, the creative ideas won't come up with a predefined plan. Organisations need to start embracing fuzziness and acknowledge the complexity surrounding us, empower employees to be resilient through decentralised co-ordination to enable agility and innovation.
Seth Godin in his book Linchpin says,
Art is never defect-free. Things that are remarkable never meet spec, because that would make them standardised, not worth talking about.
Before I end this post, let me ask you this, do you believe that the current reward based perfection focussed education system is laying a good foundation and, preparing future leaders to lead innovative organisations?

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