When the complicated becomes complex and is treated simply`

You can't make this stuff up.

My wife orders an item for rush delivery, and one which requires a signature to confirm delivery.  The company provided a UPS tracking number on completion of the transcation.

All good.

But when nothing arrives within a couple of days, she goes onto the UPS website. It contains just one entry:"10:28 am—Emergency Conditions beyond UPS' control." And nothing else.

We had had a heavy snowstorm in Southern Ontario, so the lack of delivery was not too surprising but my wife was curious as to what happens next, so she called UPS.

The representative told her that UPS  makes 3 attempts to deliver packages on 3 consecutive days, so they will be attempting to deliver for the second time today.

My wife, ever curious, couldn’t contain herself.

She: "Are you telling me that you are considering this a 2nd attempt when you never made a 1st attempt?"

They: "Yes."


They: "But even though we didn't, we did (pause) for the record."

This a minor but amusing example of what happens when some event disruptes a complicated process and makes it complex.  

A healthy confident organisation responds appropriately. It relaxes,delegates and trusts teams that 'do'. The focus is doing the right thing.

Frightened organisations focus on avoiding mistakes internally. Their response is to tense the corporate body. They become  rigid and more restrictive when they should be doing the reverse—loosening the boundaries (within restrictions), and delegating the capability to front line problem solver.

But this mentality is becoming ever more enedemic in senior leadership positions—where the costs and consequences are far more dramatic.  

Its presence is a sure indicators of a stressed and fearful leader. Stressed because he has has over-promised a financial performance to owners, and fearful because she recognises the offer to the market is not distinctive enough to deliver.

In response they bind and denude their best executives when they should be liberating them with guidance. 

They are not.

The Mummification of Management is returning.