2022-10-17

Allen Holub’s continuously evolving list of “Heuristics for Effective Organizations”

An excellent collection of principles to reflect on.

The way we work, the work we do, and the organizations within which we work are all part of a connected system. You cannot change anything without changing everything. You cannot improve a system by tinkering with the parts.

You cannot change anything without changing everything. That is a tricky connecting sentence. On first pass I heard it as an admiration for individual agency.

“Dislike the system? Exercise your agency and influence within a subsystem (the anything) and the effects will ripple out into the larger system (the everything)!”

But that understanding changed when synthesizing with Allen’s other principle.

You cannot improve a system by tinkering with the parts.

Ahh. The individual agency can only go so far.

What I’m learning? We need both individual agency and commitments to collaboration for evolving effective systems.