Why New Things at Work Often Don’t Stick

“Giving them technology is like giving a machine gun to a baby” David H. Maister

In a speech, “The Problem of Standards” Maister shows incisively how discipline & technology are not enough to ensure successful outcomes of strategy in a business.

To get success it must be an unavoidable part of work – through accountability.

“If you really want to get the commercial benefits of any strategy, you must put in a system that forces you to execute that strategy.”

In other words, it has to be a part of how work is done.

You see this at work when you implement something new at work.

It could be a system or process that everyone can benefit from, like project management software. Your business case is that using the tool would save hundreds thousands of dollars a year.

Everyone loves the idea but in the end it doesn’t get used.

The reason? There is no accountability built in.

Management think it’s great, but if they’re not insisting on using outputs the system/process then nobody will.

Maister says, “The key is, if you really want to make something happen, don’t leave it to self-discipline.”

It absolutely won’t work.

“Create an external discipline.”