Of salmon – freshwater,saltwater and smoked ! The wonder of organizations and the President’s speech

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The salmon comment by President Obama turned out to be one of the funniest comments of the State of the Union. The fact is that organizations – including Government, for-profit,non-profits are equally hilarious in what they do and more on why they do it.

There must be some good reason that one arm of Government handles freshwater salmon and another handles salt water ones. According to what I could find  it might be that Salmon is the wrong example of overlap or duplication. Or is it really wrong ?  Can't say for sure.

But what is true is that organizations start doing things in a particular way due to certain good reasons and also the willingness of certain managers to take up a new task. Later, the environment changes and you wonder how or why you got there in the first place.

For example, the  post-9-11 multiple  security co-ordination problems  led to more inter-agency collaboration and data access. And well that led to Wikileaks with its fresh set of problems and fallout.

Since organizations are about people, things do tend to get irrational after a while. It really is worthwhile to ask the following 5 questions:

  1. What is the purpose of this activity?
  2. Is the purpose relevant to our organizations' current mission?
  3. If yes- how is this task being done?
  4. How can we make the task simpler?
  5. More transparent/technology driven?

These 5 questions can get things back on track.


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