Temporary and Wrong

The authors cite a great leadership quote from David Kelley, one of the principle architects of the IDEO culture that’s so widely respected in product development and innovation circles. Kelley would introduce new organizational structures as being two things: temporary and wrong.

That’s a profound thing to say as a leader, but it’s also obvious.

Consider the opposite – how many things are there in your company or organization about which you can say “this is permanent and perfect?” It doesn’t exist. Ergo (what a word to use)…if something isn’t permanent and perfect, then it’s temporary and wrong. Don’t be afraid to admit it.

What does this have to do with the knowing-doing gap? I would say it has everything to do with making changes in an organization. Ease people’s fear by admitting, from the jump, that something is going to evolve and improve over time. This doesn’t undermine…it adds credibility.

This reminds me of something I used to hear from my college professor: “All models are wrong; some are useful.” That’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face if you’re a nerd.

Don’t be afraid to admit something is not perfect. Don’t not be afraid to not use double negatives.