By Chris Turner
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I simply experiment, an endless seeker with no path at my back. Organizational disturbances should unsettle, cause a commotion, create a ruckus, shake things up. Designed well, they lead to new thinking, to new doing, to questioning the status quo, and give rise to a new threshold of consciousness. Good disturbances create the future now. I couldn't extricate empowerment or learning from the context of the organization. Rather, they were outcomes of the organizational environment. So the strategy focused on creating an environment where learning and empowerment flourish.
But what nobody at Xerox will 'fess up to is the Dark Side of Quality. " The whole shebang was hierarchical. Second, the strategy was rooted in command and control. In a mandated approach, all the energy goes into pushing and resisting. At Xerox, there was an underlying resentment at the way Quality was forced on people. " Fourth, the big cheeses didn't do Quality. Yeah, there were teamwork days to recognize good group efforts, but in their own day-to-day work, most senior managers didn't do the things they told everyone else to do.
I was now reporting to the vice president of Quality, John Cooney, and I made a deal with him. If he would give me some time and some room, I would guarantee him a substantive approach. Otherwise, he needed to find someone else because I didn't plan to be part of a B movie. John agreed to fend off the president, Norm Rickard, while I figured out a strategy. John was in an interesting position. On the one hand, he was managing a Quality organization steeped in the dogmatic, linear methodology of scientific management.