How was Training?

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“I thought it achieved the purpose of explaining EA and how to put it in place, and it was helpful that the instructor integrated the education with a reasonable understanding of what we already have in place.” - IT Architect, Hasbro, USA, Jan 2013

Recommend PEAF?

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“Yes - It semplifies thr EA apptoach and time to apply is reduced.” - CTO, HP, Italy, Feb 2015






The Milgram Experiment

Humans are trained to take direction from authority figures from very early in life. An infamous experiment conducted in 1961 by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, measured this willingness to obey authority figures by instructing people to perform acts that conflicted with their morals. Participants were told to play the role of “teacher” and administer electric shocks to “the learner,” who was supposedly in a different room, every time they answered a question incorrectly. In reality, no one was actually being shocked. Instead, Milgram played recordings to make it sound like the learner was in a great deal of pain and wanted to end the experiment. Despite these protests, many participants continued the experiment when the authority figure urged them to, increasing the voltage after each wrong answer until some eventually administered what would be lethal electric shocks.

Authority figures are, of course, required. But to follow them blindly or to expect people to follow you blindly is deeply damaging. Of course, in general, people in authority do not knowingly ask people to do things which are damaging. We are not suggesting that people in authority knowingly tell people to do damaging things. However, this experiment shows us that people being told what to do may know something is damaging but they will continue to do it if an authority figure tells them to. It also show that the level of “authority” needs not be holding a gun to someone's head. Wearing a white coat and telling people “you must continue with the experiment” was all that was required to make most of these people electrocute other people until they were “unconscious” or possibly “dead”.

Never underestimate the capacity of people to do things that they know are deeply damaging just because you are telling them to.

What is happening in many Enterprises today is akin to how the cockpits of aircraft worked many years ago. They used to be very hierarchical with the Chief Pilot almost being revered as a god who could never be questioned. Seniority was everything and seniority was always right. Co-pilots and junior officers learned pretty fast not to question the Chief Pilot because if they did, their careers would soon be damaged.

However a number of air crashes (and their subsequent investigations) highlighted the fact that this command and control approach designed to make aircraft safe was the very thing that was crashing them. And so changes were made and the term “Cockpit Resource Management” (unfortunately the acronym is CRM!) was born. CRM’s main tenet is that no person, whether, Architect, Designer, Engineer, Manager, Controller or Pilot, can perform perfectly at all times. In addition, what could be considered perfect performance in one set of circumstances might well be unacceptable in another. Therefore, people need to be seen as they really are - parts of a cooperative system.

Viewing some people or some roles as intrinsically "better" or "more correct" is worse than utterly futile, it is downright dangerous, and totally contrary to achieving the ends.

What is required, is that Enterprises begin to adopt this same CRM approach to transformation. No person, whether, Architect, Designer, Engineer or Manager can perform perfectly at all times. In addition, what could be considered perfect performance in one set of circumstances might well be unacceptable in another. Therefore, people need to be seen as they really are - parts of a cooperative system.

Viewing some people or some roles as intrinsically "better" or "more correct" is worse than utterly futile, it is downright dangerous, and totally contrary to achieving the ends.

 

Do people in your Enterprise do what they are told to do, rather than or what they should do?

Can you think of examples where this has happened in the past?

Who were they? What was the impact? Why do you think they acted in this way?

What needs to change to reduce the likelihood of it happening in the future?

Who needs to drive that change?

 

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