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Others Dream, others Think, others Do

dreaming-thinking-doing Leadership

27.10.2022 — Separating Dreaming, Thinking, and Doing is the deadly sin of large organizations. It will lead to Coordination Chaos: fragmentation, waste, and underperformance.

Others Dream, others Think, others Do
Ari Tikka
Ari TikkaFounding Partner

Being invited to Dreaming creates ownership, understanding, and empowerment. The "Big Why," promoted for motivation, is not one thing but the tip of the Dreaming iceberg. It creates the motivational context. It is like the fertile soil where great Thinking grows.

People need to Dream together to the extent that they can own their own work. Thinking translates the fuzzy Dreaming into specific Doing.

What happens when different people Dream, Think, and Do?

Like in any waterfall, the decision-making power is upstream. Being lower in a power relation results in an inhibition reaction in the brain. It narrows thinking into "How can I be of use?" and makes opportunities seen as threats. Bad for Thinking. Power, Approach, and Inhibition, Dacher Keltner University of California, Berkeley Deborah H. Gruenfeld Stanford University Cameron Anderson University of California, Berkeley, 2003.

When Thinkers are missing the shared Dream, they need to re-engineer and re-invent the Dream. They fill the gaps with their private Dreams, and the Dream field becomes fragmented. If the Thinkers can do teamwork, they can still consolidate the Thinking. Very often, amplified by the narrow roles and responsibilities, amount of competing ideas, and pressure, we end up in a fight for winning opinions.

Competitive instead of collaborative games lead to ineffective superficial results of Thinking. The time and energy go into promoting own ideas instead of learning more. Thinking is difficult!

Superficial Thinking leads to confusion in Doing.

There are some solutions for this situation:

  • A committee works with a portfolio of the superficial results of Thinking, leading to opaqueness and bureaucracy. This is typical for stable large institutions like banks.
  • Give the power to project managers who demonstrate strong leadership and squeeze results out of the mess, ensuring that we get something working. This is typical for large projects like cars.
  • Continuously integrate Thinking into a prototype and incorporate wide feedback. This is an Agile solution and an essential precondition for teamwork in Thinking. Unlike the other options, this can support Dreaming together.

As an alternative to dreaming and thinking together, a systematic literature review ended up proposing the following. "Results: Based on the literature analysis, the best practices for effective knowledge transfer are related to communication quality and quantity, circumventing the need for communication, and verifying successful communication. To provide an overview of effective knowledge transfer, frameworks of Service Creation Project information flow and Service Design Handover are proposed."

Note the sarcasm.

Ari Tikka
Founding Partner

Before finding Agile, Ari built software for embedded distributed fault tolerant software for seven years. For the next decade he worked as an organizational therapist with cultural change, teamwork and leadership. Since 2006 he has contributed to LeSS-flavoured Agile transformations including mechanical engineering, market automation, and embedded system development. For the last couple of years Ari had international coaching assignments ranging from teams to board.

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