Timothy R. Clark: How dysfunctional and resistant to change is your organization?

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  • raybies Layton, UT
    Dec. 6, 2012 8:02 a.m.

    This is an opinion piece that demonstrates a severe lack of understanding regarding government work. It completely misses the mark on why government institutions seem rigid and unchanging. It isn't that there's no accountability, it's because of overregulation on the job.

    As one who worked in government before, I can tell you many teams are dynamic, flexible and able to cope with change quickly. The problem is that often there's some regulation or rule that requires things to be done in a way that's obsolete, inefficient or not very innovative.

    So, you end up with highly successful teams punished by process. And highly unmotivated teams (often not motivated due to the first reason) coasting along without doing anything.

    The problem is that the public can at any time come into a government based organization and scrutinize it--if it become a hotbed of public outcry, then change happens, but it's almost always punitive, because regardless of whether you're doing the right thing, there's alway someone in an opposing party that can benefit by making whatever regulation bending that went on and making it into a scandal to embarrass his enemy.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    Regarding change in education, we need to be smart about change. Like with Information Technology, there are waves of fads that come and go, their efficacy judged more harshly through time. For example, charter schools certainly have a very checkered track record. Some are very good, others are dismal, with extensive problems, high turnover, morale problems. That's not what anyone wants.

    The current fad is to test, measure and hold accountable teachers, with an emphasis on quantitative analysis. Finland approaches education in a far more unorthodox way, and the results are very impressive. Very little testing, students have no more than an hour of homework a night, the Finns don't try to segregate their students into different tracks, instead focus on lifting all the students up. The Finns are very competitive with the other top two educational nations, South Korea and Singapore, where the "tiger mom" approach is used more aggressively, ie, lots of hard work, repetition and heavy discipline.

    If there's an educational crisis in America, and especially in Utah, following the fad with the most attention may not be the wisest course of action.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 3, 2012 9:52 a.m.

    One type of organization obviously missing - the legal system. There has long been evidence that American over-litigate everything, and the hoards of lawyers we produce suggests this entire segment of our society is as deeply entrench as government.

    Even industry used to be less responsive to pressure to change. Case in point: Geneva Steel, which existed far, far beyond its original intent of having a steel factory away from the coasts in WWII.

    Governments are finding they must change, as well, as their underlying funding support erodes and citizens expect more responsiveness.

    While the 18 month product cycle in software is pretty extreme, more & more people will find they have 10+ careers in their work lives, which definitely works against investing a lot in education at a personal level. For example, in healthcare, more & more Radiologists are finding their work moved to India, at the speed of light, to be performed for a fraction of the cost here.

    Any medical student who specializes in Radiology needs to have their head examined. The rate of change is undermining some national competencies, as Americans hide from international competition, knowing the compensation rates are far lower, things will change anyway.