April 20, 2014

Getting Along

Our industry is prioritizing tactical nonsense over human interactions.

Have you ever actually listened to employees? Have you ever actually listened to what they say? Sit in on an "omnichannel excellence meeting" someday, and then an hour later, interview the folks who attended. That's where truth emerges.

IT Executive: "I read an article about this big data thing, but nobody wants to invest in the infrastructure necessary for my team to glean insights from big data. And my team could easily outperform the analytics team, we know analysis and code and database structure."

Marketing Executive: "The IT Executive needs to shut up, she has no accountability for the analytics team. I will tell the analytics team what to analyze, and they will analyze billboard marketing effectiveness."

Online Executive: "Marketing wants to focus on using billboards to create awareness. Those folks are both nuts, and at least a decade behind the times. Billboards. Geez."

HR Executive: "If we could just employ org structure best practices, we could easily beat the competition. And the CEO is just plain mean, but we can't do anything about her. She yells at people for no good reason."

Creative Executive: "I'll quit if I have to report to the Merchandising Executive. The merchandise executive is a coward."

Merchandising Executive: "My product is just fine, the ineptitude of the creative team and their "lifestyle presentation initiative" is killing my business. It's also true that nobody knows how to market my merchandise. Do I have to do everything myself?"

Operations Executive: "I could run marketing better than any of these morons who want money for billboards. Our future hinges on a highly engaged social shopper. Just talk to anybody in my call center, they'll make it really clear for you."

Omnichannel Integration Executive: "I wish the operations executive would figure out how to cost effectively deliver a package in 24-48 hours instead of three to five days."

Analytics Executive: "Nobody listens to a word I say."

Inventory Executive: "I can't understand a word the Analytics Executive says. He should be fired and replaced with a competent individual who speaks the language of business."

CEO: "I yell at my employees because they are jealous, petty morons. I have to be a perpetual crab apple in order to get anything done. And my Board of Directors are jealous, petty morons, too. Why am I the only rational person working at this company?"


No org structure solves these problems. None.

Every company has these issues. While common across companies, the specific dynamics within each company are fully unique - so no solution "scales" and applies to all companies.

But this is where the magic happens.

And nobody wants to talk about it.

We're all dancing around this issue. "Omnichannel" is a code word for a mythical solution that gets people in dissimilar functions to work together. We should focus more on getting people to work well together than a mythical word designed to force people to work together.