793RE: [ona-prac] SNA/ONA: for researchers or practitioners?
- Mar 29, 2011
Hi Laurie –
Yeah, the 6-Sigma people have done a nice job of (over) institutionalizing their technique.
BTW, 6-Sigma is easily Number One – The Stupidest Management Fad of ALL Time – The Mother of All Stupid Management Fads – Have a look:
Couple more comments.
Ego-fueled consultants are not necessarily bad. I’ve hired and used plenty from BCG, McKinsey, Vanguard, Charles River, etc. For these highly paid people there is an expectation of a certain degree of arrogance and narcissism. It is not pejorative. Rather, it is necessary, an expectation of the interaction.
Sometimes, organizations need ‘insultants.’ Often, we just want/need incisive opinion. That’s why we pay a lot. The last thing we want is mealy-mouthed milquetoasts. Everybody’s happy since the ego-consultant will do their job and then, mercifully, just go away…
The problem with S/V/O network analysis isn’t necessarily science. Rather, it is the overbearing focus on technique at the expense of impact and outcome.
Methods like 6-Sigma scale because they deal with deterministic order systems. They outcome and goal is always known, e.g., lower defects. The 6-Sigma problem space is well bounded and operational, not strategic.
The network analysis opportunity is always complex, strategic and unknown. What must drive it is NOT technique but impact and outcome. This is the nub of the issue.
In SNA and VNA there are a lot of technique bullies. They do not have the business acumen, consulting ability or leadership chops to divine likely business outcomes in advance. Thus, they devolve into eye-watering technique, turgid pontifications and mind-numbing hubris. It repels users, stunts adoption and is just plain ridiculous. Game over.
If a prospect says, “Gee, you are a recognized authority, could you run a SNA on my outfit?” Politely conclude the meeting and excuse yourself. It is what the authentic network analysis pros do. Unless you can engage at a higher level, chances of success are slim. It is key to scope the business impact. Unless you are working on a business outcome, then you are just an everyday SNA instructor.
VNA and SNA are techniques. The only ‘management discipline’ rqr’d is a sanguine network mindset. Leading with technique, science-based or otherwise, will always fail. Sometimes, ‘insultants’ are rqr’d to correct fundamental thinking defects.
To scale S/V/O/NA correct mgmt’s bias to process mental pathology. Trust me, unlearning a century of Taylorism and Fordism is not easy. Today’s crushing legacy of Fordism is the principle barrier to SNA scale, not science.
BTW, note the stunning disasters when 6-Sigma was applied to complex systems like customer service and support. Ha! What a delicious, sublime farce.
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