Software Development magazine recently distributed an internal Sun Microsystems book, called: "Notes on the Role of Leadership and Language in Regenerating Organizations".
I'll share a few interesting tidbits over the coming weeks. Here is the Preface & Introduction (word for word).
This book emerged from conversations between members of Paul Pangaro’s Developer Web Services team at Sun and Dr. Michael Geoghegan, who devoted more than twenty-five years to research, development, and strategic planning at DuPont.
Dr. Geoghegan helped the team examine their work in the context of Sun’s changing, highly competitive environment. In a market that raises many fundamental business concerns, he gave them ways of evaluating and regenerating their relationship with developers.
A distillation of decades of experience, the statements in this book draw on concepts culled from fields as diverse as economics, philosophy, biology, and cybernetics.
The statements in this book are axiomatic. But the insights they contain are anything but obvious.
An organization is a living system. To survive in a highly competitive market, it strives to increase its efficiency.
Language is the defining environment in which these systems live. It is how those in the system reach agreement. It is also a medium for organizational growth and change.
An organization increases its efficiency by creating and refining a shared language. This common language helps the organization arrive at decisions more efficiently.
Yet while this language fosters efficiency, it also limits the organization’s ability to evolve.
Constrained by its limited vocabulary, the organization becomes unable to adapt to fundamental changes in its environment. Unable to change, the organization eventually declines.
It is possible for an organization to learn and grow, but only if it creates conditions that help generate new language. Using new language, an organization may create new paths to productivity, and regenerate itself.
The conversations necessary for generating new language and new opportunities do not come naturally.
They do not use existing corporate vocabulary. An organization does not want to hear these conversations— even if it could.
This book explains how an organization may create new language and new opportunities, find new paths to productivity, and regenerate itself.