Redefining Society Podcast

Book | Wiring the Winning Organization: Liberating Our Collective Greatness through Slowification, Simplification, and Amplification | A Conversation with Author Steven J. Spear | Redefining Society with Marco Ciappelli

Episode Summary

Dive into the intricacies of organizational success with Steven J. Spear as he unravels the transformative mechanisms in "Wiring the Winning Organization.

Episode Notes

Guest: Steven J. Spear, Senior Lecturer at MIT [@MIT] and Author

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Host: Marco Ciappelli, Co-Founder at ITSPmagazine [@ITSPmagazine] and Host of Redefining Society Podcast

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Episode Introduction

Unraveling the Secrets of Organizational Success: A Conversation with Steven J. Spear

Hey there, dear listeners! Marco here, bringing you yet another engaging episode from the Redefining Society podcast. Our mission? To dive deep into the intersection of technology, cybersecurity, and society. And today's episode promises to deliver some rich insights into the world of organizational dynamics and success.

Joining us is Steven J. Spear, an award-winning author, Senior Lecturer at MIT's Sloan School, and a pioneer in understanding the nuances of high-performing organizations. With an illustrious career, Spear brings to the table not only his expertise but also his latest book, "Wiring the Winning Organization".

📖 About the Book:

"Wiring the Winning Organization" offers a refreshing perspective on how organizations can transition from struggling entities to champions in their domain. Spear introduces us to three pivotal mechanisms:

By embracing these mechanisms, organizations can create coherence across their vast and intricate structures, setting them on a trajectory towards unmatched market success.

🌟 About Steven J. Spear:

Steven is not just an author. He's a visionary. As principal for HVE LLC and patent holder for the See to Solve Real Time Alert System, his work revolves around accelerating the learning dynamics within organizations. The goal? To empower them with the knowledge and agility to constantly evolve and excel. For a deeper dive into his work, feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

🚀 Conversation Inspiration:

What makes some organizations stand out while others lag? After extensive research spanning 150 years, Spear, along with co-author Gene Kim, presents a compelling theory in "Wiring the Winning Organization". They believe that the key to organizational success lies in how leaders structure their systems around human creativity and collaborative efforts. By harnessing individual potential, leaders can push the boundaries of performance, setting their organizations on a path of consistent innovation and growth.

📚 Dive Deeper:

Intrigued? You can find "Wiring the Winning Organization" on Amazon. Immerse yourself in its pages and discover how the right organizational 'wiring' can be the game-changer your enterprise needs.

In Conclusion:

As we wrap up this sneak peek, I invite you to dive into the full episode. Listen, learn, and let's redefine society together. And hey, if you love what you hear, don't forget to subscribe to our podcast for more captivating stories. Share it with your friends, colleagues, and anyone who loves a good intellectual exploration. Every share counts!

Catch the full episode on ITSPmagazine and explore the fascinating world of organizational success with us!

Stay curious,




Wiring the Winning Organization: Liberating Our Collective Greatness through Slowification, Simplification, and Amplification (book):


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Episode Transcription

Please note that this transcript was created using AI technology and may contain inaccuracies or deviations from the original audio file. The transcript is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for the original recording, as errors may exist. At this time, we provide it “as it is,” and we hope it can be helpful for our audience.


[00:00:00] Marco Ciappelli: Hello everybody. This is Marco Ciappelli. Welcome to another episode of Redefining Society podcast on ITSP magazine, where, we talk about cybersecurity, technology, society in this show in particular, we kind of not touch much on cybersecurity, but we do talk about the way that we can live better in our society. 

And sometimes it's about cultural changes that we always need to keep doing as technology change, society change. It's a river. That doesn't, doesn't ever look the same and you don't ever, as they say, uh, dive into the same river twice because it's different. So to do that today, uh, we're actually going to talk about leadership, about a company and how they can, uh, make important cultural changes to become, uh, let's say better company. 

And we will define what actually better means. And to do that, we got, uh, Steve Spear here for people watching. You can already see him with a stack of books because he wrote a few books in his life. And for those listening, trust me, uh, there are books and that's what we're going to talk about. And in particular, the one that is coming up soon on November 21st, which is named Wiring the Winning Organization. 

And, um, We're going to talk about that. So who is Steve? Welcome to the show. Who are you?  

[00:01:22] Steven J. Spear: Oh, yeah. Hey, Marco. Thanks very much. So, uh, just by quick institutional affiliation, uh, so I'm a senior lecturer over at MIT. The, uh, the Sloan School of Management have been there, uh, it's, uh, approaching 20 years, I think. 

Um, founder of a, uh, software firm that does, uh, business process mapping and that sort of thing. It's called C2Solve. And that draws directly on, uh, research I've done over, uh, the many years. And, um, doing a bunch of other things. Uh, I spend a lot of time, um... In the field of working with clients and it's been across a fairly broad range of sectors over the many years. 

I'm currently doing a tremendous amount of work with a U. S. military, uh, Navy in a different bunch of ways. I've worked with, uh, uh, folks in the U. S. army, something called the rapid equipping force about a decade ago. I've worked with, um, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, um, educational institutions, uh, highlighted my career. 

In terms of what we accomplished was working with a, um, a women's center and shelter in Pittsburgh. Their, uh, key product was a victim abuse hotline. Um, so anyway, yeah, I spent a lot of time in the field long and short though. Uh, what motivates all this is that, um, I came of a professional age in the 1980s when a Japanese companies like Toyota, like Sony, et cetera. 

We're throwing a really big existential threat in American companies. You know, one story companies, U. S. Steel, Bethlehem Steel, RCA, GM, Ford, et cetera. Um, they just couldn't keep pace with, uh, the ability of Japanese organizations, certainly the standout ones to generate and deliver value to society. This is a society really appreciated. 

And, um. You know, as part of a very large cohort of then young professionals who were just so curious as to what was going on in Japan, that all else equal, they were able to generate and deliver so much more value so much more quickly with greater ease, greater agility, so on and so forth. Then, uh, it was being demonstrated by their American counterparts. 

So anyway, um, my career, you know, whatever the institutional affiliations are and where I've landed in terms of client contacts, it all comes back to this, uh, paradoxical question. All else equal. Why is it that some are so much better at generating and delivering value that's appreciated societally than their counterparts? 

[00:03:45] Marco Ciappelli: Very interesting. I'm a big fan of Japan and I was there. Last time a few months ago. And when I came back, I did a kind of like one of those audible online lecture on the culture of Japan and why Japan is the way it is now. And there was actually a period, you know, after all the samurai and the Edo period about the eighties and about how the seventies after the war, how this company progressed. 

And there was a mention about the way that we was empower, empowering every single. Worker in the company, even in the, you know, a Toyota, for example, in the manufacturer, that was very revolutionary. So I don't know if you were referring to that, but it made me think about that. And it made me think about company are made of people. 

Yeah. I don't know if that throw you a lead here to go somewhere.  

[00:04:37] Steven J. Spear: So Marco, a couple of things. Um, just as we get into this, uh, I've encountered this over the years that being, uh, Foundation for my research is with Toyota back in the 1990s. I get people saying, Oh, well, you know, we don't make cars. It turns out making cars is about the hardest thing in the world to do, but be that as it may, um, there are other people who, if they weren't a part of that generation, the eighties, nineties, looking at Japan for lessons and inspiration, they might say, well, what can we learn from Japan today? 

So I just want to point this out. Just for your listeners who may be dismissive because, you know, you know, each generation has its attention drawn this place or that place. And they, anything else that happened historically, you know, that must be like George Washington and the relevance of powdered wigs, but, um, for what it's worth. 

Um, at least for autos, let me just offer that, uh, Toyota, as an example, they've dominated their sector for 50 years, five, zero, five decades. And you start thinking about that, that just shouldn't be the case. Cause as far as, um, competitive sectors, the auto industry is arguably the most competitive sector in the world. 

Um, everyone is trying to, uh, figure out the needs of the same, exactly the same, um, populations. They have access to the same longstanding and novel, uh, Science and technology that depend on the same vendors for raw materials. They make and produce in the same places. So they have access to the same, um, workforce and skill sets. 

And yet you have, um, this one company which has, uh, you know, well renowned on quality and productivity, but, uh, time to market with new product, time to market new brands, time to market with, uh, new technologies like hybrid, um, dah, And you say, well, 50 year. Lead? That's insane. That's insane. You just, you never see that in sports, right? 

Because, um, of the intensity of the competition. So anyway, that's just as we start thinking this through for, um, your listeners. Um, I encourage them not to be dismissive of lessons from Toyota, even though, quote unquote, we don't make cars. The other thing... It was a period where anything Japanese was just like, you know, I remember being a business student and, uh, of course, management of technology was one thing, but Japanese management of technology. 

Whoa. The subscription, the enrollment in that class was like five X, just the regular management of technology. Just threw the term Japanese on front of something and it was just like people mad dash to figure it out. I think now people have, um, with everything else going on in the world, whether it's Silicon Valley, China, you know, etc. 

Um, they tend to forget about Japan, but the thing I want to offer is that, uh, Japan is still rocking it. You know, so, you know, one of the things that, uh, you know, a lot of, uh, you know, first world economies And societies think about is the, uh, the gentrification, the agification of their societies. And, um, look at Japan, their economic growth rate, despite all that, you know, despite all these older people, retirees, small families, boom, their growth rate last year was like 6%. 

They've, they've recovered from the COVID shutdowns, et cetera. So there's still a lot of really fascinating things going on in Japan. And though we're not paying as much attention there now as we did, let's say 30 years ago, um, again, I encourage your younger listeners in particular, uh, not to be dismissive. 

But, um, anyway, to your point, and to your point about, um, you know, a real cultural shift. So, I think Japan, in general, has, um, a reputation for some real cultural traditionalism. And it, look, it's well earned, right? You can go to Tokyo, at least last time I was there, and you can still see, um, women walking down the street in kimonos that were... 

You know, design, you know, that basic design was, you know, hundreds of years ago, where I lived in Tokyo, I lived around the block from my, um, a sumo stable, you know, and that, that's a, that's a sport and an art form and, uh, you know, uh, a martial combat, which goes back hundreds of years. And you'd see these young men walking around with the sumo, um, hairstyle. 

So, uh, it's certainly a traditional society, but I'd like to also offer that in many ways. The very best organizations in, um, uh, in, um, Japan were quite revolutionary. And the one in particular I'll mention is, is Toyota, where I've obviously got a long history and done a lot of work with them about them and a lot of familiarity is that, um, When you start looking at any system, and we will carry this over to IT and cyber, right? 

Any system that human beings design is going to be imperfect. It just is, because you got the inherent complexity of the system, and you have the limited capacity of people to really understand what it is they do. I mean, we have all sorts of well documented, um, limitations in terms of our ability to understand things that are complex, complex and dynamic, and so on and so forth. 

And so, you give that... Plus the fact our science and technology and everything else is driving us in the direction of more complexity of things that are faster moving, right? So we're getting this cross pot of complexity and, uh, uh, dynamicism. And so that would argue that, uh, we're creating a world for ourselves which is less and less stable. 

And I think we actually experience that sometimes when we see, you know, the complexity of things, whether it's financial systems and the, um, the accelerated, uh, dynamic pace, we, we, we start to realize just how unstable certain things are, but anyway, back to the countercultural thing. So folks at, um, outstanding organizations like Toyota. 

They took this idea of dynamic complexity, which engineers and technicians, you know, they just assume it into the object in front of them. And, um, the, and anyway, you know, Marco, this is an aside, uh, technicians, um, and engineers. You know, I think are very respectful of the, uh, the issues of instability associated with dynamic complexity. 

So for example, a bunch of years ago, I was doing some work with a aerospace company, there happened to be a fighter jet sitting there and I was like, damn, that's an amazing thing because I was familiar with performance characteristics and its ability to twist and turn and agility and stealth and disappearing from radars, even if it was detected. 

And, uh, I said to someone, I said, how does it pull that off? They said, well, you have to understand this, uh, fifth generation fighter jet, it's inherently unstable aerodynamically. It just, the, the part of its agility in flight is because it doesn't have a, uh, uh, an inclination to glide. It has an inclination to tumble. 

And so the engineering is to take advantage of this inclination to tumble and turn tumbling into agility. You know, flaw becomes feature. I said, well, that's kind of wild, but how is it then that you can take off and land? Right. If the thing is so unstable, they said, well, you have to understand that, um, in order to turn, um, the flaw of instability into the feature of agility and stability, when it's needed, the plane is making, get this number, a billion adjustments per second on its flight controls, power, et cetera, to maintain agility and stability rather than instability. 

So anyway, you start thinking about the basic thinking there is that this. Complex dynamic system was designed and built, and the people understood that if you just left it as it was, it would be complex, dynamic and inherently unstable with self destruct. So what was put on top of it was this tremendous, um, sophisticated overlay of control, of feedback to detect when the thing was doing what was unintended. 

So you could give it that billion times a second nudge back in the right direction. So, you know, and there's, that's an airplane, but there's biological analogies, et cetera, et cetera, about building complex things where you have to make this huge investment in the control overlay to maintain agility, reliability, stability, and so on. 

Anyway, taking that back to this revolutionary ideas and management. So the folks at Toyota long ago realized that, uh, dynamic complexity wasn't just a technical issue. It was a social issue that in order to do the hard work of, um, developing cars, designing cars, manufacturing cars, shipping cars, and then not only the automobile, but the whole infrastructure around that. 

That is the work of many, many, many, many minds. That is hardly the work of a person, a small group, or even a reasonably large group. It's the work of an enormously large group. Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people. And so what you're talking about is, um, a wildly complex social system and enterprise that's tasked with doing this work. 

And so the folks at Toyota long ago said, Dang, you know, we could design this and script this and write all the policies and procedures, etc. It's never gonna work. It's like that fighter jet. It's just inherently unstable. So what'd they do? They created a system. And I'll make mention, uh, I talk a lot about that in my older book, The High Velocity Edge, which is very Toyota centric. 

We talk about in this new book, Wiring the Winning Organization, we talk about this idea of amplification. It's one of the three mechanisms we identified, but amplification is the characteristic of having a system where problems are amplified early and often. So it's obvious that there's a situation that has to be corrected. 

Um, so anyway, what we realized with Toyota, and I didn't have that word back then, but this amplification idea is that they decided very early on that if you're going to try and do this, uh, wildly ambitious and endeavor of creating enterprises that could deliver product into the marketplace. You have to respect the fact that the thing you design is inherently unstable. 

And so you have to be able to correct it. And so what's the manifestation of that is that in the Toyota environment, their idea is that you design work with as much intensity and creativity and ingenuity as possible, because you want to at least start your work with your best known approach, but that in the doing of work, there are tests built in to reveal early, often, immediately, exactly. 

Where there's a problem, who it's affecting, and how it's manifesting itself. Can I  

[00:15:09] Marco Ciappelli: just get one thing so that I'm sure I get things exactly the way you meant to deliver it, and maybe the audience as well. So this metaphor of, well, example of the airplane, this complexity, to start with. The word come in my mind is adopt. 

Like, is it constantly adopting and changing according to the situation? You're reflecting that into the working environment, so you don't build something to be constantly the same, but you build something that you're wiring it so that it can constantly... Bingo. All right, good. I got it.  

[00:15:50] Steven J. Spear: Hundred percent. And, and I think the reference back to the airplane is, is uh, perfect and much appreciated, right? 

'cause that plane is deliberately designed to, um, be redirected. Right? Right. That's the, that's the, uh, the necessary agility,  

[00:16:03] Marco Ciappelli: which gives the, the power to do things that gliding. It couldn't turn that fast.  

[00:16:09] Steven J. Spear: No, no, part of its competitive advantage. The fact that wherever it is, it won't be there in a, you know, in a split second later. 


[00:16:15] Marco Ciappelli: another thing, and then I'll let you go. It's like these. Now you're bringing the example of, you know, the plane, the Toyota, the car company. But at the beginning, you said you work with a lot of different industries. So my assumption is that you can apply this way of thinking about the organization to pretty much anything, any industry, right? 

[00:16:33] Steven J. Spear: Yeah. That's right. So Marco, um, you know, we've picked up, let me just finish the story. This is a good story to come back to your point. It's a much better one than the one I was making. Let me just, uh, close off the loose thread is that, um, this whole idea, if we're designing complex dynamic things, we know they're inherently unstable. 

And we have to do is make sure that we have this, uh, This control overlay and not control like command control, you know, puppeteer Martinet kind of thing, but, you know, feedback loops and, um, it's through the feedback, through the dynamic feedback that we get stability and agility. So within the Toyota system, they came up with this idea that, um, when someone goes to do their work, they start with the best known approach. 

It's sort of a script, a choreograph, whatever you want to call it. But in the act of doing the work, tests are built into reveal immediately. One in where the reality is disagreeing with the prediction where there's a problem. And at the moment, there's a problem that there's a response to the problem to contain it and then investigate it and then resolve it. 

So it doesn't recur. So, um, I think what often got lost when looking back at Toyota was, um, This, uh, people I think got really absorbed by, uh, tools and techniques and this and that, but they missed the social dynamic and this, this is, you know, and Mark, you got me, uh, triggered on doing this whole, you know, excited rant, but it's because you use the term revolutionary. 

And here's why I was like, so excited by it. You start thinking about in an organization, who is the very first person to discover that something is happening? The reality is contradicting the prediction, the plan. It's the person doing the work and very often in an organization, the person doing the work has the lowest social status. 

Um, and we, we have it in English, at least. Oh, so and so works for me. Right. Um, and the higher you are, the more people you have, Oh, working for you. What, what, what the exemplars realized is that the person doing the work, they're actually the only one touching the product, literally metaphorically, whatever, the only one touching the product and, um, the experience they're having absolutely determines the success of the organization in delighting customers. 

And so they set it up and this is the revolutionary part, you know, in so many organizations, the person doing the direct work has low status. They have the lowest status in the organization. Oh, I want work for this person who works for this person, this person works for the CEO. But in his example, our organization said, no, no, no, no, no, no. 

We're going to flip that. We're going to completely invert a hierarchy so that, uh, the person doing the work, because there's a first person to recognize the aberration between what's expected, what's desired and what's actually happened. They have not only the right, but the responsibility to call out the problem. 

And everybody else. Is it defined as being in a supporting role and they have to respond? And in fact, and I'll just finish up this part of my rant is when I was having a talk with a guy who runs a one of Toyota's plants, he had this funny gesture. Every time he spoke about leadership, his hands came together with his palms touching and his feet, fingers spread out. 

Those who are watching the video, I'm making a V with my hands pointing up. And I was this tick he had? What was this gesture? And I realized it for him. Leadership is not top down telling, you know, the people who work for me what to do. It's the people who are doing work who need support. And so the team member who's actually creating value through an engineering, design, production, whatever else it is, their quote unquote leader there, team leader is there, and there's the gesture, the, the  

[00:20:25] Marco Ciappelli: V. 

So you're, you're putting a a pyramid upside down.  

[00:20:28] Steven J. Spear: That's right where the weight is coming down and down and down to, ultimately it's the, the globe on Atlas's shoulder. Right, right. So, um, you know, let me, let me bring this back because he has a great question about this whole wiring thing. So when Gene and I were coming up with a title for the book, you know, um, we're really focused on the construction, the design, the engineering of these elaborate systems, but these not technical systems, but these social technical systems. 

And, uh, these social technical systems, which like any complex system, Have many, many different pieces, which have to mesh perfectly for the system as a whole to perform well. And then it dawned on us is like, when, um, we design a technical system, we wire it to make sure that resources. Which are in high concentration in one place can flow quickly, easily, effectively at the right time to the right place where they're in low concentration, but needed, right? 

So an electrical circuit does that. It takes charge from where it is to where it's needed plumbing, right? A plumbing is a circuit, which takes up a pressurized liquid or gas or whatever else it is and moves it to where that pressure and that, that liquid and that, that gas is actually needed. And we started thinking about what, um, processes and procedures do in organizations, and we realized. 

It's exactly the same thing is that you have someone over here who has an idea, they have a capability, they have a capacity. There's somebody over here, um, who is in need to be a beneficiary of that knowledge, that wisdom, that capacity, that capability. Sometimes it's a flow, sometimes it's an intermingling, whatever it is, but you have to make a connection because in the absence of that connection, then the work can't get done well. 

And so as we started thinking through how to describe. This overlay, this, uh, this overlay of processes and procedures and practices, etcetera, that's circuitry. That's social circuitry as opposed to technological circuitry. So, um, anyway, we, like I said, like we found with the, um, exemplars. Their design and their management of this circuitry is just off the charts compared to anybody else. 

And that's why they have such, such great ability to deliver so much more value into society, all else equal.  

[00:22:52] Marco Ciappelli: Does this include, uh, I'm assuming some level of creativity, like leaving people not only in power. Be part of the success. So you don't have that Adam Smith situation where you're just doing their job. 

You don't even know why you're doing it. You're actually showing them that they're part of the success. You're empowering them, but also you're suggesting them to be creative with solutions.  

[00:23:23] Steven J. Spear: Yeah. So, uh, this ties back to the circuitry and just a phenomenal picture.  

[00:23:27] Marco Ciappelli: Yeah, yeah. That's what made me think about it. 

[00:23:29] Steven J. Spear: Yeah. Yeah. So, um, so in the case of, uh, the worst organizations, and I think we've all unfortunately had this problem, was we walk into a situation, I apologize, let me, I told you before, the sun moves on me, and I think it just moves. I, I love the  

[00:23:45] Marco Ciappelli: effect. Very, very cinematic.  

[00:23:48] Steven J. Spear: Yeah. Cinematic right Next monster comes in for the collar. 

Um, so, uh, In the worst case, when the wiring is not of a winning organization, it's a losing organization, people walk in, and I think we've had this experience, where you walk into a situation and say, all right, what am I supposed to do? And a good part of your ingenuity, your creative effort, is just trying to figure out what you're supposed to do. 

And then once you figure out what you're supposed to do. Then the next part is like, oh, yeah, but the things I need, what do I need? And then you spend a lot of your ingenuity trying to figure that out. And then you figure out, oh, well, now that I know what I need, where do I even get it? And there's all this, and you've seen this in large, uh, you know, you know, bureaucratic organizations. 

People spend so much time and so much energy just trying to figure out what to do and get it done. The actual social or technical problems in front of them, they don't have time and energy left over, right? And that fosters this, this whole sense of, uh, frustration and cynicism and being jaded. Now, to your point, when we have organizations that are actually wired to win as opposed to wired to lose, you have this connectivity between people who actually Um, have to collaborate and have to collaborate in often very creative fashion. 

And then when they walk into the situation, they're not walking into situations wondering, what am I supposed to do? Who do I depend on? Who's dependent on me? Where do I get my resources? They walk right in. All that because of the wiring is obvious and clean. And they can then take their ingenuity and rather have it dissipate into this ether of confusion. 

Have it focused on the problem in front of them, the problem in front of them in the singular, but also the problem in front of them in the plural, the collaborative plural,  

[00:25:42] Marco Ciappelli: which makes me think again to the power of reacting really quick and then maintain the stability, which is kind of like a paradox in a way, right? 

I mean, it's actually really stable because it is unstable.  

[00:25:55] Steven J. Spear: That's right. Yeah, because it's a stability comes from the net. It's a dynamic process, not a structural, uh, attribute.  

[00:26:02] Marco Ciappelli: Wow, I love it. So, I love the whole conversation. Uh, let's talk to finish this a little bit about the book in terms of who did you have in mind? 

Yeah. When you were writing this book, like who is for? 

[00:26:20] Steven J. Spear: So, long and short, the book is for people who have responsibility for other people. And, in particular, shaping the conditions in which those other people work. Uh, and in particular, beyond that, shaping the conditions in which other people work, so that they can, uh, better bring their ingenuity to bear on real problems, rather than squandering the energy of their minds on all sorts of nonsensical things like, what am I supposed to do and where I fit in. 

Now, just unpacking that a little bit, the um, You know, the, uh, the, the provocation for the book, the motivation is this paradox, which we see, which is all else equal, you know, same market, same resources, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, same regulatory environment. There's those standout organizations which can just generate and deliver so much more value to society than their peers. 

And the thing is, and I keep coming back to this all else equal, because if all else is equal, you can't say, well, oh, you know, Marco's got an access to better suppliers, better vendors, a better regulation, because we're playing on the same level playing field. Um, so the only thing left is the conditions you've created in which people work versus the conditions I've created in which people work. 

Now let's take that a step further, which is you think about why do we work collaboratively in the first place? It's because we're faced with solving hard problems that we can't solve individually, right? You know, what is the appropriate design of this medication? How do we actually manufacture it? How do you deliver it? 

How do we dose it? How do we make it accessible to patients? Um, how to create software which is easy to use and get delightful with all of these things. Start as problems that need solution. And yes, eventually there's the, uh, some kind of, uh, seemingly repetitive process that delivers the product or the service, but even that started as a problem, which is, let's say you take a smartphone, how do you make the darn thing? 

Well, no one had an answer. You had to figure it out. Right? So anyway, we, we start with the, there's this paradoxical or this paradox provocation or provocative paradox of, uh, huge disparities in performance. And then we kind of. Saying, well, you know, the only difference between the best and the worst. It's the conditions they create for people to express their ingenuity both individually and, uh, express their ingenuity collectively. 

And so the whole book is written around the idea of creating conditions in which the human mind can find fuller expression for its, uh, potential. then otherwise would be the case. And again, so the, the, the audience here is, uh, for the person who's responsible for other people who are responsible for creating those conditions, which the minds of those other people can find fuller expression. 

And, um, so we worked through in the book, a set of mechanisms, what we call them three mechanisms that make it easier for people to express their ingenuity versus not. And that becomes the theme of the book of how to, how to do those. 

So it's, you mentioned a couple already. There's Loification, Simplification, and Amplification. Those are the three.  

That's 100%. So, you know, when we were setting up the book and it's, it's right in the beginning, we say, look, if it, if management and leadership really is, uh, expressed by people's ability to create good conditions for the minds of other people, then what are bad conditions? 

And we call that in the book, the danger zone. And the danger zone is, You put a person in a situation where, um, the problems they have to address are very, very complex, hard to do, the situation is fast moving, harder to do, hard to control, even harder to do, risks and stakes are high, harder to do, um, and then you make a situation where because it's a one off, there's no opportunity to learn from experience or experimentation. 

Even worse, even worse as a danger zone. They say, well, what's the flip side of that? The winning zone. Well, the winning zone is all that, but opposite, right? So put people in situations with simple problems, boom, it's easier for them to express their ingenuity, make the environment slower moving. So they can keep up with the environment rather than having to be like in a, in a trigger response behavior, easier, lower the stakes, give opportunity for repetition. 

So anyway, the book we lay out that the. Necessary objective for managers slash leaders is change the conditions in which people are working from this danger zone to this winning zone. Danger zone for their minds and winning zone for their intellects. And then we go through a series of mechanisms, three of them to be particular, as you mentioned. 

So we have this idea of just slowing things down. We call that, we've made up a word, we call it slowification. Um, we, we had to make up a word. There's a German word, which describes exactly what we mean. But like many German words, it's lots of letters, all consonants, hard to pronounce, so it was a little difficult, but what's the basic idea of slowification? 

It's that whatever problem is in front of a group of people. It's easier to solve the problem because the environment is less threatening. All right. And that's slowification. Then we have another, and we have a number of really great examples in there of where people have done that have brought the problems out of the operating environment back into planning, practice preparation, where the human mind can find better expression. 

The second mechanism we spend quite a bit of time talking about is simplification. And in contrast, if slowification is about, Changing the conditions in which we're solving problems so the problem solving experience itself is easier. Simplification is how do we partition and otherwise break up problems, big problems into smaller pieces, so the problems themselves are easier to solve. 

And we use terms like modularization, incrementalization, things like that, which all have to do with taking big, complex, highly intertwined, hard to fathom things. Making 'em into smaller, uh, pieces. And then the, uh, the third mechanism, and we've spent quite a bit of time on that, is this idea of amplification. 

Yeah. So if ification is, change the condition, so the problem solving is easier to do, and simplification is about changing the problem itself, so it's easier to solve. Amplification is about making it much more obvious. You have a problem on which you have to focus attention. So it's become the mechanism we find is common across many, many different situations. 

[00:32:42] Marco Ciappelli: Well, Steve, it's a really fascinating and I love the fact that without taking into consideration all these changes, technology, it really focuses on the humans. I think at the end you're going into the human. I've seen in my head some reference and connection to the way nature works, synergy in general. 

So I think it's an excellent concept and I hope that people will jump on it. You've, you know, you've been, you're a great storyteller. So I invite, uh, everybody to, uh, check out the book wants to come out November 21st, uh, wiring the winning organization, uh, with, uh, Steven Speer. 

You wrote it and you, the, the co writer is, um, Jean Kim, Jean Kim. That's right. And, uh, And for everybody to stay tuned, uh, subscribe to the show, we'll have many more conversation like this. And Steve, I really enjoyed it. If you want to come back anytime you want to talk about something, I, I really, really enjoy, you know, New York, Italian, we can talk forever. 

[00:33:45] Steven J. Spear: Oh, forever. It's not. We just got started. I know. This is great. And first of all, I just want to say thank you for the chance to talk with you and, uh, you know, with your listeners. The other thing I just want to emphasize is, uh, you make another good point is, uh, the book is all about people and, you know, I rattled off a bunch of examples and in the book we draw on a whole host of them, um, whether it's, uh, space travel, medical care, responding to a mass casualty events, I. 

T. stuff, et cetera. And why is that? Is because regardless of the, um, the technology people are focusing their attention on and regardless of the technology they use to focus on that technology. Every organization has a commonality and that is it's collaborative work by many people trying to give full expression to their mind's potential to do things together they can't do alone. 

Once we realize that every organization has that commonality, then we sort of have to say that then every organization has to be managed and led in such a way that gives consideration for the strengths and the weaknesses of the human mind. And so, uh, you know, we're really quite excited that We've had a chance to observe and listen and learn and experience and otherwise draw on this tremendous set of inspirations to come up with this kind of unifying Venn diagram of these mechanisms that allow some organizations to win. 

Whereas without the mechanisms they might lose.  

[00:35:14] Marco Ciappelli: Love it. Love it. Great. Uh, great conclusion to To the show to the episode one more, uh thing to leave our audience, to think so you got that All right, everybody. We'll call this off. Stay tuned for another episode coming at you very soon from Redefining society podcast. 

Take care. Thank you. Steve.  

[00:35:38] Steven J. Spear: You're welcome. Thank you