Osborne, Larry. Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 15, “When You’ve Hit the Wall: breaking Through Barriers of Competency and Complexity” (Loc. 1522-1643)
In every organization, given enough time, leaders eventually reach barriers. Often these come as a surprise (Loc. 1528). Osborne suggests different ways that leaders respond, using an analogy of our attempts to get a product from a vending machine. “Hitting this wall can usually be traced back to one of three things: (1) we’ve outgrown our leadership skills, (2) our organization has outgrown its structures, or (3) we’ve been blindsided by a cultural shift we never saw coming” (Loc. 1543). Osborne treats these three issues in order.
Osborne says that once we have reached our limit we cannot exceed it (Loc. 1547).He consistently refers to this in terms of the number of people we can work with. The lack of growh, however, is not always a failure (Loc. 1564). Every organization has a natural mature size where it can function well.
Some organization structures also have certain limits (Loc. 1599). There may be structures that work well on a small scale but not on a large scale and vice versa. Many can be changed and not destroy an organization.
An organization and the world in which it lives also will go through cultural shifts (Loc. 1611). Identifying the key elements of culture provides an organization with the tools to reach the culture (Loc. 1627). These are not our timeless values. They are the ways we live out the values (Loc. 1630).