Losing to Organizational Monsters That Don’t Exist

Years ago Apple had a problem, they were losing to Microsoft.  But the problem was that Microsoft wasn’t the enemy they were losing to (fabulous video). Let me explain.

Maybe you have been a part of this discussion before: Sitting around a conference room table, you and your colleges lament about the lack of motivation the workforce has as a whole or around a particular project.  You decide that if you could only motivate them more, you would have better success.  So you sit there, thinking of strategies:  awards, incentives, flextime, a clearer mission statement.


Eventually you put some plans into practice but your initiatives yield very little.  You all secretly determine that your plans didn’t work, but no one really openly talks about it.  So you ignore the initiatives and let them die a slow death.

Until some other big problem comes up that you need to deal with.  So you go back to the conference room table and the round starts again.

I have seen this happen over and over and over again.  Part of the problem is that they are trying to tackle the wrong organizational monster.  They have incorrectly identified the approach to their end goal.  Why?  It is the same reason that some parents can’t get their kids away from playing crazy amounts of video games.  They try to enforce behavior with incentives and programs to do other things.  But they don’t want those other things – they want the video games.  So what should they do?  Take away or change the thing that is causing the undesirable behavior.

You see, many people focus on the wrong thing (trying to substitute a bad behavior with a good behavior) without dampening the direct behavior in the first place.  They focus on the wrong opposite.

This video speaks to the heart of this issue.  It wasn’t until Apple changed the game that they started “winning.”

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