Do you recognise this description ? A large organisation rather
complacent about its relationship with customers and employees,
performance wise coasting, obsessed with cost cutting, inward
looking, doesn’t feel it can learn much from other organisations
because of its uniqueness, reluctant to collaborate due to past
experience, made up of a number of management layers and a stifling
bureaucracy which together makes it difficult to do something
different and adds to a general risk aversion way of not doing things.
Most likely employee satisfaction and loyalty is low.
This is a dinosaur organisation and the fact that so many people
recognise it is evidence of both its continued existence and its
prevalence. Just as the dinosaurs were around for a long time before
becoming extinct these organisations have been around for a long time.
But a pandemic may be their equivalent of the meteorite that struck
with little warning and wiped out the dinosaurs.
Unlike dinosaurs humans are very adaptable and so are their
organisations if they recognise the need to change! Most often the HR
literature deals with the resistance to change amongst employees but
dinosaur organisations have boards which don’t recognise the need for
change. If they receive a critical assessment of their organisation
they typically fail to recognise it or counter with the assessors
failure to take adequate account of local circumstances for example
higher level of unemployment, history of poor housing stock, shorter
life expectancy, diversity of community, decline of traditional
industries, lack of a skilled pool of workers. They certainly don’t
see the need for radical change after all one way of reading the
auditors/management consultants report would be that the organisation
is solid and steady, comfortably mid table, a position the board
regards as satisfactory. As to employee moral well their have been
some restructuring and outsourcing to cut cost and this resulted in
some job losses which was predictably unpopular but things are
settling down. And so the most likely out come is the chief executive
to be asked to come up with an action plan in response to the report
which identifies ways of better engaging with employees, review
current management structure to see if their is scope for savings, and
look at the feasibility of any collaboration opportunities arising in
There was nothing the dinosaurs could do to save themselves but
there are things large organisations can do but first the chair of the
board or chief executive is going to have to persuade the board
members of the need for real change.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger