Monday, October 22, 2007

The Problem with Diets and Technology

Pick up any self help magazine and you are bound to find yet another article which lays claim to having discovered the perfect diet. More water, less water, milk, grapefruit, toast... there is an endless stream of advice regarding what it takes to take off the weight.

The problem is everyone knows diets don't work because eating habits are a function of much more than food. Real weight loss takes hard work, patience and often a good therapist!

Unfortunately, many organizations approach technology the same way that many people approach diets. They want the quick fix, i.e. the perfect database, hardware, or software solution to transform their organization and bring success. Never mind the fact that the board is under performing, the ED is burnt out, and funders are leaving in droves.

The problem is it's not that simple. Just as dieting alone cannot change your life, technology alone cannot save your organization, because employing the right technology(ies) is just one part of a comprehensive program to effect institutional change.

When working with clients, we often use the pyramid above to illustrate how and where technology fits into the organizational equation. We also help clients think about the other critical components of organizational success - PEOPLE and PROCESSES.

The next time you are discussing an organizational problem ask yourself this question. Is this a technology, process, or people issue? Clarifying the source of your pain and discerning what is broken will help you to determine what to do next.


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