Why do some organizations endlessly “spin”?

I certainly don’t want to insult anyone with this week’s post, but I have been reflecting on why organization’s continue to struggle and leadership teams do what some would describe as spinning.

It easy to oversimplify here as management challenges can be incredibly complicated and strategic decision making can be rife with considerable risk. That said, there are times when this spinning is avoidable and indicates a deeper problem.

In my experience, some leaders and teams spin during the two phases of decision-making.

  1. Thinking. This is when all the necessary information is being sought or is already on the table. This phase is essentially the deciding stage and it’s when risks are evaluated and consequences determined. When organizations stall in this phase, it’s often because of fear, conflict avoidance, risk aversion, or lack of appropriate empowerment. Each of these can force an individual or group to endlessly debate, hand-wring, and fall into an endless pit of “analysis paralysis”… and each of these will require a different solution. It’s often very useful to identify which of these is causing the spinning by simply posing the question and asking the subject(s) to comment. It’s nice to shed a little light here as often it only requires just a little light to lessen or even fully eliminate the churn.
  2. Doing. This is the implementation phase and sometimes organizations fall down, and hard, here. These organizations often wonder why good ideas never seem to manifest, generate, and deliver on expected results. In my experience, the challenge here relates to management ineffectiveness, the lack of an accountability oriented culture, and a fundamental absence of the essential skillset when it comes to translating ideas to action. Again, the process of identifying and clearly naming the culprit(s) can be most helpful to those leaders and teams earnestly looking for a way out of an agonizing swirl.

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