It’s Always About People
There is a tale about the general who went with his very, very, very large army to war. He told his troops to go forth and win the war. They did. Everyone went home.
It’s like that of the business that was set up to sell a little of everything that everyone might want. They sold a lot of things to a lot of people. They were all happy. Forever.
The reason none of these tales bears even the closest semblance to reality is because each assumes that people and the systems they create are entirely rational. The brain analyzing
these two narratives spots them for the fakes they are because they fail to ring true.
The thing is while we think we are navigating the world as we live our life, in truth, we are navigating a complex web of interactions generated by our proximity and interaction with a great many other people
. In the military they call this the human terrain
. It has to be navigated and ‘conquered’ in order for a victory of any kind to be achieved.
The reason this is key is because no matter the context the human terrain is governed by relationships and it is relationships or, at the very least relational exchanges
that actually can ‘win’ it or ‘lose’ it. Failure to understand this leads to specific issues arising which then lead to an increase in friction in each specific environment.
Within a corporation undergoing a transformation that friction manifests itself in passive resistance that makes everything difficult without there ever being overt resistance or any tangible reason for the level of difficulty being encountered. In a company aggressively marketing its wares it’s experienced as increased competition from other companies and a diminishing return from the buying public being bludgeoned with adverts. An army charged with the control of a region will experience this as resistance rising to such levels that its firepower is never enough to get the job done and the risks its troops face just keep on rising.
Everything is now a system
and no system is closed. We see the impact of this everywhere: In politics unknown newcomers
win over experienced rivals whose campaign budget disparity is 10:1. In business, startups such as Lyft
are classic examples of small companies that used their vision to disrupt established trade industries and change things forever. And in finance, internet-only banks like N26
have begun to gain ground on banks whose age is counted in centuries. That’s far from all. Every time a company has to apologize
saying “this is not who we are
” it’s because nothing is now compartmentalized.
changes everything. All the bits are now connected. And data is the world’s most valued commodity
Bear this in mind moving forward. Everything is data. Culture determines context. Context changes the value of data. People are behind everything. We generate the data, create the culture and provide the context.