Catholic v. Buddhist?

One of the more interesting challenges in scaling groups goes to the degree of uniformity one requires in assessing what people do.

We may not like it, but enforcing uniformity is a significant factor in insuring quality. So mass produced guns are far safer than hand made guns. Why? The barrels are more precisely bored out and they tend not to explode, therefore, when the trigger is pulled.

But too much uniformity is monotonous. And for the people working in a heavily rule bound system, life can become hell.

Sutton and Rao dwell on this in their book “Scaling up Excellence”. There are choices to be made about where you fit on the scale – one size fits all Catholic, or go with the flow Buddhist.

Clearly some aspects of the work process need uniformity. But perhaps the best practice is to minimize them. Set them up as guarantees of minimum acceptable quality, allowing freedom to innovate around these minimums.

Sort of like “Guardrails” on the side of the road.

Nice concept.


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