Changing Organizations-Getting Amazing Things Done

Counterinsurgency book coverYou perhaps remember that in my Charlie Wilson post I recommended Saul Alinsky’s community organizing bible, Rules For Radicals, calling it the best book I know on project management and user buy-in. Now, I’m examining another uber-text on community organizing-big scale change-project management. Namely, The U. S. Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, by GEN David Petraeus, LTGEN James Amos and LTC John Nagl.

By following the manual, I’d say that one of the reasons the surge seems to be working is getting the troops out of the central, visibly protected compounds and into the neighborhoods to provide visible, local security and related services in tandem with the local folks. (The big idea is that “winning hearts and minds” is less about guns and bullets and more about on-the-ground local nurturing of confident and vital communities.)

Not to overstate your and my typical day, isn’t that what we try to do, if we’re wise, to get organizational buy-in to our projects? And if we fail, isn’t it mostly because we hide in our central compounds, guarded by cubicle walls and executive assistants and departmental de facto “do not enter” signs—and toss “brilliant” software, our guns and bullets, over the wall?

I’ll let you know what I think.