Sunday, July 24, 2011
The First Fax Machine in Loudoun County and Consensus Vs. Vision
Back in 1987 the owners of the company decided that it would be a good idea to incorporate this new fax machine into the office. The great fax campaign of 1987 started, it was dubbed, "the gang of two". The owners started educating agents on what a fax machine was, and why it would be useful. Some agents were receptive while other were not. They needed 50% of the agents to agree in order to buy this new equipment. After the vote they were one short of the necessary votes to get a fax machine. The owners ended up finally convincing the additional agent to vote for the fax. Of course it took a lot of additional resources and time to convince the last ten percent. In hindsight there is no doubt that a fax machine was a good investment.
Since that time the policy in the office has changed. Decisions are made based on the vision of the owners, not based off consensus of the agents. That is not to say that agent input is not encouraged or required. It is essential to get input from the agents. The question is how are effective feedback loops established within an organization. How does an organization balance vision and input. The concept of crowdsourcing comes to mind
The concept of crowdsourcing discusses outsourcing of traditional tasks. Input from agents is critical, but equally as critical is the timing in which questions are asked. Look for consensus for vision and you may unnecessarily slow down the organization!