At the post office

In 3 weeks I am attending a conference in the Emirates. Payment for this particular conference is made by money transfer, since there is a glitch that does not enable folks to register via the web.

Like many things in Israel, doing something simple is often difficult. Western Union (money transfers) has several agents, but no parking within 100 miles; luckily it also operates out of the post office. The Israeli post office. Remember that Israel used to be Ottoman, then mandated British and then Israeli. The post office is a remnant of the Turks, except for the British looking postbox.

I arrived at the post office at 8.00 and I was the first the enter. No one else entered during this whole saga, which took 40 minutes. Hagar (f) was drinking tea and chatting with a colleague. “Do you have an appointment”, she barked. Never the diplomat I said, “can I draw the madame’s attention that the entire establishment is empty”. 

“Go the machine a get a number and request the appropriate service”. I returned after having chosen “fund transfer”.

“That’s incorrect-the service you need is foreign currency. Go back again”.

“No; I want to speak to the manager”. “He comes in at ten”. 

Me: And that is obvious. וכך זה נראה.

The seminar and hotel come to $1900. The post office clerk told me that I need cash, in Israeli currency. “What is the exchange rate”. “Am I a bank?”, she replied. “We are a money transfer service “affiliated” to WU.”

She sent me off to the ATM at the nearest bank, some ordeal because I am recovering from (my third) virus this winter. I returned and she said “take another appointment from the machine”. There was still not a soul besides me and the staff in the post office.

Now this would not be in an OD blog were it not for the security guard told me when I left. “You know Dr, she gets paid per number of clients she serves in a day. That is monitored by the appointment software.”











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5 basics about organizations that don’t change

If you read enough posts on social media and/or professional journals about organizational change, the impression of massive constant change is ubiquitous. Change appears to be constant, fast and furious and if you don’t adapt you to be left behind in a cloud of dust.

Which may be true, but equally may not be true. Because there are certain elements in organizational life which do not change.

 In this post, I want to point out 5 constants of organizational life which do not change, “or bends with the remover to remove. O no,  (they are) an ever-fixèd mark. That looks on tempests and is never shaken” (Sonnet 116-Shakespeare)

  • When people work together in physical proximity, the probability for trust to severely break down is less than if people work in different geographies. Yes, people in the same physical location often have trust issues, but people who work remote from one another always have chronic trust issues, and they are very difficult to manage. Each geographical site has hidden agendas that impact all interaction.
  • Hiring good people at a fair price is far more effective than hiring mediocre people at a better price; training cannot bridge the gap of mediocrity.
  • AI is a fad. It will cause “some” change, but it is not the game changer it is made out to be. Like TQM, MBO and JIT, AI has come in with a lot of noise; it will not change the basic operating system of organizing.
  • If you want to change culture, do things differently. You cannot change culture by talking-only by doing. And it takes a long time. After things are done differently, people will report a cultural change in a year or even longer.
  • There are no mergers; just acquisitions. It is a Darwinian process in which a stronger organization digests another. Taking the best from both cultures to form a new one is total nonsense that never ever happens. Never.
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