On the morning of November 10, I shared my thoughts about Donald Trump’s election as president of the US.
That same morning, 78 years ago in 1938, was the day when Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, passed away.
Turkey has experienced a tough 2016 so far. In particular, the July 15 coup attempt was an unwelcome development that Turkey is fortunate to have avoided.
Similarly, many in the US feel that Trump’s presidency is an unwelcome development. I understand their concerns but, for the reasons I shared in my post, I don’t have the same fears.
There will always be struggle and there will always be uncertainty. The struggles of Turkey to rebuild following the coup attempt and the uncertainty which the country continues to face, and the struggles of the US during a polarized campaign season and the uncertainty which the country faces now that the election results are in, are just two examples.
But amid the struggles and the uncertainty, there is one certainty. And that is that people shape the future. Just like Ataturk shaped that of Turkey.
Scott Belsky of Benchmark Capital recently wrote a great piece on organizational debt. Scott defines organizational debt as “the accumulation of changes that leaders should have made but didn’t”.
I like to think of organizational debt as the outcome of the obvious people decisions you know you should be making but avoid making due to short-term thinking. The key words here are “obvious” and “people”.
So a mistaken entry to begin serving an unprofitable customer segment or a mistake in your product pricing strategy are not examples of organizational debt. The reason is that such decisions are usually non-obvious and not directly about people.
Continuing to work with someone you know you should no longer be working with, or having a culture where team members avoid challenging each other in exchange for not having their own views challenged, are examples of organizational debt. The reason is that the changes necessary in these cases are both obvious and clearly about people. The discomfort resulting from addressing these obvious people issues is what makes them so tempting to put off.
You can read the full piece here.