Friday, May 25, 2007


Enterprise Architecture and Encouraging Underachievement

Underachievers are the best, most dependable workers. This may seem counterintuitive, but the key here is that while some achievement is necessary and good for productivity, a lot of it is dangerous to you and everyone around you. Some folks have asked why agile methods aren't being adopted and need to consider this truth.

We'eve established the envy and disdain that coworkers have for anyone who appears to be very successful. That's human nature. One of the fundamental laws of physics holds that systems tend toward equilibrium. Apply this law to the modern enterprise and you will discover that corporate systems exist for a variety of reasons and one of them is to keep overachievers from making everyone else look bad while assuring a stable norm. How else can one rationalize Bell Curve Compensation?

One of the more toxic effects of great accomplishment is the unseemly eagerness with which folks scramble to take credit for at least part of it, especially when they feel compelled to in the pressurized atmosphere of overachievement. Unachievers aren't threatening to others. They're unlikely to screw up as often as someone pushing for perfection. If they fail at a project, oh well; no one expected much anyway. If they succeed, it will seem, paradoxically, like a fantastic acheivement. This falls in line with the job of an enterprise architect and Perception Management.

I wonder how many folks appreciate the fact that underachievement at work is not, however, simply about staying employed. It is also about keeping the other relationships in your life healthy. For example, if you are going to spend weekends at work all the time, you'd better be making wheelbarrows full of money to compensate for all the time you're not spending with friends and family.

Face the fact: you're probably not going to be a millionaire, so why kill yourself? Go home and think about grilling hamburgers (unless you are a communist vegetarian) and the real meaning of Memorial day which is all about remembering our troops who are in harms way so as to protect the right for Americans to be idiots by outsourcing jobs to folks who would never put our country first...

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