What is a ‘do-nothing vision’ in MSP?

Managing Successful Programmes suggests that a programme team should elaborate a vision of the future. This is an agreed and communicated vision of the desired future. As a contrast to this desirable future vision, it can be useful to analyse the “do nothing” option.

Your change programme may encounter resistance. Both the future vision and the “do nothing” vision are useful to overcome resistance and to help motivate people to support the proposed changes.

In Nokia, the new boss, Stephen Elop came in from Microsoft with a new strategy. He wanted Nokia to work with Microsoft, and to put Windows on their smartphones. That meant abandoning Symbian and Meego, two existing Nokia operating systems.

He used the “burning deck” scenario to drive the change. This scenario said that “do nothing” was impossible. We – the Nokia team – are on a burning deck, and if we do nothing we will burn. We have a choice to jump off the deck, into the cold black sea below. This is a risk, but a risk that we must take. Doing nothing is certain death, whereas we might survive in the sea…

For Nokia, the do-nothing option was clear… uncompetitive products, declining market share, increasing irrelevance in the global marketplace. So Nokia took the risk, and jumped off the burning desk. They closed their Symbian and Meego teams and went for the Windows option.

Sometimes, doing nothing might appear to be a good choice.

Hewlett Packard have just voted for the “do nothing” choice. They were thinking of selling their PC business. They decided against it. They compared the option of floating off the PC unit with the option of doing nothing, and choose to do nothing.

Some say that, in the long running Euro-crisis, Angela Merkel is failing to provide leadership, and very often favours the “do nothing” option (or at least, do too little, too late)…

Written by Jeff on December 27, 2011 in blog
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