donuts leadership==

“If you’re talking about how you promoted synergy in an organization, that could mean you just got everybody together for donuts twice a week.”

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Erin McKean

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“Donuts.

Is there anything they can’t do?”

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Matt Groening

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“Mmmmmm … doughnuts.”

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Homer Simpson

———————–

So.

 

 

Yesterday was national doughnut day in America <I believe USA has a day for everything … or maybe there is something every day ? … oh well …>.

 

 

I imagine HR people who were paying attention rose to the occasion and brought dozens of donuts into the office using it as an organizational ‘synergy’ moment. Maybe let’s call it a ‘human moment among a shitload of business moments.’

 

 

Let me be clear.

 

I like donuts.

Maybe even love a donut or two.

 

 

But whenever I think about donuts … I think about the workplace & businesses.

sneeze donut

 

I do not associate donuts with organization synergy.

 

 

And I associate 2 things with donuts in business:

 

 

 

–        Long boring meetings where I knew I would have to sit and listen to some pompous blowhard<s> trying to be interesting, or

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–       Business people who were adamant that a good meeting couldn’t be good without donuts

 

 

 

Maybe I am just an old cynical business guy <I am> but food has been, and always has been, a crutch in business.

 

I have always hated, let me repeat, HATED, food in meetings.

 

Sure.

 

I can find an exception or two <a breakfast meeting, a lunch meeting, a dinner meeting> but overall … I HATE food in meetings <apologies to donuts around eth world>..
I most likely hate donuts in meetings because I associate them with ‘forced synergy.’

 

 

Huh?

 

 

Most management people, whether they have a sense for how to create synergy opportunities or not, believe one of their obligations is to create synergy.

 

For some reason creating synergy seems inextricably linked to some sense of their ability to manage or be a leader.

 

For some reason they seem to think they actually need to proactively ‘create synergy.’ … ‘create’ being the key word.

 

 

My word? ‘forced.’

 

 

Suffice it to say the pursuit of synergy is a consistent business management topic in almost every organization.

 

 

In fact.

 

 

Most organizations actually set aside time … yes … set aside time to actually discuss setting aside more time with meetings and retreats to brainstorm ways to collaborate <create synergy> more effectively.

 

 

Best practices.

 

Incentives for sharing.

 

Processes and procedures.

 

 

Organizations can actually be restructured to accommodate ‘synergy opportunities.’

donuts raining

 

I blame donuts.

 

 

If there were no donuts we wouldn’t have all these long meetings brainstorming ‘forced synergy.’

 

 

 

Without donuts no one would sit long enough to waste all the time pontificating on synergy.

 

 

 
To be clear.

 

 

Business research clearly suggest that synergy initiatives more often fall short of management’s expectations than deliver the ‘synergy goods.’

 

 

Let me explain why I believe ‘forced synergy’ fails.

 

 

Nonconformity and oppositional thinking are essential aspects for breakthrough problem solving and innovation as well as progress in general. Synergy takes on a nontraditional aspect in this case … synergy is about absorbing nontraditional ideas and building upon them … and that is not a traditional definition of ‘collaboration synergy.’

 

 

 

Next.
Managing sometimes contentious different perspectives is tiring and if not managed properly is counterproductive to the organization.

 

 

It is absolutely easier to manage contrasting opinions by ‘forcing synergy.’ I actually call it lazy management but it is almost standard operating ‘synergy’ procedure in business.

 

 

donut eatenAnd that is where donuts most often make their appearance.

 

 

In meetings & brainstorming situations where there will be some meaningful conflict worn down to some meaningless blob of meaningless synergistic solution.

 

And it is the wrong way to create synergy.

 

 

Here is the main reason why I don’t believe donuts are needed.

 

 

Effective synergy is cultural and not forced. It should simply ‘be’ and not created.

 

 

Synergy evolves when people share <I apologize … I lost the source to these 3 things>:

 

 

• The seriousness of the circumstances they face

• Their common goal (s)

• A sense of interdependence with each other

 

 

 

Synergy is difficult to ‘create’ let alone develop.

 

 

Realistically … most employees seek to invest their energies in a way that matches ‘upside.’ That realistically is an incentive based behavior model <without a formal incentive>.

 

 

note:

 donuts are not an incentive …

 

 

 

Therefore establishing a common goal can actually encourage synergy behavior <without actually forcing it>. You ‘drag’ desired behavior thru the organization.

 

 

Of course this only works if your management permits some organizational interdependence.

 

 

And that is where ‘pockets’ arises as the most likely outcome.

 

 

You can encourage behavior until you are blue in the face <and, yes, I have become blue in the face with the effort in the past> but some will embrace it and some will not. Thereby creating the ‘pockets.’

 

 

 

This is a version of ‘growing a business unevenly.’

 

 

http://brucemctague.com/growing-a-brand-unevenly   >

 

 

And that is okay.

 

 

In fact … it is more than okay.

 

 

It is how business works.

 

 

If you think you can get an entire organization work ‘synergistically’ and have an entire organization working on all cylinders all the time … well … you are doomed to be disappointed.

 

 
Great organizations have pockets of synergy and moments of aligned behavior.

 

Great organizations maximize those moments and pockets <and encourage more alignment moments and more pockets>.

 

 

 

To me.

 

 

Leave the donuts in the shared eating area and out of meetings.donut power

 

 

To me.

 

 

A business should focus on “pockets of synergy” and not organizational synergy.

 

 

This actually means you need to get the incompetent managers out of the way <and let them eat their donuts> and simply scan an organization to see where the true synergy opportunities lie in the organization.

 

 

Cooperation and sharing are certainly organizational ideals that are beyond debate.

 

 

But I would argue that well led organizations will have pockets that will gravitate toward the desired behavior.

 

 

And what you do is encourage the organization to manifest the ideal, be okay with pockets who embrace the ideal … but not force it with those who do not <and fire the ones who balk at it>.

 

 

I would also argue that failed ‘forced synergy’ initiatives not only are a waste of time and money but they can also irrevocably damage a business.

 

 

Synergy exists within almost every organization.

 

Synergy rarely exists within an ENTIRE organization.

 

I have never read this book ...

I have never read this book …

 

 

 

You give the donuts to the non-synergy people and they are happy.

 

 

You don’t have to give donuts to pockets of synergy because they don’t thrive on food … they thrive on synergy.

 

 

Donuts.

 

 

Suffice it to say you have an organizational problem, or a people problem, if all you ever hear is “will there be donuts?”

 

 

 

 ==

Ok.

 

 

Now that I have slammed donuts in the business environment … I will share a doughnut I have never eaten … but love the brand story: Fractured Prune Donuts

 

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Fractured Prune encourages individuality and believes your doughnuts should be just as unique as you. We challenge you to stop staring at rows of preconceived doughnuts and instead let your inner doughnut genius run wild.

Choose from at least a dozen glazes and toppings to make a doughnut the way you want it. And remember, there’s no wrong way to make your delicious!

Fractured Prune shops take their name from Prunella Shriek, a 19th-century woman who became famous for breaking bones in athletic competition with men, even into her 70s. Back in 1976 when Tom Parshall purchased Josh’s 46th Street Market, he was thinking about a new name for his enterprise. Several friends gave him suggestions, but he felt they all lacked imagination & individuality. He had been reading through the abstract of the land he purchased, and an unusual name caught his eye. Back in the late 1800’s a woman named Prunella Shriek had owned much of the land in that area. Tom didn’t think too much about it until one day he was browsing through the Baltimore Library and came across a book titled “Ocean City Love”. As he looked through it, he was thrilled to see Prunella Shriek’s name with a paragraph devoted to her.

Even though she was in her seventies, she was the only woman who competed with men in traditionally men’s sports such as ice skating races & skiing competitions. She was an excellent tennis player, and was county ping-pong champion circa 1895. Being older and somewhat brittle, she often returned from some of the more vigorous competitions in a wheel chair or on crutches. Thus the townspeople began lovingly to refer to her as “Fractured Prunella.” When Tom read this, a voice in his head said, “Hello”, he would name his enterprise after this wonderful & spunky old lady, and call it “The Fractured Prune® “.

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Written by Bruce