Evaporating Frameworks

Day 280 Week 41 Q4 Sunday, October 8, 2023

This concerns what happens when the framework supporting a situation begins to vanish. This can be from an acquisition or a merger. Sometimes, company founders die, retire, or otherwise exit. When someone has been championing a cause, project, or set of values and that person vanishes, the framework they established often vanishes with them. Product development teams used to persist beyond a product’s life, often spending years working together. I experienced this at Bose Corporation for a decade. When the founder died, unsurprisingly, things changed. Administrations change, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. Sometimes, there is succession planning, as in Apple with Steve Jobs and Tim Cook. This worked extremely well.

In watching the rolling up of America, where large entities absorb small entities or small entities continue to merge until they are large, there is something lost by the centralization of decision-making: SOUL. Different communities, canopies, and individuals need different things just as much as one size does not fit all individuals. As a professional innovator, of course, I am not against change – I am against trying to assume that one size fits all; it never has and never will.

The reason most often cited for aggregating everything is cost savings, and the only way that happens is by laying people off because they are considered redundant. Frequently, the predicted savings or predicted increases in profitability are imaginary and driven more by a desire for power or greed. I have rarely seen an excellent outcome when rolling things up because the people who care the most and are the most unique adapted to the situations and are then forced into a one-size-fits-all approach, and they generally quit or are laid off, and either way, the entity’s soul begins to erode.

Frameworks can also evaporate more locally and internally as well. For example, you get a good exercise regime going, and the swimming pool you have been using closes for a month, and then you get out of the habit of swimming and this happens just as the winter is beginning and it is less fun to come out in the cold with a wet head than the summer. Or you had some other routine that you shared with another person and they moved a thousand miles away.

There is a lot of entropy in the world, and frameworks are not immune. Some of us can easily get knocked off kilter. We plan on evaporating frameworks because they are inevitable. Perhaps this is when a person needs to examine their routines and habits and see if they are still useful or relevant, or if they pass that test, have a plan for restarting after interruptions break your process.  You can even practice deliberately evaporating your framework and coming back to it.