What are 5 ways to learn about system failure from trees and ice?

"A high probability of an ice storm for Oklahoma City
for Friday night and Saturday.”

- Channel 9 weather


Trees and ice don't play well together!!

A tree is used constantly as a good metaphor for a system.

People Profits Principle #96

An overburdened system will fail. 
If you don't have a system - failure will be immediate

I noticed several things about the trees hit the hardest: 

  1. They still had most of their LEAVES
    1. The leaves created SURFACE AREA therefore more ICE/WEIGHT
  2. The HARDWOOD trees had less damage then the SOFTER WOOD trees
  3. If the limbs had something to LEAN ON they did not crack
  4. The THICKER the limb the greater chance for survival 

What happens when you strategies, systems and processes are overburdened?

  1. Organizations LACK strategies, systems and processes
  2. Have LIMITED processes which need to be much stronger
  3. Omissions/flaws which become obvious at the WRONG TIME
  4. The systems BIND the organizations and they CANNOT ADAPT

Most HR people are NOT hard wired for DEVELOPING strategies and systems

Five strategies to help HR develop strategies, systems and processes:

  1. Obtain a COPY of all strategies and systems which have been developed
  2. When you receive the response to #1 above:
    1. Determine if they are actually strategies and systems or
    2. Just a list of ACTIVITIES
  3. Ask for the goals, benchmarks or results which #1 above is JUDGED  
  4. Judge the validity of the systems by conducting a STRESS TEST
  5. Identify if your HR department NEEDS HELP in developing strategies

The value of a well-developed strategy and system
is the positive results which happen even under stress.




People Profits case study: A manufacturing company was failing at basic recruiting. They had no strategy or process and did not benchmark or calculate the results of their recruiting. A recruiting strategy, system and process were put in place. The required level of employees was achieved and turnover was reduced by +40% over three years. Costs were comparable between the two periods.

Profits and Growth through Human Capital Strategy and Systems

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