Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Lost" as metaphor for the dysfunctional company

Have you ever watched "Lost" and felt you were a fly on the wall watching the executives at your company interact?

We just got finished with watching Season 1 on DVD. (I know, I know, we are two years behind, but we have small kids, are busy, etc.... Anyway, we're trying to catch up, thanks to Netflix.) And I noticed the following: watching the "Lost" survivors is like watching a dysfunctional management team at work. Don't believe me? Consider this:

Dr. Jack is the CEO. Everyone comes to him when a decision needs to be made. Sawyer is the rival with his own agenda. Locke is like the IT guy--nobody knows what he actually does, plus he creeps everyone out--but all know they can't live without him. Kate is the schemer who's always looking to suck up to the CEO (but keeps relations with the rival, just in case). Sun is the quietly-effective leader who really should be running the place if people wised up and took notice.

They're not without talent, but they can't get their act together. For example, they

  1. Have different agendas
  2. Sustain unproductive rivalries (Jack-Sawyer)
  3. Make assumptions about others and act on those assumptions
  4. Don't communicate
  5. Can't overcome cultural barriers (Jin is isolated almost the entire first season)
  6. Can't organize or coordinate their actions
  7. Don't cooperate
  8. Are afraid of scary things in the woods (have you ever viewed your competitors that way?)
It makes for great TV, but it's hell if you have to work in it every day. Sound familiar?

(Picture from JOJ TV)

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