Trust extended and kept is hardware
In the medical environment of the early 21st century we spend tens of millions of dollars on hardware every year. We hope the extraordinarily sophisticated tools (mostly computerized and interlinked these days) will control mistakes, make the flow of patients through the hospital more efficient and quick and make our doctors, payers, staff and patients happier. It’s a lot to ask of silicon and electrons, even really, really expensive ones.
Robin Swift, who runs the brand new Duke Divinity School project on “thriving clergy and thriving congregations” was in Memphis this week and she gave me an article by Rob Thomsett, the author of Radical Project Management (Prentice Hall, 2002). The article, “Causes, patterns and symptoms of project failure,” analyses 20 major projects that clearly failed and discovered three problems at the root in every case: people, people and people. More to precisely, the problem with the people fall into a pattern any student of the leading causes of life could guess without the computer even being plugged into the wall.
Thomsett identifies three early signs of failure:
– “Lack of project plan, especially updates as things change (coherence)
– “Lack of stakeholder communication (connection)
– “Lack of external quality assurance (I’ll put this down to blessing for the moment)
And he identifies four fatal signs of failure:
– “Excessive hard work, mainly in the form of constant long hours (wasted agency)
– “High staff turnover” (lost agency, hope)
– “Aggressive and defensive behavior” mainly signaling a bunker mentality and loss of reality (coherence, connection)
– “No fun.” He notes that a successful project offers “challenge, learning and enjoyment for team members” so we’ll give this to all five: coherence, blessing, hope, agency and connection.
The causes of Life explain the human dynamics out of which all hardware emerges, is implemented and is sustained. Any group of humans has qualities of life or it quickly dissolves (fails). The word trust is not one of the leading causes of life, just as love or faith is not. They are qualities that resonate throughout the five causes, recognizable in each and among them. In the working of living teams that Thomsett analyzes, trust extended and kept is hardware.