8/03/2004

USFS Deeply Flawed Planning Culture
Dave Iverson

The US Forest Service has gravitated to a planning culture, believing wrongly that the task of management is planning, control, no-surprises, etc. The organizational culture is one that tries to fit the world to its expectations rather than to continuously adapt to fit the world as it unfolds—while simultaneously maintaining some organizational continuity, improvement, learning, etc.

Here are a few key problem areas, highlighting belief systems than underlie them.

Note that these 'problem areas' relate closely to and stem from ideas from Henry Mintzbeg's The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe's Managing the Unexpected, Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey's How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation, J. Edward Russo and Paul Schoemaker's Decision Traps, Ronald Heifetz's Leadership Without Easy Answers. They also related to Deborah Stone's Policy Paradox, James March's A Primer on Decision Making: How Decisions Happen, Robert Jervis' System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life, . They also relate to numerous works dealing with Learning Organizations and Adaptive Management.