I am become an atheist when it comes to bending the knee before the altar of the great god Odie and his dogmatic consort, Systems-Thinking. I no longer find sharing in the sacraments of Strategic Planning, Cost Benefit Analysis and Linear Problem-Solving nourishing, sustaining or edifying for myself or for the communities in which I live, work and breathe.
I question visions, missions, values and goals as centerpieces of metaphysical, spiritual exercise and contemplation for even, nay, especially, secular organizations. Quiet retreats, removed from the warp and woof of organizational life do not revive and restore – they only cover and obscure what is actually happening in our daily lives. The doctrines of SMART objectives and best practices have become a new law, bringing not hope and redemption but terror and despair; the cult of performance measurement (performativity) and evaluation heaps shame, guilt and damnation upon all who dare taste of its body and blood. Spontaneity, freedom and innovation perish before the demon-spawned children of these great false gods that dominate our secular-religious world – Loki-Illogic-Model, the god of mischief and deceit; FreyA-133 & Thor-990, the gods of Unreal Numbers; Baldur Best-Practice and Odie-Luv-Ya-Babe, the gods of Aligned Values, Human Potential and Suppressed Dissent.
Who can save us in these troubled and difficult times?
We sacrifice our first-born board members, staff and volunteers, our bloody knives of Duties and Responsibilities raised high … and falling. While they struggle to love and serve those in genuine need, they find themselves serving false gods, corrupting their souls to meet bureaucratic needs, and in the process losing those souls to cynicism, disempowerment and depression. When no longer useful, we throw them onto the red-hot altars of Burnout, plaque-ing, thanking and moving them on, casting them crematorily into the outer darkness of marginalization, disability and unemployment where they weep and gnash their socially worked-up teeth.
Oh who can save us from our gods and demons, that are tubercularly consuming us?
Thoreau was right – Men (sic) have become tools of the tools they made.
As The Economist noted in a December 17th, 2016 article – “Management theory is becoming a compendium of dead ideas. What Martin Luther did to the Catholic church needs to be done to business gurus.”
Time for a new Reformation? This time in the OD-Speak world.
 short for “Organization Development-Speak” or “OD-Speak”