The Tipping Point

In the game of Jenga, players must disassemble a tower of wooden bricks without making it topple down. At first it’s easy to choose which brick to remove- there are numerous bricks that are not necessary. As the game goes on, it becomes harder to choose, since each remaining brick is of greater importance to the structure’s stability. The same is true of any organization.

The problem with an organization, however, is that it can be nearly impossible to determine which brick will send everything toppling down. Adding to the complexity is that the organization doesn’t have full control over which brick gets removed. In the real world, each brick has the freedom to remove itself at any time.

A good leader will try to identify the staff members whose work might be providing stability to the organization. It might not be easy to identify them since their work might not be flashy or high profile. Bad leaders won’t try to identify such people in their organizations. As a result, they might not recognize who their important players are. This leads to bad and possibly alienating decisions that could make the organization’s operations come tumbling down. By the time this happens, unfortunately, it might be too late to recover.