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Friday, April 4, 2008

A Cog in the Machine

In Seth Godin's would we miss you? post, he says

The problem with fitting in and being a cog in the machine is that cogs are intentionally designed to be easily replaceable. When one breaks, you just get another. No one particularly misses the old one.

We have to remember that change is a part of life and the question is not just would we miss you, but are we ready to evolve into something new.

Seth wonders if we'd miss Pizza Hut if it disappeared tomorrow. It is a cog in our societal machine.

But have you noticed that Pizza Hut is changing to Pasta Hut? At first I thought it was an April Fool's joke when I opened the email from Pizza Hut saying it was going to change it's name. Is this real or just a marketing strategy to get our attention? When I saw a Pasta Hut ad on TV last night, I began to think it was real. And when you go to their site, you see the brand logo is changed to Pasta Hut.

Are we ready for this change? Of course. We might wonder or gripe about it, but the Pizza Hut cog in our societal machine has recognized the need to change.

Benjamin Disraeli said, "Change is inevitable. Change is constant." This includes changes in organizations, in communities and in our own lives.

But getting back to basics, cogs are defined as:
  • a tooth on the rim of a wheel or gear
  • a subordinate but vital person or part
So a cog, by definition, is essential to the success of the organization. It has proven it's worth.

What makes a cog vital?

I've been working at same institution for more than 20 years. What I've found (and what I have enjoyed) is that I am allowed the flexibility to constantly evolve and reinvent my role and workload -- what I'm doing, learning, and contributing.

So, one of my strengths is my enthusiasm for trying and learning new things and changing with the organization. "Evolve or die" is too strong, I think. "Change or be replaced" may be more accurate.

I think that is what promotes longevity in cogs. The machine most likely will change over time.
Can we?

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