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System in Detox

Hydrocodone Recently, I had to undergo knee surgery for a torn meniscus (one of the indicators of age... sigh).  My surgeon was kind enough to give me a prescription for a pain killer, the generic version of Vicodin.  I was very careful to limit my use of the prescription meds, limiting it only to night-time.  However, a couple of days after the prescription ran out, I found myself getting jittery and anxious.  My body was coming off of a pain-killer dependence.  (And, no, I did not renew the presciption... after a couple of days the symptoms went away.)

Our systems sometimes go through detox as well.  Have you ever downsized an employee, only to realize how critical they were to your organization?  What about software or a policy that was tossed out?  When you remove a critical input (either accidentally or purposely), you run the risk of sending your system into detox.  It's become dependent on the input.

Sometimes the input is negative, but it still sends your system into detox.  Our perceptions, experiences, beliefs, and paradigms can be negative inputs into our system.  I found a great example of this over at the TiE Leadership program blog:

Sean O’Malley runs The Quarry, a business incubator at Venrock, a leading venture capital firm. In the last 18 months he has started 6 companies that have gone from blank slate, through “ideation”, execution and validation to receive Series A funding. He spent more than an hour talking with TLP Fellows about the “Idea Development Model” he uses.

It is important to take the time to do ideation right. The first thing I do when an entrepreneur comes in to The Quarry is put them through “detox”. 9 times out of 10 this is the best thing they have ever done. It is great to be able to take that step back. It should take a least three months, which may seem too long, but the idea forming stage is really the only time you'll have time!

Think about your systems.  What inputs would send them into detox?  Is that what you want?  How will you get your system back on track from the input withdrawal?

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