Sunday, May 3, 2020

Fission and Fusion


In the book "Unbound", author Richard Currier, has described group behaviors as fission-like -- meaning the group members move apart -- and fusion-like -- meaning the group members coalesce together.

And, he says, fission-fusion tendencies coexist in the same groups somewhat continuously.
Now, until quite recently, in the context of the PMO:
  • Disparate team members "fused" at the office to form cooperating work groups
  • And then, at the end of the work, they 'fissioned': moved apart to return to their "other life"
Indeed, teamwork (day job) and 'other life' couldn't happen if not for instincts for both collective and private time. Currier writes:
Human society as we know it would not exist were it not for the innate primate passion for group identity and solidarity combined with the flexibility of the fission-fusion society.

Our instinct for group identity allows us to form groups with enough coherence to stick together with a feeling of solidarity and to work together to achieve common goals.

Our instinct for both fissioning and fusing allows many groups to proliferate within a single society, each defined in a different way, and each meeting a different set of social needs 
But now we may be moving to a new normal: 'social distancing' on an industrial scale, at least until the fear subsides and the medical remedies are in place.

Consequently, whereas in the last ten years or so we've called project members back in from home to work more closely ... thereby to harvest the informal interaction that can be the seed of innovation ...  now we may be more about fission than fusion.

Indeed, Currier again (substitute 'project' and some number that corresponds to your project):
Modern nations and political movements include thousands or millions of members, most of whom have never met and never will meet, yet they collectively identify themselves as belonging to the same group and living within a single circle of trust. 
"... Never met, and never will meet ..." that's profound for a PMO
A new normal?


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