A lot has been said and written on the Greek Financial / Debt crisis.  Most of it focuses on parts of the problem, thus preventing us to see the big picture and provide a functional and effective solution.  During an video interview with the Financial Times, part of which you can see here, I noted a few key points concerning the current situation in Greece (and Spain and Portugal and Ireland and Italy and and and).  I think it would be interesting to share them with you, mainly because of their direct relation to Business Issues, Change Management and Agility, issues we all face in our own organizations as well as the organizations we are consulting.

  1. There is no doubt Greece faces huge financial problems, an unbearable debt, a budget deficit and is under immense pressure from its creditors.  There is also no doubt that for most (almost all of these problems), Greeks are responsible.  Other countries within the EU face roughly the same problems, though their origin might differ.
  2. We require a major change in order to face these problems with determination and effectiveness.  Change management orders that any measures taken are sustainable to produce results in the time frame required for their successful implementation.  The measures forced on Greece where unsustainable.  The goverment resigned.  Elections showed more than 75% of the voters demanded a change in economic policy, ie the bailout measures.  No government could be formed in this environment.   New elections under the immense pressure of forming a government will probably produce some sort of coalition government.  its sustainability is doubtful.  So is its effectiveness if no European plan to solve this Gordian knot is found
  3. Europe thinks in an analytical way (reductionism).  All measures are focus on financial tools, only part actually of the financial tools available.  This is done disregarding social attributes, local cultural characteristics, and the always existing inertia to change.  This is done without establishing a shared vision that will motivate people to change.  Without a clear picture of success, no clear objectives (not financial), without the – most of all – required shift in the mental model.
  4. Should we continue to do this, failure is inevitable.  Any change management book, even the executive summary of most published on the subject articles, would easily show how the politicians currently approach systemic problems through a view point which is shortsighted, limited in effect and violent (in panic).  Spain’s spread rose to an all time high 48 hours after a 100 billion bailout package was offered. 
  5. Where is the “union” in the European Union?  This is question that its answer will unveil the root of all these problems (apart from the problems in the overall economic model that seems to be in a critical condition worldwide with no known remedy at the moment).  A union implies a system where the parts work TOGETHER building TRUSTFUL relationships and a SHARED VISION for which they will join their forces/resources thus producing EMERGING VALUES that will make achieving their common goals easier.  I fail to see the trust, sometimes even the relationship, there is no shared vision, no truthful cooperation and support and definitely no emerging values at the moment.  Some even speak about conflicts of interest.  Others of “enforcement” of intolerable, inhuman financial measures.  How has the intellectual, humanitarian face of Europe that we built in 2500 years disappeared?
  6. We need to change the way we think and provide new, out-of-the-box solutions and models, for the ones we used have failed us altogether.  Emerging countries are currently investing heavily on these failed models.  And the world resources cannot sustain the so “desired” middle class boom we expect.   Tomorrow converges with today in an accelerating way and we are running sort of time, resources and -sdaly – political and leadership capital too.  In a connected, global society, there can be no solitude state, no watertight compartment to contain the spread of the problem.  We must all work together to produce a sustainable viable model for our children.

I am afraid it is too late for our generation to taste whatever fruits this will produce.  At least we will be able to go to sleep knowing we did the best we could for the day.  Which is much more than what we are doing now at a European level…