Avoiding Organizational Debt
Scott Belsky

Dear Scott,

It would be good if you mentioned how to manage how to responsibly assume and manage this debt. Just like financial debt and technical debt (at a micro level), I’ve found instances where taking on organizational debt was the best course — but it was important to capture the decision and a remedial action on a general task list or high-level plan (rather than ignoring it or having only select single-point-of-failure SMEs carry it mentally.) This way, the debt could be assumed but not forgotten, and leaders were constantly reminded of it when reviewing organizational plans.

The best examples of this were in capital markets organizations where decisions, bypasses, and simplifying assumptions accumulate into organization spaghetti diagrams unless carefully managed. Yet, sometimes not descending into the spaghetti bowl meant losing major market opportunities.

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