Integration and Its Opposites

NBC Universal has completed its acquisition of Oxygen Media, my employer for the last eight years.

in·te·gra·tion: “incorporation as equals into society or an organization of individuals of different groups” – Websters Dictionary

Lego by Tim Ellis

During the past month, we participated in an integration process. A good faith effort by NBCU staff to assess where value lies in Oxygen’s practices and people.

Our team is composed of talented individuals. Marketable individuals may integrate or “dis-integrate” for other opportunities.

What is potentially more enduring yet difficult to discern are the values, practices, esprit and reputation that allow this team to attract and develop new talent even as individuals move on.

However, there is a relentless necessity to “incorporating as equals into an organization of individuals of different groups.” It focuses on individuals and organizations not groups. Citizens and cities – not neighborhoods.

In this process, from both the acquirer and the acquired, the team has suffered. We haven’t been rewarded or treated as one but as individuals in service of organizations. To bastardize Benjamin Franklin, as we hang separately we clearly do not hang together.

This fact, in and of itself, is a great loss.

And so as different constituencies gather at NBCU, we await change. Whatever that change is, for me it will involve building something new.

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About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.

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