Strawberry Jam Finds

Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds.

I am spending my weeks in Toronto on a consulting assignment (which also explains my infrequent blogging), returning home on weekends, but I thought the last find at the bottom of this post rather appropriate.

“Any plan conceived in moderation must fail when circumstances are set in extremes.” – Prince Metternich – via @k1v1n

@leadingincontxtDealing With Complexity in Leadership – with various links (more…)

Error reduction interferes with gaining insights

Is your organization  focused on merely reducing errors or is it also promoting ways to improve insight?

Fifty-eight of the top Fortune 200 companies bought into Six Sigma, attesting to the appeal of eliminating errors. The results of this “experiment” were striking: 91 per cent of the Six Sigma companies failed to keep up with the S&P 500 because Six Sigma got in the way of innovation. It interfered with insights. – Gary Klein


Sense-making Skills

The most difficult part of personal knowledge mastery is developing a sense-making routine. A recent academic paper from the Association for Psychological Science examined various methods to improve learning.

In this monograph, we discuss 10 learning techniques in detail and offer recommendations about their relative utility. We selected techniques that were expected to be relatively easy to use and hence could be adopted by many students. Also, some techniques (e.g., highlighting and rereading) were selected because students report relying heavily on them, which makes it especially important to examine how well they work. The techniques include elaborative interrogation, self-explanation, summarization, highlighting (or underlining), the keyword mnemonic, imagery use for text learning, rereading, practice testing, distributed practice, and interleaved practice. – Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques

This paper was summarized at in an article entitled The lesson you never got taught in school: How to learn! which is how I came across it. (more…)

Networks and Power

Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@contepomi90 – “Power isn’t power if you need to wait for someone else to give it to you, who can also take it away at any time. That’s self-explanatory.”

@decasteve – “Don’t try to change human nature. Instead, go after the tools. New tools make new practices. Better tools make better practices.”

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.” – Michelangelo – via @UpSearchRetain (more…)

What does the Internet of Everything mean to you?

“Cisco believes that many organizations are already experiencing the Internet of Things (IoT)—the networked connection of physical objects. The Internet of Everything is the next step in the evolution of smart objects—interconnected things in which the line between the physical object and digital information about that object is blurred. – Cisco on Slideshare

Here is how the Internet of Everything is viewed from multiple perspectives. What do you think? (more…)

A Swiss Army Knife for the Network Era

PKM: A Swiss Army knife for the Network Era

PKM: A Swiss Army knife for the Network Era

I am amazed at how personal knowledge mastery [PKM] is adapted to so many different situations, which attests to the usefulness of a simple framework to deal with complex problems. It’s beginning to look like the Swiss Army knife of the network era. When it comes to workplace transformation, the key is getting people to accept change and more importantly change behaviours, especially those day-to-day routines that reflect the organization’s culture. Part of PKM is critical thinking, or questioning assumptions, which is why it may be threatening to certain management systems. But I am seeing a sea change, or perhaps at least a small tide of change. (more…)

Sense-making and sharing

The Seek > Sense > Share framework is a very simple model with many layers, which you discover as you develop personal knowledge mastery.

A simple explanation is to look at PKM as four quadrants of sharing and sense-making, based on a foundation of continuous seeking of new knowledge and diverse people.

seek sense share


Knowledge and Wisdom

Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@flowchainsensei - “If you ‘don’t have time’ to look outside your own little bubble – what then in times of change?”

“How do we evaluate teachers? We never speak of this. It is irrelevant in our country. Instead, we discuss, ‘How can we help them?'”Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish Educator, via @PascalVenier

“Students are widgets. They move through the factory (school) and we add value to them.” – Jose Ferreira, via @opencontent

@gsiemens“Instead of focusing on engagement, we should focus on developing disciplines of thought. Work the person, not the content.” (more…)

Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity


A new model for work is required. Hierarchies, simple branching networks, are obsolete. They work well when information flows mostly in one direction: down. Hierarchies are good for command and control. They are handy to get things done in small groups. But hierarchies are rather useless to create, innovate, or change.

We have known for quite a while that hierarchies are ineffective when things get complex. For example, matrix management was an attempt to address the weakness of organizational silos resulting from simple, branching hierarchies. In matrix management people have more than one reporting line and often work across business units. However, the performance management system and job structure usually remain intact so that it adds more complication, rather than increased effectiveness.

Any hierarchy, even one wrapped in matrices, becomes an immovable beast as soon as it is created. The only way to change a hierarchical organization is to create a new hierarchy. This is why reorganization is so popular; and so ineffective. Most organizations still deal with complexity through reorganization. Just think of the last time a new CEO came in to “fix” a large corporation. A connected enterprise starts by building a foundation of trust, embracing networks, and then managing complexity. (more…)

Preparing your workforce for tomorrow

I created a performance improvement toolbox when I started this blog in 2004, and have kept adding to it over the years. I often look at workplace performance first from the perspective of whether the situation we are trying to address is complicated or complex. Training works well for complicated problems, when you have clear and measurable objectives. Training looks backwards, at what worked in the past (good & best practices), and creates a controlled environment to develop knowledge and skills. Training can be good to develop ways to reduce errors, which is only one part of improving organizational performance. (more…)