it’s not a skills gap

The lack of skills is not the main problem facing most organizations today, in spite of what many managers and executives might say.

Researchers Dave Swenson and Liesl Eathington identified several factors contributing to hiring challenges, but a widespread lack of skilled workers was not one them … The Iowa researchers’ conclusion? “When employers say there’s a skills gap, what they’re often really saying is they can’t find workers willing to work for the pay they’re willing to pay,” – GE Reports

Neither is a lack of tools the core issue in organizational performance. Many organizations have more tools than they need. I worked with a company that had several hundred software platforms and programs at its disposal. It still had issues around sharing knowledge, managing institutional memory, and collaborating across departments.

Tools and skills are easy-to-fill buckets, but meta-competencies of learning to learn and working in digital networks take significant time, effort, and support to fill. A long-term strategy to support these meta-competencies is lacking in many organizations today. Everyone wants a quick fix. Projects are designed around clear short-term deliverables. Few measure competencies for the long term. (more…)

november webinar

Working in Perpetual Beta

I will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, 10 November at 16:00 UTC (08:00 Pacific, 11:00 Eastern, 17:00 CET).

The subject will be the topics discussed in working in perpetual beta, the last volume of the series. I will show the research behind the network learning model and the triple operating system, and explain how these were developed over several years. I will also take any questions in advance from participants. The general outline will be 30 minutes of presentation, followed by 30 minutes of discussion or answering questions and longer if there are lots of questions. I intend to use the  platform, which I have found to be very easy to access.

The registration fee includes a copy of Working in Perpetual Beta. (more…)

we need more debunking

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“I was about 60 when I began seeing my own experiences adding up to me.” — Alice Parker, via @OnBeing

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings.” – Ursula K. Leguinn, via @jacobinmag

“There is no energy crisis, food crisis, or environmental crisis. This is only a crisis of ignorance.” – Buckminster Fuller, via @decasteve

“How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?” – Howard Zinn, via @HaymarketBooks (more…)

not working, out loud

I am a proponent of working out loud and see it as an essential connector between personal knowledge mastery and organizational knowledge management, as it helps make organizational knowledge explicit. John Stepper has recently advanced the idea of working out loud with his book on the subject. Many others are now practicing it: #workoutloud. (more…)

a new business ideology

“Ideas lead technology. Technology leads organizations. Organizations lead institutions. Then ideology brings up the rear, lagging all the rest—that’s when things really get set in concrete.”Charles Green

The following table shows how ideas, technology, organizations, and institutions are changing as we enter a network economy. There is now a need for a new business ideology. (more…)

find your lumps

I am a ‘strawberry jam’ consultant. My consulting has lumps that cannot be spread too thin. My work cannot be infinitely diluted, like grape jelly can be spread. The law of strawberry jam is part of Gerald Weinberg’s advice to consultants, which I discovered two years ago via Niels Pflaeging, who created the image below to show the different types of consulting, one for individuals and the other for big consultancies.

“Not having lumps, grape jelly is perfect for processing through manufacturing machines. It’s that lumpy third dimension—the depth—that makes mass production impractical. Grape jelly spreads infinitely thin, so the consumer can color a predictable number of slices of toast out of a single sterilized plastic container.” – Gerald Weinberg


enabling self-governing teams

“All forms of governance are failing their citizens — dictatorships and communism failed in the last part of the 20th century, and in this century democracies are not meeting citizen expectations. No matter which leaders are chosen, the systems themselves are failing.” – Yaneer Bar-Yam

Our communities were not developed for a global economy, our institutions were not designed for a networked citizenry, and our markets were created for physical goods, not networked intangibles. We need to create new institutions and markets for the network era. Perhaps monitory democracy is an answer. Perhaps it requires an applied blueprint for the restoration of democracy. (more…)

labouring into the network era

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@ZCichy: “I don’t use Facebook. When I explain why to friends/family: I sound like a nut job. Acceptance of no privacy has been socially normalized.”

“History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.” – Alexis de Tocqueville – via @TheSchoolofLife

“We are facing an extreme surge of irrationality, and irrationality always moves in the direction of intolerance.” – Rebecca Goldstein – via @BrainPicker

@WorkEssence: “‘Liquid workforce’ is about as appalling a term as ‘human capital’ – we’re just people, working, making choices” (more…)

supporting the business of learning

The 2nd edition of the 70:20:10 Report has been published by GoodPractice. I have described 70:20:10 as a useful model and have suggested nine ways to implement the model. These form the core of the social learning workshop.

The 70:20:10 model is based on observations that in the workplace, people learn 70% of what they need to do their job from experience. About 20% is learned from exposure to new tasks or environments. Only 10% is learned from formal education and training. While these numbers are not firm, they provide a rule of thumb. (more…)

the problem is to know what questions to ask

“As we move to driverless cars and machine learning and an economy in which any action that is repeated can be automated, let’s spare a thought for the kids who only get Cs in school. What will become of them? What do you mean you have no idea? That’s your job! Let’s bring some small measure of consensus back to political culture.” – John Ibbitson, Globe & Mail 2016-10-07

As we move into a network society, every existing form of human organization will come under pressure to adapt to the new realities that are beginning to emerge. Almost everything is changing, except human behaviour. First we shape our structures, then our structures shape us. We are in desperate need of new structures.

We are the media: Social media extend emotion, obsolesce the linearity and logic of print, retrieve orality, and when pushed to their extreme result in constant outrage. This is what John Ibbitson is so concerned with. But this is the new nature of a digitally networked world. We cannot ‘go back to Peoria’, as it no longer exists as a convenient litmus test. It has been fragmented into millions of disconnected pieces. (more…)