thinking & remembrance

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

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” —Marcus Aurelius — via @MickFealty

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” —Mark Twain — via @holdengraber

“I’ve been plugging  A Guide to Crap Detection a lot because so many information sources are inadvertently or deliberately wrong or misleading.” @hrheingold

“In a democracy the people choose a leader in whom they trust. Then the chosen leader says, ‘Now shut up and obey me.’ People and party are then no longer free to interfere in his business.”Max Weber (more…)

connected leadership is smarter

If diverse teams are smarter, why do most organizations only put one person in charge, and then continue to replace that person with another individual ‘leader’?

“In a nutshell, enriching your employee pool with representatives of different genders, races, and nationalities is key for boosting your company’s joint intellectual potential. Creating a more diverse workplace will help to keep your team members’ biases in check and make them question their assumptions. At the same time, we need to make sure the organization has inclusive practices so that everyone feels they can be heard. All of this can make your teams smarter and, ultimately, make your organization more successful, whatever your goals.” – HBR 2016-11-04

Should not leadership be diverse as well? Richemont, which owns Cartier, Chloé, and Montblanc, among other luxury brands got rid of its CEO and now each branch reports directly to the board of directors. It removed a bottleneck of information flow and diversified the perspectives and knowledge the board now receives.

“As for going without a CEO, chairman Johann Rupert said that “one individual cannot be held responsible, it’s unfair.” Richemont runs nearly 20 separate maisons, and the group generated revenue of around $12 billion in its latest fiscal year. That’s big, but not nearly as big as other multinationals that give their CEOs great power (and paychecks) to steer company strategy.” – Quartz 2016-11-04


working out loud in perpetual beta

So it’s international working out loud week and this year people are encouraged to follow a seven-day structure.

  1. Share a purpose
  2. Make a connection
  3. Make a contribution
  4. Share your progress
  5. Share a need
  6. Celebrate, Help
  7. Plan next steps

These seven components can help make work teams more effective as they collaborate to achieve some purpose. Working out loud requires purpose, or it’s not work. Collaboration means taking action. In order to learn, people need to share. They need to make connections, between ideas as well as people.

But working out loud needs people who are actively engaged in learning. If not, the work space can become an echo chamber. Experimentation with alternatives is how we learn to do new things. This is what #wolweek encourages. Doing this outside the work team means it can be more playful and creative. This is why we all need to find communities of practice beyond our work teams.

We also need to be aware of what is happening outside our spheres of influence. We need to be curious and find others who are not like us. This means we have to give without expectation of direct benefit. This is cooperation. Our social networks can provide this diversity and increase the potential for serendipitous discoveries. “Chance favors the connected mind”, says Stephen B. Johnson. (more…)

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…)