our post-truth moment

post-truth (adjective) Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. —Oxford Dictionaries

Social media extend emotion, obsolesce the linearity and logic of print, retrieve oral speech, and when pushed to their limit, reverse into constant outrage. This is the post-truth era. Our society has had a couple of decades to adapt to a shift that has been coming since the telegraph turned words into electrical pulses, but has increased its velocity with the advent of the web. This communications shift to the network era will continue to accelerate. We are the media, and the media are us. (more…)

learning from the peloton

“The peloton is the main group or pack of riders in a road bicycle race. Riders in a group save energy by riding near other riders. The reduction in drag is dramatic; in the middle of a well-developed group it can be as much as 40%”Wikipedia

“Pelotons are able to operate in the way that they do because learning and experience is embedded within them. Young riders are mentored by seasoned professionals. They learn through imitation, trial and error, developing both instinct and intuition, daring to experiment when the occasion presents itself. The sport is all about life lessons acquired on the road, the knowledge gained from numerous failures as relevant as that acquired through the occasional success. Teamwork provides firm foundations. But autonomy within loose frameworks, decision-making and accountability are all encouraged from early on. It is this crucial combination – individual action contextualised in relation to the collective – that the modern corporation, government agency and charity now need to learn.” —Richard Martin

Leadership is fluid in the peloton. A lead rider one day may be hauling water bottles to support teammates the next day. I describe this as temporary, negotiated hierarchies. This is emerging as the new nature of work in the network era. What is needed to win a bike race, with complex human relationships in constantly changing conditions, is similar to working in the creative economy. Connected leadership serves everyone. (more…)

beta conversation 2016-11-22

I will be hosting the next Working in Perpetual Beta webinar on Tuesday, 22 November at 16:00 GMT/UTC (08:00 Pacific, 11:00 Eastern, 17:00 CET). The subject will be the topics discussed in working in perpetual beta.

This is the beginning of a regular monthly series of web discussions, Beta Conversations, on topics I have written about in the perpetual beta series. Each session will be 90 minutes long. For participant confidentiality, these sessions will not be recorded. Stay tuned for the announcement of the December conversation focused on networked leadership, as discussed in adapting to perpetual beta.

The format of each session is as follows:

  1. Presentation of the key themes
  2. Discussion of questions provided by participants in advance
  3. Open discussion

Given the positive feedback from the last webinar held on 10 November, these sessions will be capped at 12 participants. This will ensure time for deeper dialogue and to address everyone’s questions.  We will use the https://zoom.us/ platform, which does not require any special plugins or additional software so you can access the session from work.

If you are interested in applying new organizational models for the network era that optimize human learning, based on cooperation, knowledge-sharing, and transparency, then please join us. (more…)

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 https://zoom.us/  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…)