Every fortnight I collate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I post the best as Friday’s Finds. Here are the best of 2014.
“The nature of work is changing. People’s relationship with work is changing. The changes to society will be vast.” – @gapingvoid
“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, & eventually degenerates into a racket.” —Eric Hoffer – via @tom_peters
“Again, while enlightened animal trainers are recognizing the danger of a purely behavioral / Skinner approach, VC’s [venture capitalists] are funding it for humans.” – @SeriousPony
“The Industrial era was based on the principle that an organisation produces, not the individuals, so the workers cannot produce without an organisation.” – @EskoKilpi
“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
The Leadership Paradox – Leadership is … an activity or behavior that can arise anywhere in a human system.
The overall conclusion of this research was that the leaders of successful organisations did play a key role in radical transformations of those organisations, but not by specifying it or directing it but by creating the conditions which allowed for the emergence of such change.
Liz Ryan: ‘If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It’: Not True – Forbes
Luckily, humans are very good at reading energy and responding to it. It’s always been human energy and mojo that have powered everything good that’s ever happened in business or institutional life. We delude ourselves when we pretend that the yardstick and the milestone matter … More measurement won’t do anything except clog the pipelines through which your company’s mojo flows.
It did not take technology to spur the on-demand economy. It took masses of poor people … All that modern technology has done is make it easier, through omnipresent smartphones, to amass a fleet of increasingly desperate jobseekers eager to take whatever work they can get.
W. Edwards Deming, the quality guru-of-gurus, called the standard evaluation process the worst of management de-motivators. I don’t disagree. For some reason or other, I launched several tweets on the subject a couple of days ago. Here are a few of them:
Do football coaches or theater directors use a standard evaluation form to assess their players/actors? Stupid question, eh?
Does the CEO use a standard evaluation form for her VPs? If not, then why use one for front line employees? …
But new research has led biologists to a different view. We didn’t adapt to a particular Stone Age environment. We adapted to a newly unpredictable and variable world. And we did it by developing new abilities for cultural transmission and change. Each generation could learn new skills for coping with new environments and could pass those skills on to the next generation.
As the anthropologist Pascal Boyer points out in his answer, it’s tempting to talk about “the culture” of a group as if this is some mysterious force outside the biological individual or independent of evolution. But culture is a biological phenomenon. It’s a set of abilities and practices that allow members of one generation to learn and change and to pass the results of that learning on to the next generation. Culture is our nature, and the ability to learn and change is our most important and fundamental instinct.
Humans are social animals for good reason. Without collaboration, there is no survival. It was not possible to defeat a Woolley Mammoth, build a secure structure, or care for children while hunting without a team effort. It’s more true now than then. Our reliance on each other grows as societies became more complex, interconnected, and specialized. Connection is a prerequisite for survival, physically and emotionally.
If you have liked my articles and Friday’s Finds over the past year, consider purchasing my ebook, finding perpetual beta