adapting to perpetual beta e-book

New! Purchase the latest in the perpetual beta series.

The third volume in the perpetual beta series is now ready. Adapting to Perpetual Beta continues to explore the network era and its effects on society, business, and education. It follows seeking perpetual beta and finding perpetual beta published in 2014. This volume is focused on leadership and adapting to perpetual beta: dealing with constant change while still getting things done.

All of the ideas discussed here have been explored initially on my blog, established in 2004. I describe my blog as a place to post ‘half-baked ideas’, and often build upon one post after another. Discussing these ideas in public lets me test them before committing them to my professional practice. I have written over 2,700 posts on my blog, so this book series provides a concise synthesis of the various themes posted here.


Table of Contents

Perpetual Beta

Sharing Power
Social Structures
Leadership by Example

Hard Soft Skills
Managing Talent

Implementing Networked Management
The Networked Workplace


Adapting to a networked life in perpetual beta means that people have to learn how to deal with more ambiguity and complexity at work. Automation of routine and standardized work is forcing people to do do more non-routine manual and cognitive work. If the work can be mapped and analyzed, it will be automated. As networked, distributed, non-routine work becomes the norm, trust will emerge only in those work environments that are open, transparent, and diverse. Trust is necessary to ensure that implicit knowledge flows, which contributes to organizational longevity. Organizations need to learn as fast as their environments. Constant experimentation must be the order of each day.

Therefore, those in leadership and management positions today must find ways to nurture creativity and critical thinking. Management must set the initial example of transparency and working out loud. In addition, self-management is required at all levels. When there is no one to defer work to, everyone sets an example through their actions. In this environment everyone is learning and everyone is teaching by example. As a result, work gets done very quickly. From this foundation, today’s organizations can prepare for a new world of work. Machines will continue to replace jobs but people can create new work roles that are creative and social, beyond the reach of automation.

Leadership in networks is exercised through reputation, not positional authority. Having influence in multiple networks, not just the organization, makes a leader even more effective. The ability to span networks becomes important as organizational lifespans decrease and worker mobility increases. To remain connected to the changes in their networks, good leaders are curious and promote experimentation, but do not need to control it. Leadership in networks is helping the network make better decisions, and this requires a focus on the best organizational design to meet the changing situations. Strong networks, combined with temporary and negotiated hierarchies to get work done, become the simple building blocks for an organization in a state of perpetual beta.

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