culture category archives

Many people have talked about Angela Duckworth' Grit: the power of passion and perseverance. I was happy to find a high-level summary from Inc. Magazine that describes the "11 signs of grit."
"The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there." L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between, 1953.
The (Australian) Financial Review has a list of 12 things that kill innovation in your organization. For people that pay attention to this space, the entries should sound familiar: A culture of fear, Lack of meaningful mission and vision, Too much hierarchy, Old-School HR practices, The blame game, Overly prescriptive job design, Filtering, Micromanagement, Lone wolf thinking, Silos, Low autonomy, Dissatisfaction
An interesting talk from AI researcher Kenneth Stanley on his counter-intuitive discovery/realization that formal goals/objectives can block creativity.
I came across the video from the University of Texas 2014 Commencement address by Admiral William H McRaven in which he describes his training and draws ten life lessons. The story is engaging, and while the lessons out of context sound odd, they make sense in the way he puts it together.
Collaboration is important to buisness, but it isn't the only thing. And it can't be forced by merely rearranging the deck chairs. Peter Vander Auwera gives me incentive to think about these things.
"With everything you do you should train yourself to question your repeated behaviors." Is one version of the summary of this book.
I’ve written here a few times about cognitive biases. They encompass a wide variety of mental phenomena. This time the Einstellung Effect is in Scientific American. Fascinating.
"Bare Bones Change Management" by Bob Lewis is pretty much what it says it is: The basics of change management. The underlying premise of Lewis’ discussion in the book is around the old yarn that people (employees) resist change because they are stupid / dumb / uninformed / don’t understand. His claim, employees resist change because they’re smart.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."
John Kotter's A Sense of Urgency is completely focused on the first of his eight step change model. The book describes the basic problem (too much complacency and false urgency; not enough urgency), describes a high level strategy to create urgency, and gives four tactics to help increase urgency.
"We've just killed the buzzword of collaboration" is how Manager Tools close their recent podcast on the topic.
I've been taking Howard Rheingold's course Toward a Literacy of Cooperation, and this past week's readings and conversation were on the topic of social dilemmas, best described by The Prisoners' Dilemma and similar multi-party games. We had an exercise to try some online versions of the game and reflect on our experience.
John Hagel has a great piece on "The Paradox of Preparing for Change" that talks about the importance of planning for what DOESN'T change, along with the stuff that does.
JP Rangaswami's "Continuing to muse lazily about sharing at work" blog post from last week had a useful differentiation between the tools and behavior that I liked.
The monthly SIKM Boston meeting is usually an eclectic mix of member-focused discussion, and today was no different. There was a range of topics from personal knowledge management to KM technology rollouts to "how to" to social business and more. Here are some thoughts and links inspired by the conversation.
Listening to podcasts this week, I came across an odd juxtaposition of topics associated with whether things are real if we can think them. I happened to listen to In Our Time and LeanBlog podcasts sequentially, and the ideas connected in my mind.
More ideas from the Boston Globe - this time on culture change. There was some familiar material in the article and a few new things.
As with just about anything in our world, meaning and definition and understanding depend heavily on the context and situation. Take collaboration (again). Is it just working together without the structure provided by "team" or a contract?
The Boston Globe had an article on "How to make time expand" this weekend. Interesting research suggests that giving away time creates the perception of having more time.
I am on holiday in Montreal, but the Canadian National Post has a research report in their productive conversations series on Revisiting workforce engagement by Ofelia Isabel. This is based on a Towers Watson study of engagement. I thought that at least Luis Suarez would be interested. Their basic framework expands...
Collaboration is "working together." So, what does that look like? If collaboration is working in your organization, what do you see? What is your evidence that collaboration is happening?
People say a lot of things without thinking. We believe a lot of things without checking their validity. I've run across some examples recently. For many of these things, we should at least ask ourselves if they are really true.
One "purpose of management" is to help people get their work done. And in today's environment, that is all about working together. And working together requires that we know one another. Here are some of my thoughts inspired by an article proposing tips to create a collaborative culture.
Good stuff from Harold Jarche on learning organizations and how the idea of net work relates to the topic.
How often do initiatives get bogged down with the introduction of shiny, new tools instead of the meat of the change?
This is exactly the reason that high-level support for collaboration and collaboration technologies is still so critical. I hear these comments almost every time I bring up the idea of social media within the organization.
I've said it many times that "change" has to make sense to the people who are expected to change.
If you see people as "resisting" a change initiative, maybe they just see the immediate impact of the change as "stupid" and not helping them in their goals to learn and grow.
I breezed through Jim Benson's short and informative Why Plans Fail: Cognitive Bias, Decision Making, and Your Business. As you can see from the subtitle, it isn't about blaming someone else for why plans fail. It's about helping us see how our own thinking gets us in this mess.
Ask yourself some good questions, rather than worry about getting buried in information. This is the essential advice of Frank and Magnone's new book.
Context matters. I've said this for years. And now, Sam Sommers has a new book out that says the same thing. Plus a video introduction.
Interesting set of executive "habits" associated with failures from Sydney Finkelstein - originally published eight years ago. I like the "lack of respect" early warning sign.
To create change we have to move people to a new way of acting with each other (behaviors). The concept behind Viral Change is to make those behaviors infection: spread, copy, reinforce, and spread more.
A tech firm has publicized their desire to phase out work email. That is a new way to reach Inbox Zero.
Christopher Avery's "Teamwork is an Individual Skill" may be ten years old, but it is a great resource. The short summary: I am responsible for the success of any venture in which I choose to participate
I was listening to the Stanford DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leadership seminar with Mårten Mickos and I heard him say something interesting about how your customers react not so much to your product, but to how you treat the other customers.
I have come across several items on collaboration that have continued to rattle around in my brain, so I thought I would pass them along.
Building on Dan Pontefract's thinking about the foolish distinction of generational divides when it comes to learning and collaborating in our world.
To get your collaborative culture, focus on the behaviors you want to see, not on the culture.
Sadly, eating ice cream isn't the solution to everything. But this research suggests good starts and breaks will not only help the physical body, but the mind as well.
A New Yorker cartoon points in the wrong direction for change management.
Riffing off of a great piece by Kevin Jones / vinJones on dealing with the right problems. Might want to check out his other pieces too.
Just because you think it won't work here doesn't mean that is true. What do you see instead?
If you or your business are trying to get more done, focus on the mechanisms for getting things done and getting them done quickly. Don't simply push more into the system.
A great paper from 1988 by Jonathan Grudin reminds us to pay attention to all the points of view when brining new technologies to bear in an organization.
If you are interested ideas about computer supported collaborative work (CSCW) and what might happen with smart technologies in everyone's pocket, have a look at Smart Mobs from Howard Rheingold.
Have you ever been in the situation where you want to help people get out of a bad situation, but they are so comfortable with the way things are that they want to stay? That's the Stockholm Syndrome, and it doesn't just apply in kidnapping situations.
Interesting piece by Deb Lavoy on the skills required of collaboration. Listening and reflection show up a lot. As does curiosity, one of my favorites.
New tools and technology are fun and all, but once you get beyond the experimenting stage, please decide how you are going to use that shiny new tool to do the things you need to do.

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