The periodic round up:
- The Paradox of Preparing for Change – Given that we will live through many changes in the course of our life, Hagel posits that the best preparation for those changes is to determine what WON’T change – what are our core values, our purpose or direction, and who are the people most important to us. If those things are solid, we can more readily adapt to other changes.
- Annealing the Tactical Pattern Stack – Interesting look at how we make decisions, and the templates we use to move from ad-hoc decisions to integrated rituals as we deepen our familiarity with a domain of expertise.
- Why You Need To Be Daring Greatly – Not your average “business” post – in fact it might seem a little mushy and “soft” … just check it out anyway, particularly the embedded video. Then think about your own life, and you tell me how “soft” it is to face our fears, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
- Welcome to the new reputation economy – A good look at how digital (online) reputation is built, what value there might be in it, and how we might derive that value without giving the crown jewels of trust to ad farms. The issue is twofold: how our reputation is captured and stored, and who controls its use.
- The internet and web are not killing retail, poor service is – Bricks and mortar retailers are making the same mistake as the book and music industries before them – assuming that the competition with online revolves around price. The battlefront is convenience – if you want me to get dressed, travel to your store and walk in, the experience had better be worth it; and the underpaid, inexperienced staff that you treat as an unwelcome cost aren’t going to cut it. When you figure out that they are your competitive advantage over online, maybe they’ll be better valued and trained. And maybe then you’ll be able to compete with online …
The periodic round up:
- Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: Chasing After the ‘Purple Squirrel’ – Despite the number of unemployed, employers are still complaining they can’t find the right people and skills. If that’s your situation, maybe you’ll find it’s your own fault: you’re chasing a “purple squirrel”. Another interesting question: do you know how much a vacancy costs you? The answer to that might indicate that your accounting is inadequate, and more concerned with costs than value …
- All Hail the Generalist – This post floats the idea that being a generalist better prepares you for dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty than specialisation; and that both prediction and perspective are improved with less focus on the specific.
And yes, I realise this could be my own cognitive bias at work …
- On the death of great companies – The disruptive effect of commoditisation, and how ubiquity opens up higher orders of activity – and what the cloud might mean for Microsoft.
- Willful Blindness: When a Leader Turns a Blind Eye – The concept of “willfull blindness” explains a range of societal disasters, from the GFC to the glass ceiling … and the effects are amplified by power. This post speaks to the necessity for asking unpleasant and awkward questions, especially when we feel least like doing so.
- How to avoid the post-crisis crisis – “No crisis improves with age” … despite that, companies are still deluding themselves that they can control the message in times of trouble. Increasingly the public can tell the story way faster than the PR crew can craft a careful message – how do you deal with that? More truth, less spin …
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The periodic round up:
- The Great Devolution – It seems we have to get to within a hair’s breadth of catastrophe before we realise there’s a problem. Haque describes our current devolution as institutional failure, and leaves us on an uncharacteristically pessimistic note …
- The New Rules Of Innovation: Bottom-Up Solutions To Top-Down Problems – Another look at innovation and creativity; with some slightly off-centre ideas about how we can improve our chances of solving the “wicked” problems facing us. Major points: re-invent education to put it back in touch with the needs of this century, rather than the 19th; find a different type of capitalism to reward the productive economy; and rethinking government’s role in assisting innovation.
- How to Be Creative – Interesting article about how everyone of us can be creative – it’s a skill rather than a gift. What may be “gifts” are the techniques of creativity, but they’re not exclusive to any of us; they can be developed.
- Are jobs obsolete? – Douglas Rushkoff suggests that, as has been happening for centuries, technology is doing away with jobs as we know them. While the current idea seems to be to let the people who lose jobs suffer, Rushkoff posits that it is time for a rethink of whether or not the idea of working for someone else still makes sense. It is after all, a relatively recent phenomenon …
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The weekly round up:
- The mind is for having ideas not holding them – [Video] The “Getting Things Done” guy, David Allen, talking about creating clear space for your brain to do creative things. “Getting things done” isn’t about getting things done – it’s about making space in your head for more important things.
- When Employees Misinterpret Managers – “What gets measured gets done” – but you need to beware of unintended behaviours driven by poorly-thought-through metrics. And another caveat: managing by numbers only is a bit like painting by numbers: for amateurs and pre-schoolers.
- Bored People Quit – And who gets bored quickest? Your smartest people. How do you stop them getting bored? Give them interesting tasks. What if I have no interesting tasks? Prepare for a slow and tedious extinction …
- IT Outsourcing: How Offshoring Can Kill Innovation – A cautionary look at the dangers of outsourcing, particularly as it moves up the value chain from “grunt” work to “thinking work” – once you outsource your thinking, and your unique capabilities, you have no business. And as the interview points out, it’s broader than a single organisation – it means countries lose the infrastructure and network of suppliers in an industry, so the outsourcing becomes a continuing death spiral.
- Empowering Leadership – Leadership doesn’t necessarily mean having a leader: “On teams that function well, every member of the team leads. Each person takes responsibility for helping the team move forward.”
Rather than trying to discover leaders, we should be developing leadership …
- The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value – Michael Porter suggesting that there is a way to build economic value that provides societal value as well – it’s just that we might have to think outside of out-dated business models to achieve it: “The purpose of the corporation must be redefined as creating shared value, not just profit per se. This will drive the next wave of innovation and productivity growth in the global economy. It will also reshape capitalism and its relationship to society. Perhaps most important of all, learning how to create shared value is our best chance to legitimize business again. “
- Hierarchy and Network: Two Structures, One Organization – Kotter makes the valid point that hierarchies are optimised for repetition, stability and efficiency. Which means they don’t change or adapt well. He explores the possibility of a simultaneous network structure to handle change … an idea that strikes me as unlikely in practice. What I CAN see happening is a continuous flux between network (for periods of change or instability) morphing into hierarchy, and then back again through the cycle. What I PREFER to see is network structures for operation, and hierarchy for administration – suit the structure to the purpose.