Every Employee Should Work From Home – David Heinemeier Hansson: “[Face time is] far less important as a tool of getting things done. Managers vastly overestimate it’s efficiency because it’s their job to interrupt people. But everyone else knows that being pulled into endless meetings is toxic and makes progress harder.” Remote working is topic du jour, it seems … but it’s true that the office isn’t always where you get work done.
“The Art Of Not Sucking” – Hugh McLeod’s recipe for a meaningful life? Learning how NOT to suck … this is the place to go for real advice on success – defining it as well as achieving it. You might recognise Hugh as the source of my favourite cartoons too
The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case – The potentially far-reaching effects of the charges laid against Manning for his Wikileaks whistle-blowing represent a threat to some of the USA’s constitutional freedoms, and arguably an Al Quaeda victory more substantially damaging than 9/11
Death To Core Competency: Lessons From Nike, Apple, Netflix | Fast Company – “Sticking to the knitting” was the mantra; finding your key competency was essential to competing well … but is that too limiting? The Nike experience suggests that disrupting yourself is preferable to having disruption done to you: “You can’t have a barrier or restriction to that core competency. If we constrain ourselves by a circle of competency, we’ll do ourselves a disservice.”
IT as Manufacturing - Commoditisation, modularisation and small bets … this is a long way from “IT as we know it”, but right where it should be (even if it DOES upset a few large vendors )
How is social business like urban traffic? - Stowe Boyd again exploring the benefits of subordinating personal productivity to network productivity, drawing parallels with research into traffic management that indicates that forcing drivers to think more selflessly (and not seek the most personally efficient outcomes) actually improves traffic flow. So too, at work we may be collectively better-performed if we think less of our personal productivity and more of our network’s.
Alain de Botton’s 10 Commandments – for Atheists - Is religion required for morality? Atheists would contend not, and de Botton’s list is a good start for developing /nurturing our morality independent of a belief in gods … “We are holding on to an unhelpfully sophisticated view of ourselves if we think we are above hearing well-placed, blunt and simply structured reminders about goodness. There is greater wisdom in accepting that we are in most situations clunking and rather simple machines, with only a few moving parts and in want of much the same firm, basic guidance as is naturally offered to children and domestic animals. ”
America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead – An interesting, and somewhat disturbing look at what lead has done to society, and still is. It’s probably not the whole story, but the statistics suggest it’s a large part of it … and there’s still plenty of petrol-related lead in our soil, and still plenty of old places with lead paint.
Why IT Should Be on the CEO’s Agenda - Is enterprise architecture’s time about to arrive? Now economic observers are beginning to notice that just thinking seriously about IT isn’t enough – there has to be a bridge between the CEO and IT’s strategic potential. Enter the enterprise architect. As this article says: “Enterprise architecture can be understood as a change and transformation framework to provide open and flexible business architecture for change management under conditions of high uncertainty.”
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 Connected Company – As companies and their environments grow in complexity, we need to rethink the way they are put together – we face diminishing returns from growth because they are sub-linear (more growth, less productivity) … This post (and the book) suggests that rather than build companies like machines, we build them like living organisms: “To design the connected company we must focus on the company as a complex ecosystem, a set of connections and potential connections, a decentralized organism that has eyes and ears everywhere that people touch the company, whether they are employees, partners, customers or suppliers.”
If you want to get paid for your freelance work … – Then you have to have a valuable difference to all the amateurs who have the same tools, and are happy to do it for free. “Professional” might have been enough when skills and tools were scarce; now that they are abundant you’ll need to demonstrate why you’re worth paying for.
Race Against the Machine – Digital optimist or pessimist? Will robots and artificial intelligence be the end of our usefulness? Are we doomed? Andrew McAfee doesn’t think so, and explains why in this TEDx video …
The future of outsourcing – A short and succinct piece on both the advantages and the dangers of outsourcing, and the implications of it for your business. And the importance of drawing the line in the right place: “Only a fool would outsource their heart or lungs by choice.”
Turn Big Data aspirations into business value – Big data is one thing; finding the business value in it is a bit harder – MIT’s Sloan Management Review suggests that “…a large percentage of stored data serves no useful purpose because management has not specified how it will be used: who will make what decisions or provide what services with what data.” Interestingly, the research suggests starting at the operational level rather than attempting analytics.
- The Obvious? – State Of The Net 2012 – Euan’s talk at State of the Net 2012 – a primer on not only what internal use of social media organisations can adopt, but a consideration of the implications of doing so for individuals.
Atlassian’s big experiment with performance reviews – My opinion of individual performance reviews is fairly well-known, and anecdotally well-supported. What has been missing, though, is a viable alternative to the process that most HR software supports. Atlassian found this too, but being software developers weren’t prepared to let that lie. They are not only hacking together a working alternative process, but are sharing it for our interest and education …
At Large in the Post-Normal Beyond Futurism – If you struggle with what we consider “normal” at the moment, you may have bigger problems with “post-normal”, and the ubiquity of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). Boyd considers what we might need to make sense of the world, and sees “speculative design” which considers “implications” as more important than “applications” of design
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 …
Journalism Inside® – While we may have outgrown the need for dead-tree newspapers, we will continue to value the practice of journalism (even if we don’t call it that in the future). Jeff Jarvis explores some possibilities for the future of journalism …
Game-change: Moneyball and the reality of social business - So, you thought Moneyball was a movie about baseball? Wrong … it’s a morality tale about YOUR business, and how outdated business models are killing you, and all you can do is sack the people who tell you that. Will you be playing in your industry’s equivalent of the World Series, or will your season end prematurely? Start listening to the folk who are telling you things you don’t like to hear, because they don’t fit your current models … pioneer or dinosaur?
Ten graphs on organisational warfare – A fairly deep look at (and great synthesis of) models of business competition tied together as an explanation of how organisational warfare is conducted, and why business can be complex.