Peter Senge

September 29, 2014

By  Gwyn Teatro via   Article

Leaders and the Learning Organization

Peter Senge is one of my favourite Thought Leaders. … he introduced his book, The Fifth Discipline, twenty something years ago. …

Personal Mastery: … Taking the time to study and understand our reality, and our purpose, serves not only ourselves but also everyone with whom we come in contact. …

Mental Models: … assumptions and biases in our thinking. There is a proverb that says, ‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’. …

Team Learning: … it always seems to come down to how team members communicate with each other; how they manage conflict and; how they examine their successes and more particularly, their failures.

Shared Vision: … To me, a Shared Vision is just that…shared. It may start with one person but if it is going to come alive and guide the company’s activities, it must be embraced and shared by all. …

Systems Thinking: … this is about paying attention to the connections between and among a variety of elements that make up the whole. In organizations, we have this tendency to create silos of operation where people make decisions based only on their own needs. When this happens, others are affected, (often negatively) and that creates unnecessary and unproductive tension within the organization.”


Never make the same mistake once

September 29, 2014

By  via   Article

How to Take Smart Risk

“Every company says that it puts a premium on innovation, but in practice many have a culture that is intolerant to risk.

Ron Ashkenas, a managing partner of Schaffer Consulting, and Lisa Bodell, the founder and CEO of innovation training company FutureThink, write in Harvard Business Review about a survey they conducted with employees of a global company that publicly touted how much it supported research and development of new products, processes, and practices. Only 17 percent said their bosses would approve and reward them if they developed and tried “new and untested ideas.” A whopping 47 percent said the reaction would be “unpredictable.”

“Most senior managers agree that taking risks is important for innovation, but in far too many cases, they don’t act like they believe this,” Ashkenas and Bodell write. “In other words, the reality in many organizations today is that despite the public emphasis on innovation, the underlying culture may be strongly risk-averse. As one senior manager in a large financial institution said to one of us (only partially tongue-in-cheek), ‘The key to success here is to never make the same mistake once.'”

If this sounds like you and your fellow executives, then you have some work to do. Below, see how Ashkenas and Bodell suggest you can become more like Tesla, Google, and other companies with environments that are properly open to risk and tolerant of ones that don’t pay off. ….”

Stop worrying and start worrying

September 29, 2014

By Liz Ryan via   Article

“Your job could go away tomorrow. I don’t say that to be mean. It’s true! I know, because our phone rings day and night and the people on the other end of the line say ‘I thought my job was as solid and secure as a job could be. Poof! They sold our division, and I’m out of work.

Even if your job remains stable, is your current job the best avenue to your career goals? Do you have career goals, apart from pleasing your boss and getting a good review at the end of the year? This new millennium workplace is different than the one our parents knew. We are all entrepreneurs now, no matter how we get paid. We can’t afford to merely do a tremendous job in our current role. We have to think about ourselves, about our futures and what we’d like to do a year and five years from now. We have to make our own plans, completely separate from the plans our manager may have for us.”

Bad, good, great

September 29, 2014

By Mark Graban via   Article

What Bad Managers, Good Managers, and Great Managers Do

“‘Bad managers tell employees what to do, good managers explain why they need to do it, but great managers involve people in decision making and improvement.’

… Lean management,’ or the Toyota management style, encourages leaders to live in that ‘good to great’ range (with apologies to Jim Collins).

Bad managers bark orders. They are directive and tell employees what to do, without any explanation or context.

… Lean leaders (in the style of Toyota leaders) will always explain why something must be done, in those rare instances when they have to give a directive. …

Bad managers tell. Good managers explain why.

Great managers might engage the employees in figuring out how to reduce the safety risk that makes gloves necessary in the first place. Maybe an employee would suggest that a different, but equally effective, chemical be used. We don’t know unless we engage our employees.

In 90% of workplace situations, I’d guess, the manager shouldn’t be telling people what to do, even if they are making the effort to explain why. Great managers engage people in designing their work and they continue to engage them in ongoing improvement.”

Looking bad

September 22, 2014

By Gretchen Rubin via   Article

Beware These Tricks for Making You Look Bad in Meetings

“If you’re feeling annoyed or undermined at a meeting, consider whether any of these strategies are being aimed at you. And if you don’t want to annoy or undermine other people, avoid talking this way:

1. ‘I don’t need all the details. Let’s just get to the bottom line.’ The speaker implies that others are quibblers and small-minded technicians, while deflecting the possible need to master complicated details himself.

2. ‘Well, these are the facts.’ The speaker emphasizes that she attends to hard facts, while implying that others are distracted by prejudice, sentiment, or assumption.

3. ‘You might be right.’ The speaker seem open-minded while simultaneously undermining someone else’s authority and credibility.

4. “I’m wondering about ____. Pat, please get back to us on this.” The speaker demonstrates his habit of reasoned decision-making, while making Pat (who may not actually report to him) do the necessary work and report back.

5. ‘You did a great job on that, Pat!’ The speaker shows a positive attitude, while showing that she’s in the position to judge and condescend to Pat. …

6. ‘I think what Pat is trying to say is…’ The speaker shows that he’s a good listener and give credit to others, while demonstrating that he can take Pat’s simple thought further than Pat could.

7. ‘I can see why you might think that.’ Variant: ‘I used to think that, too.’ The speaker sounds sympathetic, while indicating that she’s moved far ahead in understanding.

Of course, a person could say all these things without being undermining. It depends on context and motivation. Still, it’s useful to think about how seemingly innocuous comments might carry an edge.”

Why you shouldn’t

September 22, 2014

By  via   Article

Staying Lean: Why You Shouldn’t Have a Master Plan

“The concept of having a “master plan” is considered conventional wisdom by many business owners. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to have a business plan that maps out every detail of their future vision, with the promise that direction, motivation, and success for their company will soon follow. You can find countless thought leaders extolling the virtues of using a master plan from the startup stage to set immutable corporate goals as well as financial forecasts. …

But no matter how many people try to convince me about the importance of having a master plan, I think it’s important not to have one. Having every marching order written in stone quickly becomes an obstacle to learning and innovation–both for people and companies. For one thing, the very idea of a master plan requires fortune-telling in isolation from market realities. Master planning is generally done before a product (or company) even exists. Thus, speculation occurs prior to execution, with unknowns being conjectured in advance of having any tangible data on which to hazard such guesses.

A smarter approach to harnessing the power of future potential is to focus on keeping your business streamlined yet mutable, promoting an environment of ongoing examination and nonstop learning, constant retooling and continual improvement, minimum waste and maximum customer value. Flexibility, rather than strict adherence to static planning, is what ultimately allows a business to shift focus as needed to capitalize on market demands.”

The silver lining

September 22, 2014

By Patrick Allan via   Article

Develop Discipline by Seeing the Good in Any Task

“Discipline is something we all wish we had a little more of. Sometimes you just have to do something you really don’t want to do, but it can be a great opportunity build discipline by finding the silver lining. If we were allowed to only do what we want, most of us wouldn’t ever get anything productive done. …

Stop thinking about what you’ll get out of something and believe that just doing it is reward enough. Eventually the simple act of ‘doing’ will make you feel good and your productivity will increase. Learning to delay satisfaction—or eradicate the need for it—will actually give you more satisfaction overall.”