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Send In The Clowns: Woke At Work And Other Gaps

This is a look at the foundations of “woke” beyond its emotional appeal; a reference to free-thinking and practical approaches for business leaders. Second are a few observations about U.S.-China relations in the context of current events. Culture is the thread. Trigger warnings all around… Successful buffet design is a PsyOp. Front-load the buffet with cheap pasta, dotted by a few colorful veggies and glaze it with a slick of “Italian” dressing from a 5-gallon bucket. Name it something catchy — Pasta Primavera! It’s neither Italian nor faithful to the original recipe but fear not. Diners overwhelmingly consume what is presented first. A majority consume […]

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NOTE5: Leadership, Media, Separating Signal from Noise

A Good Primer for Leaders Critical Race Theory (CRT) is banned as a training doctrine in the US Federal gov’t. The pushback will be noisy & distorted (and the ban may be overturned). CRT is the mother of white privilege, equity, diversity & inclusion, racial-sensitivity, anti-racism, anti-bias, and every other go-to-market branding that shares this singular tenet: “The question is not ‘did racism take place?’ but ‘how did racism manifest in that situation?’” (–quoting DiAngelo) Here’s what this means for you. Waking up in the morning, your alarm clock is racist because time itself is racist and reliably showing up for your racist job is […]

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Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 8: Contradictions

Thought leaders have been selling an academic fantasy of digital transformation for decades. It doesn’t work. Here’s what does: stealthy, small scale initiatives that start with a wide berth. Determined non-conformists on a mission. Cross-pollinating, multidisciplinary teams of fewer that 5 people. Organic opt-in over forced buy-in. Controlled-environment R&D over spray & pray ‘org-wide.’

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Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 7: A Framework For Discovery, Ignition & Growth

When it comes to change and transformation efforts I’m inclined toward an open-source ethos. In that spirit, I’m sharing my program. Here’s why.

Beginning with our first interaction it sets the stage for a discussion of the future, not the past. It opens up discovery. Not a fishing expedition for canned answers I think might open your checkbook.

Our first goal is to establish a rapport of mutual open-mindedness. Narrow-minded managers are hungry for use cases as a CYA mechanism. Receptive leaders aren’t.

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Resources: Leadership, Culture, Teams

These suggestions criss-cross important topics and disciplines always with an eye toward leadership and common-sense. I’ll add to this page occasionally. Drop me a line if anything sparks a question. Articles China and the Truth by Benjamin Ra in The Motley Fool It’s Time To Build by Marc Andreessen What 9/11 Taught Us About Leadership In A Crisis by Stanley McChrystal and Chris Fussell in NYTimes To Change The Way You Think, Change The Way You See by Adam Brandenburger in Harvard Business Review Turning Strategy Into Results by Donald Sull, Stefano Turconi, Charles Sull, and James Yoder in MIT Sloan Management Review Why Facts Don’t […]

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Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 6: Cultures

Culture and relationships are the hardest part. You need to identify and develop willing lieutenants who can mobilize their people, evangelize a mindset of change, and gradually grant permission to their extended teams to evaluate and apply risk with high probability of paying dividends. Think ripple effect instead of tsunami.

Above all, recognize that culture is an output. If you want to change the culture, change the input.

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Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 5: Context

Asking Better Questions: Context is micro by nature and doesn’t play well in the attention economy where prescription-based marketing has seconds to set a hook. Digital transformation marketing heralds one-size-fits-all imagery, easily packaged for change-weary leaders. Context, though, is the only way to discover all of the opportunities that lie before you. Simple, not easy.

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NOTE5: Human/Culture Roadblocks to Digital Transformation

Why? (Emotional) vs. How? (Practical) “Start with why” is a trendy leadership slogan that follows a best-selling book of the same name. It’s generated attention and revenue in the same way “investment gurus” generate attention and revenue by selling advice instead of investing. That’s an unpopular and arguably sour-grapes take that I’ll stand by. Systems-Rigidity Example: Supply Chains During COVID-19 We need more tweakers (systems, not meth) and fewer analysts. The brittleness of our food supply chain clearly indicates efficiency kills flexibility. Processing is overly centralized, suppliers may be limited by restrictive contracts, there are too few/too big players in the systems, and…? How does […]

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