The Key Words In 2015 and 2016 I was at Adobe conferences in Las Vegas, London and Singapore. Digital Transformation ran point, of course. Storytelling” and its sub-theme “empathy” were counterpoints in every room I entered. Storytelling was officially the thing. As software eats the world, software-enabled storytelling eats the humans at great societal cost. Empathy is just one device in the storyteller’s manipulation toolbox that includes vulnerability, purpose, meaning, and an assortment of intersectional mousetraps — all baited with emotional incentives that appeal equally to guilt mechanisms of the non-intersectional. This proven formula works for marketing, management philosophy, and all manner of public & […]Continue readingMore Tag
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is a slogan that sits on top of Critical Race Theory (CRT). In order for diversity initiatives to have practical, real-world value for human beings and companies, they must be divorced from CRT and its poisonous political agenda. These sources aim at lifting the veil on race hustlers like Kendi and DiAngelo, and nonsense “trainings” in the public & private sector under names like anti-racism, racial-sensitivity, white-fragility, unconscious-bias, and more. *Note: Polarization about CRT or DE&I as left/right, black/white, good/evil is false. There’s a groundswell that stretches across race, gender & party lines in a coalition that has long-championed diversity of […]Continue readingMore Tag
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 […]Continue readingMore Tag
In the meantime, I’d suggest the solution is empathy in its authentic form. Leaders need to shoulder responsibility for emotional debt and create mechanisms to pay it down. On the surface it sounds like a bailout. In reality it’s more like giving people a bucket and patch kit.Continue readingMore Tag
As a leader it’s important to recognize that everyone is confronted with their own version of overload and are likely getting more noise than signal. The S/N ratio is one of many reasons why I argue that org-wide transformation, as a starting point, is fantasy. More on change and group dynamics here.Continue readingMore Tag
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.’Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag
Catch: the digital transformation narrative is stacked against you. 22: inaction is not an option. While the above example leans toward the extreme, it’s not uncommon. Bypassing the accepted narrative is the way forward. The mindset is so deeply entrenched that it demands a way around it in the same way a boulder demands water to flow around it. Be water.Continue readingMore Tag