Since *winning* the 2020 media-election there’s a variety of reaction from prominent and wannabe-prominent people that ranges from unsurprising to fiery but peaceful. These examples don’t apply to the vast majority of citizens but you do need to know where the elected, media and chattering classes all stand. Those in the most immediate danger are rational, left-leaning people because they’re soft targets. In professional settings, especially where there are permissive leaders who aren’t / don’t have time to pay close attention, the goalposts are moving. Thought-policing is exploding and non-conformity will be punished if the weak, bureaucratic professional-class (ahem, HR) is left in charge. Good […]Continue readingMore Tag
NOTE5: Woke Backlash, Violence & Collateral Damage
From Street Corner to Conference Room I’ll keep repeating this connection. The narrative that drives diversity, equity & inclusion is the same narrative that drives fiery but mostly peaceful protests. It’s a victimhood narrative. The #blacklivesmatter slogan spray painted on smoldering buildings and printed on corporate posters and featured in political campaigns doesn’t raise a question? A majority of people, regardless of their identity or intersectional scorecard, don’t want to be treated as victims — to be labeled a “diversity hire” or “equity promotion” because they earned success in the midst of a political spasm. Each of these stories has relevance that stretches across private, […]Continue readingMore Tag
NOTE5: Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, Safety, Panic, Reason, Logic
Indulging Hypersensitivity Leaders, ask a serious question of yourself and your team members: Can you imagine an endpoint where every individual’s feelings will be secured? Where you can promise no further possibility of anyone feeling offended, uncomfortable, unsafe at the hands of an idea? How will you measure it? How long will it take? What will we do when our collective feelings are secured? How can we guarantee past & future emotional safety? Who will decide when enough hurtful words have been expunged? What about hurtful words in languages other than English? Can we start/share a company-wide Google Doc to track down and document problematic […]Continue readingMore Tag
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 […]Continue readingMore Tag
Debt: Knowledge, Financial, Technical, Operational, Emotional
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
Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 9: Signal/Noise
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
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.’Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag
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 […]Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag