Posts tagged “Ways of Working


Posted on July 14, 2017


Most organizations have routines, either formal or informal, to introduce changes into the environment. This if often cyclical with some form of stimulus, incubation, and strategic acceptance followed by tactical realization and new (or refined) activities in ongoing operations. Challenges arise when something breaks the continuity of the cycle. A critical leader leaves, the organization is overly insular, strategic decisions aren’t clearly cascaded to execution, incentives aren’t aligned, etc. When (not if) the cycle is interrupted, the key to exceptional performance is how quickly the cycle can pick back up. The longer the cycle stagnates, the more fuel it needs to restart. *


Posted on November 19, 2016


Executive interviews highlights: CFO: The CEO is pretty low maintenance, he rarely asks for anything. CEO: Everything I’ve received from the CFO, I’ve had to request. Both true statements, but what a difference in perception! Are you getting what you need? How can I improve my service to you? What can we advance together? Can I be more proactive/directive/targeted? A little communication goes a long way. *

Turning the Crank

Posted on January 22, 2016


They’re turning the crank, one of my former bosses said frequently when waiting for materials. He meant the administrative wheels were in motion. All the things that happen behind the scenes to meet a need, respond to a request or fight figurative fires were happening. We gave him credit for recognizing the work required to bring ideas to life – the hours of inputs and the various dependencies to produce a report or service a meeting or satisfy a client, often unseen – like the underwater mass of an iceberg keeping it afloat. His peers didn’t always get it. Too many requests, scenarios and philosophical debates filled the management gears, each requiring layers upon layers of work. The executive request cascades to a management team and…

Servicing the Meeting

Posted on January 31, 2015


January has been a busy month for me with workshops at multiple clients in addition to the usual post-holiday project ramp-up. Workshop weeks are always interesting opportunities to see how participants interact, what topics dominate the discussion and how our team services the meeting. Our activities usually include preparing materials in advance of the session, facilitating during the session and following-up on decisions after the session. For multi-day workshops, this cycle can repeat every day – and evening, in some cases – in an effort to accelerate output with the client. The ways in which team members service the meeting can vary drastically. For example: In effect, I had a partner invite himself to a session, walk in unprepared and give bad information. I had a…

The Power of Norms

Posted on August 22, 2014


A recent NBER working paper demonstrates the power of social norms in translating communication to action and provides a good example of how messages can be tailored to the intended audience. As summarized in “The Behavioralist as Tax Collector: Using Natural Field Experiments to Enhance Tax Compliance” the highest increase in tax payments for tardy payers was correlated with the use of specific norm-based messaging: *

Open Collaboration in Corporate Environments

Posted on November 9, 2013


Don’t blame the technology. As many organizations add internal social networks and open collaboration tools to their work environments, the general expectation is that a broad-based internal user community will make new connections, generate new content, share information widely and provide robust feedback that elevates the best material in the organization. It’s not working. Most new collaboration tools introduced into organizations are either ignored or used in unproductive ways. To increase acceptance, organizations can start by avoiding redundancy. If most knowledge workers use multiple external networking tools (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook), an internal networking tool may not provide much incremental value. Either skip it or find a way to align with what people are already using. If a new tool is vastly superior to…