Making Organizations Awesome

Leadership lessons from a motivational listener

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Why Guy Kawasaki is wrong about teams

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I like the tweets from @RedStarVIP on Twitter. This morning I saw one that said “The Art of Execution” followed by a link. That topic teaser sounded generic to me, but because it was from redstarvip I clicked.

Guy Kawasaki offers some great advice in this piece. But he also perpetuates an old and destructive false dichotomy: that we can either have results (execution) or “a great work environment.”

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Beware positive thinking

· meetings, teams

Many of us have been schooled to “stay positive!” Ultimately I think there is a grain of wisdom in this, but it can also blind us. Sometimes we need to address important risks or vulnerabilities. In a group setting, if you insist on only focusing on the positive, you can also lose credibility with people who consider themselves realists.

On the other hand, some of us are by training and inclination problem-spotters. We believe that if we can find and fix what’s wrong, everything will be fine. As with the positive thinkers, this of course is useful to an extent. The problem comes when we find ourselves continually worrying or complaining no matter how well things are going. And again, in a group setting you might find that your legitimate concerns are easily dismissed if you have a reputation for being too pessimistic.  [Read more →]

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Offer to lead, even when you’re not sure

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I took some time over the December holidays to immerse myself in Twitter, start this blog, and generally soak in the Palmolive of social web 2.0-ness or whatever it’s called. (How old does someone have to be to get a Palmolive reference anyway?)

My primary motivations have been curiosity and fun. I’m experimenting with giving those two forces a more important place at my decision-making table.  As a result of my online explorations and conversations, I have now offered to lead two processes that I don’t know very much about.

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Quick Update

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Happily my client had done a good job getting his internal stakeholders focused more on business outcomes and less on a certain kind of event as “the answer.”

As the project progresses I won’t be chronicling it blow-by-blow out of respect for client confidentiality. But I will continue to post lessons gleaned from past projects or tips on how to get the most out of your team or your external consultants.

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I love you too much to run my team-building workshop for you

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I’m looking forward to a conversation with a client tomorrow. He’s a very bright, committed guy and we’ve done excellent work together in the past. But there is one catch, and it’s in the way that services like mine are often contracted. Here’s what I mean.

Tell me if the following conversation rings a bell for you, whether you’re on the client or the consultant side.

Client: “We have an executive retreat coming up and we’re looking for a facilitator. You come highly recommended. Would be you interested? Are you available?”

Consultant: “When is it?”

Client: “Next week.”


Client: “We need a one-day team-building workshop for twenty people. What would you charge and when could you run it?” [Read more →]

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Old but good article

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Here’s an article on the AC from what was then the Bionomics Institute. 

Check it out for a nice basic take on the Action Cycle and its value to organizations.
(As an aside I met the author of Bionomics  and founder of the apparently now-hibernating Bionomics Institute, Michael Rothschild, in London in the mid-90’s.  Smart, warm, engaging guy with a revolutionary and valuable take on organizations and economics. Very worth spending time with if you get the chance, although I’m not sure what he’s up to these days. The book is also outstanding. Thanks to Mike Cooke for introducing me to Michael.)

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