Fast is better than slow (loose is better than tight!)

Tight, centralised control mechanisms are super attractive to comfort-seeking humans. The trouble is, they aren’t working. The tougher the times, the stronger the compulsion to issue reams of rules, legislation and policy. Just look at the state of politics, drinking and drug laws; and long-winded employee handbooks nobody ever reads. Arse-covering document production lures us into a false sense of security, skews our priorities and often demolishes common sense. We focus on empty words and numbers, lazily neglecting to change people’s behaviour and instigate true culture change beneath the surface.... Read The Rest →

Resilience & Adaptability

A while back I posted up this deck on Unleasing Innovation & 21st Century Scale. Unleashing innovation & 21st century scale – Palindromic Queries View more presentations from ResonanceBlog Just thought I’d follow up with a new Palindromic Query: The greater the external influence on something, the more resilient and adaptable it becomes. Consider children, immune systems, evolution, nano-architecture and the way a plant grows thicker on the surface that’s most exposed to the elements. Consider societies or social groups with least external influence and the affect on their resilience... Read The Rest →

It’s My Ass on the Line

When you’re trying to keep up in a fast-changing world, fast is better than slow. Customers expect nothing less than lightning response. Markets demand it. The best people presume it. Most companies aren’t geared up for this accelerating pace, particularly big ones. The result is lack of innovation and too often, slow death. Sometimes sudden death. There are loads of reasons for this. Here are a few: 1. ‘It’s my ass on the line’ syndrome. The biggest symptom of a deep-rooted blame culture, leading to inability to stick your neck... Read The Rest →

The quest for autonomy

Autonomy comes from the Greek word autonomos, meaning (auto) ‘self’ (nomos) ‘law’. It refers to ‘the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision’ [Wikipedia]. For some time we’ve known that autonomy is what really makes people happy at work (not money! evidenced here and here). Luckily, enabling people to doing things in a self-guided way is exactly what makes companies most innovative and profitable. Just look at Google engineers, encouraged to take 20% of their time to work on whatever they like; hence Gmail, Google News... Read The Rest →

From machines to ecosystems

When we talk about thriving in the digital age, we tend to revert to discussing how to leverage social media, mobile and other cool channels. There’s nothing wrong with that (and I do it myself!), but it can be useful to consider the bigger picture now and then. The challenges we face in business are not related to technology, they’re related to human beings. The industrial revolution brought us machines; and with it linear, machine-age thinking, articulated in machine-age language that in turn makes us think more like machines. This... Read The Rest →

Heaven for mavericks

Ricardo Semler took over his Dad’s Brazilian business, Semco, in the 80s. Semco now employs over 3,000 people in manufacturing, professional services and high-tech. They increased their annual revenues from $35 million to $165 million between 1994 and 2001. At its peak, there was a 17-month waiting list for the bi-weekly tour of Semco, as corporate leaders from all over the world clamored for a peek at their magic dust. Semco has no org chart, no official structure, no business plan, no company strategy, no 3-year or 5-year plan, no... Read The Rest →

Kill false assumptions & evolve

Many of us are making decisions based on false assumptions every single day. In fact we’re underpinning our businesses, organisations, products and personal lives with false assumptions. We keep on doing things that have been proven wrong, that haven been proven not to work, despite mounting evidence that there’s a better way. Our false assumptions are memes, i.e. viral cultural ideas we pass from human to human, brain to brain (you can read a bit more about memes in my previous post on replicators here). Sometimes we keep spreading memes... Read The Rest →

No straight lines of possibility?

Alan Moore’s recent post is worth a read: In his article for The Observer – Tony Judt writes, Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For 30 years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. The materialistic and selfish quality of contemporary life is not inherent in the human condition. Much of what appears “natural”... Read The Rest →

Brookside, postboxes & SaaS development

Loads of illuminating analogies have emerged in conversations with Andrew Missingham, but today there’s one in particular that popped up… You may remember when the soap Brookside launched on Channel 4. The storylines were based around folk living in a close of houses. They had some trouble at the outset however, in that script writers realised they hadn’t created enough ‘stock devices’ – places where people could meet that would fuel the dramatic unfolding of events. Their answer was to put a postbox on the street, so residents would accidentally... Read The Rest →

The conversations are out there

Many companies still hold a deep-seated fear of two-way conversations with their customers. The idea of enabling direction interaction with individuals seems like a massive can of worms. How can we trust our employees to speak on behalf of the company? Aren’t we inviting trouble? Couldn’t it damage our reputation? How can we control the conversations? How can we eradicate the negatives? Do we really need to be taking this risk anyway? Is it worth it? The answer is yes. It is worth it. In fact you don’t have a... Read The Rest →

20 questions for agency biz dev

Client development is more important than ever in a business culture that has shifted markedly from hunting mode to farming mode (Seth Godin articulates this shift eloquently in his blog here). I was recently asked to write a biz dev article and thought I’d post up an extract – my list of 20 questions agencies should ask themselves, given that they’re five times more likely to grow existing business than win new (and it’s the only real chance of short term revenue). 1. Do you celebrate those who grow existing... Read The Rest →

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