Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Looking For Leaders

Rethinking organizations, re-inventing organizations, rejuvenating organizations is hard.  Stagnation is a natural order of life. Once it's gone through the high growth phase, and ossifies towards bureaucratic stagnation, finding the innovation often needed to keep a organization vital gets close to impossible. Instead of existing to produce innovative new products and services--the lifeblood that often launches a company or organization to begin with--it exists to maintain what it already has, and becomes unable to see what it needs. Management begins to exist to maintain the life of management, rather than overall health of the organization itself.
The talk, the desire, the need can all be around growth, innovative new product lines, services, but the psychology, the mindset of the organization actually fights to stifle that very need.
Status quo. Protecting turf within an organization. Ego. Fear of change (one of the most natural tendencies of human groups, aka herd mentality). The simple, very natural desire for order (also very natural). If you are a publicly traded company, the incentives of meeting quarterly numbers trumps the incentive of chartering long term strategic growth, innovation, the often tough adaptation to changing market and economic operating environments.

What can be one simple step for any organization to escape the gravity of status quo, bureaucratic stagnation? Look for leaders within. Look for revolutionaries. Develop a culture where pockets of change can take root.
Your organization is a living system. Every living system needs new growth to maintain its long term viability. In a forest, forest fires do this job. In oceans, tides and ocean currents do this job. It is the edge of chaos. This is where real innovation, real change, real adaptation to change happens.
In human organization, markets are the forest fires, the tides and ocean currents. Or revolutionary leaders and visionaries that already exist within your organization.

Every organization should be looking for leaders, for revolutionaries within. Those outside the status quo, those with something to say, an idea, a sense purpose that is outside the status quo, outside the the inner circles of management. Those are people that an organization wants to create an environment where that kind of spirit can take root. Not all, not many will flourish. All it takes is a few however. Along with a culture that can run with the ideas, the innovation these revolutionaries create.

All the tools that enables social media to flourish on the internet, those tools exist for your company, your corporation, your organization. Those tools, that technology likely already exists within your organization, the organization you work for. The question is is it being used to find the leaders that can spawn the ideas for new products, new services that can keep your organization with the vitality that can help it thrive through all the change the future is sure to bring.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Great Presentation

For those that do follow along here, my inaugural presentation went very well, despite my not closing out as well as I had rehearsed.
The over all experience was better than I had expected, there was a great turn out with the room packed, and my main points were well received.
What I didn't do was do a very good job of directing the energy I created that night into a more specific direction. I left it too unclear as to what people there were to do next.

This is partly the nature of starting something from scratch, we have no "there" yet for people to plug in to.

Still, there is the genesis of some pretty special people to get this going, so all in all I'm pretty happy with the outcome of the presentation.
Next one will be Thursday, November 4th, the Weldwood room, fourth floor, at YWCA, 535 Hornby.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Better Informed, Better Connected, Better Decisions

As I prepare for the presentation I am giving on Thursday the 16th (four days away!), I have been reviewing a lot of the relevant material on organizational and management theory, and the science underlying it. I also find myself trying to find a better short hand synopsis as to "what is it all about?".
While there is a lot to the process I developed and want to continue to develop, the 'output', so to speak, is people and organizations will have a trustworthy process to be "better informed, better connected, making better decisions" as they proceed along the paths of being leaders and winners in this rapidly evolving social-economic environment in which we want to thrive.

One reason I feel confident in the ability to say my process (and myself along with it) can help any person or any organization adapt and thrive, is I am very hard pressed to think of any person or any organization that cannot benefit from being better informed and better connected so as to make better decisions.
The key, however, is in the process.
Not all information is useful. Not all networks or 'connectedness' brings the same value.

It is the dedication, the "buy in" to a process of my "three pillars" approach of 1) a systems thinking point of view, 2) personal and organizational learning, and 3), connecting the people, ideas, intelligence, diversity of views (that diversity is a major key) in a rich social media networked environment as a systematic process to gaining the knowledge from the information, having that knowledge 'survive' an ecology of opinion, insight, experience, etc, and connecting that to the right group that can turn knowledge into action.

Why a process? We all have our blind spots, we all have confirmation bias, as groups we can suffer from group think, our egos and political agendas can all get in the way of making better decisions. Systems thinking along with personal and organizational learning is a means to overcome these kinds of decision making detriments.

Any person or organization can use this process to enhance and further their own goals. This in itself is powerful, but if we also do this with a systems thinking perspective where the overall sustainability of the larger systems in which we operate is enhanced as well, then we all win.

Connecting as many people and organizations as we can, in an ecological network of a common philosophy around a trusted process has tremendous potential to deepen relationships across many boundaries, more importantly, is the kind of creativity, innovation, and re-invigorated personal investment in ourselves and our organizations that can make a vital difference to the quality of life of any community, city, or region.

In very short, what we are developing is an ever deepening process of connecting the rich, under-tapped 'vein' of talent, skills, ideas, and qualities in people out there to the organizations that can make them a productive force in society. These under tapped people can be within an organization, or outside, they can be their customers, or their management. That person could be you.

I will say this time and again, the quality of our future life is directly dependent on the quality of our people and our organizations. To tap into those latent qualities is dependent to a large degree on the quality of the process.

This is the kind of sustainability that we can all grow with.