Harrison Owen is the inventor of Open Space Technology, the most exciting and productive way of meeting with other people that I know of. In The power of spirit, how organizations transfrom he describes what an organization might look like, if it lived by the open space principles. And let me say this right away: If they’re hiring, I want to work there!
Continue reading Book review: The power of spirit
Complexity science is appearing more and more often in business literature (and just about everywhere else). This book with the subtitle “unleashing the power of complexity science for business success” shows a better way to manage organizations than the old command-and-control way, and describes some of the tools needed to get there. It helped put me on to the “joy at work” project.
Continue reading Book review: The soul at work
Is faster always better? Try this exercise, and see what you think.
Let’s say that you want to optimize some process to save time.
In many activities, you can take all the fun out of it if you hurry too much. For example, I used to be a hell-bent skier. This happens when you’re living in flat, snow-less Demark, and you only have the chance to ski for one week every year. By god, I wanted the most skiing I could possibly get! So I got up really early every morning, I took almost no breaks (except for a short lunch break), and I generally drove myself and everybody around me to exhaustion and desperation. Then on a trip a couple of years ago, I learned that by relaxing a little, taking a lot of breaks, I’d get less skiing done, but I’d enjoy it a hell of a lot more. Say 20% less skiing, 80% more fun! And I’ve found that this equation holds in many other activities.
So, what is it that happens when you try do something faster? Odds are, that beyond a certain point, the faster you do it, the less you enjoy it. Maybe it’s just more fun when you do it slowly. Alternatively, you may become stressed because you’re not doing it as fast as you’d like.
So this is the exercise: Find a process or action you’d like to optimize (it can be anything really, your morning drive to work, your evening meal or something you do at work), and then try to do it faster or slower. Keep a journal where you log the time it took and how you liked the experience. Then try to see if there’s a connection, and try to see if there’s an optimal “hurry level”, that doesn’t eliminate the fun.
Gordon Mackenzie spent 20 years working for Hallmark, and his experiences there have enabled him to write what he calls “a corporate fools guide to surviving with grace“. There’s no doubt that Gordon is a free spirit, and here he shares the mindset and that allowed him to survive and prosper in a large, conservative organization. That’s how he came up with the mental image of the corporate hairball – a disgusting but instructive metaphor…
Continue reading Book review: Orbiting the giant hairball
Thor Pedersen, the danish minister of finance, is accused of owning a farm without living on it, even though danish law requires him to. He is being attacked relentlessly by both the opposition and the media. He’s admitted to breaking the law, and promised not to do it anymore.
Thor Pedersens guilt or innocence aside, there’s one question you have to ask yourself.
Continue reading Politicians and morals
The fifth discipline by Peter M. Senge is one of those books that truly make a difference. It is referred to in many different contexts, and it played an important role in shaping the concepts of the learning organization.
Continue reading Book review: The fifth discipline