Scaling knowledge

Most organizations grow from simple to complicated structures and in so doing keep adding layers of control. These complicated organizations usually wind up getting industrial disease. On the other hand, networked organizations can scale because they do not need to control every connection. People who participate in structures like open source software projects can join and connect to others at will. Designers of these open organizational structures understand that in complex un-order, loose hierarchies and strong networks are best. (more…)

Make Work More Human

2013: The Incredibly Shrinking American Middle Class – Bill Moyers

2013: Five Myths about Canada’s Middle Class – Globe & Mail

2013: RIP: The Middle Class – Salon

2013: The Next Middle Class – Harold Jarche

2014: The Middle Class is Steadily Eroding – New York Times

The titles above indicate a shift in the economy and many of our assumptions about the nature of work, at least in my part of the world. There are many definitions of what middle class means, but for me it is the class of people who are experienced, trained or educated yet still have to work to earn a living. Where I grew up, many of our parents were immigrants who all had jobs. We were lucky. School did not require fees and most extracurricular activities were free. Many things have changed since then. (more…)

Learning and Emergent Leadership at Google

Two themes I have discussed here for a number of years are: 1) work is learning and learning is the work; and 2) leadership is an emergent property of networks. Helping people work on complex problems in networks is one of our management challenges for this decade. Learning has to be part of the workflow. In addition, leadership in networks does not come from above, as usually there is no top. This challenges the practice of management by hierarchical position. Leadership is an emergent property, not something bestowed from on high. Some companies understand this, but most do not. Google seems to get it. Gideon Rosenblatt highlights a conversation in the New York Times that Thomas Friedman had with Google’s VP of People Operations, Laszlo Bock. (more…)

Personal Knowledge Mastery

PKM for me was initially a way to keep my professional development costs as low as possible. I wanted to use the open web in the best way to stay current in my field. In 2004 this was by following early bloggers and also by blogging myself. I must say that my posts in the early years were not very good. These past few weeks I have been compiling, updating, and editing my best articles. The earliest post in that selection is from 2007. It took me three years to write a blog post that would stand the test of time.

The road to mastery needs practice and perhaps some guidance. My new workshop, PKM in 40 Days, beginning on 31 March is a more structured approach to start your practice. (more…)

some useful models

Unless we test new work models now, we will not be ready for the demands of the future. Trying out new management structures while we have time is better than trying to make a quick shift during a crisis. Change management today means practicing change, not waiting for it to hit you on the side of the head. Smart companies don’t wait for change, they constantly experiment in anticipation of change. Whether it’s climate change or a new market demand, chance favours the prepared company. (more…)