July 2010


Maybe it’s the mark of a good event that it makes you think. In which case, the organisers of WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) should take a bow, as this will be the second time that their festival has triggered a posting here. Its audience may have changed since last year, as diversity struck me and my party of friends as more prevalent among them (though still rather far from the level evident in the cast of musicians (and cooks and traders) from round the world – than in 2009. As an experience, WOMAD always leaves me with a rich supply of fresh memories, many of them – they’ll be glad to hear – musical ones. (Despite being only about 25% English by heritage, dancing isn’t something I do, even among complete strangers.) But one lasting memory from this year is a conversation about diversity that sprung from a jovial comment about personal hygiene – an important consideration when living under canvas for four days – and an introduction to an evocative piece of Australian slang that reminded me of serious research into organisational behaviour.   (more…)

One of these days, someone will definitively inform us as to the exact percentage of people whose lives are diminished by exposure to statistics, or once and for all model the vectors that trace the relationship between industry surveys and people rushing to promote their service as the solution to their findings. But until that technology becomes available, we can all take the opportunity to polish our debating skills on the raw meat of the latest statistical insight.

(more…)

Following on from our recent post on ambient awareness, two more takes on the social media/workplace interface from elsewhere on the web. (To see a list of all our other favourite postings from elsewhere on the web, visits our Crackers page).

  • The Social Media Cigarette Break – Clark Quinn must be telepathic, given our own comments, but his point about social media networking and trust is a strong one. If social media tools are to achieve their potential for collaboration, sharing and informing, attitudes towards access – essentially issues of trust – need to be addressed too. There’s little point moving to flatter organisations and open plan offices if we just rebuild the barriers with firewalls.
  • A hashtag for the head: v-c tweets to keep in touch – The Times Higher Education Supplement reports that the new Vice Chancellor of my old alma mater, De Montfort University, is embracing Twitter, commenting “As a new vice-chancellor, it’s a way of quickly giving colleagues a sense of who you are. I recognise that there’s a lot of curiosity about what I’m like, about my ideas on a new vision, how many arms I’ve got – that kind of stuff.” We look forward to a University sharing what it has learnt, as well as taught, in due course.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

We’re used to organisation’s websites having FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions. Given that most organisations answer some questions so frequently, that’s a fairly sensible approach. But surely, internally, most organisations have what we might call FURs too: Frequently Uttered Responses. From my own experience – and from anecdotal conversations with friends and colleagues – one of the most common of these is “Oh, didn’t anyone tell you?”. It’s kind of the flipside of that equally well-known rhetorical question: “Did I not get that memo, then?”. Depending on the urgency or importance of the issue at hand, that’s a phrase I’ve heard uttered in tones that range from exasperation to sarcasm. When uttered by those who’ve found themselves saying it more often than they’d like, a hollow-eyed cynicism can creep in too. Either way, it’s hard to think of it as a symptom of organisational health.

(more…)

Working life is full of phrases like ‘walking the talk’ and expressions like ‘delivering on potential’. With our suits on, we exist in a world where promises are meant to be kept, and reputations can rise and fall on our ability to maintain this code of honour. A little remarkable, given that we’re all at least old enough to dress ourselves and navigate our way from duvet to desktop: as far as the reliability of promises goes, that’s surely old enough to know better – whether that comes to making the promises, or believing wholeheartedly that they will be delivered upon. But whether we are being naïve or not, our working expectations, hopes and aspirations often start with the promises that are held out or presented to us. And turn a little bitter when the delivery doesn’t follow. We may be older and wiser, but we can still wind up like the little kid who keeps being told they’ll get a new bicycle for Christmas. Just not which Christmas they’re going to get it.

(more…)

Britain’s Got Talent would make a nifty patriotic slogan, for what is – in ‘reality’ (quotes intentional) – the name of a competitive game show that pitches individual ‘talents’ against each other. “England’s Got Talent” might have made a good tabloid headline about a month ago, but would now have the appeal – at least to the footie minded – of stale lager. Which illustrates one central conundrum of modern culture: the ‘star system’. Evolved in Hollywood, it might be perfectly adapted to the entertainment industry, but most occupations are not actually about the luminous performance of individuals. Organisational development is no less a team game than football, and in neither case is the display of either striking talent or overbearing celebrity the real point: the real point is to achieve goals.

(more…)

We’ve just added a downloadable version of this recent Changeboard article by Robert Terry to our Elsewhere page: alternatively you can download the PDF here.

As Robert says:

All in all, the months ahead look challenging. Particularly as many of us work in the very ‘back-office’ that is the focus of much cost-cutting activity: if we are to play our part – as is expected – in protecting front-line services, we will need to work intelligently to identify the savings that can be made without damaging them.”

To find out more about what may yet be in store, read the full article.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Next Page »