In this series, I share some books that have inspired me recently using the ‘book review’ format as a springboard into a wider conversation about the world of work—and how to do it better.
A Beautiful Constraint by Adam Morgan & Mark Barden
I’ve been studying constraints and consulting in them for the last twenty years so was eager to see what I might learn from the authors, a pair of marketing consultants whose firm, Eat Big Fish, specialises in breakthrough strategies. My own background in industrial engineering and Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints gives me a very rich, but quite precise, understanding of what is meant by the oft-used ‘constraint’ word. I found the authors’ take on constraints to be highly relevant and reaffirmation that ‘the obstacle is the way’ to deep innovation. (more…)
In this new series of articles, I’d like to share some of the books that have stood out for me recently. I’ll use the ‘book review’ format loosely as a springboard into a wider conversation about the world of work—and how to do it better.
Each of the books we’ll look at has contributed to my ongoing learning and deeper understanding of how I move forward in my mission to bring more justice to work. In some ways, reading them has been like a cold shower—painful, shocking even, but refreshing. (more…)
What’s your mental map of the world? Do you imagine countries as jagged shapes, in pastel colours with printed names? Or do you envisage a panoply of people and landscapes? Do you hear the local music and language, and smell the food? And is your picture based on books and movies, or firsthand experience?
Europeans often criticise Americans for mixing up, say, Slovenia and Slovakia. But how many of those critics could correctly name and label all the US states?* Perhaps, though, you’re a seasoned traveller, with a Google-map brain. Yet how would you fare on French literature? Or astronomy? Or the Icelandic legal system?
We’re all trapped in our own bubbles. We know this from the polarised reaction to world events, such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. But how often do we consider that all our colleagues or clients also carry around different mental maps of how things should be done?
As a learning organisation, we put great store in books. These are thinking tools, really, by the innovators who have influenced our own approach to creating ‘innovations in productivity’.
Some are classics while others are newer additions to our library. Even the older books—perhaps especially those—contain ideas that are more important than ever. (more…)
The way we look at high-performance teams has moved on since Jungian archetypes. How do mindsets affect team performance?
According to the man who founded analytical psychology, Carl Jung, we are all endowed at birth with a bias toward one of two basic attitudes—expressed in the well-known idea of the introvert and extrovert. Jung describes the introvert as a power-oriented person who focuses on their own internal image of how things should be. The extrovert on the other hand turns outward, losing themselves in another object. (more…)
You’ve probably heard about managing your work using the Pareto Principle, or the ‘80/20 rule’. The idea being that 80% of outcomes derive from 20% of the causes. The causes may be clear in retrospect. But how do you know what to focus on in advance?
Organisations are complex and interdependent in nature. What one person believes will improve the organisation is usually limited to their domain expertise. Many times, individuals can’t see the global impact of their localised perspectives. Compounding the issue, management rewards behaviours using metrics and accounting systems that optimise local priorities at the expense of the business as a whole. (more…)