In Part One of this series on storytelling, we looked at the importance of stories as a way to inspire change in the people we seek to lead. This article looks at the big, overarching narratives that can drive our people to see themselves and their work in a new light.
We tell our biggest stories at the level of myths and legends. They answer the questions about why we’re here, how we must behave within our cultural group, and what we must do to live a good, true and beautiful life. (more…)
Stories are how we make sense of the world. They also stir our emotions in powerful ways, often persuading our audience more effectively than any reasoned argument. If we’re trying to inspire change, we should use them. This three-part series explores how.
I sometimes imagine the first humans with conscious thought, looking across the African savannah, gazing at the infinity of the night cosmos above. When did they start asking the eternal questions: ‘Who am I? Why am I here? What’s going to happen when I die?’ What stories did they tell themselves? (more…)
No one likes spending money on maintenance. Take your car in for a service and you’re not only left with no transport, you have to pay for the privilege to boot. In fact, there’s only one thing worse than planned maintenance. An unplanned breakdown.
I recently had the chance to talk at one of the premier asset management conferences in Australia. It felt like being in a guild—in my case, of engineers and asset managers. People like us are charged with ensuring that billions of dollars of assets—whether aircraft, manufacturing plants or mines and refineries—can deliver safe, reliable, cost-effective outcomes. (more…)
What are you accountable for? And what kind of authority do you have to properly acquit that accountability? Whom do you report to? How do you get inducted into the role? Who decides which tasks are to be done, of what type and by when?
Everyone craves clarity in their role. We want to know who makes decisions about hiring and firing from the team and who will do the appraisals. Who has the authority to negotiate pay, whether up or down? The classic job description often covers many aspects of your role. But what happens when you get assigned to a project outside of your functional home? (more…)
Collaboration has progressed from a buzzword to an article of faith in today’s organisations. Books talk about how to do it better and tools claim to make it ever easier to share ideas and plan projects. But what task are you collaborating on?
Something so simple, and yet something so often neglected—how to properly define a task. If you want to markedly improve productivity without anything other than the content of your own mind, it will pay to pay attention to the proper definition of a task.(more…)
I had occasion recently to reflect on the fact that it is now more than twenty years since I first read Peter Senge’s seminal book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organisation. All those years ago, I was at the National Productivity Institute in Pretoria looking for a breakthrough in work management.
The refrigeration contracting company I led was staring at a completely oversubscribed order book and we had to find a more productive way to do our work. The story began with them giving me in one hand a copy of Eli Goldratt’s The Goal, and in the other, a copy of The Fifth Discipline. (more…)