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- Coming June 7: Toxic Disrupters: Tactics
- Some people tend to disrupt meetings. Their motives vary, but they use techniques drawn from a limited collection. Examples: they violate norms, demand attention, mess with the agenda, and sow distrust. Response begins with recognizing their tactics. Available here and by RSS on June 7.
- And on June 14: Pseudo-Collaborations
- Most workplace collaborations produce results of value. But some collaborations — pseudo-collaborations — are inherently incapable of producing value, due to performance management systems, or lack of authority, or lack of access to information. Available here and by RSS on June 14.
This page has links to articles from 2023. For other years:
May 31, 2023
- When Your Boss Leaves Before You Do
- At some point in your career, your supervisor will leave his or her position and you'll end up reporting to someone else. It can be a harrowing experience, even if you prepare. Nevertheless, preparation usually produces a better outcome than winging it.
May 24, 2023
- Ten-Minute Training
- Despite decades of evolution of technology-assisted workplace learning, instructor-led classroom formats remain the most popular and effective. Now perhaps videoconferencing can help to achieve that effectiveness at lower cost.
May 17, 2023
- Clouted Thinking
- When we say that people have "clout" we mean that they have more organizational power or social influence than most others do. But when people with clout try to use it in realms beyond those in which they've earned it, trouble looms.
May 10, 2023
- On Schedule Conflicts
- Schedule conflicts happen from time to time, even when the organization is healthy and all is well. But when schedule conflicts are common, they might indicate that the organization is trying to do too much with too few people.
May 3, 2023
- Personal Feasibility Decisions
- When considering whether to exploit a rare but desirable opportunity, there is a risk that desire can overcome good sense. Having at hand a predefined framework for making such decisions reduces the risk of blundering by acting in haste.
April 26, 2023
- Confirmation Bias and Myside Bias
- Although we regard ourselves as rational, a well-established body of knowledge shows that rationality plays a less-than-central role in our decision-making process. Confirmation Bias and Myside Bias are two cognitive biases that influence our decisions.
April 19, 2023
- More Things I've Learned Along the Way: VI
- When I gain an important insight, or when I learn a lesson, I make a note. Example: If you're interested in changing how a social construct operates, knowing how it came to be the way it is can be much less useful than knowing what keeps it the way it is.
April 12, 2023
- Commenting on the Work of Others
- Commenting on the work of others risks damaging relationships. It can make future collaboration more difficult. To be safe when commenting about others' work, know the basic principles that distinguish appropriate and inappropriate comments.
April 5, 2023
- The Fallacy of Division
- Errors of reasoning are pervasive in everyday thought in most organizations. One of the more common errors is called the Fallacy of Division, in which we assume that attributes of a class apply to all members of that class. It leads to ridiculous results.
March 29, 2023
- Time Slot Recycling: The Risks
- When we can't begin a meeting because some people haven't arrived, we sometimes cancel the meeting and hold a different one, with the people who are in attendance. It might seem like a good way to avoid wasting time, but there are risks.
March 22, 2023
- Fear/Anxiety Bias: II
- When people sense that reporting the true status of the work underway could be career-dangerous, some shade or "spin" their reports. Managers then receive an inaccurate impression of the state of the organization. Here are five of the patterns people use.
March 15, 2023
- Fear/Anxiety Bias: I
- When people don't feel safe enough to report the true status of the work underway in an organization, managers receive an inaccurate impression of the state of the organization. To understand this dynamic, we must understand psychological safety.
March 8, 2023
- Goodhart's Law and Gaming the Metrics
- Goodhart's Law is an observation about managing by metrics. When we make known the metrics' goals, we risk collapse of the metrics, in part because people try to "game" the metrics by shading or manufacturing the data to produce the goal result.
March 1, 2023
- Goodhart's Law and Reification
- Goodhart's Law, applied to organizations, is an observation about managing by metrics. When we make known the goals for our metrics, we risk having the metrics lose their ability to measure. The risk is elevated when we try to "measure" abstractions.
February 22, 2023
- The McNamara Fallacy
- The McNamara Fallacy is the idea that measuring properly chosen attributes of inputs and outputs provides all we need for decisions about organizational and human performance. And we can safely ignore anything that can't be measured. It doesn't work.
February 15, 2023
- Four Razors for Organizational Behavior
- Deviant organizational behavior can harm the people and the organization. In choosing responses, we consider what drives the perpetrators. Considering Malice, Incompetence, Ignorance, and Greed, we can devise four guidelines for making these choices.
February 8, 2023
- Kerfuffles That Seem Like Something More
- Much of what we regard as political conflict is a series of squabbles commonly called kerfuffles. They captivate us while they're underway, but after a month or two they're forgotten. Why do they happen? Why do they persist?
February 1, 2023
- The Big Power of Little Words
- Big, fancy words, like commensurate or obfuscation, tend to be more noticed than the little everyday words, like yet or best. That might be why the little words can be so much more powerful, steering conversations where their users want them to go.
January 25, 2023
- Some Consequences of Blaming
- Both blame-oriented cultures and accountability-oriented cultures can learn from their mistakes. Accountability-oriented cultures learn how to avoid repeating their mistakes. Blame-oriented cultures learn how to repeat their mistakes.
January 18, 2023
- Tuckman's Model and Joint Leadership Teams
- Tuckman's model of the stages of group development, applied to Joint Leadership Teams, reveals characteristics of these teams that signal performance levels less than we hope for. Knowing what to avoid when we designate these teams is therefore useful.
January 11, 2023
- Joint Leadership Teams: Risks
- Some teams, business units, or enterprises are led not by individuals, but by joint leadership teams of two or more. They face special risks that arise from the organizations that host them, from the teams they lead, or from within the joint leadership team itself.
January 4, 2023
- The Politics of Forming Joint Leadership Teams
- Some teams, business units, or enterprises are led not by individuals, but by joint leadership teams of two or more. They face special risks that arise from both the politics of the joint leadership team and the politics of the organization hosting it.
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