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The Cultural Guide To Standing Out

Culture shapes how things get done in organizations. It also defines what gets believed, and what we accept as truths. We create a shorthand for what’s acceptable, and we broadly understand where the lines are that we should not cross. That’s all well and good, until we actually need to challenge the truths, and consider crossing the lines. When we need to stand up and stand out, things get interesting.



The Cultural Guide To Fitting In

It depends. It always depends. Figuring out how to approach situations, address challenges or secure decisions is some of the most difficult work that we do. We might know the outcome we want, but the challenge is successfully navigating the culture of the organization to secure the support that we need. Culture matters. Success in navigating culture means understanding how it works and figuring out how to respond. That’s easy to say, but harder to do.



Working On You

Entrepreneurs have a saying: you need to be working on your business, not just in your business. That often gets viewed as spending time on things like planning, marketing or establishing systems. But it goes beyond that. And while not all of us may be entrepreneurs or business owners, all of us need to take the time to work on ourselves.



Next Webinar: So You’re a Manager… Now What?

When I became a manager, I was incredibly naïve about what it meant ‘to manage’. I micro-managed everything. I had no sense of how to spend my time. I rushed from one task to another without any attempt to think about what I should be doing and ultimately, I failed in my new role. Not…
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Simple Project Plans: A Thought Experiment

Simple models can provide powerful insights. So what does a simple model look like, and how do you develop one? And in particular, how do you ensure that it focusses on the things that matter most? Making choices in design—what to include, and what to leave out—are fundamental. A thought exercise in reinventing the project plan.



The Power Of Simplicity

There are times that I marvel at the value that a simple model provides. And yet we often go out of our way to make things difficult, to be as detailed and comprehensive as we can. Rather than looking for what is essential, we ask for everything. Yet simple models can have surprising depth behind them. And they can be extraordinarily powerful in helping to make sense of complex situations.



Figuring Out What Matters

Proposals are a fundamental part of my professional reality. Having written a few hundred or so over my career, you’d think I’d be fairly good at that. And I am, in my way. I have strategies. I like to think that I give good proposal. But there are aspects of the process that are persistently challenging. The most significant part being figuring out what the client actually requires.



Next Webinar: Facilitation Success (& Failure)

The topic of facilitation is continuing to preoccupy us (and this webinar series). Mark’s final comment last month was that “success in facilitiating is abstract.” There is no way to directly measure it, except by whether or not you helped guide the group to where it needed to go. And a great question we didn’t…
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Agile Will Not Save You

Agile approaches are enjoying a very bright place in the sun. And that is to some extent deserved; they represent a very different way of working, especially when we are dealing with ill-defined problems and a need for experimentation and search. At the same time, we often define agile as needing to be different than what came before. The implication being that predecessor capabilities are inadequate, inappropriate and best relegated to the dustbin of history. The reality is very different.



Your Values Are Questionable

We’re often pretty sure that we understand what values are. Defining them clearly and compellingly, though, is an entirely different matter. Values aren’t about defining the lowest common denominator of what is important. They get at the very heart of who we are, and particularly how we operate, decide and interact. Getting them right is critical; it also takes a great deal of work.