Organizational Practices

So How Do You Keep Score?

We live in a world that wants concrete specifics. We have bosses that like measures. We have sponsors that demand proof, and want to know how you are going to demonstrate impact. And yet very often the more important something an initiative is, the less likely you are to be able to measure it. So what you can you do? What could you measure? And what are the cautions of doing so?



Got a KPI For That?

While this is likely to come across as controversial, I’m going to say it anyway: If you care most about key performance indicators, then you likely don’t care about what matters most. And that’s a challenge. In my view, it’s a challenge of terminology, of ideology and of narrow-minded thinking masquerading as holistic solution. But semantics are important. And the words you use say a lot about what you value.



This Is How It (Doesn’t) Begin

I had a meeting with a prospective client the other day. The opportunity was to provide some training and facilitation with their executive team to help prepare them for the implementation of a new set of organizational project management practices. To anyone that knows me, this certainly has the prospect of being something of interest….
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The More Process You Have, The Less Process You Need

Process is important. It provides useful and relevant guidance on how to get things done. And yet process can also be a crutch, particularly when we presume the real world works exactly as the process prescribes. For process to be useful, then, we need to rethink how we relate to process.



Language Gets In The Way

Language is critical. Navigating change involves creating language. At the same time the language that we use gets in the way. The words we choose to communicate our message are essential to our ability to create meaning. But we don’t always do a good job in exercising choice. We obfuscate and we obstruct. We choose obscure and complicated words because we think they sound good. In doing so, we undermine meaning. And we do so at our peril.



Change Is About Creating Language

Words have power. When we create change—and when we build processes—words become particularly important. Not for how we sell the process (although that’s also significant), but for how we define and think about the process itself. Taking the time to get words right is some of the most meaningful work we do in managing change.



“Best Practices” Aren’t Doing For You What You Think They Are

There is a subset of the population that is in love with the idea of “best practices.” It is incredibly appealing to believe that there is one right way of doing things. Simply calling something “best practice” is to implicitly make it unassailable. And yet how we think about best practices says a lot more about the person that it does about the practice.



You Can’t Implement Process And Get Culture

Culture change is hard. And we would prefer not to deal with the hard stuff. All too often, we want to be able to define what we expect, and have behaviours and culture norms to line up behind that. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Cultural transition is possible, but process doesn’t drive culture. Although culture will determine what process is possible.



Our Ideologies Undermine Us

Beliefs and principles are useful. They guide us when we are dealing with unknowns and uncertainty. They also get in the way, because they blind us to being aware of when they stop working. This is particular true of process, where ideology often gets in the way of adaptation and a recognition of what works here (or what won’t).



You Are One Pivot Away From Oblivion

Startup culture is rooted in principles of failing fast and often, and pivoting on to the next thing. And I absolutely understand the value of adaptation and evolution. But we forget that principles are not hard bound rules. And what works for startups does not necessarily work for their customers.



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