What great morning routine! You shared it and made me part of it. Thanks!
Great that the new job turn out to be a success Bjorn. All the best going forward.
Dan, thank you!
Love the reference to the swimming technique and I think that T.I. swimming and T.I. learning are related in that they’re both, in part, about removing resistance. In the former case, how do you remove the resistance from the water efficiently and effectively? In the latter case, how do you remove resistance in the form of mental barriers and cognitive biases?
Thank you for the feedback, Christian!
Summer should take time. Recharge and be back for great things.
Bye mad Scientist!
Hasta la vista!
Grymt bra video Björn.
får man fråga vad låten heter ?
hoppas vi ses igen
Låten är ju skriven som soundtrack till filmen, så den får väl helt enkelt heta “Goodbye”!
Great video Bjorn good luck in your new venture if you are half as successful as you were at ReadSoft then you’ll do well.
It was a pleasure working with you and really great knowing you as a colleague.
Thank you, my friend. It was a pleasure working with you, and I’m hoping we might once again.
Blimey Simon, I wondered where you had disappeared to! Another one of the ReadSoft diaspora appears on CortexSof…. erm I mean Cortex City 🙂
All the best Mayor, you will be missed 🙂
Thank you very much Iqra, I will miss you too! But we can always meet here. 🙂
Well, that was pretty darn cool! Fun to watch – nice job!
Thank you, Björn, for everything! See you around!
Thank you so much Eileen. Yes, I’ll see you around, for sure!
Well done Björn!! Love your ethics and job seeking creterias. 🙂
Thank you Dan!
I suspect that you will pursue something extraordinary, I have always perceived of you as an out-of-the-box thinker, challenging the conventional wisdom, pushing the boundaries. I would expect nothing else from you. In the meantime, enjoy the respite, re-energize and the then tale the world by storm.
Andrew, thank you very much for those kind words! I will try to live up to the expectations.
I think it’s about stoves in general 🙂 I bought a new oven when we moved into our new home 18 months ago. I decided to buy about the only British make I could find. Long story short, I got the wrong model delivered (twice) and none of the errors picked up and the 3rd time I got the right model delivered but had to act as a temporary oven warehouse until the others were picked up. With 2 more messed up attempts (wrong house, wrong van!)
About buying locally – fully support this – but every time I go to do so I get defeated by little things. It’s not about price so much but it’s about how I can make payment. Maybe it’s a UK issue – what are other countries like for this…? At the moment I’m having quotes done on getting the front of my house re-done, dig out some of the garden, re-lay the driveway in brick blocks as over 20 years of the age of the house, it’s sunk a little; put up a canopy over the door.
I’ve got 5 quotes now at good prices and I’d love to go ahead right away but none of the builders take payment by card, either debit or credit. I’d prefer to pay by credit card as the total job cost is about £1,800 so I’d like to pay for it next month when my bonus comes in, and I’ll get my loyalty points on my card giving me effectively some money back and I also get legal protection and insurance if the job goes wrong for any reason. Why do these builders not take payment in a form that would make the consumer happy and also increase the amount of work they could undertake (I’d imagine older people feeling pretty uncomfortable having to get £1,800 out of the bank in cash and holding it at their house to pay a builder!) And it’s the same at little local stores also – no card payment for anything under £10 in value. So when I want a couple of jars of their nice homemade pickles and it comes to £8 something, forget about it. So it’s back to the supermarket which isn’t really what I want.
There’s a lot of learning to do be done on how to be effective not only for the consumer but for your own business growth here!
My friend, I’m so happy that you and your son are safe from this incident! There’s two great messages here, one of which is as you say to seize the day. For me this is about ‘living in the now’ whether that’s on the farm, after a potentially fatal happening, or even just going for a walk at lunch out the office. Take it all in, life is available to you, right here and now – no need to wait for that amazing event, or special day, just grab it now.
The 2nd lesson for me here is very much a Cortex City ‘continual improvement’ lesson. How can you adapt situations that have occurred and change them that they never happen again, or at least take the risk down by a large %.
Either way, glad you are well!
Thank you Adam!
Fully agree on both messages – live life to the fullest, right now. And try to make sure that there are lots of “right nows” left to treasure!
Thank you for this story! It’s disappointing to buy something from a local store and then have them act so clueless and take no responsibility. I had a similar problem recently when I ordered some solid oak trim from a local hardware store. When the trim was delivered in two different colors, the store was not helpful.
When we buy appliances, my husband’s approach is to check the prices and buy the most expensive one that meets our requirements. My approach is to scour the Internet for tests and user reviews and go for one with a very high rating. The two approaches often yield the same results, which is why our marriage has survived.
About advertising: I want to have heard the manufacturer’s name, but if they are flooding the media with moronic advertising, that’s a big fat minus. I don’t want to pay for that, and I’ll certainly buy a brand I’ve never heard of if people are saying good things about it.
Then we order from a local store and pay extra for delivery and installation. If they can’t get it installed (that has happened!), it’s their problem.
Smart consumers do their research and then buy local if possible. I guess the research should include checking out reviews of the local store….
I’d like to know which company you joined.
Thank you Eileen,
I really like the approach taken by you and your husband — looks to me that you are precisely what I talk about in the story; professional consumers. (I especially like that your husband aims for the most expensive model meeting your requirement. :-))
I’ll very soon be able to disclose the name of the company.
It’s spells Husqvarna
Normally I would agree, except that Husqvarna’s stoves are not of their usual quality, in my opinion. 🙂
Excellent post Bjorn! You have stated well the situation most of us have experienced, hopefully by exception and not by routine. Nevertheless, a real pain. I like your advice and support this personally. I recently tried to buy locally (for a windshield replacement), but a national company, located in the next city, ultimately had a very good price advantage, and the service was exceptional. So, while it is important to give the local guy a chance, it is good to have alternatives.
by they way, I am glad you found a company that puts employees and customers first – I hope to find the same.
Thanks for the great feedback, Bill.
You make a very good point about the local guy/gal vs. the national/global companies. Good service and a customer-comes-first strategy is absolutely open game to any company willing to go beyond current trends — or back to the way things used to be, if you will.
Ah, hot time, summer in the City! The City Council awaits the news… and meanwhile, we water the flowers, harvest the tomatoes (yes, they are ripening already!), and plan the future… even if our event horizon only extends to the next BBQ!
…listening to some great music, no doubt! 🙂 Soon, very soon, it will be known. Is it what people expected? Of course not, that’s not how I operate. 🙂
Who can resist BBQ ! Can’t wait to hear about Mayor’s next professional adventure, how nice it would have been, if it would be same as I thought 🙂
It will soon be public – just a press release or two that need to go out. Stay tuned!
Exciting! My bet is on solo rock artist but I haven’t entirely excluded chicken salesman from possible future Björn-jobs yet.
I can honestly say that while both bets are close, they are also wrong. 🙂
A beautiful story for a Monday morning!
I think we should also prepare ourselves, when we help out our own jackdaws that sometimes, no matter how hard we prepare and nurture and train them; just sometimes they will fail to fly – or fly for a while then dive. I’ve had quite a few jackdaws come through my teams and some have soared – wonderful (and heartbreaking to lose them) and some have rolled and dived despite showing initial promise. I’ve had to learn to let go. After all, it’s their choice to make and we can only train them, not live their lives for them, or through them.
Absolutely needed to read something like this today. Thanks for the share Bjorn 🙂
I like it. Move fast but don’t move too fast
Beautiful pictures, I think few citizens will visit you soon. Who can resist the beauty !
Björn, take a look at Modulo on the website. Could be of interest for projects for the farm with the “PI”. Great stuff as it looks for this Kick-starter project.
Thanks for reading Adam and Stefan and good questions/input. I’ll just contribute with some personal experience.
1. Usually if the team is in this state, what I have experienced, the main problem has been lack of purpose/goals or understanding how or what their contribution is. So I should say, start from that end and build up the purpose/goal/why the team and the individuals are there. If they feel “I see/know that someone actually wants, uses, needs what I/we are working on” that will be one big step towards feeling more motivated and engaged for the work they are doing. Autonomy and Mastery would not happen by itself even if we have a good understanding purpose (but it will help) or goal. So Mastery and Autonomy you will need to work on as well. That’s why I like Scrum. It will actually be a tool for the team and the Product owner to touch all three of these and what I’ve seen also greatly increased engagement, motivation and drive quite fast.
Some bigger changes or gaps around the purpose for a team may throw them off the engagement/drive loop even if using scrum though (for example when a product takes a big turn in the portfolio from investment to maintenance mode or something) but then I belive the organization and leadership around the team is really needed to facilitate, help out in this change process (the Product owner ‘itself’ will not be sufficient to create the needed purpose/goal probably). I usually also do individual talks to understand each team members personal drivers to see how well the individials match for example a new direction/purpose of the team. Sometimes not every one will have the best fit between their personal drives and the new purpose of the team and then we might consider change the team composition if possible. Best solution is of course to have aligned directions between individuals and the team goal.
2. When I’ve seen big gaps between teams, management, product management it is usually due to big communication or expectation gaps, or not talking to each other at all. One change I did was to setup a weekly meetings (stand up, open meetings in front of a white board with burn downs in the middle of the corridor) and forced the managers and the team reps and product management to the same board to review burn down, sprint goals, release goals,and make sure any mismatch in expectation pop’ed up so we could handle it fairly quickly and to ensure we were aligned and stayed aligned. Hope this was in the direction of your questions.
Great article – totally agree with this ‘pyramid’ structure. And pyramids are the strongest shapes.
Here’s my follow-up question to it all. How do we cope in these situations:
1. When the team is not interested in autonomy, mastery or purpose… A disillusioned, disheveled team. Usually inherited from someone else. Just focus on the purpose? Will that deliver the autonomy and mastery also? In which case, are they secondary values?
2. How do we cope with an organisation that is shooting down management’s desire to do better – the “C Suite malaise” or indeed are not treating us with the same ethos and kindness? Some of this comes down, I believe, to us being a group of self-starters who are truly committed to the people around us.
My view of autonomy, mastery and purpose is actually that the priority between these are important, I also prefer to have them in the order I defined – hence autonomy rules them all…;-) A team can of course be dysfunctional for many different reasons. A team in your scenario Adam is gravely abused as I see it and then it is about guiding the team and providing leadership focusing on autonomy – not only on purpose. As Benny writes as a manager it is possible to create purpose (or an illusion of purpose – perception is more important). Some teams may buy in on that, real autonomous teams won’t. Autonomy creates space for creativity and room for building mastery and in-depth skills. When you have an autonomous team they will create their purpose and execute that with mastery. Giving the team guiding thru purpose is “old style management” in my view. It is the patriarchal way of leading people. One of the most successful in history – but this has a tendency of slipping easily to the far side where leaders are managers that team members are “afraid of”. This works well for non-cognitive work but not when you want to nurture creativity and boost mastery. Teams don’t spend extra working hours for the purpose, they don’t commit themselves and their time for purpose… You can force team members for a purpose but that is not sustainable for the team (or as a manager) The team invest themselves because they believe in the team and that the team (which is actually true for great teams) can create its own future.
1. You create autonomy thru trust by listening and talking to team members. In my book there are no individuals lacking purpose, mastery and autonomy. But some teams (few) can spiral that way. As a leader you need to carefully analyze why the team behaves like that and either infuse the team (new team members typically changes the team and the team needs to reorganize) to boost the team so they see themselves that they create their own future. Second option is to defuse the team – this means removing members or reallocating them. This far more negative to the team and should be seen as a second option – if used as a way of making a dysfunctional team functional. Note: there are of course many other reasons for adding and removing members to a team – but the essence is that it changes the team in its entirety. Third option is dissolving the team. All of them work in practise, I have tested them all – in different ways.
2. An organization trying to shoot down what management think is the way forward is an organisation in disbelief and without trust. Creating belief and trust is another chapter in its own but this is mainly about openness in communication and clarity in decisions – may those be good or bad.
Thanks Stefan – some great food for thought there. Both scenarios were true for me in a previous company and I had to fight hard to bring some unity in the team – which was then shot down by senior management 🙂
I think one of the main things I read ‘in between the lines’ of your reply was this: “Give the team it’s own life and step back”. If as a leader we can give, or encourage the team (to have) it’s own goals, it’s own dynamics and it’s own ‘life’ then it becomes essentially self-sustaining, needing only further encouragement and direction setting from it’s leader, according to the overall goals of the organisation.
Precisely Adam. But stepping “down” as a manager requires trust in the team or guts. As the team is dysfunctional the latter is the most important. Many managers then think they lose control – which is a correct observation and The only way for The team to get autonomous. ..☺A paradox that starts with the manager daring to let go…
Björn, Why not decide to create the best light control system ever, with a great app and using the Pi as a server for a Telldus stick e.g. Will need some great UX knowledge to get simple schedule and setup and then a Unix server able to communicate with the Telldus stick and eg Nexa lamp controllers easily and affordable at Kjell&Co. If tha can run in parallel with eg Kodi (multimedia application) on the same Pi we have a winning concept.
Just a thought. 🙂
And welcome to the Pi people, a happy family. 🙂
That’s a lot of animals you have! Like the teenager ducks!
I don’t get the title. Do you mean Garden LEAF Chronicles?
The ducks are good fun! A special breed, likes to eat killer slugs.
Well, the title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the meaning is reasonably well explained here.
Thank you for the feedback!
Nice one Björn. Here are a few more tips about what you could do if you wish to publish your website and make it more secure too. You might want to consider:
Deploying your webserver as a Virtual machine is more practicle, easier to take down, backup restart etc.
Virtualbox is free and lets you run a Linux server or distro like ubuntu.
ubuntu is also free and more secure than a Windows machine and there are abundance of resuorces online about configuring ubuntu/Linux as a secure webserver). Check out this guide for the Top 10 Linux Server distros .
Check out the FAQ to learn more about ubuntu
Using ubuntu server will allow you to automatically install Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP).
To securely publishing your website:
Use your router to forward incoming traffic from TCP port 80 to your web server.
Use dynamic DNS if your ISP does not provide static IP adresses. This will provide redirection to your webserver even if your IP adress changes. .
A list of DDNS providers can be found here .
To stop sending information to potential hackers about the webserver for error pages like “404 Not found”, check out this guide.
Make your site less voulnerable to DDOS attacks by limiting the size of file uplads and header annd body requests timouts to prevent attackers slowing down system resources. Check out http://httpd.apache.org/docs/trunk/misc/security_tips.html
Secure remote access with SSH key authentication using this guide.
Secure against brute force attacks by limiting the number of logons a user tries to make using a TCP wrapper like DenyHosts.
Thank you Imre, seems like some solid advice. The steps I described in the article are for a sandbox environment only — you need to lock it down before going live, as you suggest.
One thought…if you want people to think more about the importance of security, why not write an article about it? People here love to read! 🙂
I’m really interested!!! But I went down a different path…
Don’t like operating systems that ends with an ‘x’ so I first got myself an Arduino since Raspberry Pi required Linux (and the card were kind of hard to get hold of at the beginning).
But now Microsoft supports Raspberry Pi (the new version of Raspberry Pi) with its upcoming Windows 10!
Ok, you won’t be able to run the full Windows 10 on it – it’s a special version but it will support C#, .Net… (link)
I will follow your projects with the greatest interest and perhaps in the future chip in some of my own…
Stefan, glad to have you join these crazy experiments. I wonder how we shall work on your aversion to X? Additionally, Windows 10 with Roman numerals is actually Windows X. Coincidence? I think not.
Looking forward to hear more about your project ideas!
Since what some might call ‘madness’ is my reality…..it has become part of my skill set.
“Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.” – Edgar Allan Poe
“the dividing lines between sanity and mental illness have been drawn in the wrong place. The sane are madder than we think, the mad saner.”
~ Anthony Storr
Top Trumps anyone??
There is a simple solution to this otherwise completely unsolvable project – get one really rich and generous friend, skip the others…;-)
(coding this app isn’t simply doable I have heard, maybe for BBOS and WinPhone but definitely not for IOS and Android… Main reason I have heard is that he CortexCity organization in GitHub is locked… To circumvent that I took the liberty of creating the FairShareApp org and a master repo under this org. I have of course set the owner to the Mayor – controlling the app’s lifecycle and the in the name of the Mayor, Cortex City and the holiness of open source SW it is licensed under GNU GPL v2 (to make any legal claims void in the name of the idea originator…;-) – you can find it here: https://github.com/FairShareApp/master – but do remember – everything is impossible)
Someone used the open source repo…;-)
Excellent energy, Stefan. A couple of notes:
* Let’s use the CortexCity GitHub organization instead, that’s what it’s intended for. When we have a team, I’ll make sure everyone’s invited.
* We have a legal counsel that helps with licenses. GPL2 or GPL3 are likely candidates.
* Go ahead and volunteeer for the project, and let’s hear what you’d like to add to the project! We have people signing up with testing skills, development skills, architectural skills, product management skills, and we need more competencies!
Thank you for showing such drive!
Awsome idea, do you need a product manager?
Why not simplify the process and create a better User Experience by do it the other way around? Instead paying for bills individually, and doing the individual calculations for reimbursing after the trip do it the following way:
1.Create a budget for the trip/event/girls night out
2. Set up virtual Swish account/or a contextual temporary credit card CTCC(didn’t find anything similar out there, so we would need to create something from scratch :))
3. Solidarity transfer to CTCC
4. Use CTCC during trip/event/girls night out
5. Close trip and equally distribute remaining funds
Project would be a bit more complex since we need to develop the concept of CTCC, but way more scalable than just the girls night out… Or maybe just a different project?
Perhaps try connect it to services like Swish. I read that 2 million Swedes use it now.
Good suggestion. Should I count that as you signing up for the project?
You know what I am good at. So, in case you want someone to test (rip apart) app after developers have written some code then I am ready for it 🙂
Excellent! You’re on the list.
What a great idea! I would buy/use this app for sure!
Glad to hear it, Mikael! If we go ahead and build it, it’s going to be 100% free of charge.
I’am not a member in your city Björn until now but we don’t know what happen in the future 😉
but i would like to join the dev team 🙂
it’s a good idea and i like mobile apps hehe
Good news! I’ll make you a deal, Esam – Join the city (always will be free), and I’ll let you in the magnificent dev team. Actually, I’ll let you in either way – we need you.
Recyclops sounds like a great project and a good idea on reusing old kit. About the niche market though – couldn’t you use the Pi as a base board inside the laptop, install a minimal browser type functionality and we have a simple “browse and email only” solution for people who don’t use computers at all? I know my dear old mother (79 this year) doesn’t want tablets or laptops but wouldn’t mind looking at some websites or paying bills etc online and something like this could help?
Also – here’s your big challenge. Use the Pi to create a NAS without buying a NAS. With the Pi plugged into (multiple?) USB drives and with a fixed IP address from your ISP you could have a NAS without a NAS. I’ve got loads of the old USB drives of different sizes kicking around and they’re still cheaper/bigger than the NAS’s you can buy.
You could indeed use Recyclops as you propose, but then you’d essentially have a Chromebook wannabe, and I’d rather not go head to head with a product that doesn’t seem to sell too well. 🙂 But let’s see where it all ends up!
Creating a NAS without buying a NAS sounds doable. I’d probably consider creating a small cabinet that includes power supply and connectivity for the hard drives, including IDE and SATA. Sounds almost too easy. 🙂 I’ll add it to the list of proposed projects.
Good feedback, thanks Adam!
I hope you had a great birthday! Looking forward to see more of your writing! 🙂
Love it. It is so important to set aside time for reflection and learn from the past. Thanks Adam. Aloof it is. Do you also have any tips on how to achieve that humanness-aloofness balance when dealing with a virtual team?
Aloof but human definitely.
Virtual teams can be a little easier to be this way with. If they’re different time zones then so long as you’re in control of the scheduling, you’re fine. If it’s same time zone then part of it is not being afraid to click “Decline”; or “Propose New Time”. Not every single meeting needs you in it – so long as someone takes good minutes and action points (this comes back to one of the articles Bjorn wrote previously here in Cortex City).
Could someone else delegate for you – helping a junior member of your team develop themselves at the same time as keeping you out the mix?
Or maybe it’s the other way round. It’s difficult to keep the human element in things when all meetings are virtual. That’s why when I was running a team scattered across Europe, we made sure to have good 2 day meetings every 2nd month, with web meetings and ad-hoc work in between. I’m a believer in a bit of a ‘pyramid of preference’ for communicating:
1. Face to face (best)
3. Skype or similar
5. Web meetings with multiple participants (worst)
So if you’re stuck in web meetings all the time where it’s really impersonal (that reason alone is why I rank email as better than web meetings as it can at least be a one-on-one conversation that’s personalised) then make sure you use the phone inbetween those web meetings to take the time to call the virtual team personally and talk with them; plus set up those ‘get togethers’ on a regular basis.
I love the theme music when The Mayor’s quotes are read LOL!!!
Ling, you just said that for the bonus Tics for replying! You sound like a real-world banker gaming the capitalist system 🙂
I actually think both of you replied for the bonus. 🙂 But I agree that it’s very intense with the theme music…
Very thought provoking read.
I’ll admit to being an info junkie. Information and technologies of value (as well as plenty of the not-so-valuable kind) is coming at us at ever increasing speed. I wonder if the examples cited with Ford ( founded 1903), Microsoft (1974) and Amazon (1994) are companies created in a era of very different technology and speed of information/innovation/technology advance.
Big data/analytics/machine learning will play an ever increasing role in information creation. How to stay ahead of the machines?
I’m also scratching my head a bit with being able to remain aloof. Not responding to emails or texts from my management chain seems problematic..lol. And from the other side with people who are my junior, I definitely don’t want to appear unapproachable or uninterested.
Again, very thought provoking and well thought out article. Look forward to reading more from you in the future
Thanks for your comments. I tried to choose companies with a spread of dates so that I wasn’t just comparing companies from the start of the century, or end of the century. I struggle to think of another ‘big name’ example that was setup post-2000 though. Regardless of the technological advancement I think the ‘speed for speeds sake’ point still shines through as the rest of the world around us at any given point in time will be moving at roughly the same technological speed. i.e. Back in 1903 for Ford, the suppliers, buyers, and general life was at a slower pace – but an equally slower pace.
Big data can make a difference, but we need first to learn how to turn it from big data into big information. That’s how to stay ahead of the machines.
The aloof point is a difficult one. You’re right in that you always want your team to come to you and ask questions and to grow. But similarly (in my experience at least), having anyone come interrupt you every 5 minutes is a productivity killer and distracts from your thinking/doing time considerably. Therefore having your team knowing that you are ‘respectfully aloof’ can be useful in that they can structure their thoughts and come to you for a meaningful 10 minutes at a good time of the day rather than 4 or 5 lots of 5 minute bursts all the way through the day.
Managing your manager has always been a challenge and will continue to be so. Be brave… if they really need the input from you and you’re the only person with the knowledge they need, they’ll have to wait. Managers, even the big ones, are humans too.
Thanks for a really interesting article, I have to admit that i am one off those that send the e mail, and then run over and ask if you have seen it, and this article start me wounding why do i act that stupid, I only do this when i have a great idea, at least to my opinion, that i would like to have killed or confirmed( most time they are killed) I think that there is two main problems with today’s organisations, or actually one, that leads to to this two problems. We use the term efficiency much as it is used in the traditional industries, such as manufacturing where how fast you can produce something is a key factor on efficiency. In our line off work i think we relay have to re-think and re-define this term. As a result of using it the wrong way, we will try to be as fast as possible, but also, and here is the bit where i disagree a bit with some of your thoughts, this also leads to that we think we always have to have structured and well prepared before we present our ideas, if you are not well prepared you only waist someone´s time. I don’t think that this is always a waste, i do believe that in the interaction off humans great ideas can come, also the one that are unstructured and not always thorough though, and i think that today’s organisation would benefit from endorse more unstructured meetings, where thesis meets antithesis and becomes synthesis.
Again, thanks for a rely interesting article, it made me structure some off min thoughts, even if it is hard to see that 🙂
Thanks for your comments. The email ‘running’ is interesting and ties back to your other thoughts. If the idea you’re pushing in your email is really awesome, then take a walk over to the person or people you’d email and talk it over with them. That interaction is as you rightly point out, invaluable. And most ideas in the early stages aren’t going to need attachments to emails, so the personal touch would appear the best approach here. Glad it made you think about why we do this odd office habit though.
As for the structured versus unstructured thing, well, a little chaos and free thinking is always welcome and for sure we should welcome the chance to bounce ideas off of each other. But there has to be a little structure to what you’re thinking or going to ask me, else it could be a random and somewhat fruitless conversation. I don’t think you necessarily have to polish the thinking too much, but as Steven Covey would advocate, “Start with the end in mind”. I see this a lot in just general business presentations where the author/presenter hasn’t thought to themselves – ‘What do I want the resultant action of this presentation to be?’
So yes – we come at this from slightly different angles but with the same mindset I think 🙂
There is a growing buzz about the brand new idea of ‘T Shaped People’, (yup, the new Jacks and Jills!) who work really well in more participative companies. Have a read of Valve’s Employee Handbook (pdf) to see What Gabe Newell and his pals think about T-Shaped People (page 46) and read the whole handbook to see how a ‘No Managers’ company works.
The right Jacks and Jills, working in an open organization that offers ‘freedom with responsibility’, can work miracles! I saw a slide the other day comparing turnover to employee numbers, with a stunning example:
Volvo – 14.2 MSEK Turnover, 20,000 Employees
Mojang (Minecraft) – 18.6 MSEK Turnover, 28 Employees.
A small group of talented anarchists with a vision, (usually with a larger-than-life genius leading the way), can always outperform any large corporation!
But if you prefer this type of company, is there a risk that it must mean ‘stay small’ and ‘stay private’? Isn’t compartmentalizing your employees just a large companies unavoidable way of dealing with the law of diminishing returns (or the law of increasing opportunity costs) in organizations?
Another variable appears to be related to the rise of the Knowledge Worker – the industrialization of that old-fashioned type of company which ‘actually makes stuff’ led to improvement processes designed to produce a predictable quality end product; reliably, with lower costs. In those companies, avoiding wasting raw materials or shipping defective products are maybe bigger drivers than empowering the workforce?
For more on this type of company, try Googling ‘Firms of Endearment’. It’s very much in line with what you are saying – but goes much further. ‘Jacks and Jills’, or ‘T-shaped people’ are defined as High Performing, Self-actualized, socially conscious, engaged, empathic, and committed to the success of the business, and it is because they are allowed to become stakeholders in it’s success, and because they believe they are making a positive difference!
Right, lets all get down to gorky park and start making wind!
Very interesting reading, and certainly validates the discussion on Jills and Jacks. Thank you for sharing! Seems to me that you have enough to say on the topic to contribute an article…if you feel like it, don’t hesitate to contact me.
“The only way to get to Day 500 is to start with Day 1. So forget about the number and focus on doing the work.” – James Clear (http://jamesclear.com/new-habit). I, myself, had been duped into believing that a habit forms in 21 days. Nevertheless, I like the quote of starting with Day 1. Similar to “Put one foot in front of the other”.
Absolutely! I don’t say there’s anything wrong with waiting for New Year’s Eve, or the beginning of the month, or your birthday, for taking the next step. But I strongly believe that you can increase your chances of success by just doing it. One step at a time.
Curious question – why are a lot of business metaphors always based around armies. Attacking the enemy; “War Rooms” for competitive bids; sending in the troops, etc? In order to change the mindset in business to being productive, should we change the language to being more of a farmer/grower’s language?
Seeds and sets; planting and nurturing; growing, fertilising, intercropping; removing pests; harvesting – leaving enough in the ground so it grows well in the next year… isn’t that better language to be using?
Interesting observation, and very true. The power of metaphor is that we see things from different perspectives, and while war is often a good metaphor it offers only one view — and as all metaphors, distorts the picture at some point. Being a farmer myself, I obviously think your example is great. It also reminded me of one of my favorite books, Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan. I’ve just added it to our Cortex City store that opened just minutes ago.
The war metaphor even goes into job titles. “Chief”, “Officers” this and that. Perhaps we should then, rather than use one set of metaphors – war like or otherwise – implement a type of De Bono’s ‘Thinking Hats’ and when we talk of ‘combatting the enemy’ we should also think of another metaphor. It might just open up new opportunities.
It is also reflected in the hierarchical models of most companies, which is how you used to run an army back in the day — traditional command and control. Here at Cortex City we clearly borrow from the metaphor of a city, but it should be duly noted that we jump madly between metaphors that we find useful.
On hierarchies – which would probably make an interesting article for Cortex City – I know we live in an era of supposedly ‘flat’ hierarchies. But do we really? Are the hierarchies still there and more hidden behind the scenes and we call that a flat structure? More investigation and discussion is needed on this topic, it fascinates me.
Love it. And couldn’t agree more. You only live once. The level of craziness is also largely determined by the society, as you gently pointed out, in this country of conformity that I am currently living in for example, it doesn’t take much effort to be considered crazy. Great place for crazy-amateurs!
Completely agree. I tend to think “you’re crazy” is actually a compliment in disguise.
Crazy isn’t universal – it’s a baseline set from around you. Bit like when you live in a hot country – then a cold country is VERY cold rather than just cold.
I think on a wider note, this demonstrates why we need people in society who might even be called clinically insane. Some of our best societal geniuses have been clinically insane or at least borderline. Everyone and every idea is valuable. In madness a significant leap forward can lie.
Thank you Jeanette 🙂
Love this. I am curious though, if you have to conceal your tactics all the way to winning, how do you get your army with you? Especially if they are new and don’t trust you yet?
Excellent question! My leadership philosophy is to be as transparent as possible about strategies and tactics. That will maximize everyone’s chances to contribute positively, and builds a culture of openness and trust. There might be certain strategies that cannot be disclosed to all “soldiers”, but in that case you need either a strong trust or a strong vision to serve as a guiding star.
Ling, isn’t it what we as marketers have to do with prospects also? They don’t trust us (yet), and we have to bring them along with us.
How do we demonstrate to our ‘army’ they should follow us? Same as for prospects. We should use case studies, quotes from previous successes, demonstrate our track record and make a bold vision that inspires and enthuses people to want to follow us based on that vision.
Great advice, thank you! Reminds me of clicker training that we practice with our dog at home! Didn’t think it could apply to humans also but makes alot if sense… if the human will be as discipline to herself as she is to her dog, that is:)
I like the analogy very much. In fact, I am working on an article called “Treat yourself like a dog”, which includes a click training of sorts, and a very useful mental trick.
I think just as important is to ask in the first place if the meeting is actually required. Or could it be done by a quick phone call (or two) or a round robin email?
A very good point! Not all meetings should happen, but I’ll argue that if you follow the steps outlined in the article, one potential outcome is that you don’t schedule the meeting at all, but solve it in a more efficient way.
I think we need to permit both sins in society. If we don’t have laziness, then who will remind the people who work too hard to take a break, refresh themselves and be human? If we don’t have ambition we’d have naked greed – taking without innovating, taking without giving something back.
As Buddha once said, it is about non-duality. You cannot take away one side of a coin, you’re still left with two sides.
I completely agree, and we can all learn a lot by looking at things from different angles — or different sides, if needed. It’s a great tool for deeper understanding.
So well said!
Thank you very much for the positive feedback!
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