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Month: April 2008

3 fresh ideas in management

1 Flow

I love flow.  I know some people who think it is great to be in flow, or in the zone, for half-an-hour a day.  I am a flow junkie.  I go for all 24 hours counting a good sleep as good flow.

2 Crossing the Rubicon

But there is something I love more.

That is the rush when you have a crystal clear idea that you know will work and that is, in that instant, so obvious.

What is the name for that?

I know Peter Gollwitzer, the psychologist calls it “crossing the rubicon” – moving from wish to intent.

3 Corporate anthropology

This corporate anthropologist, studies the use of mobile phones by poor people and travels around the world studying the way phones are used.

My questions to you?

Why don’t we study flow a lot more than we do?

Why don’t we study people at work they way this guy studies phones?

Why aren’t we interested in why and when work is blissful and  fun?

Why are aren’t we interested in making jobs as enjoyable as Nokia tries to make its phones?

I could do spend all day trying to make work fun and never get tired of it!!  Could you?  Do you?

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President Mwanawasa, thank you

The Flame Lily, national flower of ZimbabweImage via Wikipedia

 

The eminent social scientist Karl Weick once said that social problems are often defined in ways that prevent us doing anything about them.

I have been watching the Zimbabwean elections closely.  As facts emerge, I have been listing them on a “secondary” blog.

The situation in Zimbabwe is as dire any conflict in history.  Can we move here?  Can we move there?  It seems the ultimate Catch 22.  Whatever we do may create more damage.

I believe however that much of our hopelessness comes from our own representation of what is happening.  Could we not, instead, look at difficult objective conditions that require resolution?

Today, people are starting close in, as the poet David Whyte would say.

Today, we are going to do something positive.  Today we are going to say thank you.  Today we are going to say we are with you.  Today we are going to send emails to the President of Zambia who is the current chairman of SADC.  Today, we are going to take 3 minutes to write a short, brief, courteous email saying,

Dear President Mwanawasa,

I write to thank you and the leaders of  SADC sincerely for convening the extraordinary meeting concerning Zimbabwe and to extend my support and goodwill for a resolution that is satisfactory to all the people of Zimbabwe and her neighbours.

Sincerely,

I am patching in a long excerpt of a post from Sokwanele that gives the email addresses of SADC.   Zimbabwe for a positive future.

TAKE ACTION

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has called an emergency meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to discuss the Zimbabwean presidential poll delay. This is the first move by Zimbabwe’s regional neighbours to intervene since the elections on 29th March 2008. President Mwanawasa is the current Chairman of the 14-nation South African Development Community. This is what he said yesterday:

I wish to take this opportunity to commend the people of Zimbabwe for the calm and peaceful manner in which the elections were conducted.

Similarly, I appeal to them to maintain the same spirit of calmness which they exhibited during the elections as they await the results of the presidential elections.

However, given developments immediately following the elections, I have decided, as Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to call an extraordinary summit on Saturday 12th April, 2008 to discuss ways and means of assisting the people of Zimbabwe with the current impasse as well as adopt a co-ordinated approach to the situation in that country.

Both President Morgan Tsvangirai and opposition leader Robert Mugabe will be attending the emergency meeting.

Support our democratically elected leader and take action.

What YOU can do

You can voice your feelings and SHOUT OUT for FREEDOM. Communicate with key SADC people attending the meeting.

Tell them that Zimbabweans have the right to live in a democratic, free and peaceful country. Tell them your personal experiences and why you want change. Make them understand what it is like to be in Zimbabwe today. Tell them we voted for change, we got change, and we want change now. Speak the TRUTH.

HOW you can do it

Email, fax or phone using the details provided below. Keep your messages real and honest but also short and to the point. Remember: thousands of us will be doing this so they will have a lot to read. Let’s make sure they can read and hear it all!

Be polite at all times. People don’t pay attention to angry messages (look at us: Mugabe has been angry with the people for many years now and we just ignored him and voted him out anyway). Anger does not work.

1. Call or fax or email the Zambian State House with a message for President Levy Mwanawasa:

  • Tel: +260 1 266147 or 262094
  • Fax: +260 1 266092
  • Send an email to Mr John Musukuma, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations: johnmu@nkwazi.gov.zm

2. Call or fax a message to President Thabo Mbeki – President of South Africa

  • Tel: +27 (0)12 300 5200 and +27 (0)21 464 2100
  • Fax: +27 (0)12 323 8246 and +27 (0)21 462 2838
  • Send an email to Mr Mukoni Ratshitanga Thabo Mbeki’s Presidential Spokesperson: mukoni@po.gov.za

3. Call or email Lieutenant Colonel Tanki Mothae – Director of Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at SADC

4. Copy all your emails to this general SADC email address:

5. If you want to attach images to your emails, you can download copies of the photographs at the top of this mailing from the Sokwanele flickr account here:

6. Forward this email to everyone you know and ask them to take action too.

7. Be positive, stay strong, and never forget that we have won.

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Chattering classes, professional conferences, blogging, etc.

Alex Deschamps-Sonsino linked yesterday suggesting a degree of jadedness in the design industry.

Rick Poyno wrote this about design conferences.  As most of us discover this after going to one or two professional conferences, I thought it might be worth pasting it in here to reassure ‘newbies’ that they aren’t the only ones who have noticed.

Typical professional conferences are trite and banal

“Only rarely at this kind of event will you encounter strong analysis and original new ideas. “Programmers of design conferences often appear to be unaware of the limits of their world view, uninterested in new thinking and practice, and insufficiently confident to address controversial issues,” says Nico Macdonald, one of the most active conference-goers on the British design scene. “Design conferences tend to be aimed at ‘jobbing’ designers, who the program­mers think want ‘dog and pony’ show-and-tells, maximizing presentation with minimal explanation and little” . . ?

We want our conferences to concentrate thinking and propel discussion to a higher level

“Too many design conferences don’t aim much higher than entertainment, escapism and the vaguest kind of hero-worshipping ‘inspi­ration’ – as in, “I wish I could be a famous designer like you.” What they should provide is unique occasions to concentrate design thinking and propel it to a higher level. discussion.”

Small focused conference are most likely to promote interaction and debate

The most rewarding conferences are those that succeed in promoting interaction and debate.  For that purpose, small and focused is likely to work best.

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Everday paranoia in London?

King's Building, Strand CampusImage from Wikipedia

I use Zemanta, the new semantic search engine that searches the web for you as you write. It comes up with surprising things. While I was writing about social media elsewhere, it produced a link to this report from psychologists at King’s College, London. My colleagues over at Kings used a virtual reality program of the London Tube to test our responses to people, or avatars actually, staring at us, fidgeting, standing too close, etc.

40% of people experienced a paranoid thought or two!

That surprised me a little. I rather like the London Tube. I had the following thoughts.

1. Now they have suggested feeling paranoid on the Tube, am I going to start feeling wary of my fellow passengers?

2. Are the paranoid part of a club with constant or ever-changing membership?

3. Once we feel paranoid, what next? Does pros-social behavior decrease, as positive psychology, would suggest?

4. I haven’t seen their lab protocols. How many people experienced positive thoughts and a joie de vivre on the Tube?

5. Did people experience both reactions and, if so, in what order?

6. Why did they study paranoia rather than feelings of optimism, buoyancy, and good will?

Related articles

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Personal coaches are designers of the future

Design thinking is all the rage. I like it too.  Instead of thinking about what is “right” or “wrong”, we think about how we will use something and when and where we will use it.

Designers though, aren’t that keen on design!

Die Zeit interview with French designer Philippe Starke

This was my conclusion. There won’t be any designers. The designer of the future will be the personal coach, the fitness trainer, the nutritionis! That’s all!

What do you think?

 

Related articles

 

 

 

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How good is your HR map?

The schematic design of Zone 1 of the tube map. Locations of stations are not geographically accurateImage from Wikipedia

I have a question to ask my colleagues in HR – if we were to sketch out “what” we are managing, what would we draw?  And what principles might we use?

To kick this off, I googled the maps of London.

1 The London A to Z

In 1935, Phyllis Pearsall began working on the London A to Z that we know so well.  She walked 3000 miles of the 23000 streets of London waking up at 5am everyday and working an 18 hour day.

2 The underground map

Harry Beck drew the map of “the tube”  in 1933, oddly before Phyllis Pearsall started work on the A to Z.   As anyone knows who has used the Beck map to estimate the walk between two stations, it is not geographically accurate.  It is brilliant though because it shows “how to get from one station to another, and where to change trains.”

3 The underground by time

And I found this attempt to redraw the underground map to show how much time it takes to travel from station to station.

If we were drawing a map of what we manage, what would we want to show?

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Is your jar full?

Good stories sometimes arrive serendipitously

I have absolutely no idea how this came on my screen. I was googling SABC news and this popped up. Well it did, and if you are interested in positive psychology, setting goals, having a meaningful life, then this story is for you.

I am going to paste it in verbatim. It is from a site called OceanCityFools. I don’t know anything about them.  You might want to check them out yourself.   Here is the story.  Sorry about the formatting – no idea how to change font size in WordPress.  Story is still good.

Is Your Jar Full?

When things in your life seem almost to much to handle, when 24 hours in a
day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar……and the beer.

A Professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front
of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and
empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then
asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the Professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the
jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas
between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was
full. They agreed it was.

The Professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of
course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar
was full. The students responded with an unanimous “Yes.”

The Professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and
poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty
space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the Professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to
recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your
health, your friends, your favorite passions – things that if everything
else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house,
your car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first”, he continued, “there is no room
for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all
your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the
things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are
critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get
medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There
will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal. Take care of
the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.”

When he had finished, there was a profound silence. Then one of the
students raised her hand and with a puzzled expression, inquired what the
beer represented.

The Professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no
matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of
beers.”

Don’t sweat the small stuff . . . but enjoy it anyway!

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New wordpress is vertiginous

There is about a 30 second delay before a post shows up – that is after you have bit publish and the screen clears.  And you have hit View Site.

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Another great psychological test based on the Big Five

This time based on the ‘Big Five’ from YouJustGetMe.

Results are presented as ten large balls, two for each dimension.

Conscientiousness: Disciplined and Casual

Openness: Alternative and Traditional

Agreeableness: Cooperative and Competitive

Extraversion: Extraverted and Intraverted

Neuroticism: Unemotional and Neurotic

The questionnaire is quick and easy. The results are immediate and are accompanied by a narrative.

Hat tip to Gumption.

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