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A more soulful way to manage?

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Desert River of Flowers by wanderbored via FlickrDry sterile thunder without rain

Tired of the grind of persuading people to do what’s needed?  Dreading another day with a boss who seems to think you are their metaphorical punch-bag?  Studying management and finding it overcomplicated and unpersuasive?

Some of us manage.  Some of us teach management.  Some of us study management.  And we all seem to be cynical about what we do.

But, of this, I am certain.

We agree the management community spends too much time posturing.  Whether we are on the front line or back at the university, teaching & studying, we dread the nonsense of our days and long for hope and meaning as the parched ground sighs for rain after a long dry summer.

A place that we can call our own

I would like to this post to be a place where we talk about what we really believe and what brings pleasure to our work and our relationships with others.

How do we nurture our souls in the pinch of anxiety and tension of our working days?  What balances our world and brings peace and harmony with people around us?  Are there poems that calm our frayed nerves?  Are there stories we tell to young people who want to hear?  Are the questions we would ask a person older and wiser in quiet moment in the park?

Do you still have hopes and dreams beneath the landfill of management-speak?

Have  you recoiled from the call to shape the world in our image – and choose instead to work with people, rather than against them, even when they seem determined to work against us?

Do you see reflections of what we each think important to do now in our dreams of the future – and do you marvel in the varied beliefs we hold between us?

Do you quietly resist filling your day with mindless activity – and simply concentrate resources, so we can relax and live in the moment today, knowing we can take of tomorrow, whether it is opportunity or disaster that knocks?

Would you share how your nurture your soul at work?

Would you drop a comment and a link to your favourite poetry or photos or leave a story?

I would love to hear how you nourish soul in the soulless workplaces that claim our days.

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Can we build a community around people who want bring their soul to managing and being managed?

I am looking forward to hearing what you think about the rain you bring to relieve “dry sterile thunder” at work



  1. The request for links to _poetry_ reminds me of Alistair Cockburn (a pioneer and guru of agile software development methodologies).

    In particular, and


    Some of the principles emerging in the agile software development community generalise (some having roots in other industries).

    A good primer:

    It is always good to see some managers embrace the principles where applicable and co-design their own “agile” processes towards a happy and productive staff.

    > Can we build a community around people
    > who want bring their soul to managing and being managed?

    “Knee jerk” thoughts: “Herding cats”, “Manage processes, lead people”, ….

    Related reading (in addition to the inspirational writings of Alistair and Martin above):

    Himanen, Pekka. 2001. The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of the Information Age. Random House. ISBN 0-375-50566-0.

    TORVALDS, Linus; David Diamond (2001). Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-662073-2.

  2. Wow, thanks Kim. Will have to follow these up. In the meantime, I’ll tweet this.

  3. I’ve looked up Fowler and Cockburn – need to read more deeply now.

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