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Critical Knowledge Transfer: Tools for Managing Your Company's Deep Smarts
Critical Knowledge Transfer: Tools for Managing Your Company's Deep Smarts
by Dorothy Leonard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.20
24 used & new from CDN$ 21.68

5.0 out of 5 stars How to locate, obtain or develop, assimilate, manage, and leverage your organization's "Deep Smarts", Nov. 28 2014
Dorothy Leonard is among my intellectual heroines. I make it a point to re-read at least once a year her previously published books, When Sparks Fly: Igniting Creativity in Groups (1999) and Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom (2005), both co-authored with Walter Swap. What we have in this latest book is a wealth of information, insights, and counsel proved by Leonard, Swap, and their co-author Gavin Barton that business leaders can use to locate, obtain, assimilate, manage, and leverage your organization's "Deep Smarts."

As Leonard and Swap explain in a Harvard Business Review article (September 2004, "When a person sizes up a complex situation and comes to a rapid decision that proves to be not just good but brilliant, you think, 'That was smart.' After you've watched him do this a few times, you realize you're in the presence of something special. It's not raw brainpower, though that helps. It's not emotional intelligence, either, though that, too, is often involved. It's deep smarts, the stuff that produces that mysterious quality, good judgment. Those who have deep smarts can see the whole picture and yet zoom in on a specific problem others haven't been able to diagnose. Almost intuitively, they can make the right decision, at the right level, with the right people. The manager who understands when and how to move into a new international market, the executive who knows just what kind of talk to give when her organization is in crisis, the technician who can track a product failure back to an interaction between independently produced elements--these are people whose knowledge would be hard to purchase on the open market. Their insight is based more on know-how than on facts; it comprises a system view as well as expertise in individual areas. Deep smarts are not philosophical--they're not 'wisdom in that sense--but they're as close to wisdom as business gets."

Those who possess deep smarts are needed at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. The challenge for leaders is to establish and then sustain a culture within which deep smarts are most likely to thrive. Hence the importance of communication, cooperation, and most important of all, collaboration. Leonard, Swap, and Barton develop in much greater depth a concept introduced in the aforementioned article: guided experience. Those who possess deep smarts in a specific area such as marketing, sales, and distribution can serve as mentors when guiding others through learning experiences that increase knowledge and skills in that area. I hasten to add that one of the best ways to learn more and learn faster is to teach others. Deep smarts can go deeper. Socrates once said that the more he knew, the more he realized how much he didn't know. In the healthiest organizations, knowledge transfers are constant. If an organization is viewed as a living organism, I believe that knowledge transfers provide its oxygen.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Leonard, Swap, and Barton 's coverage:

o Important aspects of the knowledge transfer process (Pages 5-6)
o Invisible Hits to the Bottom Line, and, One More Cost: Loss of capacity to Innovate (9-15)
o Explicit, Implicit, and Tacit Knowledge (18-25)
o Deep Smarts: All Three Kinds of Knowledge (25-35)
o The Limits of Experience-Based Knowledge (39-41)
o Who Knows? Knowledge Experts (46-52)
o Who Needs to Know? Knowledge Learners (52-55)
o Who Helps? Facilitators and Coaches (55-57)
o TABLE 4-2: Sample question kit for knowledge elicitation (81)
o Gaining Experience: Real and Vicarious (118-135)
o The Art of Knowledge Transfer through Discovery (135-141)
o Background of the Knowledge-Transfer Project (163-166)
o Selecting a Knowledge Transfer Strategy (168-170)
o Some Lessons Learned at GE Global Research Centers, and, Other Generic Lessons earned (177-180)
o Does Organizational Culture Support Knowledge Sharing? (182-185)
o Knowledge Sharing All the Time, Everywhere (199-200)

I commend the co-authors on their skillful use of several devices when completing knowledge transfers to their reader. For example, "Questions for Managers" and "Questions for Knowledge Recipients" at the conclusion of each chapter. Also, there are boxed mini-commentaries from a variety of sources on subjects of direct relevance to chapter material such as "thin-slice" judgments (Page 24), "Just-in-Time Knowledge Sharing in the Military (76-77), "Working the Brain Harder Makes Learning Faster" (137), and Nucor Steel's Tuscaloosa Turnaround" (183-184). They also make clever use of dozens of "Tables" located strategically throughout the narrative. For example, 2-1 "What are the indicators of deep smarts?" (26), 5-1 "Knowledge-elicitation techniques requiring training and experience" (90), and 8-3 "Examples o0f an agreement (contract) between expert and near expert" (175). These devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.

As I re-read this brilliant book for the second time, I was again reminded of another, If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice (1998), in which Carla O'Dell and Jack Grayson focus on what they call "beds of knowledge" which are "hidden resources of intelligence that exist in almost every organization, relatively untapped and unmined." They suggest all manner of effective strategies to "tap into "this hidden asset, capturing it, organizing it, transferring it, and using it to create customer value, operational excellence, and product innovation -- all the while increasing profits and effectiveness." Almost all organizations claim that their "most valuable assets walk out the door at the end of each business day." That is correct. Almost all intellectual "capital" is stored between two ears and much (too much) of it is, for whatever reasons, inaccessible to others except in "small change."

My fervent hope is that, thanks to Dorothy Leonard, Walter Swap, and Gavin Barton as well as to the book they co-authored, those who read it will develop the deep smarts they and their organizations need, both now and in years so come. Of even greater importance, they will do all they can to help others to do so, also. In this context, I am reminded of Margaret Mead's memorable affirmation: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior
Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior
by Richard O'Connor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.14
27 used & new from CDN$ 15.08

5.0 out of 5 stars "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle, Nov. 26 2014
I came across Aristotle’s insight decades ago and (with mixed results) have since tried to apply it in my life. Frankly, it has not been easy to replace bad habits with good habits, avoid or overcome addictions with moderation or abstinence, and minimize (if not eliminate) self-destructive behavior. What's the problem?

According to Richard O'Connor, "Too often, our behavior takes on a life of its own and turns into a pit we cannot crawl out of, even if we're aware of what makes us miserable. Then there are self-destructive patterns that we don't see but that still hurt us over and over." Most humans seem to have two brains rather than one and they do not work very well together. They compete for control of our decision-making process. "The bottom line is that there are powerful forces within us that resist change, even when we can clearly see what would be good for us. Bad habits die heard. It seems as if we have two brains, one wanting the best for us, and the other digging in its heels in a desperate, often unconscious, effort to hold on to the status quo. New knowledge about how the brain works is helping us to understand this divided self, giving us guidance and hope that we can do more to overcome our fears and resistance."

So what we have here is everything that O'Connor has learned thus far about what the brain is, what it does, and what it can do as well as an explanation of how his reader can replace bad habits with good habits, avoid or overcome addictions with moderation or abstinence, and minimize (if not eliminate) self-destructive behavior.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of his coverage:

o Inside the Mind (Pages 11-16)
o How and why expectations create our world (23-27)
o Fear Incognito (47-73)
o Mindfulness (67-69)
o Rebels Without Causes (75-96)
o Rebelling Against Yourself (86-91)
o Self-defeating consequences of acting on feelings of entitlement (97-114)
o Self-esteem and self-ccontrol (127-128)
o Developing willpower (123-131)
o Self-Hate (133-153)
o Chronic Trauma Syndrome (160-165)
o The Vicious Circle of Stress (201-202 & 206-208)
o Addiction (209-220)
o Depression 223-229)
o Anxiety (230-233)
o Overcoming self-destructive habits in yourself (247-255)

Richard O'Connor is spot-on: "Nobody's perfect; we're all likely to procrastinate at times, break our diets, ignore unpleasant truths. But we can choose to do this deliberately, to give ourselves a little deserved break before we get back to reality. And we absolutely can develop greater control over our most self-destructive patterns, and in the process become wiser and start to feel like the conscious and thoughtful part of ourselves is in charge of our lives."

I am deeply grateful to him for the wealth of information, insights, and counsel he provides in this volume. As a new year rapidly approaches, I will renew my commitment personal growth and professional development. Thanks to him, I and feel much better prepared for the challenges that await in months and years to come.

Why Motivating People Doesn't Work . . . and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging
Why Motivating People Doesn't Work . . . and What Does: The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging
by Susan Fowler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.77
32 used & new from CDN$ 17.96

5.0 out of 5 stars hy and how we need to reevaluate traditional beliefs and practices in order to understand what motivation is...and isn't, Nov. 25 2014
I am among those who are convinced that people cannot inspire other people; however, they [begin italics] can [end italics] inspire them in one or more of several various ways. Sharing a compelling vision, for example, as when Martin Luther King, Jr. departed from his prepared speech and shared his dream. It is also possible to inspire others by setting an example, by appealing to their sense of justice, and/or explaining what the consequences will be if a serious problem (especially a threat) isn't resolved

Presumably Fowler understands all this much better than I do (in fact, I'm certain she does) and in this brilliant book, shares a wealth of information, insights, and counsel based on decades of her real-world experience in combination with revelations from recent neurological research. She provides motivation mini-case studies involving five quite different people encountering quite different challenges who responded effectively to them by taking an approach uncharacteristic of their leadership/management style. Fascinating stuff.

In the Epilogue, Fowler then focuses on ten "Masters of Motivation": Phil Jackson, Colleen Barrett, Mike Easley, Billy Yamaguchi, Gary Ridge, Beth Scalone, Matt Manion, Margie Blanchard, Scott Rigby, Richard Ryan, and Edward Deci. ("Dr." is Fowler's suffix for Scalone, Blanchard, Rigby, Ryan, and Deci. I have deleted it because I have no idea if it refers to M.D., PhD, or D.Ed.) All of these women and men have made effective use of the science of motivation to achieve great success for their respective organizations and, in process, for those with whom they have been closely associated. Jackson, for example, has played on or coached 13 teams that won a National Basketball Association championship. Jackson is frequently referred to as the "Zen Master" (perhaps you saw the Audi television commercial) because he makes effective use of unconventional tactics to teach his players self-regulation through mindfulness. Scallone is owner of the North County Water and Sports Therapy Center, a sole proprietorship. Her ability to fill the psychological needs of those entrusted to her care is of incalculable value to them, of course, but also in many cases to their loved ones. To her great credit, she also has a long-tenured, dedicated staff who also personify servant leadership.

These are among the dozens of other passages of great interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Fowler's coverage:

o Ask the Right Question (Pages 1-3)
o From Theory to Practice (10-12)
o The Appraisal Process: How Motivation Happens (15-19)
o Three Psychological Needs (33-43)
o Anti-Drive Theory (52-54)
o The Nature of Self-Regulation: Eating the Marshmallow (55-59)
o The MVPs of Self-Regulation (59-66)
o Activating Optimal Motivation (74-99)
o Outlook Conversations -- What Doesn't Work (106-113)
o Rethinking Five Beliefs That Erode Workplace Motivation (127-149)
o The Promise of Optimal Motivation (151-156)
o Masters of Motivation: (160-180)

Who will derive the greatest value from this book? I think there are three primary readerships. The first consists of those who have supervisory responsibilities and are determined to become much effective helping to increase the personal growth and professional development of those entrusted to their care. The second consists of those involved marketing who are determined to be much more effective when attempting to create or increase demand for the given offering. Finally, I think this book can be of incalculable value to academic teachers and athletic coaches - working with teams and/or with individuals - who want to be more effective when attempting to ignite self-motivation.

That said, I am certain that there is much of great value for [begin italics] anyone [end italics] to learn from the new science of leading, energizing, and engaging. Just about everything anyone needs to begin or expedite that journey of self-discovery is provided in this brilliant book. Congratulations to Susan Fowler. Bravo!

The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance
The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why all of a company's initiatives must be in proper alignment to accommodate its customers' expectations, Nov. 25 2014
As I worked my way through Jim Blasingame's lively and eloquent narrative, I was again reminded of the fact that, at least until, recent years, the term "customer" has been defined much too narrowly, limited almost entirely to the person who makes a purchase. I credit Bob Cialdini for helping me and countless others to understand the psychology of persuasion, brilliantly examined and explained in his classic work, Influence. The reality is that everyone involved in an enterprise is a "customer" in terms of having to be "sold" on communication, cooperation, and collaboration; needing to "buy into" a course of action, etc. This is no doubt what Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba had in mind when formulating their concept of "customer evangelists."

The information, insights, and counsel that Blasingame provides are based on decades of his real-world experience, working closely with leaders of all manner of companies, to establish and then sustain rock-solid customer relationships. Over time the essentials of those relationships have changed significantly, posing both unprecedented opportunities and (to be sure) unprecedented perils. In my opinion, several of the most disruptive changes are the result of the emergence of the Web not only as an electronic marketplace but also as a source of almost unlimited information about merchandise for sale. Jeff Bezos' vision for Amazon is to become "The Everything Store." He and his associates continue to re-invent what is already an immensely successful organization.

Blasingame explains:

o Why the Age of the Seller is coming to its end
o Why the Age of the Customer is being established
o Why "parallel universes" won't last long
o The causes, effects, and significance of the subduction of expectation
o What the Moment of Relevance is and how/why it occurs
o Four critically important influences on the Buyer/Seller relationship
o Why trust is more valuable now than it was ever before

Then in Section II, "The Age of the Customer to Market" (Chapters 9-26), Blasingame correlates as well as develops in much greater depth many of the core insights he provides in the first eight chapters. He focuses on "specific tips and best practices that you can put to work today as you listen to and respond to the new expectations of Customers. You will recognize many of the terms, concepts, and shifts already mentioned, but this time they'll be associated with applications as you take your business to market, prepare for the Moment of Relevance, and execute your Age of the Customer strategy." Jim Blasingame would be the first to suggest that attempting to apply all of his suggestions would be a fool's errand. It remains for each reader to make a rigorous evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of their organization's current relationships with customers and then select the material in the book that will be most helpful when strengthening those relationships.

This is indeed the Age of the Customer but business leaders would be well-advised to keep in mind comments made years ago by then chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher. He was asked to explain that company's extraordinary success. His reply? "We take great care of our people. They take great care of our customers. And our customers then take great care of our shareholders." With rare exception, that alignment guarantees the success of almost any business.

One final point. I get the very strong impression that Jim Blasingame wrote this book to prepare his reader to do what he would do and how he would do it if he were retained on a full-time basis by the reader's organization to help achieve strategic objectives such as these:

o Be alert for emerging trends that, potentially, could have significant impact on customers' expectations and behavior and thus on the given organization's relationships with them

o In collaboration with a dedicated team, determine how to take full advantage of the new opportunities that the trends create
Comment: In a small company, that team could consist of only 2-3 of his best thinkers.)

o Develop a cohesive, comprehensive but flexible, and cost-effective "Relevant Moments Action Plan" to achieve that objective.
Conmment: Leverage the organization's most significant strengths against its competition's most significant weaknesses.

o Implement with bold, sharply-focused initiatives.
Comment: "The Age of the Customer" is a marathon, not a sprint, but the course to be run will frequently change.

So, I submit that reading and then re-reading this book can be -- and should be -- the next best option to having Jim Blasingame involved and engaged, full-time.

Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life
Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Forget about work/life "balance." Here's how to achieve and then sustain harmony in all areas of your life., Nov. 19 2014
As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of the issues that are raised in two other quite different books: Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture and Clayton Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life?, written in collaboration with James Allworth and Karen Dillon They are indeed quite different in most respects from Stewart Friedman's latest book but, in my opinion, all three focus on these basic questions: What does it mean to be a human being? How can I become the very best person I can be? and How can I be of greatest service to others while remaining true to myself? The last question is much trickier than it may seem. In his classic work, Denial of Death, Ernest Becker acknowledges that everyone dies eventually. Physical death is inevitable. However, there is another form of death that can be denied: That which occurs when we become wholly preoccupied with fulfilling others' expectations of us.

What we have in this volume is Friedman's thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of six quite different people who mastered skills that enabled them to integrate work and life. Opinions are divided -- sometimes sharply divided -- as to whether or not it is possible to balance both. I have and I think almost anyone else can if (HUGE "if") they are willing and able to adjust proportions of resources (especially time, attention, and energy) to the needs of the given moment, and, if they master most (if not all) of the skills discussed in this volume. The demands and obligations at work are not constant nor are the demands and constants in one's life away from work. Hence the importance of setting priorities or accepting reasonable priorities set by others. Great jugglers will tell you that the secret is in the toss. That is especially true of juggling priorities.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Friedman's coverage:

o Skills for Integrating Work and the Rest of Your Life (Pages 9-17)
o Six Who Live the Life They Want (17-20)
o Tom Tierney: Crossing the Bridge (38-40)
o Working Mother with a 50/50 Partner at Home (56-59)
o The Education of a Humanitarian (74-77)
o Learning to Serve (77-80)
o Girl from the South Side (96-100)
o The Skills Julie Foudy Exemplifies (122-127)
o Putting the Guitar Down (139-142)
o Two Skills: Know What Matters, and, Embody Values Consistently (159-164)
o Six Skills for Being Innovative (191-204)

To achieve his stated objectives, it was imperative that Friedman select quite different people to serve as exemplars: Tom Tierney, Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Greitens, Michelle Obama, Julie Foudy, and Bruce Springsteen. Each demonstrates a unique combination of adaptive skills. For example, for Greitins, hold yourself accountable, apply all your resources, and focus on results; for Bruce Springsteen, embody values consistently, clarify expectations, and create cultures of innovation. Friedman devotes a separate chapter to each of the six.

Then in Part II, he shares all that he has learned over the years about how to develop skills for integrating work and the rest of life. Keep in mind that, since 1984, he has been at Wharton, where he is the Practice Professor of Management. In 1991 he founded both the Wharton Leadership Program - initiating the required MBA and Undergraduate leadership courses - and the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. He devotes the final four chapters to the most important dos and don'ts while examining skills for being real, being whole, and being innovative. This is a research-driven book, to be sure, but also one invested by Stewart Friedman's passion and compassion as well as by his highly developed emotional intelligence. Leading the Life You Want is what he wants.

It is indeed a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives
Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives
by Howard J. Ross
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 36.00
19 used & new from CDN$ 25.57

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why biases limit our perspectives on possibilities and potentialities, Nov. 19 2014
I agree with Howard Ross: "Transforming our fundamental ways of living and being in the world requires learning new information and behaviors. It also requires a shift in our mind-sets and emotions at hand." Why do that? Because how we perceive the world, how we think about it, and how we respond to it with what we say and what we do are strongly influenced -- sometimes controlled -- by unconscious biases (i.e. preferences and inclinations) and prejudices (i.e. pre-judgments).

We need to recognize and be aware of these biases and prejudices so that we can minimize (if not eliminate) distortion. Why? So that we can make better decisions, based on what is real and true rather than on our biases lead us to assume. Ross is convinced that his experience working with hundreds of thousands of people "has been such that I know I can make inroads in our abilities to be more conscious."

The term "barbarian" was coined in ancient Greece and refers to a non-Greek. It seems basic to human nature that we have a bias for whoever and whatever is similar and a bias against whoever and whatever isn't. Profiling offers an excellent case in point. Stereotyping offers another. I recall one of the songs in a Rogers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific, that suggests that biases and prejudices are developed from childhood:

"You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

"You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

"You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!"

This only one of the several sources and resources that help to explain what becomes unconscious bias. The challenge for all of us is to recognize the nature and extent of how we are our unconscious biases and then understand -- become conscious of -- how and why we allow them to manage our lives. These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Ross's coverage:

o Domains of bias (Pages 8-10)
o Types of bias (11-13)
o Us versus them (24-28)
o Empathy (28-30)
o Prefrontal neocortex thinking (32-33)
o Diagnostic bias (45-46)
o Confirmation bias (49-50)
o Internalized bias (50-55)
o Anchoring bias (55-57)
o Legal system bias (86-89)
o Health-care bias (90-94)
o Bias elimination (102-104 & 116-120)
o Gender bias (105-106)
o Bias as normal (107-109)
o Self-observation (113-115)
o PAUSE acronym (116-117)
o Primacy bias (124)
o Halo/horn effect (134-135)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Howard Ross provides. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of it. His observations in one of the last chapters serve as an especially appropriate conclusion for this review: "We can, thorough discipline, practice, and awareness, find a new way to relate that honors our differences, [begin italics] yet also builds upon our similarities [end italics]." While the potential for mass destruction looms broadly in the world and our global community expands, we are more and more invited to recognize, as R. Buckminster Fuller said, that 'we are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully, nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.' That is the oath before us. It is indeed the 'road less traveled' when we look at our common history. But it is a road that is worth paving clear. What could be a greater journey?"

Later, I am convinced, those who embarked on that journey will say, "I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
by Jeff Sutherland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.06
27 used & new from CDN$ 18.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Here is a "radical change from the prescriptive, top-down project methodologies of the past", Nov. 18 2014
To what does the title of this book refer? Jeff Sutherland thinks that the way the world works, how business is conducted, "is broken." How so? One of the answers is to be found when examining the deficiencies of Gantt Charts, introduced by Henry Grant about a century ago. The "Waterfall Method" involves the creation of intricate charts. Every step in the given project is laid out in detail. "The charts truly are impressive to behold. The only problem with them is that they are always, [begin italics] always [end italics] wrong."

Twenty years ago, Sutherland created a new approach called "Scrum." He thoroughly explains it in this book. Basically, scrum is a process by which, after launching a project, you "check in, see if what you're doing is headed in the right direction, and if it is actually what people want." There are three essential components: Initiate, Inspect, and Adapt. Periodically, stop your work and determine if it's still what you should be doing and how you might do it better. "It'd a simple idea, but executing it requires thought, introspection, honesty, and discipline."

As I began to work my way through Sutherland's lively and eloquent narrative, I was again reminded of what Anjali Sastry and Kara Penn have to say about this approach in their book, Fail Better, when affirming that it offers a much better approach to innovation: designing smart mistakes, learn from them, and thereby achieve greater success and do so sooner.

Peter Sims has much of value to say about this strategy in Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries. As he explains, "At the core of this experimental approach, little bets are concrete actions taken to discover, test, and develop ideas that are achievable and affordable. They begin as creative possibilities that get iterated and refined over time, and they are particularly valuable when trying to navigate amid uncertainty, create something new, or attend to open-ended problems."

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Sutherland's coverage:

o A New Way of Thinking (Pages 7-10)
o Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls (31-34)
o Inspect and Adapt (34-36)
o Scrum in the Time of [Employee] Revolt (48-51)
o Scrum at War (54-58)
o The Scrum Master (61-62)
o The Sprint (72-76)
0 Time and Time Again (81-83)
o Do One Thing at a Time (88-94)
o Do It Right the First Time 97-100)
o Size Does Matter But Only Relatively (121-124)
o The Oracle of Delphi (125-129)
o There Are No Tasks, there Are Only Stories, and, Write Short Stories (132-136)
o Know Your Velocity (139-143)
o Quantifying Happiness (148-152)
o Delivering Happiness (157-=160)
o The Product Owner (176-180)
o Risk [Management] (197-199)
o How We'll All Work One Day (222-229)

On occasion, during a project guided and informed by Scrum principles, courage will also be required, especially when it becomes obvious that the given project must be abandoned, placed on hold, or totally reconstituted. It is important to keep the ultimate design goal clearly in mind: to enable individuals and especially teams to increase their efficiency and productivity by eliminating waste of resources.

Whether or not any team or individual can do twice the given work in half the time depends on factors beyond Sutherland's control. Self-motivation, for example, and the environment within which the effort is made. That said, he offers a mindset and a process worthy of careful consideration. Among the many benefits of what he recommends is that almost anyone can easily understand the three stages of Scrum: initiate, inspect/evaluate, and then adapt before proceeding.

In this context, I am again reminded of an observation made by Peter Drucker in an HBR article in 1993: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." It makes no sense whatsoever to master the art of doing twice the work in half the time if the given work is not worth doing or significantly less important than other initiatives.

I agree with Jeff Sutherland that almost any organizational objective is achievable. I also agree with Thomas Edison: "Vision without execution is hallucination." Scrum can be the bridge between a compelling vision and its fulfillment. I urge you to check it out.

How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything
How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything
by Dov Seidman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.28
76 used & new from CDN$ 0.64

5.0 out of 5 stars HOW to manage the relationship between success and significance, not only to survive but also to thrive, Nov. 11 2014
I read this book when it was first published (in 2007) and recently re-read this Expanded Edition, curious to know how well Dov Seidman's core concepts and key insights have held up. If anything, they are even more relevant -- and more valuable -- now than they were then. In fact, I believe they will become even more relevant in months and years to come.

In a global marketplace within which disruptive changes occur faster and in greater number than at any prior time that I recall, many (most?) people often feel like commodities, that they are being manipulated by forces over which they have little (if any) control. Seidman suggests -- and I agree -- that there is one area, however, where tremendous variation and variability still exist. "There is one area that we have not yet analyzed, quantified, systematized, or commoditized, one that, in many important respects, cannot be commoditized or copied: the realm of human behavior -- HOW we do what we do. When it comes to how you do what you do, there is tremendous variation, and where a broad spectrum of variation exists, opportunity exists. The tapestry of human behavior is so diverse, so rich, and so global that it presents a rare opportunity, the opportunity to [begin italics] outbehave the competition [end italics] and create enduring value."

In this Expanded Edition, Seidman eloquently reaffirms his abiding faith in what people of good will as well as talent can accomplish together, especially now that we are well into what he characterizes as the Era of Balance but also one in which behaviors can only be inspired:

"We are therefore also in the Era of Inspiration. Inspiration is the ultimate renewable energy resource. And today, inspirational leadership is the most powerful, abundant, efficient, affordable, and shareable source of human connection and guide of human behavior. This kind of leadership can inspire - and reinspire - over and over, without any cost and with dividends that never cease. Clearly, we need more leaders capable of inspiring the game-changing behaviors that map to the world we now inhabit."

Long ago, I realized that the greatest leaders do not motivate others but they can and do [begin italics] inspire [end italics] them. I agree with this book's subtitle: "HOW we do anything means everything" but obviously the ability of those such as Adolph Hitler to inspire is an obscene abuse of the power that Seidman has in mind.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Seidman's coverage through Chapter 11:

o The Era of Behavior (Pages xv-xix)
o How Values Scale (xxi-xxiv)
o Getting Flattened (20-24)
o Distance Unites Us (27-31)
o The Age of Transparency (34-37)
o Outbehaving the Competition (48-54)
o Looking Out for Number Two 68-71)
o The Evolution of What Is Valuable (72-76)
o Dancing with Rules (86-91)
o Unlocking Should (97-101)
o Dissonance (113-118)
o Interpersonal Transparency (148-152)
o The Soft (i.e. trust, empathy) Made Hard (159-164)
o Trust, But Verify (176-180)

I presume to add a few comments about the importance of understanding the nature and extent of "behavior": it involves what we say and how we say it as well as what we do and how we do it. The healthiest companies are annually ranked among those most highly respected and best to work; they are also ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry. That is not a coincidence.

In the next and final chapter, Seidman provides and thoroughly explains "The Leadership Framework" which embraces the fundamental influences that "fill the spaces between us, HOW we think, HOW we behave, HOW we govern ourselves as groups, and HOW the world has changed to put new emphasis on these ideas." Seidman's focus is on the need for effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. He suggests that there are five essential attributes of behavior on which the entire structure rests: vision, communicate and enlist, seize authority and take responsibility, plan and implement, and build succession and continuity.

His comments about the five attributes remind me once again of my favorite passage in Lao-tse's Tao Te Ching:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves."

If you know of a better statement about HOW to lead effectively, I would very much like to know about it.

The Digital Economy ANNIVERSARY EDITION: Rethinking Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence
The Digital Economy ANNIVERSARY EDITION: Rethinking Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence
by Don Tapscott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.42
25 used & new from CDN$ 20.67

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant exploration and analysis of what has become an “age of connected intelligence” worldwide, Nov. 11 2014
This is the 20th Anniversary Edition of a book first published in 1995. Don Tapscott's other books include Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet (2012), Grown Up Digital (2008), and Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (2006). I commend him on how skillfully he correlates material in the earlier edition with material that updates it. More specifically, he provides a "20th Anniversary Edition" Preface and then a Commentary that serves as an introduction to each of the 12 chapters. He carefully organizes and presents all of the material within four Parts: Thriving in a New Economy (Chapters 2-4), Internetworking (5-8), Leadership for Transformation (9 & 10), and Leadership for the Digital Frontier (11 & 12).

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope and depth of Tapscott’s coverage in the first three chapters:

o The Digital Economy -- The Big Ideas (Pages xii-xv)
o Major issues, then and now (xvi-xxi)
o The Challenge of Leadership (8-10)
o A Time of Transformation (11-14)
o The New Economy (15-18)
o The Internet: Hype, Reality, and Promise (22-35)
o The Four Problems with Reengineering as Practiced (36-38)
o The Dark Side of Networked Intelligence (40-46)
o Twelve Themes of the New Economy (54-77)
o Twelve Corresponding Themes: Economy, Organization, and Technology (78-80)(
o Social Media and New Business Models (83-90)
o The High Performance Team (97-102)
o The Extended Enterprise (102-107)
o The Internetworked Business (107-111)

I agree with Tapscott that past technological paradigms, such as the broadcast media and the old model of the computer and other transitions covered so well in Walter Isaacson's most recent book, The Innovators, were hierarchical, immutable, and centralized. How could they be otherwise? They were disruptive precisely because "they carried the power of their powerful owners. The new media are interactive, malleable, and distributed in control. As such, they cherish an awesome neutrality. Ultimately they will be [or become] what we want they to be. They will do what we command of them." In other words, we can shape the future for the common good. That is, "create a new social consciousness and conscience. If we act, rather than passively observe, we can seize the time. And the Age of Networked intelligence will be an age of promise fulfilled."

Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love
Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love
by Jon Kolko
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.44
29 used & new from CDN$ 16.36

5.0 out of 5 stars How to focus on people, celebrate emotional value, and drive optimism through lateral and divergent thinking, Nov. 11 2014
I share Jon Kolko’s high regard for companies such as Apple and Nest whose customers describe their experiences with them using adjectives such as “beautiful, “Awesome,” “drop-dead gorgeous, “amazing,” and even “revolutionary.” They are obviously what Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba characterize as “customer evangelists.” In our family, we own just about every Apple product and three of our homes have a Nest “learning thermostat.”

Kolko observes, "What makes these companies unique is that their products are the result of a [begin italics] design process {end italics], and it is this process that has led to unprecedented media fascination and consumer adoption...This engagement [by consumers] is achieved by designing products that seem as though they have a personality or even a soul. These products feel less like manufactured artifacts and more like good friends."

I discussed this subject with two of my sons and our daughter, recalling my own "good friends" in childhood: Radio Flyer wagon, Lionel train set, Schwinn American bicycle, Wilson Ball Hawk baseball glove, and a Red Rider BB gun. Our sons then cited Etch A Sketch, Rock a Stack, G.I. Joe, Tonka Trucks, Hot Wheels, SuperBall, and Star Wars action figures. As for our daughter, her "good friends" include Barbie and Ken dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, a fully-decorated doll house, and a toy iron. They and I can recall specific situations and how much we enjoyed our engagement with what proved to be classic toys. You can thus imagine how much they and I later enjoyed the three Toy Story films.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Kolko’s coverage:

o What Is Design Thinking? (16-21)
o Bringing Design Thinking to Product Management (23-26)
o What Is "The Market"? (38-42)
o Shifts in attitude among customers (46-48)
o Attributes of community (53-55)
o Behavioral insights (71-111)
o Analytics for patterns of product usage (80-82)
o Product strategy (113-138)
o Product stance and design strategy (119-126)
o Design strategy (126-129)
o RUWT?!: Are You Watching This?! (130-137)
o Defining the Product (140-160)
o Organizational alignment (146-151)
o Decision product (169-176)
o Shipping (177-215)
o Operational Capabilities (178-187)
o Design process (217-218)

Kolko also inserts seven interviews of Joe Gebbia, chief product designer at Airbnb (26-34); Josh Elman, principal at Greylock Partners, a VC firm (59-70); Gary Chou, teacher of entrepreneurial design (95-111): Mark Phillip, CEO of Are You Watching This?!, a sports analytics firm 129-138), Frank Lyman, MyEdu’s chief product officer (164-176); and Alex Reinart, head of product at Foursquare (205-215). Their varied backgrounds and real-world experiences enable them to enrich the abundance of information, insights, and counsel with regard to how to use empathy to create products people love.

I commend Jon Kolko on the wealth of information, insights, and counsel that he provides within his lively and eloquent narrative. He succeeds brilliantly when introducing and then explaining a design-led product development process (based on deep, empathetic research) from idea to execution. Also, how a product-market fit establishes a community of engaged, indeed devoted consumers, and then how to gain valuable behavioral insights from interactions with people through ethnographic research. The framework for all this is rock-solid but sufficiently flexible to accommodate adjustments over time as competitive marketplace realities change.

I wholly agree with his concluding remarks: "The broad applicability of the design process makes it powerful. We are becoming product managers, and our best process for success is a process of design -- a creative process built on a platform of empathy.”

Those who share my high regard for this volume are urged to check out Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works, co-authored by Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King, and Kevin Bennett, as well as Roger Martin's The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage and Rotman on Design: The Best on Design Thinking from Rotman Magazine, co-edited by Martin and Karen Christensen.

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