Siri, Drive the Kids to Soccer Practice

Siri, Drive the Kids to Soccer Practice

Touchscreen ordering at McDonald’s. Self-checkout at the grocery store. 

Programmable logic controllers that guide manufacturing processes. Industrial robots that weld, assemble and, even, inspect. 

And perhaps one that really sparks widespread imagination: driverless vehicles. We probably have some time before we can get a positive result from telling our iPhones, “Siri, drive the kids to soccer practice,” but

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The Gig Economy: A Disruptor Requiring HR Agility

The Gig Economy:  A Disruptor Requiring HR Agility

The Need for HR Agility in an Era of the Gig Economy

The era of digital disruption for Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) is often referred to as the Gig Economy (AKA -- contingent work, sharing economy, agile talent, non-traditional work relationships, or alternate forms of employment) where Uber and Airbnb have received most of the attention from the press.  Other Gig Economy “digital disruptors” include Lyft (ride sharing), UpCounsel (legal experts), Instacart (shopping and delivery), and TaskRabbit (odd jobs). The rapidly accelerating growth of the Gig Economy represents one of the most significant and all-encompassing challenges faced by Human Resources professionals.  The fundamental question is 

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Learning Agility Pays Off If You Pay Attention

Learning Agility Pays Off If You Pay Attention

Does anyone remember that year?  I do.  It actually ushered in a new form of PIVOT … maybe the first major, widespread technology-driven anxiety attacks and hyper-mania.  The role of IT shifted and CIO’s got a seat at the table in some of the C-Suites.

Were you one of the many staying up extra late and wondering what is going to happen at midnight December 31, 1999?? 

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Want to Communicate Change? Do THIS.

 Want to Communicate Change? Do THIS.

“Undercommunicating the vision by a factor of ten” is one of the reasons why organizational transformation efforts fail according to John Kotter, a prolific writer on various facets of leadership and organizational change and professor emeritus at the Harvard Business School (Kotter, 1995: 63). 

And as we all know—and as Kotter acknowledged—“Communication comes in both words and deeds, and the latter are often the most powerful form” (Kotter, 1995: 64).

Namely, actions speak louder than words. 

So if you want to communicate change in your organization,

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Why Perfection Isn’t Good Enough

Why Perfection Isn’t Good Enough

“I just want it to go the right way,” he said, with tears starting to form at the corners of his eyes. “I’m trying and trying and trying and it’s not working.”

The tears began to flow, as he rapidly stamped his feet on the green artificial turn covering the mini-golf course. His knuckles turned white as he gripped his club with a surge of frustration, and he swung as hard as he could at the ball. 

He missed. It was fortunate that he did, because

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PROLOGUE FROM THE MASTERS: WHAT IS YOUR BIG MISS WITH AGILITY?

PROLOGUE FROM THE MASTERS: WHAT IS YOUR BIG MISS WITH AGILITY?

For those of us who enjoy watching and occasionally playing golf … we have a new image for the AGONY OF DEFEAT … Jordan Spieth in despair on the 12th hole of the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia last week.  It was very painful to watch as this very talented wonderkid of golf had a momentary melt down that ended up costing him sure victory and another coveted Green Jacket.  It was another reminder of how FRAGILE and elusive success can be sometimes … especially when we lose focus for just that split second. There is no doubt that Jordan will take lessons from this painful moment and come back stronger and tougher than ever. That is what true champions and agile leaders do…learn from adversity to become better.

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For Those About to Lead

For Those About to Lead

For those about to lead, I salute you. 

The vast majority of people go with the flow. Many people—even those whom we often dub “leaders”—fulfill their roles by finding out what others expect of them and meeting those expectations. This includes many heads of state—current, former and aspiring—military generals and admirals, university presidents and chief executives. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with going with the flow, depending on

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Bill Gates Built the Deadliest Weapon in the U.S. Military

Bill Gates Built the Deadliest Weapon in the U.S. Military

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, unwittingly created a weapon of mass destruction for the U.S. military when his company created PowerPoint. It can be a useful tool for presentations, but within the U.S. military it has become a ubiquitous technology and communication format that structures much of what gets done, particularly for staff officers.

The proliferation of PowerPoint within the U.S. armed forces is nothing new, and its presence is no surprise to those of us who have served within it. But one could argue that its use is so pervasive that it even structures how people think and how they make decisions.

So in some ways, Microsoft PowerPoint is the deadliest weapon in the U.S. military’s arsenal. The question, though,

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The Gig Economy: A Human Resource Agility Fitness Challenge

The Gig Economy:  A Human Resource Agility Fitness Challenge

This is the era of UberAirbnbTaskRabbitHandy. All of these firms are examples of the “gig economy,” and human resources (HR) professionals are being pressed to update their approach to talent management as a result.  

The gig economy will continue placing pressure on HR leaders, HR policies and HR processes to become more agile so that they can accommodate the kind of turbulence now being created by contingent workers as a growing element of their talent pool.  

The word “gig” has its origins in the

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Leading Change and the Distribution of Loss

Leading Change and the Distribution of Loss

When I talk or facilitate a workshop with business leaders, making them all really sad isn’t part of the agenda.

But sometimes it’s exactly what they need. At least for a few minutes.

In particular, there’s an aspect of leadership that always requires emotional awareness. And when we attempt to lead change, there’s always an element of loss. When we lead change, people often have to alter their routines, give up responsibilities and work with new people—all factors that are different from what used to be life as usual.

That can make people

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The Cure for Leadership Narcosis™ in a VUCA World

The Cure for Leadership Narcosis™ in a VUCA World

Have you experienced Leadership Narcosis™?

Leadership Narcosis™ is a term I use to describe the adverse leadership behavior and associated disruptive organizational impact of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world on leaders today and into the future.  

From my experience as a former U.S. Navy officer in special operations and as a current organizational psychologist, the behavioral reactions for divers experiencing nitrogen narcosis are quite similar to the behaviors exhibited by leaders with what I refer to as Leadership Narcosis™. 

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The Math of VUCA: How Many Ways Can You Combine 6 Lego Bricks?

The Math of VUCA: How Many Ways Can You Combine 6 Lego Bricks?

We live in a world of increasing VUCA.  Not least of all just because of pure math.

Think of the math involved in growing your team by adding people.

If two of us start a business today, we have one person-to-person conversation to manage. If we add a third person tomorrow, now we have three person to person conversations to manage. A fourth person the day after takes us to six conversations. Then a fifth person takes us to 10 conversations, a sixth person to 15 conversations, and a seventh person to 21 conversations! That last person adds

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Anticipating Change in 2016

Anticipating Change in 2016

We all now recognize that the only certainty is uncertainty and the prospect for even more change will surely define 2016.  There are highly visible forces of change like the presidential election drama, growing tensions with Russia in the Middle East maelstrom and the on-going global anxiety around terrorism of every variety.  There are also a multitude of positive forces of change propelling innovation, productivity and new possibilities in healthcare, technology, agribusiness, sustainability and more.  This constant churn of heightened risk and continuous possibilities can contribute to organizational hysteria or present the potential for competitive advantage for those leaders and organizations committed to building superior capacity to ANTICIPATE CHANGE.

Make no mistake, change is 

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Mapping Your "VUCASPHERE"

Mapping Your "VUCASPHERE"

Each organization faces its own indigenous VUCA climate and context—we call it your VUCASPHERE.  We believe VUCA is here for the long term, so the critical response is for organizations to develop a superior capacity to recognize and evaluate the VUCA factors as the organizations continue to serve their stakeholders.  

Building this capacity becomes the operating context for creating agility for your organization, and before we go any further, we should

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How an Artist Captured the Essence of VUCA and Talent Management Agility

How an Artist Captured the Essence of VUCA and Talent Management Agility

I was asked to deliver a keynote presentation complemented by an executive panel discussion on "Leadership in a Dynamic World" at the annual Investment Program Association (IPA) Conference in Chicago this past week.  

Oh, I might also add that the audience of about 350 direct investment professionals were also engaged throughout the session through the use of handheld rating devices that enabled immediate analysis of the questions asked of them.  This was a daunting task since I was to be followed by Austan Goolsbee, former Chief of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors.  

Therefore, 

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Chaos Is Not Your Problem. Your Relationship With It Is.

Chaos Is Not Your Problem. Your Relationship With It Is.

When working with teams of all descriptions and, in particular, CEOs and their executive leadership teams, I help them explore the secrets of agility, understanding what it is and what it isn’t, to develop agile-teamwork. 

Teams who are able to:

Anticipate Change ... Generate Confidence ... Initiate Action ... Liberate Thinking ... Evaluate Results

In particular,

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The Gig Economy: How Agile is your HR Team?

The Gig Economy: How Agile is your HR Team?

Does your human resources team have the agility required to address the challenges of "The Gig Economy?"

If you haven’t yet heard about The Gig Economy, it is a growing challenge for HR professionals and people managers now faced with a portfolio of workers, some full time while others are contract or contingent workers. 

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Agile Sustainability – How Sustainable is your Sustainability?

Agile Sustainability – How Sustainable is your Sustainability?

The nature of change has changed (to a time compressed VUCA World) and with it, so has the challenge of sustainability.  The question we must all be asking these days is: 

  • How Sustainable is our Sustainability?

See Kim Gittleson’s article, “Can a Company Live Forever?” in which she says:

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