You Can’t Engineer Culture Change!

Sometimes people approach everything as an engineering problem.

While this can work very well, not everything can be engineered, some things are emergent – they are a property of the system. This means you can’t engineer them directly, you need to instead create the conditions that encourage the properties you want.

That’s how organisational culture works and I wish more people knew it.



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Make Resolving Conflicts Fun with TOC Evaporating Clouds (Part I)

Conflict in the workplace can be debilitating, destabilising and far from enjoyable. However, there is a useful technique from Theory of Constraints that can make resolving conflicts far easier and, if practiced, even an enjoyable non-threatening activity.

Theory of Constraints (TOC) is a change methodology based on the principle of progressively identifying the biggest constraint in a system, working to first improve the system to better serve that constraint and then to eliminate it entirely, then moving onto the next constraint.

TOC includes a technique called Evaporating Cloud that is ideal for resolving conflicts. In this article we’ll explore how it works.



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Exploring Servant Leadership: Comparing the old world and the new (Part III)

In this mini-series we’re exploring Servant Leadership and contrasting it with the traditional Boss Leadership alternative.

In Part I we examined the problems and consequences of Boss Leadership. In Part II we explored how Servant Leadership works.

In this final article we’ll complete the picture by looking at the consequences of Servant Leadership and directly comparing and contrasting it with Boss Leadership.



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Exploring Servant Leadership: What’s wrong with having a “boss”? (Part I)

In Explored: Management in Networks by Harold Jarche we looked at how management is changing in the 21st century and the possible intersections along the road to change.

One aspect we briefly touched on was Servant Leadership. This mini-series explains what Servant Leadership is and how it differs from the traditional alternative, which we shall call Boss Leadership.



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Bringing the Citizen back into Digital Service Design

Today’s narrow focus on digital risks elevating it to become the purpose of services instead of the real purpose: serving citizens

Digital services are in vogue and the UK government has been changing both how they are implemented (using agile techniques) and how they are procured (smaller suppliers, G-Cloud and other frameworks).

With the creation of the Government Digital Service (GDS), “digital” is now at the heart of the Cabinet Office. With the creation of “Digital by Default” it is now impossible to ignore technology when delivering services.

Much of this is a welcome break from poor past practices and there is much to be admired. But there remains something missing and a potentially dangerous risk.



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Measure Outcomes, not People

I recently had an exchange with Jurgen Appelo on Twitter about measuring people’s performance. During the conversation, he said it was impossible to fit the dozen or so recommendations he had into a single tweet.

It all just sounded too complex (complicated? :-) ) to me and why bother with measuring individual performance when there are more useful ways to improve outcomes? So this blog post is to present my own perspective.



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What are the most common Organisational Problems?

In this Transformation Dialogues video, Ann Blythman interviews me to understand what are the most common organisational problems.

I discuss the common problem of siloed functional hierarchies and the role they play in subverting the purpose of organisations and disruption to collaboration and communication. Local optimisation is at the heart of a lot of well-meaning but destructive change.

Through the example of delivering a new service, we discuss how to structure people in a different way to create highly effective collaborations that focus on end-to-end delivery. Key is the role that these collaborations play in identifying waste and enabling big improvement leaps.

I hope you enjoy this video and more that follow soon in the Transformation Dialogues series.


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