Post of the Month – April 2019 – Nominations

Post_Of_The_Month

Gosh. It’s time again (already?) to open up nominations for Post of the Month. You may know the drill by now – I’ve got a short starting list below of posts that I thought were good from the past month, but please do add to these with your own nominations either direct or via the comments. As soon as I have a good number I’ll stick them up for a vote. So my starting three are:

Youth Spies and Curious Elders by Austin Kleon

Word Salad by Nicki Sprinz

AdLand’s obsession with youth will come at a costs by Ryan Wallman

Do add to these with your own nominations.

DogEarThis

Dog-Eared-books

So I was having a Twitter chat with Nick Childs and Gerad Petherbridge a while back and we were talking about how Twitter is such a good place to come across great books that you haven’t read, and great concepts from great books that you haven’t read too. Planners on Twitter seemed to be particularly good at sharing interesting reads and great snippets and quotes from books that they’re reading. And we were musing about how it’s tricky to find all the good stuff when you’re not on Twitter all the time so the conversation turned to the thought of creating a hastag and/or account that people could use to aggregate good reading recommendations and unexpected/insightful quotes from stuff you’re reading (a lot of people already Tweet pics of book quotes of-course). So we landed on #dogearthis and @dogearthis – I seemed to remember that years ago Russell Davies used to blog reviews of books he was reading using the title ‘blog all dog-eared pages’ so it seemed to fit.

So the idea is that if you’re reading/have read something you think worth recommending post a pic of the book with a line about why it’s interesting and maybe a link to it, using #dogearthis and copy @dogearthis. We thought it might be good to not do marketing books to begin with as they seem to get plenty of coverage already. Anyhow, might come to nothing or it might be wonderfully useful. Let’s see.

Photo by Syd Wachs on Unsplash

Post of the Month – March 2019 – The Vote

Thanks for the nominations. Another good set of reading this month. So our vote is between:

The Stupidity of Sameness and the Value of Difference by Tom Roach

Brief in Haste, Repent at Leisure by Jan Gooding

Strategy Needs Good Words by Martin Weigel

The Value of Deep Work is Your Only Real Value by Richard Huntingdon

Pitch: Innocent? by Dave Dye

And you can vote below:


Post of the Month – March 2019 – Nominations

Post_Of_The_Month

It’s time to open nominations for Post of the Month. More good reading to be had this month so as usual I’ve put a short starting list of nominations below but please do add to these with posts that you think have been particularly good over the past month. You can nominate via the comments or direct. When I have a good number I’ll pop them up for a vote. So my starting four are:

Brief in Haste, Repent at Leisure by Jan Gooding

Strategy Needs Good Words by Martin Weigel

The Value of Deep Work is Your Only Real Value by Richard Huntingdon

Pitch: Innocent? by Dave Dye

Please do add to these nominations with your own. Thank you.

Good Questions

Too often we focus on getting quickly to the answer to challenges and not pausing to think whether we are actually asking the right question. The ability to ask good questions will I think be one of the greatest leadership skills in increasingly complex environments. Which is why I really like this quote from Kevin Kelly, taken from his book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future:

“A good question is not concerned with a correct answer. A good question cannot be answered immediately. A good question challenges existing answers. A good question is one you badly want answered once you hear it, but had no inkling you cared before it was asked. A good question creates new territory of thinking. A good question reframes its own answers. A good question is the seed of innovation in science, technology, art, politics, and business. A good question is a probe, a what-if scenario. A good question skirts on the edge of what is known and not known, neither silly nor obvious. A good question cannot be predicted. A good question will be the sign of an educated mind. A good question is one that generates many other good questions. A good question may be the last job a machine will learn to do. A good question is what humans are for.”

HT Gerd Leonhard

Post of the Month – February 2019 – The Vote

Post of the Month – February 2019 – Nominations

Post_Of_The_Month

It’s time again to open nominations for Post of the Month (crikey – already?) so as usual I’ve selected a short starting list below but ask you to nominate your own favourite reads from the past month to add to these and once I have a good list I’ll put them all up for the vote. So my starting list of four is:

Brands are the campfire of the company by Jan Gooding

Oh God it’s raining newsletters by Craig Mod

The D2C Playbook by Shane O’Leary

When Work Tries to Destroy You by Rob Campbell

Please do add to these nominations either direct or in the comments below.

I’m Writing Another Book

Agile-Transformation

It’s been almost two years since my first book came out. Writing that book was something of a cathartic exercise for me, having worked for many years to help companies of all types become more native to the digital empowered world in the way that they think and operate. At the time there was plenty of material that talked about the ‘why’ of transformation, but precious little that talked about the ‘how’. The book was designed to fill this gap. Thankfully it seems to have struck a chord and whilst it’s difficult to know what good looks like in this context it seems to have done really well. At least my publisher (Kogan Page) thinks so since they’ve asked me to write another one. 

So why do I think it’s important to write a second book on transformation? The work that I’ve undertaken since the first book came about, working with a broad range of large corporates, has thankfully served to validate a lot of the approaches that I set out but it has also opened the opportunity to go deeper in to some of the fundamental areas of change and opportunity. I do still believe that whilst the business environment has fundamentally changed forever, many companies still haven’t adapted to face this challenge.

Digital technologies have impacted in countless ways to create a climate of rapidly changing competitive and consumer dynamics, heightened unpredictability and disruptive new market entrants, and yet many businesses remain stuck. Stuck in outdated modes of working that keep them from moving fast. Stuck with structures that originated in a different era and that actively hinder agility and horizontal collaboration. Stuck with processes that make bold innovation difficult if not impossible. Stuck with cultures that reward conformity and status rather than entrepreneurialism and originality. Stuck with approaches that celebrate efficiency over learning.

After several years of corporate focus on digital transformation many organisations still pursue rigid, linear change management programmes that are doomed to fail. Many still prioritise chasing shiny technology over empowering their people to drive lasting change. Many pay lip-service to new ways of operating without ever really changing the fabric of how the organisation works or building the culture that can genuinely support change.

More recently the potential of agile working and principles to generate business value far beyond technology teams has been recognised by some enlightened companies as a route to greater organisational agility. And yet in so many cases these principles remain poorly understood, undervalued, or badly applied. In some organisations the word ‘agile’ has become overused and abused to the point where it is no longer helpful, where it fails to represent the true potential of what is possible. Many businesses are playing at the edges, or scratching the surface, or still failing to grasp the scale of change that is really needed. 

If we are to truly reshape organisations for the new world we need to take a more sophisticated, adaptive approach to transformation. We need to rethink embedded assumptions about structures, processes and leadership that were born of a legacy, industrialised world. We need to understand how we can scale agile principles and culture appropriately to support lasting change. We need to take a far more sophisticated approach to the application of different ways of working, both new and old. There is a need to build on what has come before, to go beyond most interpretations of ‘digital transformation’ and to go deeper in to fundamental aspects of organisational structure, process, culture and leadership to help define what organisational agility really means and help leaders of all kinds to build a practical roadmap for lasting change.

This book is about helping businesses to become unstuck. It is about generating an entirely new level of organisational agility. It is about transforming business to become truly fit-for-purpose for a very different world.

I’ll be sending out (very) occasional email updates featuring some of the ideas that will be explored in the book. You can sign up to those here.