Five Stages of Autonomy

I came across an article by Matt Mullenweg about what he calls the Five Levels of Autonomy. It is an interesting article which is worth reading at length, but in brief the five levels are: Level Zero autonomy is a job which cannot be done unless you’re physically there Level One autonomy where the work isn’t remote-friendly Level Two where work is enabled remotely, for a while, but not intended as a long term solution....

July 13, 2020 · 5 min read · 963 words

A Change Management Primer

Jack Welch was a believer in the importance of a company’s ability to change. To the extent he asserted that when the rate of change inside a company is slower than the rate of change outside it, the end is in sight. Conditions before, during and after change are best illustrated in Lewin’s Force Field Analysis Model. On one side is the driving forces and on the other are restraining forces....

July 5, 2020 · 6 min read · 1069 words

Ode to a Yoghurt Pot

This is going to seem a little bit like an infomercial, but it isn’t. Simply a musing prompted by a label. The label in question was for Danone Yoghurt. Not a brand I consume on a regular basis, but one which was thrust into my hand by way of a free giveaway at the local supermarket. I was in a meeting at the time, and my colleagues were discussing business reputation and how to build a sustainable company....

July 3, 2020 · 2 min read · 315 words

Leading From The Front

#OnThisDay, in 1743, George II led his troops into battle and defeated the French army at Dettingen, Bavaria. It is a singular event in that it was the last time an English monarch led soldiers into battle. This got me to thinking about leadership and how it is a word which means different things in different settings and to different audiences. Leadership may be shared to bolster employee engagement. Leadership may also be solitary, with an individual taking responsibility for a situation or group....

June 27, 2020 · 5 min read · 1007 words

Media Archipelago

If [journalists] have misled public opinion or the government by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, do we know of any cases of public recognition and rectification of such mistakes by the same journalist or the same newspaper? It hardly ever happens because it would damage sales. — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Solzhenitsyn, a long standing critic of he Soviet Union and communism, knew much about the use and abuse of public opinion....

June 10, 2020 · 4 min read · 689 words

'I' and 'Me'

In No one is to blame for misbehaviour, I made reference to George Herbert Mead’s ‘I’ and ‘Me’. But what did he mean by them and what are their implications for the practice of management? Writing in 1931, John Dewey observed, when trying to sum up Mead’s influence on his own life and work: His mind was deeply original- in my contacts and my judgment the most original mind in philosophy in the America of the last generation… I dislike to think what my own thinking might have been were it not for the seminal ideas which I derived from him....

June 12, 2017 · 10 min read · 1981 words

No One Is To Blame For Misbehaviour

In Michael Crichton’s novel Rising Sun, the character John Connor makes the observation: The Japanese have a saying: ‘Fix the problem, not the blame’. Find out what’s screwed up and fix it. Nobody gets blamed. We’re always after who screwed up. Their way is better. While it is likely this proverb is as much a product of the author’s imagination as the fictional Nakamoto Corporation around which the novel pivots, it doesn’t detract from it being apposite when looking it how organisations and individuals address agency when something goes wrong....

May 19, 2017 · 10 min read · 2046 words

Leadership: A Human Encounter

Thomas Carlyle observed ‘the history of the world is but the biography of great men’. In many ways, much business literature about ‘leadership’ only gets as far as Carlyle in its thinking and then rests, sure in the belief leaders are self-made people from whom lessons can be drawn and leadership techniques formalised. A classic example of this is an approach adopted by Howard Gardner in comparing eleven ‘leaders’ with a group of ten political and military leaders to test notions about leadership....

February 18, 2017 · 8 min read · 1566 words

Patagonia Traditional CSR, Strategic CSR or CSV

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, is a self-described ‘dirtbag’ whose company employs people with a ‘love of wild and beautiful places,’ a love which ‘demands participation in the fight to save them, and to help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet’. This mission stems from a realization by Chouinard that his company was in part responsible for the overconsumption he so reviled. But unlike much hyperbole surrounding businesses with a desire to implement CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), Chouinard’s commitment was make or break: ‘They say if you want to be a samurai, you can’t be afraid of dying, and as soon as you flinch, you get your head cut off....

June 20, 2015 · 13 min read · 2663 words

Climate Change, Political Stagnation

The satirical ‘Yes Prime Minister’ quipped about international organisations: Hacker: But surely we’re all committed to the European ideal? Sir Humphrey: [chuckles] Really, Minister. Hacker: If not, why are we pushing for an increase in the membership? Sir Humphrey: Well, for the same reason. It’s just like the United Nations, in fact; the more members it has, the more arguments it can stir up, the more futile and impotent it becomes....

December 20, 2009 · 5 min read · 900 words