Five Stages of Autonomy

Social Network Diagram

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.
  • Level Three sees increased benefit from a remote work scenario and accrued social benefits kick in for a worker (e.g. doing homework with the kids because you aren’t in the office)
  • Level Four is where work output is judged on what is produced, not hours in the office and real-time meetings are treated with increased respect
  • Level Five is Nirvana: when work is performed at a higher level than it ever could be in an office

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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. Only if the driving force can be increased to overpower, or the restraining force reduced allow, is change able to be brought about. Perhaps the most crucial element in understanding this process is to apprehend why people are resistant to change.

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Ode to a Yoghurt Pot

Danone History of Yogurt Pots

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. It was fitting I was holding the yoghurt as on the lid was printed ‘MASTER YOGHURT MAKERS SINCE 1919.’

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Leading From The Front

King George II at the Battle of Dettingen, with the Duke of Cumberland and Robert, 4th Earl of Holderness, 27 June 1743

#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.

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Media Archipelago

Solzhenitsyn with Heinrich Böll

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. After serving in the Soviet Army during World War II, he was sent to a labour camp for eight years after criticising Stalin’s policies in a private letter.

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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.

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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. Yet such views are simplistic, as those who go beyond Carlyle have found in the writing of Herbert Spencer:

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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. I’m not afraid of losing this business.’

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Climate Change, Political Stagnation

Average global temperatures from 2010 to 2019 compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1978, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies

The satirical ‘Yes Prime Minister’ quipped about international organizations:

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.Hacker: What appalling cynicism.Sir Humphrey: Yes… We call it diplomacy, Minister.

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