Startups as human systems: Startup communication

From Ed Batista: I conducted a work­shop with the team at a startup here in the Bay Area on a range of topics related to inter­per­sonal and group dynamics. While the title was simply Startup Commu­ni­ca­tion, a theme woven throughout the day was the idea of star­tups as human systems, empha­sizing both the complexity of the orga­ni­za­tional culture and the crit­ical impor­tance of commu­ni­ca­tion, feed­back, and rela­tion­ships in this setting. A condensed version of my deck is above, and I’ve added a number of links to other posts that explore in greater depth the ideas we discussed in the work­shop. (Note that you have to down­load the deck from Slideshare in order to access those links.) · Go to Star­tups as human systems: Startup commu­ni­ca­tion →

Leadership transitions: Marissa Mayer to the rescue

From Steve Barry at Open any book about lead­er­ship tran­si­tions and you’re likely to see a model of the various busi­ness situ­a­tions exec­u­tives may need to navi­gate when they take on a new company, initia­tive, or project. We’ve synthe­sized those many models into one that we find espe­cially useful: we call it the Busi­ness Terrains frame­work. · Go to Lead­er­ship tran­si­tions: Marissa Mayer to the rescue →

Does the client know best? Part 2

From John McWade at Before&After: Here is an issue that is, to me, of utmost gravity — the atti­tude toward clients that we bring to our work, most point­edly the idea that we are better than they, and our work inher­ently more worthy. It’s a sensi­tive issue but enough of a learning oppor­tu­nity for all of us that I wanted to not let it slip away.

We are all unjust judges, which is easy to see once we notice that our judg­ments always come out in our favor.

My advice: Respect your client. Give him your best work. Hold it lightly. Stay open. Help him get where he wants to go. If he needs to circle back, be there when he arrives. · Go to Does the client know best? Part 2 →

Peter Senge: The ecology of leadership

From Leader to Leader Journal: In the past 5 years, corpo­rate leaders have talked more about learning and devel­op­ment than in the previous 50. But the discus­sion inspires frus­tra­tion as well as hope. Senior exec­u­tives invari­ably want to know, “How do I build a learning orga­ni­za­tion?” It is the most frequent ques­tion I am asked, but it is the wrong ques­tion, for two reasons. First, it implies that the pres­i­dent or CEO can single­hand­edly make changes in an organization’s genetic code. Second, it suggests that building a learning orga­ni­za­tion (and learning itself) involves a defin­i­tive formula rather than an ongoing process. · Go to Peter Senge: The ecology of lead­er­ship →

Systems citizenship: The leadership mandate for this millennium

From Peter Senge in Leader to Leader Journal: As indi­vid­uals and orga­ni­za­tions, we have never had to be concerned about how our day-to-day deci­sions, like the prod­ucts we make and buy and the energy we use, affect people and larger living systems thou­sands of miles away, even on the other side of the planet. This is the real message of “glob­al­iza­tion,” and it is indeed an alien one for all of us. We’ve never been here before. · Go to Systems citi­zen­ship: The lead­er­ship mandate for this millen­nium →

Peter Senge: The necessary revolution

From Leader to Leader Journal: The word revo­lu­tion has many different mean­ings. We often use the word to repre­sent polit­ical revo­lu­tions. And then there are techno-economic-cultural revo­lu­tions such as the Indus­trial Revo­lu­tion, where in many ways virtu­ally every­thing about society shifted—the nature of the economy, core tech­nolo­gies, how people lived, where people lived, and how they saw the world around them. But while the Indus­trial Revo­lu­tion vaulted society dramat­i­cally forward in many ways, it also put us on a path that is so funda­men­tally contra­dic­tory to nature — both the nature of living systems in general and human nature — that it can’t possibly continue. It is not sustain­able. · Go to Peter Senge: The neces­sary revo­lu­tion →

When complex systems fail: New roles for leaders

From Margaret Wheatley in Leader to Leader Journal: When complex systems fail, prevailing models of lead­er­ship offer little help. What we learn now with Y2K can prepare us for a future where more and more fail­ures of complex systems will confront us. It can also help us look beyond the confines of in-house systems and struc­tures, and to see new, more effec­tive ways to lead our busi­ness and social insti­tu­tions. · Go to When complex systems fail: New roles for leaders →

A different vantage point truly can change one’s perspective on things

From On Being: Astro­naut Ron Garan did an AMA on reddit. This photo was his reply when asked, “Have you seen anything when looking down on earth or into space that has you completely awed that is captured in your memory for the rest of your life?” It’s the illu­mi­nated border between India and Pakistan, as seen from the Inter­na­tional Space Station. · Go to A different vantage point truly can change one’s perspec­tive on things →

Even Gustavo Dudamel is wowed by huge Mahler rehearsal in Caracas

From LA Times: When the Los Angeles Phil­har­monic arrived back­stage at Caracas’ Teatro Teresa Carreno for its first rehearsal with chorus and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony Wednesday morning, the first reac­tion from many Ange­lenos was a gasp, a wow and a big smile. Then they whipped out their cameras.

A sea of tightly packed chil­dren and young singers rose to the roof. The offi­cial count was 1,207, but with that many, who’s counting? They were warming up, and it seemed as though the earth itself was singing solfège sylla­bles. The sound was primal. “I’m not sure I knew what I was getting into,” cracked the L.A. Phil’s long­time produc­tion director, Paul M. Geller. · Go to Even Gustavo Dudamel is wowed by huge Mahler rehearsal in Caracas →