All week I have been thinking about the “Paradox of Work” that I described last week. It seems remarkable, as well as rather ridiculous, that – according to research – people generally run counter to their own experience and seek more leisure time when they actually enjoy their work more. Yet, amazing as that is, it is not the only paradox we encounter in the commercial or business world. There is also the “Paradox of Management.”
Have we got it wrong?
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” That is the old adage that we all grew up with. (The picture shows just how old!) And like me you have probably never challenged it. But is it valid? Recently I have been compelled to question this.
It is that time of the year to take a break from business and the serious aspects of business and running a successful organisation and focus on things that are just as - and possibly even more - important. Accordingly, I take this opportunity to wish you and yours everything you wish yourself for the holidays and the coming New Year. May it see the fulfillment of them all.
I look forward to your company again in the New Year.
I did a Google search to find out. The first non-advertised result I saw was just a definition. It read, “Extremely large data sets that can be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.” That seemed straightforward enough, but – after the ubiquitous Wikipedia link – the third result was a link to a Forbes article, “12 Big Data Definitions: What’s Yours?” This suggests that it is perhaps not so simple after all. Also, that it is apparently subjective.
Fortunately, the simple definition is enough for this discussion and we don’t need to get embroiled in any complexity. It highlights two things that warrant deeper thought.
Apparently there are seven major challenges currently occupying the minds of business leaders and causing them concern. At least, that is what the conference speaker told us, feeding back the results of Metlife’s global research study.
Interestingly, there was no specific mention of the fear of disruptive ideas and the impact they might have on their business that, according to different research I reported last week, was the greatest fear of 64% of CEO’s! Even so, the points raised still warrant serious consideration.
“Fear is the expectation of evil.” I came across and was struck by that definition recently. It came strongly to mind this week when I read a research report about CEOs’ greatest fears. Apparently, for a whopping 64%, the single biggest fear is of disruptive ideas and the impact they might have on their business.
Thus, according to that definition of fear, business leaders see new ideas as evil. You have to find that incredibly ironic if, like me, you believe:
- Business exists for the purpose of meeting needs;
- The more the business meets those needs the better the business will do;
- Business leaders are responsible for shaping the way the organisation meets those needs.
With that attitude, you might even say that CEOs could be the biggest barriers to change in their organisations.
If nothing else, that possibility should give you pause to think. As defence you may claim that there is a very big difference between “new ideas” and “disruptive ideas.” Maybe so, but where do you draw the line? How do you distinguish one from the other? More importantly, how do you know that you are not rejecting good ideas that could achieve wonders for your business?
Those are some of the questions I found myself asking this week after coming across an article in Chief Executive Magazine entitled, "How to turn your employees into your best brand ambassadors." My instinctive response was that this should not be new to any CEO worth his salt. After all, surely you need employees who believe in your brand, in order to deliver a customer experience that turns customers into raving fans. But, perhaps it is a subject that requires a refresher.
If my instinct is right, and making your people brand ambassadors isn’t already core to everything you do, you have a problem. If your people are not your best brand ambassadors, your brand will definitely not be all it should be. Certainly this research from my friend Alexander Kjerulf suggests that may be the case. So, now ask yourself just how good your brand is. This also makes it unlikely to be as secure as you might like to think.
I was shocked! And slightly disappointed in myself. In hindsight perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but I was – even though I suspect change professionals are just as prone to it as the rest of humanity. It highlighted something we probably all do often every day but that professional change managers should always guard against.
Apparently the achievement of learning induces a chemical reaction within the body that makes the learner feel happy and good about themselves. This past week-end I experienced this for myself. In fact, I got such a ‘buzz’ that I cannot resist sharing what I learned. I hope you experience a similar ‘high’!
It all began with an introduction into Max Boisot’s theories about the learning. Like most people, I was already aware of the distinction between data and information and so the differentiation between information and knowledge was only a small step. Likewise to understand that knowledge has no value until it is put into use. However, the discussion was around why knowledge isn’t always put to use and that is what was so enlightening. The following diagram is my interpretation and helps explain better.
“Imagine for a minute, a workplace where everyone is aligned with business objectives; where everyone understands the value they contribute; an environment where people actively seek to build mutually beneficial relationships across the organization.” This invocative opening statement to a newsletter caught my attention because that is precisely the type of workplace that I aspire to help create - and would like to see as universal. But the next sentence struck me like a blow to the solar plexus.