Are we giving away our power when we show up at work? It’s a question that came to mind following a thought-provoking conversation I had with Kathy Caprino about a recent piece she had written about tapping into our power to achieve a sense of happiness and fulfilment.
Through our discussion, I began to wonder how many of us experience moments where our knowledge, experiences, and insights tell us that the ideas and plans being put forth are missing key details, but we don’t speak up for fear that others will see us – and not their plan or idea – as being problematic.
Although it might be fear that prevents us from taking action and becoming full participants instead of passive observers, the bigger issue is how in each of these moments we’re giving up our power at work.
Now for many of us, this might sound odd. After all, how much power or influence can I possibly have given my place in the organizational organogram, or how much money I have stashed away in my savings account? Surely those in positions of authority and those among the wealthy class have far more power to wield, and consequently more influence to direct what course my organization or my community might take?
The problem, though, is that it’s not a question of position or wealth. Rather, it’s about recognizing that Click here to continue reading »”Do You Give Your Power Away At Work?”
The following is a guest piece by Harvard Business Review columnist Deborah Mills-Scofield.
If you haven’t seen the new Les Misérables movie you should. It powerfully portrays many of today’s issues: poverty, inequality and inequity, the struggle of self-organized groups versus command-and-control and liberty to name a few. Most profoundly, it speaks to the overwhelming and dangerous hold of the status quo on our minds and souls.
The battle between the new and the status quo is epitomized in the relationship between Javert, a policeman ingrained the life of Law and Order, and Valjean, a reformed ex-con who through grace and freedom has become a just and caring businessman in the community. Javert, unable to receive Valjean’s grace and freedom, actually kills himself instead of accepting a world where compassion and understanding counterbalance the rule of Law, a world most of us prefer.
So what does this have to do with business? A lot. On first blush, the lesson is the stranglehold of the status quo binding us to the present, and past, so we are unable Click here to continue reading »”Les Misérables – A Study In The Strangulation Of The Status Quo”
When it comes to successfully leading today’s organizations, one skill that’s been growing in importance and need is the ability to manage change. While many of us have read about various organizations to understand how they’ve dealt with change, I’d like to share an experiment done with crows to highlight some key lessons we can glean from this research on how to embrace change.
In his TED talk, Joshua Klein describes an experiment he performed to understand the nature of intelligence found in crows. For his experiment, Klein created a vending machine that would dispense peanuts when a coin was dropped into the coin slot. At first, he placed the peanuts on a feeding tray above the coin slot, along with a number of coins, to help attract the interest of the nearby crows.
Once Klein saw that the birds had become comfortable eating peanuts on the vending machine, he removed the peanuts from the feeding tray, leaving only the coins behind. When the other birds and squirrels inspected the device and found only coins on the tray, they left to forage for food elsewhere. The crows, on the other hand, used their beaks to push the coins around in order to see if they could find a peanut.
Naturally, this action caused one of the coins to fall into the coin slot, resulting in the machine dispensing a peanut. In a short period of time, the crows caught on that Click here to continue reading »”How To Embrace Change In Today’s Organizations”
The following is a guest post by contributing editor of strategy+business Sally Helgesen.
The intense focus on corporate change during the last decade has given us a greater appreciation of the role that culture plays in organizations. Change efforts can succeed only if the culture is engaged; getting the strategy and other formal elements right is never enough.
And culture is vested in people — how they work, what they believe, how they behave and communicate, and what they ask of themselves. It’s the bedrock reality of an organization, its true ground. When culture is harnessed, extraordinary transformations can occur.
Many of this year’s business books recognize culture’s role as the essential driver of effective change. But frequently their suggestions for engaging the levers of culture are limited to exhortation: Be more open! Behave less hierarchically! Become a change agent! By contrast, the two books reviewed below offer highly specific ways of engaging culture to build more effective, productive, and innovative organizations.
The first edition of Productive Workplaces: Dignity, Meaning, and Community in the 21st Century by Marvin R. Weibord is a highly personal, sometimes idiosyncratic account of Weisbord’s own quest to become a better leader, and a wise and timeless contribution to the literature of work that a quarter-century later is the year’s best business book on organizational culture.
In the new edition, updated and expanded, Weisbord Click here to continue reading »”Engaging Culture One Conversation At A Time”