June 25, 2020

Everything ends. It just does. So let go.

Failure to let go of what’s ending is one of the most common reasons that people get stuck. When we look to the past, we turn our backs on our future, on potential and on possibilities. And in these times of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity, heaven knows we all need to focus on possibilities.

In the field of Systems Leadership theory, it’s often mentioned that the Indo-European root of “to lead” is “leith”. It means “go forth”, to “cross a threshold” or “to die”. It’s the death part that scares us so much. But, if we’re going to survive in these times, we must let old ideas, old processes and old ways of being die. Because without their death, there can be no rebirth.

And yet, endings are hard.

Letting things end messes with our sense of certainty...

June 17, 2020

Let’s talk about power.

When faced with complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity as we are in the current health, economic and political climate, it can be tempting to double down on structure, rules, policies and regulations, because these things give us a sense of power. And through that power, control.

The problem is, these forms of power and control aren’t real. They’re an illusion and clinging to them is a recipe for disaster over time.

I'm not saying there should be no org charts, or hierarchy. In fact, organizational hierarchies are a good thing because in theory, they allow people at each level to do their jobs better. Rather than worrying about what everyone else is doing, each individual can focus on their specific area and their specific results. In other words, hierarchy allows for s...

June 10, 2020

Last week, we talked about the maladaptive system trap known as Success to the Successful. If you haven’t read it, take a peek at it before proceeding with this post.

In the Success to the Successful trap, those who are successful are granted additional advantages that give them the ability to compete more effectively and therefore win more easily in the future. It causes us to double down on what we think has worked for us in the past. The result is the same ideas, the same people, the same tech, the same measurements and the same tools as we’ve always had.

It’s a recipe for long-term lackluster performance.

Here’s what to do about it.

Step 1: Focus on the environment that created the success

Where might there be an unfair advantage? Does your executive team hire people who are exactly like th...

June 5, 2020

Let’s say Bill and Janet are equally qualified product managers who are each given a critical product development project.

Bill is a good guy, a smart guy and a solid guy. You’ve known guys like Bill your whole life. You know you can count on him. You’re very confident in his abilities.

Maybe Janet is a person of colour. Maybe she’s a recent immigrant. Maybe they’re non-binary. Maybe she didn’t go to the same school as you. Maybe she came from a different socio-economic background than you did. Maybe she practices a different religion than you do. Maybe she’s an atheist and you are not. And maybe, deep down, you have some ideas about what those things represent. And maybe, this leaves you less confident in her abilities.

Janet’s team is solid, but their product is breaking new ground for the...

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