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Why is it Comforting to Listen to Problem-focused Media

The job of the journalist is to create transparency. So, why do we pay so much attention to the media’s incessant drumbeat about the world, our country and our city falling apart? Why do we turn on the online news before breakfast and again for the 6 o’clock TV news to hear the latest list of […]

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Adding lightness in order to get your team to take flight

In the world of aviation design, there’s a practice of removing weight so an aircraft requires less energy to fly higher, faster and further. It seems simple, but it takes considerable skill to know where to remove the things that matter. Retaining an aircraft’s structural integrity and building its backup systems are critical for the […]

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To Improve Engagement, Eliminate Your Problem Analysis Virus.

Much good work is being done to create organizations that have engaged leadership, employees, and customers through non-hierarchical (even holacratic*) approaches. Increasingly driven by creativity and self-governing processes, these businesses stand out in intensely competitive markets or sectors. Meanwhile, in some organizations – even those with an eye on the engagement approach – the problem […]

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Just do it: Making Risk Easier

Risk avoidance is easy. Risk assessment and action is harder. The CMO had stuck his head in the marketing team’s door. They were anxiously discussing the merits of the organization’s proposed brand and customer experience position. He said, ‘Stop the discussion and get on with implementing it…now!’ One of the team said, ‘But the research […]

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When I Insist, You Resist. How Not To Create Engagement

On the one hand, the old line, ‘organizations are full of people anxious to be told what to do’ may still be true. Organizations are also full of people resenting hierarchy, or at least, wishing there was less of it, especially the hierarchy that generates politics. The hierarchical types usually ask, ‘Why won’t they do what […]

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How to bring transparency to, ‘That’s Not What We Wanted!’

We’ve all been there. You’ve worked hard to develop the presentation or proposal. During the meeting there’s shuffling of feet. Suddenly, a member of the team says, ‘This is interesting, but…’ The presenter of the bad news has only mild awareness that likely this situation arose because they were, a) under skilled at briefing, and/or b) […]

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To Tell, To Mentor, To Coach? That is the question!

‘Why is it that when I ask people to do something they don’t follow up?‘ This came from an exasperated leader of a volunteer group. The organizational setting was more cross-collaboration than hierarchical, but actions that lead to outcomes were no less essential to the success of the group. The leader and I talked about […]

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Use Transparency to Clarify Problems, Build Solutions

Much has been said about the chronic need for transparency in government, on Wall Street, etc. The advocates of transparency like WikiLeaks see themselves as champions of the truth. Transparency is an essential component of making progress in society. Some would say that a few of the champions of transparency are a bit obsessive; they […]

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How to get understanding if not agreement

Matt Ridley, the rational optimist, has a wish about, ‘economists versus ecologists and the limits to growth’: ‘If I could have one wish for the Earth’s environment, it would be to bring together the two tribes—to convene a grand powwow of ecologists and economists. I would pose them this simple question and not let them […]

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Fetishists and Solution Focus

Fetishists, according to one dictionary definition, ‘pay excessive attention or attachment to something’. Recently, psychiatrist Ben Furman questioned if we fans of Solution Focus might have become a bit like the overzealous evangelist. Good question! A To be provocative, are some Solution Focus fans fetishists? If we espouse a core competence, (I’ve been practicing the […]

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