Employees at Mid-Continent Refinery [ca. 1943 Tulsa, OK (LOC). By John Vachon]

Communities of Practice Help Teams and Their Managers Perform Better

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Reviews - Articles Leave a Comment

Robert McDermott has written an excellent (if aged) introduction for people who don’t yet understand Communities of Practice (CoP). He compares and contrasts them to teams, and describes how a community of practice can complement teams in team-based organizations in a way that the Matrix Organization (“does the Matrix have YOU?”) does not. Matrix organizations are almost always a bad …

Marine Sgt. at New Orleans, La. By Howard R.Hollem. Library of Congress collection via Flickr.

How to Break Through the “Impermeable Clay Layer” of Middle Managers

E. Forrest Christian Change, Managing 3 Comments

In the last post on implementation, APFG commented that the middle layer in the company is where you have most of the problems. Since almost everyone says this, let’s take a look at why. Let’s admit that it is not always true: the middle layer in a company isn’t always the source of the problems. There are often people at …

Marine Sgt. at New Orleans, La. By Howard R.Hollem. Library of Congress collection via Flickr.

Why We Over-Estimate In Evaluations

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Reviews - Articles 3 Comments

While at the PeopleFit “Assessing Raw Talent” class this last week, I heard that it is common for people to overestimate the CIP (Elliott Jaques’s idea of Complexity of Information Processing) of persons who have a lower CIP and to underestimate their subordinates who have a higher CIP than they do. I figured that they were simply a 2002 article …

Tata Sons Implementing Billis’s Levels

E. Forrest Christian Change, Managing, Reviews - Articles Leave a Comment

I went searching for more information about David Billis’s Worklevels. It turns out that Tata Sons, a Indian consortium of sorts of 80 companies, has implemented Billis’s worklevels in a new management system. The article is, of course, from Tata, but it covers some interesting ground on how a company would implement a SST-based organizational structure. If someone has any …

Belgian royal conservatory's dome, interior with sun. (c) E. Forrest Christian

Organizations are the ultimate cross-functional team

E. Forrest Christian Governance, Managing, Reviews - Books, Theory Leave a Comment

From Brown and Duguid’s The Social Life of Information Well, duh. Wish I had thought of that. The current cry for “cross-functional teams” results from the inability of the organization to manage its divisions. The local divisions will occur in any group that gets larger than about 12. Put fifty people in a church even and you will get a …

Pile of twenty pound notes. (c) 2011 TaxFix.co.uk Ltd.. (CC BY 2.0) Via flickr.

“Incentive Systems Promote Corporate Corruption”: Guest article by Al Gorman

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Reviews - Articles 3 Comments

Al Gorman has sent me an article that explains in more depth some of the points about incentive systems that he has made on this site. He’s volunteered to have it posted here, so I’ve converted it to PDF for easy, non-threatening viewing enjoyment. It’s interesting that he and Harald Solaas make such similar points. I think that Solaas says …

Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Branden Powell keeps track of aircraft using a SPN-43 radar screen during routine flight operations on board amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1). Tarawa is participating in a composite unit training exercise with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit off the coast of Southern California. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Niegel (RELEASED)

Using Time Span of Discretion to Price Consulting Services?

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Project Management 5 Comments

The issue of how to price consulting services perennially agitates IT consulting companies. The issue of market price never quite seems to fulfill the need: what a client will bear is often as close to free as they can get. All too often, customers get shafted with a too-high price for twenty-somethings but can’t see the value of the older, …

Leaving Yongsan Station. (c) Danleo (CC BY 2.5). Via Wikimedia Commons.

Jaques and Clement on Leadership and Subordinate Behaviours

E. Forrest Christian Managing, Theory Leave a Comment

In their book, Executive Leadership, Elliott Jaques and Stephen Clement make the point that almost any personality type can be an effective manager — role that contains leadership. (They go to lengths to make it clear that leadership does not exist outside of a particular role performance.) These personality quirks are irrelevant until they become disruptive to the organization or …