Postmodernism is an art of the surface; but so were the Gothics

Postmodern art, like Neoclassical art, is above all an art of the surface: an art of reflections rather than visions. It has thrived in the depthless world of high-speed offset printing and digital design, where modernism starves. But the world of the sribes, in which the craft of type design is rooted, was a depthless world too. It was the world of the Gothic painters, in which everything is…

Job Role (Social Role) Defines Your Behaviour: Wilfred Brown & Elliott Jaques

At rehearsal of Oliver Twist (Broadway, ca 1912). Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

Behavior is as much defined and limited by the role that a work inhabits as his personality and the quality of his relationships within the company. Lord Wilfred Brown, the Managing Director of Glacier Metal Company for decades and a major management thinker in his own right, was insistent on this point. You can even take this farther than he did: the social role you inhabit (or are forced into)…

Trust Is Necessary To Society. The Glacier Model Builds Trust

Licensed through Do not reuse.

There’s a fascinating paper at the IMF by social capital guru Francis Fukuyama (Social Capital and Civil Society – Prepared for delivery at the IMF Conference on Second Generation Reforms) that covers his reasoning behind social capital being called “capital” at all. Besides being interested in how to create societies, I’ve always found him a lucid writer who discusses a topic that relates to t…

Not All Organizations Should Be Appreciated

Gaza protest Amsterdam by Jos van Zetten (CC BY 2.0)

A few years ago, I was talking with Naga Kumar, who had been a colleague of David Cooperrider at Case Western when he was developing Appreciative Inquiry. He told me that while he like and used a lot of AI in his work, he parted ways with Cooperrider, who believed that AI was value neutral: there was something to appreciate in any organization.

Which always brings up the Nazi question: can you…

7 Decision Making Approaches: IMAGINIST / INTUITIONIST

[I continue my notes on Kinston & Algie’s decision systems.]

As we continue with our exploration of the seven approaches to decision making that were originally developed by Jimmy Algie, reformulated by he and Warren Kinston, then extended by Warren [refs follow below], keep in mind that they can also be seen in two other ways.

Languages of Achievement: The words and syntax you use to talk…

Using Timespans to Solve Communication Problems

calendar page

Ever wonder if timespans has any practical usefulness? Here is how I used timespans to clear up a communication problem in a global IT architecture group for an international bank.

Awhile back I worked with a group of enterprise architects (EA) at an international bank with major operations in all the inhabited continents. The group, although “headquartered” in the US, had members in each of…

Each Level of Work Has Its Own Key Value (Jack Fallow)

Dome of the Belgian royal greenhouses in Laeken (external). (c) E. Forrest Christian

Jack Fallow had an excellent article in the recent GO Society book, Organization Design, Levels of Work and Human Capability: Executive Guide (“On Being Heard: Insights from complexity theory
and values as touchstones for effective executive communication
across the levels”). In it, Jack talks about the values that followers seem to expect from a leader who is supposed to be at each level. I…

IQ and Success: What’s the Real Interaction?

Illuminated incandescent replacement curly fluorescent light bulb

Malcolm Gladwell reports that “the correlation between I.Q. and occupational success is between 0.2 and 0.3.” That’s more than no correlation at all but much less than we often think. (It also isn’t entirely accurate.) But it seems somewhat counterintuitive. Elliott Jaques has an answer. I’m betting that one’s current capacity of work (your level or work that gets measured by the CIP process) is…

Why Rewarding Competitiveness Is Stupid If You Want To Make Money

Stack of golden George Washington dollar coins,. (c) 2007 Bill Koslosky, MD (CC BY 2.5)

Here’s a repost from 2006 that didn’t make it over. It describes a set of studies that so disturb the basic religion of MBA that it required replication across the world to get published. With minor revisions.

American business rewards competitiveness.

That may seem like a know-nothing statement. Markets reward people with the best product. Most people in America believe that markets are a…

Using Requisite Organization to Manage Staff in an Evangelical Megachurch

Winter at Lofoten (2008). By Tackbert. Public Domain.

The Rev. Dr. John Morgan is the head pastor of a growing independent Evangelical church in New Mexico that uses the mega-church model. Morgan wrote a chapter in the GO Society book (disclosure: I edited that piece) that does a good job describing his efforts and how Work Levels play out in independent churches.

In these churches, the local congregation is the only authority over the pastor.

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