Imploding CRT photographed with high speed air-gap flash. c 2012 Niels Noordhoek (CC BY-SA 3.0) Via Wikimedia Commons

Why Flat Organization Implodes

As Mark Nichols describes in “Flat Will Kill You, Eventually: Why Every Company Needs Structure“, flat seems like such a great idea when we start out. It works so well and things go so smoothly. Then everything slides downhill on a runaway shopping cart into hell of recrimination, anger and mistrust. What in the world just happened? Why did the …

Höckerschwan, White swan, Cygnus olor, Wild duck, Stockente, Anas platyrhynchos ginsheim-gustavsburg. (c) 2010 Vera Buhl, CC-BY-SA-3

Sometimes You Really Can’t Describe What You Do

I was really frustrated. I was trying to explain what a particular Work Swan — one of these people who are “hidden” high potentials, like Andersen’s “ugly duckling” — brought to the table and I just kept hitting a wall. I knew that this person brought a solid set of skills, but they were transformative. When you added him to …

"Driving over the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge", (c) 2012 Roman Bansen-CC BY SA 2.0). Via Wikimedia.

Warren Kinston on Movements and Their Leadership

Some thoughts on Movements as described by Warren Kinston. I can’t imagine that they are interesting to anyone else, just here as notes for the future. Kinston, Warren. Working with Values: Software for the Mind. SIGMA Centre: London. From Chapter 10 : “G-35 Ideals” : “Social Processes”. Ideals have the power to awaken people permanently to possibilities of social life …

Looking down at Château-d'Oex from our chateau on after a snowfall. © E. Forrest Christian.

Software Architecture: There Is No One Right Way

I spent some time perusing the programming stacks at Seattle’s main library today, and skimmed through some texts on software architecture. Perhaps the most interesting was 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts (ed. Richard Monson-Haefel). It’s a collection of various two-page thoughts from people who do software architecture from across the globe. Think Chicken …

Linda King finds working as a roof bolter's helper at the Bullitt Mine in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, more challenging and better paying than her previous job in a garment factory (NARA)

Accomplishment Does Not Equal Success

One of the mistakes I made early on in my career was to believe that if I had some great accomplishments that I would gain success, including things like money and community respect. This is clearly false, and I’ve recently had a series of communications with an organizational thinker that confirms it. But first let’s look at some of the …

Silver bullet

Why There Is Never Going To Be A Silver Bullet

There is no single, best way to solve business problems. Or career problems. Or project problems. Or marriage problems. Or any one type of problems. You’d think that more than two decades after Fred Brooks told us that, at least in software, we would know that there is no silver bullet. The reason is simple: Life is complex. Most of …

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 …

7 Decision Making Approaches: EMPIRICIST

Empiricists love data. Lots of data. Warren Kinston and Jimmy Algie posited that there are seven, and only seven, unique mindsets or approaches humans use when making decisions about action. This is conscious decision, not simply unconscious reaction based on stimula-response.I’ve got the full article available, although the quality is wanting. (See [2]) Warren Kinston and Jimmy Algie weren’t a …

Advertisment design study for Pierce Arrow automobiles (1915). By Edward Penfield. Via Library of Congress collection.

Make Better Decisions By Being Emotional

If you’re not listening to your emotions, you’re likely making poor decisions. Here’s why.

ADLER typewriter Model n°7 (Frankfurt / Germany). Unknown model date (probably ~1930/40). By Dake

Warren Kinston on Democracy

You can’t see it until you see it. And once you see it, you can’t not see it! Last fall, Dr. Warren Kinston wrote a note on Democracy at the request of some of the dissident leaders in Thailand, where he has a home and spends about a quarter of his year. This is a rough draft, but he has …