ChangeThis: Issue 62
September 09, 2009
The 62nd issue of ChangeThis has been published for your autodidactic pleasure. Excerpts and links below. ::::: Breaking Organizational Codependence: Downsizing’s Liberating Wake-Up Call by David Noer "I’m told there is an ancient Chinese curse that translates into 'May you live in interesting times.
Breaking Organizational Codependence: Downsizing's Liberating Wake-Up Call by David Noer
"I'm told there is an ancient Chinese curse that translates into 'May you live in interesting times.' That it is a curse certainly rings true as we experience today's global pandemic of downsizing. Layoff victims and survivors alike react to this new reality with a toxic stew of debilitating emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety and depression—what I call layoff survivor sickness. We can change that though. We can reframe the death toll of the old paradigm into a wake-up call that will help us create an exciting world of work that is more autonomous, personally relevant, and more in congruence with our unique gifts.
We first need to understand the nature of the change and the insidious power of organizational codependency. Then we need the courage to break its stifling grip on our human spirit and creativity. Part of our 'interesting times' involves living through the most fundamental change in the psychological contract that has connected employee to employer since the industrial revolution. Like it or not—and initially, most of us find a lot not to like—in this new paradigm people are viewed as short term costs to be reduced or eliminated, as opposed to assets to be nurtured and developed over a career. Despite our cultural conditioning, we need the courage to face this fact and reconceptualize our identity."
What's Your CQ and Why Should You Care? by David Livermore
"You've heard about IQ and EQ. But what's your CQ? CQ, or cultural intelligence, is more than just a kitschy catch phrase for cultural competence. It's a fresh, new approach to leading in our multicultural, globalized world. Cultural intelligence is defined as the capability to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures. And research demonstrates a leader's CQ may easily be the single greatest difference between thriving in the 21st century world and becoming obsolete."
Below C-Level Strategy by John Spence
"The CEO and her senior management team have just come back from a three-day offsite in Palm Beach with the new 'global strategy' and now it's your job as a business-line or mid-level manager to figure out how to take these lofty ideas and long-term plans and build an organization to effectively implement them in the real world. Or, you're a small business owner/manager and may never have had a 'three-day strategy off-site' at a high-end resort, but you still need to figure out how to create a company that can profitably compete in the marketplace. This sort of a situation calls for a different type of strategy, one that is less about looking at 'external' factors like differentiation and positioning; and more about looking at the 'internal' strategies of how to build an agile organization that can flawlessly execute on the key business objectives. This sort of strategic planning requires someone who is down in the trenches and understands how the business really works, far away from the ivory tower. Whereas C- level strategic planning is for people that 'make' budgets; below C-level strategic planning is for those of us that are given a budget. Folks at the C-level make broad reaching decisions that direct people and departments across the entire organization, while those of us below C-level often have to focus on the few places within the organization where we do have impact, influence and some level of control. Luckily, the most important strategies for creating a highly successful organization fall into a handful of key result areas, most of which are completely within your control."
Change Master: Why Adapting is the Most Crucial Skill You'll Ever by MJ Ryan
"In a very real way, what is being asked of us now is no more or less than to become consciously aligned with what life has always required on this planet. In 1956, the father of stress research, Hans Selye wrote in his seminal work, The Stress of Life, 'Life is largely a process of adaptation to the circumstances in which we exist. A perennial give and take has been going on between living matter and its inanimate surroundings, between one living being and another, ever since the dawn of life in the prehistoric oceans. The secret of health and happiness lies in successful adjustment to the ever-changing conditions on this globe; the penalties for failure in this great process of adaptation are disease and unhappiness.'
In order to not merely to survive, but to thrive during the greatest period of transformation humans have ever experienced, we are all being called on to stretch mentally, emotionally, and spiritually into the future. It's my hope that this manifesto offers you both comfort and practical support as you take on this challenge and become a Master of Change."
The Importance of Discovering Your Plan B by John Mullins & Randy Komisar
"If the founders of Google, Starbucks, or PayPal had stuck to their original business plans, we'd likely never have heard of them. Instead, they made radical changes to their initial models, became household names, and delivered huge returns for their founders and investors. How did they get from their Plan A to a business model that worked? Why did they succeed when most new ventures crash and burn?
Every aspiring entrepreneur, whether they desire to start a new company or create something new within an existing company, has a Plan A—and virtually all of these individuals believe that their Plan A will work. They can probably even imagine how they'll look on the cover of Fortune or Inc. magazine. Unfortunately, they are usually wrong. But what separates the ultimate successes from the rest is what they do when their first plan fails to catch on. Do they lick their wounds, get back on their feet, and morph their newly found insights into great businesses or do they doggedly stick to their original plan?"
Green Design with Life Cycle in Mind by Kimi Ceridon
"It is not impossible to integrate sustainability into early stages of design. Cradle-to-grave environmental impact analysis methods are rarely used as a metric during product development. In early stages of a project, companies measure feasibility according to money, performance and time metrics. Sustainability is commonly measured at a design cycle's end on finished products when design features cannot be easily modified for sustainability measures. It is ineffective to apply new design metrics to finished products. Evaluating the 'greenness' of products is typically done to market the 'greenest' product in a line. This does not address the need to create sustainable products at project onset; thus, products remain 'un-green' and unsustainable.
It is time for new feasibility metric—Green Design with Life Cycle in Mind. Green design thinking must be accessible and applicable to product development through a set of tools designed for early stages of product development."