Organizational Efficiency…

I totally agree that organizations get obsessed with certifications for the utterly wrong reasons – as an example (albeit exaggerated for dramatic effect), if you were in the business of manufacturing PFDs (Personal Flotation device – or Lifejackets) out of Concrete, you could apply for an ISO9001 or similar certification and get this -you could actually get certified – Why?
Because you need to demonstrate and prove that your process is capable of producing an output that meets the technical specifications you have established. So while I only intended this to be a humorous take on the value of certifications – it does have a rather unsettling connotation when you really think about it in the broader construct of how we typically put our faith (blind faith) in partnering with vendors who have such certifications – Certifications that are typically proffered as a non – negotiable requirement in many Organizations.
Therefore there can be no doubt in my mind that the reverse is true – we can no longer treat Operational efficiency and compliance as distractions – but instead give them the respect and Organizational investment that is their due.
An Organizations operational efficiency and compliance maturity have always been key indicators that have been and continue to be held in the highest esteem. The Organizations that treat these two indicators as moving targets are the most like to see consistent growth and share of mind/market in the long term.
Compliance should be treated as an ‘Early Warning System’ when applied for the right reason.
Compliance needs to be treated as the Key Control Indicators that must be consistently met or exceeded – and most importantly, that tell you sufficiently in advance that failure is about to occur. This sort of approach allows the Organization to develop a predictable process path that always alerts for incoming danger in advance such that the dangers can be anticipated and workarounds implemented to mitigate the danger at very least, mitigate the impact to a tolerable level.
Add to this the environment we are currently required to operate within: Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, All things Internet, I/T Security and of course Commerce.
There has never been a more opportune opportunity for Organizations who have a track record for Operational efficiency and Compliance.

Is leadership a choice?

Saying leadership is a Choice to me sounds rather like saying Courage is a choice. I cannot separate the two qualities regardless which way I look at it. if I am able to make the choice to be a leader, it stands to reason that I am also able to make a choice to be courageous.
Now that seems to be quite a leap for me.
The thing to remember about leadership is that it cannot survive without ‘Follower-ship.’ Let’s imagine there is a fire alarm in your office building and that quiet, reserved individual suddenly becomes galvanized into action and proceeds to lead a dangerous path onto the building roof. Now, faced with the certainly burning to death, or leaping off the roof to the pavement 4 floors below, the quiet individual asks everyone to follow him…and leaps!

Would you?

You see a leader would be able to make that leap and get me to follow him/her!

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Leadership is a behaviour…and we l know that any behaviour can be learned – or indeed imbibed through force of habit or consistent use.
Behaviours are constantly under the gun to be changed, altered, improved, re-set or plain, outright ordered into conformity – consider the impact a stop sign has on us while driving.
In that context, Leadership can be a learned behaviour – but that still is a far cry from it being a simple choice that allows anyone  to take the leadership mantle.
Why?
Because woven into this complex mesh of behaviours, skills, knowledge and experience is an interesting  little thing called Charisma. This quality is not something that can be taught…neither can it be learned…either you have it or you don’t.
Sure anyone can make it a choice to lead…the question do we feel motivated enough to follow…

Implementing Change in the context of the Organzational model…

I haven’t heard a more ludicrous proposition in a while. If change comes naturally to people why don’t we alternate right/left hands when we shake hands. Why don’t we swop feet to hit the gas or the brake pedals from time to time? Why don’t we walk backwards rather than walk forward all the time. Why don’t we get in and out of bed from totally different directions every night. This nonsensical diatribe can go on and on – but all it really does is establish that humans are hard-wired to practice perfection within a specific comfort zone and than resist (with their very life) the need to change to any other comfort zone (even if it is supposed to be better). I am not saying this predilection for a constant is right…but that’s just how we are.

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The Change Juggernaut marches on. Today our workplace is plagued with disappearing  low skilled jobs – thanks to the I/T revolution that is happening with Big Data and Analytics, Cognitive computing, Deep Learning systems, The Cloud and next generation Robotics (consider the dramatic breakthrus made by companies like Boston Dynamics). All facets of business and industry are being impacted, and it is only a matter of time when the last few bastions of human endeavor like education and medicine will also be threatened with job loss (as will white collar Mgt).  So we are right to want to resist these great upheavals, but it is inevitable. There are no simple answers…such as re-tool your skill set, or get a better education…this Change is Disruptive. Try as we may, there is no resisting this terrifying yet promising technology wave poised to inundate us all!

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We need to recognize that the reason Change Management initiatives do not work as well as we would like them to is because we often  attempt implementing a Change design point that is better suited to a stable, ‘Command & Control’ type structure rather than the more dynamic Organic structures of today..
The Organic Organizational model of today best represents the current need.

In their book ” The Management of Innovation,” Burns and Stalker point out that organic structures are appropriate in unstable, turbulent, unpredictable environments and for non-routine tasks and technologies.

Here are some of the conditions that best support an Organic Organizational model: Decentralization, Flexible, Broad job descriptions, Interdependence, Complex/ Multi-directional communication, Employee directed initiative, fewer and more broadly defined rules, Regulations, Procedures, and Processes, Employee  engagement/involvement  in problem solving and decision making.
You can see just how easy it is to falter in our Change endeavors, if we fail to recognize the context of the Organization model we are working within.

Imagine a world with excess of 10 billion people within the next 50 years…

Imagine a world with excess of 10 billion people within the next 50 years. China and India already have populations of  1.3 Billion people each (roughly). If you assume 40% of those populations form a highly skilled/highly educated workforce you are talking about in excess of 560 Million people – or roughly just under two times the entire population of the U.S.A.
These are highly skilled, qualified individuals with Math, Sciences, Engineering type qualifications. Where do you think we are going to harvest these skills from?
Deep learning, machine learning, Nano Technology, Robotics are already here and either beta testing or in production. Check out advanced Robots that Boston Dynamics has already been demonstrating. Yes indeed…the writing is on the wall.Unfortunately most of the population growth will happen in the less developed regions. We in the  Western world needs to realize that ‘American Idol’ and  ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ does nothing for our competitive edge!

Asimov’s three laws of robotics…

Regardless how far we advance in our pursuit of better robotics, Asimov’s three laws will still apply:
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

If I was appointed CEO of Planet Earth, what would be my first decree?

Having grown tired of the double standards that we have chosen to embrace with regard to our ‘Map of the World’ as we know it,  I would remove all political barriers of immigration, educational requirements, visa fees, reciprocal trade and tourism agreements, etc. Anything that makes it difficult or near impossible for someone living in one part of the world to visit and settle in any other part of the world of their choice.

We need to all remember that sometime, not too long ago, our forefathers  were all despised immigrants, who were allowed to settle in foreign lands…only to depose the rightful aboriginal peoples of said lands. So why do we bar anyone from settling in any land of his/her choice?

Who gave us the god given right to do so?