Weekly Download 14.16


Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

How to assess how business-centric you really are: IT is rapidly becoming front-stage in solving business issues. This rubric is a good way to examine one’s focus.

The App I Used to Break Into My Neighbor’s Home: With an attention-grabbing headline, this article explores the nefarious use of 3D printing and kiosk technology. But aren’t physical keys on the way out?  I think that a lot more damage can be done with either password hacking or a crowbar.

It’s easy to put labels on people to describe who they are or why they act the way they do. Taking this type of shortcut often has its pitfalls; putting labels on how to manage Millennials is one example. 4 Things You Thought Were True About Managing Millennials (HBR) challenges conventional wisdom about this demographic.

Secrets of Generation Flux (Fast Company): This article summarizes many themes I have been writing about. It also cites one of my favorite authorities on this new world of work (Aaron Levie, CEO and cofounder of Box). While it is fairly long and dates to November of 2012, the information is relevant and insightful. Key quote:

“This is the great challenge of 21st-century leadership. We have grown up with certain assumptions about what works in an enterprise, what the metrics for success are, how we organize and deploy resources. The bulk of those assumptions are wrong now. The world in which we were raised and trained no longer exists. The clarity of words we use to discuss business, standbys like marketplace and competitive advantage, are being redefined and rendered almost meaningless.”

Are We as a Society Falling Apart?: Dr. Ichak Adizes has long been a favorite read. He hits the issue of the decline of mutual trust and respect head on.

A Sticky Situation

stuckAt Strategic Leverage Partners, we had a very brief and specific definition of “stuck.” Moving from problem mode to solution requires that we realize something is holding us back. The second step is figuring out how to get unstuck. The most obvious way is to find the answer to our question. But what if we are asking the wrong question?

Perhaps we’re framing the question with a historical bias. Perhaps for the situation, the solution set is not known. Therefore, we have to figure out what is different, what we don’t know or what hasn’t been considered.

  • Are will willing to pause (versus just push harder)?
  • Are we willing to look to the outside (versus look harder inside)?
  • Are we willing to seek and consider diverse opinions (versus go to our trusted sources or ideas)?
  • Are we willing to consider that we ourselves are part of the problem (versus looking at others)?

Today, more than ever, we need to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, one where historical norms aren’t nearly as relevant. Consider what steps you’re willing to take to get unstuck. There are many options, as long as you are open to a new approach

Weekly Download 14.15

Here’s a recap of news and notes from around the Web that caught my attention over the past week or so.

download-158006_640Microsoft’s CEO message to employees on July 10 was called Bold Ambition & Our Core. Change is a-comin’. Satya Nadella addresses:

  • A “mobile-first and cloud-first” world.
  • Abandoning “devices and services” which Steven Ballmer rolled out last fall (September, 27 2013 Shareholder Letter), to be replaced by “productivity and platform.”
  • Transitioning from automated business processes to intelligent business processes.
  • Digital work and life experiences.

He comments on culture change:

“Nothing is off the table in how we think about shifting our culture to deliver on this core strategy. Organizations will change. Mergers and acquisitions will occur. Job responsibilities will evolve. New partnerships will be formed. Tired traditions will be questioned. Our priorities will be adjusted. New skills will be built. New ideas will be heard. New hires will be made. Processes will be simplified. And if you want to thrive at Microsoft and make a world impact, you and your team must add numerous more changes to this list that you will be enthusiastic about driving.”

I really like the closing:

“A few months ago on a call with investors I quoted Nietzsche and said that we must have “courage in the face of reality.” Even more important, we must have courage in the face of opportunity. We have clarity in purpose to empower every individual and organization to do more and achieve more. We have the right capabilities to reinvent productivity and platforms for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. Now, we must build the right culture to take advantage of our huge opportunity. And culture change starts with one individual at a time. Rainer Maria Rilke’s words say it best: “The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.” We must each have the courage to transform as individuals. We must ask ourselves, what idea can I bring to life? What insight can I illuminate? What individual life could I change? What customer can I delight? What new skill could I learn? What team could I help build? What orthodoxy should I question? With the courage to transform individually, we will collectively transform this company and seize the great opportunity ahead.”