Monthly Archives: March 2009


News: Next accreditation course announced

We do this on an annual basis ... bring a Cognitive Edge heavy weight over from the shores yonder to train up local folk in the essential techniques of gathering narratives and using them to make sense of complexity. Usually, we bring our one Prof Dave Snowden. This year however we're bring out Mr Steve Bealing, none other than the CEO of Cognitive Edge to facilitate the training. Once trained, you'll be a part of the global network of Cognitive Edge Practitioners [...]

By |March 31st, 2009|Categories: News|Tags: |0 Comments

News: Thrive! .. a new offering

Sonja and I are really chuffed to announce a new offering:Thrive! through Effective Adaptation. Since about October last year it has become clear that our old ways of managing people and business  have been found wanting amidst the economic meltdown. We have watched eagerly as to how the business world is responding. One of the responses that concerns us is the "lean" approach that believes our businesses will survive if we just manage to cut costs effectively and become leaner [...]

Pendulums and Knee-jerk reactions

When a system is over-constrained (i.e. there are too many rules or too much bureaucracy) it often folds back into chaos i.e. order collapses.  For example, too much bureaucracy forces employees to find all kinds of work-arounds to get their work done, leading to a collapse of discipline.  Once a system is in chaos, order is often imposed by a despotic leader.  All goes well for a while, but slowly the bureaucracy creeps in again, and in an attempt to [...]


We often need to explain to people what a heuristic is.  Usually we tell them that it's similar to a "rule of thumb" and then try to give examples. I came across this great example on Bob Sutton's blog ... "Today, after lunch, an executive told me a story about how a secretary where he worked walked-up to the boss and asked "when are the layoffs?"  The boss looked shocked and wondered what in the world prompted the question.  She answered  that [...]

Why organisations struggle to adopt social networking internally

CIO magazine reported on a research piece done by The Burton Group on why large organisations find it difficult to adopt social networking internally when their employees use it so easily outside of work. Some of the key issues identified are the same ones that have hamstrung many KM initiatives. Here's an excerpt from the article, I especially like the quote in bold towards the end of the final bullet point ... "Some vendors are saying employees will go in and naturally fill these enterprise [...]

Accountability struggles

During a really interesting meeting this morning, it was said: You never hear about "accountability struggles".  Power is highly desired, accountability not so. This line articulated a pattern we see often in culture audits.  Manager's hesitance to accept responsibility and accountability for decisions often lead to inertia and a "pass the buck" mentality that is detrimental to the productivity and morale of employees.  I wonder how much of this is caused by a general intolerance to failure in an organisation.  [...]

Vote for us in the blog awards

We're a finalist in the SA Blog Awards for a second year in a row. We're chuffed as we've been nominated in the Best Business Blogand Best Group Blog. To those who nominated us, thanks. To those who might be tempted to vote for us ... mosey on over to the blog awards widget on the right of this page, click and enter your vote for us (and other amazing local blogs). Voting closes on 1st April 2009.

On a lighter note …

Someone sent me this funny anecdote about the consequences of assuming the person you're communicating with understands what you mean ... Employee; "Yello Bakery, how I can help you?" Customer; "I would like to order a cake for Friday." Employee; "What you want on cake?" Customer; "Best wishes Suzanne." and underneath that, "We will miss you." The result ...

By |March 17th, 2009|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |0 Comments

Analogies of the world today

Dave is having some trouble with editors of the HBR who want him to "dumb" down the content of his next article for their more"astute" business readers. This is how he likens the process: "In both cases it's rather like a conclave of dinosaurs sitting down in the wreckage of their world post impact, demanding more simple articles on dental hygiene to cope with the fur of these strange new things, the early mammals. Or if you want another illustration, playing that old familiar fiddle while [...]

How a heavy mallet solves a complex problem

You might have seen that the slogan we have up on our website is this: "The common ground between complex problems and simple solutions." In explaining what this means we often refer to the use of an efficiency rudder used to improve the turning circle of ships (read about it here). In a similar light, I've discovered the story of John Snow as an example of how a simple solution can solve a complex problem ... In 1854, cholera broke out in [...]