Harold Jarche - Posts

 

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Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity

Hierarchies

A new model for work is required. Hierarchies, simple branching networks, are obsolete. They work well when information flows mostly in one direction: down. Hierarchies are good for command and control. They are handy to get things done in small groups. But hierarchies are rather useless to create, innovate, or change.

We have known for quite a while that hierarchies are ineffective when things get complex. For example, matrix management was an attempt to address the weakness of organizational silos resulting from simple, branching hierarchies. In matrix management people have more than one reporting line and often work across business units. However, the performance management system and job structure usually remain intact so that it adds more complication, rather than increased effectiveness.

Any hierarchy, even one wrapped in matrices, becomes an immovable beast as soon as it is created. The only way to change a hierarchical organization is to create a new hierarchy. This is why reorganization is so popular; and so ineffective. Most organizations still deal with complexity through reorganization. Just think of the last time a new CEO came in to ...

Preparing your workforce for tomorrow

I created a performance improvement toolbox when I started this blog in 2004, and have kept adding to it over the years. I often look at workplace performance first from the perspective of whether the situation we are trying to address is complicated or complex. Training works well for complicated problems, when you have clear and measurable objectives. Training looks backwards, at what worked in the past (good & best practices), and creates a controlled environment to develop knowledge and skills. Training can be good to develop ways to reduce errors, which is only one part of improving organizational performance.

My Top Tools 2014

Jane Hart compiles a list every year of the Top 10 Tools for learning. Voting closes on 21 September. Here are my top tools this year, with last year’s position shown in brackets. I have also annotated these tools as to what part of my PKM practice they connect with: SEEK > SENSE > SHARE... Read more »

If you want to foster change, stay out of training

In the mid 1990′s I served as a Training Development Officer working with tactical aviation (helicopters that support the Army).  We had just purchased 100 helicopters plus a full motion combat simulator and my office was next to the simulator, which I watched as it was installed, tested, and used. My work also involved writing... Read more »

Not all innovation is disruptive

Given all the talk about disruptive innovation lately, I thought I’d dust off several posts I have written on the subject and update them. In the book McLuhan for Managers, the authors provide a lens for managers and owners to make business decisions primarily using McLuhan’s laws of media to understand the changes that are... Read more »

Four Basic Skills for 2020

In 2011, The Institute for the Future and the University of Phoenix published a report that looked at Future Work Skills 2020 (PDF). The report identified six drivers of change. I’ve added links to examples of each, three years later. Longevity, in terms of the age of the workforce and customers – Retiring Later Smart... Read more »

Thoughts on measurement

Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds. @weissblatt – “Sharing is becoming a life skill. Knowledge is power only if shared.” Thomas Edison – “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – via @BrunoGebarski SteveKLabnik – “We used... Read more »

Wirearchy to scale successfully

A recent email from Hugh MacLeod at Gapingvoid connected immediately in my mind with Jon Husband’s wirearchy framework. This is how organizations in the network era can scale successfully. As Hugh writes, “Scaling your business is all about having more people solve more problems for you.” See image below:  

Seeking feedback on PKM

We are just finishing the second PKM in 40 Days online workshop this year. So far we have have had over 75 participants in the new format of 40 days online, 6 themes, 18 activities, and 14 days for reflection and catch-up. Each workshop is different but it is always great to get serious feedback... Read more »

Owning our data

With the internet of everything (IoE), once everything is connected, where will our data reside? Who will own it and who will control it? “In real life, things go wrong. With such a large network encompassing so many devices and objects (Cisco says there will be 50 billion by 2020) there’s a lot of complexity,... Read more »