The next shell up

As your organisation grows you’ll discover yourself passing through awkward, vulnerable seeming inbetween stages, like when you’re… Too big to operate out of your house but too small to afford an office; Too big for everyone to be involved in everything but too small for truly specialised teams; Big enough to need a good accountant / media person / office…

Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena (extended cut)

If you already know it, you may not have read this extended cut. If you haven’t come across it, it’s time you did. The Man in the Arena

“It’s right there.”

It’s much easier to look for something you’ve lost when you know it’s there: When you know that it exists When you know what it looks or sounds or feels like When you know that it really is in the place that you’re looking for it. The same is true of the change we’re trying to make: It helps to…

Chief Problem Solver

You’re not just the CEO or the CIO … Expand your title to see your role as the CPS – the Chief Problem Solver. In other words, solving problems isn’t something that you dread, it’s something that you do. It’s who you are. The honest truth is that anyone can point out a problem… but a leader does something about…

Short of something

Have you ever been in an organisation that had enough of everything? Enough time Enough resources Enough of the right tools Enough natural light in the workplace Enough skilled and committed people Enough enthusiastic customers Enough supporters and champions Enough excellent suppliers Enough impact Enough relationships of mutual respect and trust Enough leaders Enough good management Enough health and wellbeing…

Podcast recommendation: Ben Horowitz on organisational culture vs product (a16z podcast)

Episode 503 of the a16z podcast, The Stories and Code of Culture Change, is a great overview of Horowitz’s book, You Are What You Do, and features some highly memorable (and hilariously violent) stories that illustrate what culture is, and some ways you might build it. Here he is on the relative importance of culture and product: Let’s not get…

The Toolkit – Part 1: Foundations (13) – blood and bone

This post is part of the working draft of the DriverlessCrocodile Toolkit (read more here). I’d love comments, links to resources related to the theme, and original contributions. If you’ve worked through a process of defining your values, vision, mission, and core activities, you’re just about ready to set some more specific goals and do some actual work. You’ll probably…

William Slim on operations and administration

To separate operational and administrative responsibility is to break a rule I have rarely seen violated without someone paying a heavy penalty. Viscount William Slim – Defeat Into Victory Full quote on the fall of Burma (Myanmar) to the Japanese army in 1942 below. Who’s on the ground? Who is doing the work, face-to-face with the customer, user or client?…

On tiredness, bad form and self talk

On tiredness, bad form and self talk

I’m a good swimmer. My form is pretty good (at least to non-swimmers), and my powerful strokes allow me to cut through the water like a knife. For fifty meters. From about 58 meters (or as far as I can glide after pushing off the wall) things go downhill quickly and it takes a lot of effort to slow my…

Ben Horowitz on leadership and management

Can you think about systems? Can you think about how broad-scale systems interactions occur and what the implications are? … In order to make that system work you have to be able to see the company through the eyes of the people who are doing the work, which are usually the people who are not in the room when you’re…