Experts don’t solve problems using “if A then B”.
Experts solve problems by balancing competing forces. Experts differ from novices because they have better awareness of and/or are better at balancing these competing forces. We call the recurring solutions that experts apply to recurring problems, “patterns”.
When the context changes, the competing forces change, therefore one would expect the pattern that should be applied would change.
Patterns don’t make any sense outside of the idea of balancing contextual forces.
Studying patterns is both about understanding contextual forces as well as understanding responses to those forces.
Progress in patterns is about discovering better answers for balancing competing forces.
The Fundamental Attribution Error refers to the tendency for people to overemphasise dispositional and personality explanations for behaviour and underemphasise situational explanations.
To address this, I like using the Six Sources of Influence model from VitalSmarts.
Instead of just considering motivation, we…
There are several reasons why org structure changes can get messy:
Let’s pretend a miracle happened and all our problems are solved. Everything is perfect. Don’t worry about how it happened, it was a miracle. How could you tell? What’s different now after the miracle?
The basic ideas are the same:
I’ve found the Miracle Question encourages hope, progress, and creativity.
I typically use the Miracle Question when the answer to “How are things going? How might things be better?” is something like “It’s fine”.
We want to address current symptoms BUT we also want to remember to explore and address underlying causes.
The Toyota/Lean community describes these activities as “containment” vs “countermeasures”.
I see it as acknowledging the importance of timing when responding to problems.
I’ve noticed that consulting companies, at least the best ones, seem to be typically faster than even leading tech companies in building high-performing teams.
Why is this?
When revenue is based on billable hours AND the typical client doesn’t like paying for setup time, you learn how to get fast at building teams.
The 3 things that matter when building high-performing teams fast:
By “high growth”, I mean in terms of employee count and roughly doubling or more every year. Even at slower growth rates, some of the phenomena I’ll describe may be relevant.
There are several options to accommodate new people:
The simplest meetings have people just talking to each other. The just talking pattern is vulnerable to the following problems:
Autonomy, in a workplace context, is not about “I can do whatever I feel like” but rather “I feel free to act and fully engage to achieve a greater purpose.”
The Art of Action calls this “aligned autonomy”.
Aligned autonomy is neither easy to obtain nor easy to sustain. I’ve generally seen two reasons for this:
“An Air Sandwich is a strategy that has clear vision and future direction on the top layer, day-to-day action on the bottom, and virtually nothing in the middle…”
Nilofer Merchant, “Collaborative Strategy: A Q&A with…
PDCA is a simple, not entirely accurate, but useful model…
Senior Agile Coach at Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl