Work Futures Daily | If Nobody Loses

| Diversity Isn’t Happening | The Man in the White Suit | Fearless Organizations | Debunking Christensen | Punch A Puppy? | Management v Leadership | Clay Shirky | Language Efficiency | JP Morgenthal

Photo by Pierre Herman on Unsplash

Beacon NY | 2019–09–05 | I updated my Tumblr theme today, and spruced things up a bit, which makes me childishly happy. See

I am still waiting to hear from Matt Mullenweg re: what his grand plan is for Tumblr. Strangely, the site still shows ‘Oath Holdings, Inc’ in the URL when editing.


The Business Imperative of Diversity | Winning the ’20s | Miki Tsusaka, Christian Greiser, Matt Krentz, and Martin Reeves share some stats on diversity:

A BCG study of more than 1,700 companies around the world shows that diversity increases the capacity for innovation by expanding the range of a company’s ideas and options, leading to better financial performance. And the BCG Henderson Institute recently demonstrated that gender diversity, for example, not only correlates with but is predictive of future growth.

However, progress on diversity is terrible:

So, companies implicitly — or explicitly — reject the benefits of diversity. They could care less, apparently.


Why CEOs should watch the classic movie The Man in the White Suit | Daniel Akst profiles a classic, and pulls out lessons relevant in the time of increasing automation, AI, and work displacement.


How fearless organizations succeed | Amy Edmondson spells out the three stages of building psychologically safe workplaces: setting the stage, inviting participation, and responding proactively.


I got into a Twitter discussion about the debunking of Clayton Christensen and cited two pieces:


I found this chart in a newsletter issue from CBInsights’ Anand Sanwal, and like him, I wonder what #3 is.


Management Is (Still) Not Leadership | John Kotter, neatly separates the processes of management from the behavior of leadership, in a 2013 classic:

In fact, management is a set of well-known processes, like planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, measuring performance and problem-solving, which help an organization to predictably do what it knows how to do well. Management helps you to produce products and services as you have promised, of consistent quality, on budget, day after day, week after week. In organizations of any size and complexity, this is an enormously difficult task. We constantly underestimate how complex this task really is, especially if we are not in senior management jobs. So, management is crucial — but it’s not leadership.

Leadership is entirely different. It is associated with taking an organization into the future, finding opportunities that are coming at it faster and faster and successfully exploiting those opportunities. Leadership is about vision, about people buying in, about empowerment and, most of all, about producing useful change. Leadership is not about attributes, it’s about behavior. And in an ever-faster-moving world, leadership is increasingly needed from more and more people, no matter where they are in a hierarchy. The notion that a few extraordinary people at the top can provide all the leadership needed today is ridiculous, and it’s a recipe for failure.

Quote of the Day

It’s not a revolution if nobody loses.

| Clay Shirky


A Rare Universal Pattern in Human Languages | Rachel Gutman looks at a new study that shows all humans languages are equally ‘efficient’ at transmitting information:

In the new study, the authors calculated the average information density — that is, bits per syllable — of a set of 17 Eurasian languages and compared it with the average speech rate, in syllables per second, of 10 speakers for each language. They found that the rate of information transferred stayed constant — at about 39.15 bits per second, to be exact.

François Pellegrino, the senior author of the new study, says linguists aren’t likely to be surprised to learn that there’s a trade-off between speech rate and information density: “It just confirms what the intuition would be.” But what’s special about his and his team’s work is that, for the first time, they were able “to prove that it holds” for this set of languages.


Interview | JP Morgenthal and Robotic Process Automation | RPA is happening fast, and JP tells us why.