Work Futures Weekly | Never Not Learning

| Self-Management |Inclusive Meetings | Feeding Back | Powerpoint Blows | Charles Eames | Are Platforms Commons? | O Canada! |

source: Rachel

Beacon NY | 2019–09–14 | I learn something every week by the stats on what people clicked on in Work Futures Daily.


Implementing Self-Management: Here’s How It’s Done | The Corporate Rebels examine the few companies that are actually practicing self-managing, and blueprint the hard work they went through to get there. Worth reading. Somehow I had hoped they would look for and detail the similarities across these pioneering companies. Maybe coming in a later update?


To Build an Inclusive Culture, Start with Inclusive Meetings | Kathryn Heath and Brenda F. Wensil focus on practical ways to counter meeting chaos:

Meetings matter. They are the forum where people come together to discuss ideas, make decisions, and be heard. Meetings are where culture forms, grows, and takes hold.


Let people know they can speak openly and offer a dissenting opinions without fear of retribution.


Take advice from a few of our most successful clients:

º Set clear ground rules at the start of the meeting and stick to them. When inclusive meeting conduct is codified, it puts offenders on notice and makes everyone aware of their rights and responsibilities.

º Watch closely for dominators and interrupters. If someone tries to control the dialogue, interject and redirect the conversation back to the broader group.

º If someone is interrupted, step in quickly. You might say, “Wait a minute, I want to hear more of what Janice has to say,” or “Back up. I am intrigued with what Luke was telling us. Luke, can you finish your thought?”

Filled with great tactics.


Using Neuroscience to Make Feedback Work and Feel Better | David Rock, Beth Jones, and Chris Weller dissect the premises of feedback, and lay out a path to applying it:

Simple as it may seem, feedback — that ubiquitous necessity of organizational life — has proven to be an axis on which organizational culture turns. Research is suggesting that by switching from giving feedback to asking for it, organizations can tilt their culture toward continuous improvement; smarter decision making; and stronger, more resilient teams that can adapt as needed.

Why Feedback Matters

Feedback isn’t just a ritual of the modern workplace. It’s the means by which organisms, across a variety of life-forms and time periods, have adapted to survive. To University of Sheffield cognitive scientist Tom Stafford, feedback is the essence of intelligence. “Thanks to feedback we can become more than simple programs with simple reflexes, and develop more complex responses to the environment,” he writes. “Feedback allows animals like us to follow a purpose.”

Research is suggesting that by switching from giving feedback to asking for it, organizations can tilt their culture toward continuous improvement.

It’s no coincidence the words organism and organization share a Latin root. Just as feedback enables the former to flourish, so it does for the latter. The single-celled amoeba that relies on feedback from its marine environment can more easily find bacteria to munch on, and the salesman who risks losing his job owing to missed targets — metrics, too, are a form of feedback — knows he must change his approach, finding better leads or making more of the customers he has. The same is true for the underperforming department that faces restructuring and rethinks how it collaborates. In all cases, feedback is what keeps organisms, and organizations, alive and well.

Even within organizations, feedback can take many forms. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and other quantitative data are perhaps the most recognizable kind of feedback, especially during performance reviews, but conversational feedback — for example, a quick chat over coffee — counts too. Indeed, just as leaders should think carefully about the KPIs that guide behavior on their teams, they should consider the patterns of verbal feedback that guide their teams to improve.

Research has found roughly 87 percent of employees want to “be developed” in their job, but only a third report actually receiving the feedback they need to engage and improve. The reason for the gap is hardly a mystery: Typical feedback conversations are about as pleasant as a root canal. Managers dread them because it’s often unclear what kind of feedback the employee wants or needs, and employees dread them because even light criticism can feel like an assault on their status and credibility. Indeed, West and Thorson’s new study found that receivers’ heart rates jumped enough to indicate moderate or extreme duress in unprompted feedback situations.

A great read. I particularly like how they spell out how a company can take gradual steps to grow a feedback-seeking culture, where asking for feedback is common:

At the office, leaders can begin by asking for feedback on low-stakes topics, such as the temperature in the office or how people felt about yesterday’s lunch. The point is to get people used to giving feedback that was asked for. When leaders take the first step, they signal to the wider organization that asking is important, and the low-stakes questions help build a sense of trust and agency in their team members. People are given an opportunity to feel heard, which boosts their status, makes them feel more included, and gives them a greater sense of autonomy. West says it also empowers them to give better feedback, replacing brittle smiles with more honest critiques.

And of course this requires psychological safety, which is critical in so many ways.


Harvard Just Discovered that PowerPoint is Worse Than Useless | Ha!

Quote of the Week

Never accept work where you’re not learning.

| Charles Eames


Are Platforms Commons? | Stowe Boyd | Before sweeping regulation of platforms as common carriers, should we instead reconfigure them as commons, governed by the participants?


Canada Tries a Forceful Message for Flood Victims: Live Someplace Else | Our northern neighbors are smarter than us:

Unlike the United States, which will repeatedly help pay for people to rebuild in place, Canada has responded to the escalating costs of climate change by limiting aid after disasters, and even telling people to leave their homes. It is an experiment that has exposed a complex mix of relief, anger and loss as entire neighborhoods are removed, house by house.

We need to accept a retreat from the coastline and flood plains, nationwide, no matter how aggressively we counter climate change because it will take hundreds of years — at the least — to return to pre-1950 temperature levels.

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Originally posted on Work Futures.