Dangerous Dichotomies

One of the exciting aspects of work is its capacity to help us learn from others. That very opportunity can also be a hazard however, if the collective thinking of an organisation acts to stifle. Here’s an example… A few years ago, I was involved as a judge in the Australian Customer Service Awards. On

Culture and Change Management

‘Unwritten Ground Rules‘ (UGRs) are a way of understanding and managing a service culture. A study reported by Business Intelligence (1999), reinforces the power of corporate culture and change management…. A survey by Business Intelligence in 1999 (www.business-intelligence.co.uk/default.asp) unearthed some interesting findings about ‘Culture and Change Management’. Based on a survey that achieved responses from

Culture and ‘BAU’s’

Much of the work on organisational culture is thwarted due to people’s lack of understanding of it. We’ve written much about the fact that people cannot manage what they do not understand – and culture is often conceived only in complex ways. While we hope that UGRs® help shed a light on culture, we’d like

Coping with Inadequacy

When people work together, day after day, individual weaknesses and frailties become visible for all to see. How these inadequacies are dealt with is key to an organisation’s success… Driving in the car today, I listened to a tragic tale of a teenage suicide being told by the boy’s mother. She was now on a

Conditional Agreement

If an organisation is to survive and prosper, people within it must embrace change.  And here is the paradox — many managers fail in their efforts to bring about change.  Why is it that people give messages that they are open to change, yet in reality they are resistant to it? In the article below

Abilene Parable

In his 1988 book, Professor Jerry Harvey of George Washington University developed a parable of real life to describe how people believe they have reached agreement. The story is about four adults – a married couple and the wife’s parents – who are relaxing on a porch in 104 degree heat in the small town

Alignment and UGRs®

Many organisations engage in strategic planning processes, part of which involves the identification or confirmation of ‘values statements’. This segment of the planning process is usually well canvassed – with lots of discussion about what is really wanted in the organisation, and lots of wordsmithing. Sadly, that’s often as far as the values exercise goes.

All Back to Zero

Many managers decry the resistance to change displayed by their people. Managers typically complain about people who are reluctant to change. Yet we think there are often good reasons for the resistance… I was speaking with someone recently who was explaining how he was open to change. “In my lifetime, I’ve learned how to use
Lou Holtz was a former US football coach, former for Notre Dame University. He raises a fascinating idea about how we think about our own performance, with incredible implications for all of us. Here is part of the interview… ‘Great coaches are the ones that envision realistic greatness in people, then hold them to that
Nowadays, it’s commonplace for people to report on how busy their workplace is. We’ve seen decades of cost cutting and increased efficiencies to a point where most of us are extremely stretched. A fascinating study conducted in 1973 however, might shed light on the significant down-side to being busy. Read on… Last year we conducted