15 Key Lessons for Managing Complexity

Managing Complexity was the topic for this year’s Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna a few weeks ago.  Complexity overwhelms the old style of command and control management, but the followers of Drucker offer better alternatives.  I wish could have attended, but I will have to be satisfied summarizing based on the writings of others. Continue reading

Absolutely Self-Managed Workers

Why not get rid of management entirely? That was the thesis of Doug Kirkpatrick’s talk at the Building Business Capability conference this week about the Morning Star Company, a company which has tried the radical approach of being entirely flat, and having no managers are all.  Far from failing, they have become the largest company in their domain (tomato processing).  In Dec 2011, Harvard Business Review called them the world’s most creatively managed company. Continue reading

Automation leads to Forgetting

What is the limit of automation?  We often think that automation is limited by the technical ability to construct the automation.  It is not surprising that automation decreases the ability for those people to do the same job manually.   Is there then a point that we should avoid automation in order to retain viable knowledge workers? Continue reading

Automation Elevating Workers, Not Eliminating

A new study from Oxford says that 47% of the jobs in America are at risk of automation.  There is a lot of fear that a job automated is equivalent to a job eliminated. It is the same fear that fueled the Luddites, however history shows that fear to be misplaced then, as it is now.  Automation drives a transformation of the workplace, not an elimination. Continue reading

Do Management Gurus Encourage Process Enforcement?

As part of the research for the last keynote I gave, I wanted to see how well known management gurus recommend supporting knowledge workers to be more effective.  What I found was surprising and well understood at the same time. Continue reading

Are Flow-to-the-work Organizations right for Knowledge Workers?

There is an article in Harvard Business Review this month about how companies are beginning to organize knowledge workers in a new way.  The concept has been called a “flow-to-the-work organization” and it reflects a new way of thinking about how knowledge workers are held in relation to the company. Continue reading

Slidecast on Antifragile Systems, Innovation, and Learning Organizations

Here is a slidecast version of the talk I gave at BPM Next in March.  In 14 minutes it explains the core ideas of antifragility and how learning organizations are antifragile.  Mixed in are some surprising details about adaptive systems.  This presentation will help explain why a traditional model-and-automate approach is the wrong thing for an innovative, learning organization. Continue reading