Sunday Book Review: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

Thumbs up means I highly recommend reading the book. A thumbs down means read something else unless you have free time on your hands.

thumbs-upThe Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Take Away: Building Teams and Leading them is very simple, but very difficult. Reminds me a lot about Agile Software Development

Encouraging Institutional Innovation By Changing How We Educate

John Hagel’s Edge Perspectives has an excellent article on challenging mindsets from reverse innovation to innovation blowback. It reinforces our mindset in why we are passionate about how Gangplank is structured and why concepts brought out in Gangplank Jr are so necessary for our future.

Their research highlights that innovation in the next wave will not be one centered around products.

“We drew attention to a different form of innovation – institutional innovation… we saw entrepreneurs re-thinking institutional arrangements… offering all participants an opportunity to learn faster and innovate more effectively by working together. While Western companies were lured into various forms of financial leverage, these entrepreneurs were developing sophisticated approaches to capability leverage in scalable business networks that could generate not just one product innovation, but an accelerating stream of product and service innovations.”

They emphasize that it is fundamentally different than how we currently perceive innovation. Notice that it is focused on TRUST and FLEXIBILITY. It is not a coincidence that Gangplank Manifesto is centered around people trusting each other. Agility of an organization as well as it’s tools are a by product.

“Institutional innovation is different – it defines new ways of working together, ways that can scale much more effectively across large numbers of very diverse enterprises. It provides ways to flexibly reconfigure capability while at the same time building long-term trust based relationships that help participants to learn faster.”

We like to think that Gangplank is currently the only workspace of it’s kind. A truly collaborative workspace driving a new economy. That economy comes from the disruptive power of institutional innovation. I suspect you will see a lot more of it in the future.

“Institutional innovation has enormous power to disrupt and drive major new forms of economic value creation and capture. Much of its power stems from its ability to blindside incumbents who hold onto traditional mindsets.”

We believe the core of Gangplank Jr is teaching the next generation to embrace scalable collaborative approaches to the work they engage in and in forming the solutions to the problems they face. We believe they have more to teach us than we have to teach them.

“Until and unless Western executives begin to aggressively challenge these assumptions and awaken to the potential of institutional innovation, they will remain vulnerable to attack. They must begin to recognize that the most promising forms of innovation emerging in developing economies are not at the level of individual products or services but rather at a much deeper level – novel approaches to scalable peer learning shaped by institutional innovation.”

Thoughts on “What Matters Now?”

Several people pointed me to What Matters Now? (Download the PDF e-book version) arranged by Seth Godin.  I glanced over it and thought it looked interesting, but didn’t have time to read it.  I got around to analyzing it last night.  It is short, but longer than most people can easily digest like a blog post.  I have done a few things to help out.

  1. I created a list of all books cited in the document as a list called What Matters Now on good reads.  If you are on Good Reads it makes it easy to add them to your reading list.  If you aren’t on Good Reads you should be.  I am sure I missed some (and some were not in Good Reads as they are yet to be published).  Please help add what I missed.
  2. I created an What Matters Now RSS feed of all the authors blogs that were listed using Yahoo Pipes.  I am sure I missed some and probably have broken Yahoo as I have never used it before.  Help me get it right.
  3. I created a summary of quotes I really liked from the material.  I encourage reading the whole thing, but consider this a teaser that will motivate you to find the time to read the entire work.

“If you make a difference people will gravitate towards you.
“The more you give, the more you get.”

“Creating ways for people to solve their own problems isn’t an opportunity.  It is an obligation”

“The best way to get approval is to not need it.”
“Merit can be bought.  Passion can’t.”

“You are only as rich as the enrichment you bring to the world around you.”

“Be honest, be authentic, and speak from your passion. Yes, it means taking a risk. But the results might surprise you.”

Wow. The whole essay was just, wow.

“The beautiful thing about being on a team is that, believe it or not, lots of people love doing the things you hate. And hate doing the things you love.”

“After a decade of truly spectacular underachievement, what we need now is less management and more freedom – fewer individual automatons and more autonomous individuals.”

Everything here is awesome.  “Know When To Hold Them, Know When To Fold Them

“FOCUSED INTENSITY over TIME multiplied by GOD equals Unstoppable Momentum.”

“Power comes from an ability to build your reputation, create efficient and effective networks of social relations, act and speak in ways that build influence, and from an ability to create and employ resources—things that others want and need.”

“In the true sense of karma, to achieve harmony, you must always do the right thing with no eye on a reward.”

“The future belongs to people who can spread ideas.”

“Make compassion a core business value.”

“Storytelling is powerful. It helps us understand, make choices and can inspire us.”

“It is time for us to rationalize the debate. Let’s parse the data and free the facts.”

“It’s time we listen to children and allow neoteny to guide us beyond the rigid frameworks and dogma created by adults.”

“Empowerment is the best prevention.”

All awesome stuff.  No surprise it’s a theme that keeps coming up around Gangplank.

“Never forget, a small group of people can change the world.”

“Information in context makes smart systems smarter.” I still have a start-up idea around this concept. #someday

“You grow (and thrive!) by doing what excites you and what scares you everyday, not by trying to find your passion.”

“Confidence is rocket fuel for your business life.”

“Winning businesses have a common trait, an obvious and divisive point of view.”

“Getting things done is not the same as making things happen.”

Iterative Capital
“Iteration is the medium for innovation.” Maybe agile is popular for a reason?

Social Skills
“What’s important is to be kind, and be gracious and do it in ways that make people want to do that for someone else.”

I’m Sorry
“Mistakes happen. How you apologize matters. Don’t bullshit people – just say “I’m sorry.” And mean it.”

“There is no such thing as boring knowledge. There is only boring presentation.”

You Can’t
“More People Will Tell You Can’t Than You Can. Don’t Listen. Anything’s Possible.”

“Declare war on passivity. Hush the inner voice that insists you’re over the hill, past your prime, unworthy of attaining those dreams. Disbelief is now the enemy, as is the notion of settling. Get hungry — hyena hungry. Get fired up. Find your backbone, and your wings.”

Sunday Review: Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin

Thumbs up means I highly recommend reading the book. A thumbs down means read something else unless you have free time on your hands.

thumbs-upTalent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Take Away: Deliberate practice is hard work, but is the only sure way to becoming excellent at something.

Sunday Review: Driven From Within by Michael Jordan

Thumbs up means I highly recommend reading the book. A thumbs down means read something else unless you have free time on your hands.
thumbs-upDriven from Within

Take Away: Jordan proves that talent had little to do with his rise to success. He was clearly the hardest working guy in the NBA.

Incentives Kill Creativity

The other day I had jotted down about wanting to talk about incentives killing creativity, because something someone said pissed me off. I put it in my GTD list and forgot about it. I came back today to actually write on the subject and got road blocked about what I was thinking on the topic. This is the problem with relying on passion for motivation. Whatever trigger pissed me off, I forgot about, so I googled for “incentives kill creativity” and this fabulous TED Talk came back as a top result. Daniel Pink is more qualified than me to talk about it so instead I’m asking you take 20 minutes and watch this TED Talk.

High performance in the future will come from intrinsic motivation. The principles will be based on Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.  Think about it.

Make Use of Your Library and Read For Free!!!

I have recently rediscovered the awesomeness of the Maricopa County Public Library system.  My family has started going there again and when the kids asked recently, I took them instead of the wife.  I picked up a book or two as well as some movies.  This prompted me to commit to doing it more regularly.

Some time ago I had started to put all the books I wanted to read into an wishlist.  However, I just can’t bring myself to spend money on books right now in this current economy.  Then it dawned on me, that I was being stupid.  I could just checkout books from the library that were on my list.  I promptly created a “Books to Buy” list and a “Available at Library” list as well as keeping the standard “New Wishlist” list. Derek Neighbors: New Wish List

My workflow worked something like.. Hear about a new book add it to the “New Wishlist”.  Then about every two weeks go through the “New Wishlist” and look to see if the book was available at the library.  If it was available then move the book to the “Available at Library” list if not move the book to the “Books to Buy” list.

This workflow worked well, but I didn’t like the Amazon website very much and it’s recommendations were getting useless.  Also, when I was done with a library book what should I do?  If I removed it from the list then it would allow me to add it to another one at a later date.  In other words I had no way to mark it as “read”.  I guess I could have made a “Read” list but didn’t think about it at the time.

In comes, Readernaut and incredible site for book lovers like me.  It has the work flow I want.  So now, if I hear about a book or see a friend reading something interesting I can just add it to the “Reference” group.  Then once a week I go to the library site and see if it’s available.  If it is I move it to the “Plan to Read” group if not I move it to the “Wishlist” group.  When I am done reading the book I move it to the “Read” group.  Life is now grand.  I have a great stable of books I know are available at the library.  This already has me now reading a LOT more than before and also since I take my kids with me they are reading a lot more too!

For those that don’t know the Maricopa Library District has a program in place that you can order a book from any library and have it delivered to your local library at no cost.  This is FABULOUS.  Happy reading.

Step 1. Search for a new book and add it to Reference Group
Search | Readernaut

Step 2. At end of week go through reference list to find a book
Books | Derek Neighbors | Readernaut

and then look to see if book is available at library
MCLD System

Step 3. If it is at library add it to your “Plan to Read” group other wise add to your “Wishlist” group
Books | Derek Neighbors | Readernaut

Step 4. Browse your “Plan to Read” group to select a book
Books | Derek Neighbors | Readernaut

and then go reserve the book online from the library
MCLD System

Step 5. Check on your request. When it’s ready pick it up!
MCLD System

Step 6. Read the book and add comments in Readernaut!
Who's Your City? by Richard Florida | Readernaut

Step 7. Mark book read and return it to the library!

Step 8. Add me as a friend on Readernaut!

The best part.  My local librarian is on Twitter!  Say hello to him at @SonoranDragon.