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Reflections on Management
16 minutes | Apr 26, 2022
S7E01 - Fifteen Years Archived on DVD (Knowledge Management, Part 1)
Busy professionals are so awash with information, much of it irrelevant or uninteresting, that they rarely have time to go back and sort through it all and make sense of it. Instead, all this stuff ends up occupying storage space or sitting somewhere in the cloud. Well, I undertook a project to dive through an archive holding fifteen years worth of information on DVDs stored in a closet, and I learned a lot about what it means to gain, sustain and use expert knowledge.
19 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
S6E08 - Ideal Negotiations Through Pragmatism (The Social Contract, Part 8)
In this final episode of the series, I ask what does 'right' look like in how we solve social problems and re-negotiate the social contract. What must we do once we decide to get people to come to the table? The short answer, as I reveal here, is rooted in classic pragmatism. Classic pragmatism, which is geared toward practical solutions to practical problems, and eschews theoretical or ideological approaches. But this is not easy to do, and it requires that we stop treating those we disagree with as enemies.
19 minutes | May 25, 2021
S6E07 - Ideal Engagements Among Collectives and Individuals (The Social Contract, Part 7)
I complete the list of principles for re-negotiating the Social Contract and setting the stage for what constitutes the idea conversation for solving a complex social issue. What are principles that suggest the ideal ways that collectives deal with other collectives in the environment? Or how individuals should deal with each other?
18 minutes | May 4, 2021
S6E06 - The Meaning of Duty, Responsibility, and Loyalty (The Social Contract, Part 6)
Along with the ideal collective that acts with justice, equality, and fairness comes the ideal member, one who fulfills the principles of duty, member responsibility, and loyalty -- principles that leaders also must fulfill while setting proper conditions for their members.
20 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
S6E05 - The Meaning of Justice, Equality, and Fairness (The Social Contract, Part 5)
To resolve and efficiently and effectively renegotiate the social contract, we've got to find common ground. But we have to first change the way we react to things that we strongly disagree with. That begins with finding a language that sustains our emotional commitment to what we believe, but opens the door to shared interests with those we otherwise disagree with. I will explore one part of this common language associated with the ideal collective and how it benefits its members -- through principles of justice, equality, and fairness.
19 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
S6E04 - The Stilting of Competition (The Social Contract, Part 4)
How does our assessment of how one "wins" drive us to throwing social competitions, and thus the social contract, out of balance? And even if the social contract is fixed, how can we prevent other forms of injustice from working their way in?
20 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
S6E03 - On Power and Communication (The Social Contract, Part 3)
This episode expands on the previous episode to explain the influences of power and communication over the competitive environment. What are the characteristics of the strategies used to shape such competition and what effects do they have on the social contract?
18 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
S6E02 - On Systems and the Competitive Environment (The Social Contract, Part 2)
Our focus on interpersonal relationships, though valid, is insufficient to overcome the problems in the social contract. We must also look at how we view competition and its role in societies and organizations.
18 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
S6E01 - On Social Contracts (The Social Contract, Part 1)
This is the first episode in a multi-part series about renegotiating the social contract we globally share to addressing inequality and spur dialogue between parties who present view each other as adversaries.
20 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
S5E09 - When Organizations Allow Expert Knowledge to Just Walk Away
Turnover can be a devastating thing to some organizations, the loss of expertise and experience, if not transferred in some way to existing members, can disrupt the organization's ability to perform at the highest level over time. I discuss two types of brain drain that organizations may experience when its experts walk out the door (whether departure or retirement) with their knowledge and propose a 'grand narrative' approach to establishing a culture and climate favorable to knowledge retention.
15 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
S5E08 - How Mandatory Training Can Feel Less Mandatory
Mandatory training serves important purposes but can be painful and ineffective in execution. Are there ways to do it better? Here I run down some of the common failings in the development of training materials for mandatory requirements, often developed for online delivery, and offer recommendations to better align these materials with the overall purposes set by leaders.
18 minutes | Nov 3, 2020
S5E07 - Responsible Leadership: More Than Being a Responsible Leader?
In this episode, I dive further into the ideas of "responsibilities" of leader. I argue here that a leader's responsibilities are more than accomplishing missions and caring for members -- it is that the organization itself acts responsibly. For a professional organization, this meaning is clear -- that members naturally act professionally even in the case of extreme duress (e.g., war in the military, rioting or extreme strife in law enforcement, extremes in pandemic response for medicine). Individual professionals may act properly under such conditions, but instilling this in the culture of a whole organization takes leadership -- especially the right skills and attributes of the top leader in the organization.
17 minutes | Oct 27, 2020
S5E06 - When an Activity Counters its Original Purpose (A Story from a Science Fair)
Tells a vignette about how a wonderfully crafted, innovative display wound up earning a last place trophy for not following the rubric. Rules may be rules, but can they sometimes get in the way of the purpose for the event?
18 minutes | Oct 6, 2020
S5E05 - Why Can't We Just Stop Using MacGregor's Theory X?
This is a follow-on to an episode on Douglas McGregor's Theory X and Y, reflecting two different set of assumptions that managers operate with when running an organization. I recount the theories here and the assertion that Theory Y -- where managers assume workers are trustworthy and wish to be active participants in organizational success -- is preferred. But why then do managers tend to default to Theory X assumptions -- is it learned behaviors or is it innate, part of so-called "human nature"? What do we do about it?
17 minutes | Sep 29, 2020
S5E04 - If a Change Effort Fails, Was it Necessarily a Communication Failure?
Sometimes change efforts success despite poor communication, or great communication doesn't lead to successful change. Why is that? I argue that the communications campaign operates one "phase" ahead of the change effort, so the levels of success in both are independent and not correlated to one another.
18 minutes | Sep 22, 2020
S5E03 - Could a New Co-Ed Sport Promote Gender Equality?
I argue that we need new co-ed sports designed to emphasize capabilities that men and women share equally while also being fun to watch. I discuss the origins and social factors that brought about a number of existing team sports, many designed by men for masculine purposes. I believe these sports contribute to notions that women's sports are inferior to men's, which carries over to gender stratification in the workplace.
19 minutes | Sep 1, 2020
S5E02 - Is Anti-Professionalism on the Rise?
A recent Talking About Organizations episode addressed contemporary challenges facing professions due to expanses of technology, growing distrust toward professional workers in some areas, and media coverage; all of which are challenging the autonomy and status of professionals and their work. Anti-professionalism is essentially the breakdown of the profession due to internal and external pressures. I argue in this episode that the way to strengthen professionalism is to re-kindle the sense of honor in serving in a profession -- how to do that is difficult, because one has to agree on what is meant by "honor."
16 minutes | Aug 25, 2020
S5E01 - Moving Educational Content from Resident to Distance Settings (Without Doing 10X the Work?)
The process of migrating one's teaching from resident to remote has been a popular topic due to the pandemic. But what about the content? If you are using stuff off the shelf, not such a big deal. But if you are the creator of a course designed for a specific professional purpose, then it becomes a massive undertaking. I had to do this for multiple courses this year, crossing both resident-distance and synchronous-asynchronous boundaries. I learned some tough lessons which I will share with you in this episode.
4 minutes | Aug 17, 2020
S5E00 - Announcement: Changes to Program and Website
As this program enters its 5th season, I wanted to announce some upcoming changes to the program and the website to improve your experience
17 minutes | Apr 28, 2020
S4E08 - When an External Consultant is Too Close to the Leader
Sometimes, leaders decide to bring in external consultants with whom they have worked with before or they have prior professional relationships with. Sometimes that works out great for the organization -- the consultant knows what the 'boss' wants and is uniquely positioned to deliver, helping the leader foster change. But in the two cases I discuss in this episode, the opposite happened. Each consultant leveraged their relationship with the leader in the wrong way. What happened and what did I learn from it?
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