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Medium 9781576752531

3: The Wall

Schmaltz, David A. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

—From “The Blind Men and the
       Elephant,” by John Godfrey Saxe

There’s always someone at the start of every project. Someone’s not ready, while everyone else strains at the reins. When we set to work, this one drags his feet. He complains about irrelevant things and seems not to be hastening slowly or otherwise. He’s a pain in the butt.

Most ignore him and get on with their real work. Some try to push him off his dime. Sometimes they succeed in getting him moving with the others, but he engages hesitantly, as if he has left something important behind. Later he will seem to have forgotten about whatever felt so very important at the beginning, but the memory of it will occasionally return to inconvenience him, and his reaction then will inconvenience those around him.


We might be taught to hasten slowly at the beginning, to cautiously consider before proceeding, but most of us quickly figure out how to ditch any roadblock between us and full speed ahead, leaving the careful considerer behind. We take a deft sidestep or an innocent about-face, but we usually avoid the wall that so evidently blocks progress.

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Medium 9781576753057

7. DEC’s “Other” Legacy

Schein, Edgar Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


Tracy C. Gibbons

Digital Equipment Corporation’s technical legacy is well known and widely respected. Its innovation in minicomputers and networking was the basis for the evolution of new ways of computing and the democratization of technology. But DEC also made other significant contributions, technical and otherwise, to the larger community. Among the contributions was an approach to employee and leadership development that produced leaders at all levels of the organization. During their time at DEC, the talents and abilities of many employees were discovered, nurtured, developed, and honed, and these employees helped Digital become the technical and organizational powerhouse and much-sought-after employer-of-choice that it was until the early 1990s. Many employees were profoundly influenced by their experiences at DEC in ways that have had lasting impact. As these people left the company, first through normal turnover and attrition and later by less voluntary means and in greater numbers, they went on to other companies and enterprises where many held positions of considerable influence, and they continued to make significant contributions. This is DEC’s “other” legacy.

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Medium 9781576750889

Chapter 6: Integrating: Mergers and Acquisitions

Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“How today’s combination [merger] is managed shapes the organization’s operating culture, business practices, interpersonal dynamics, and employee spirit for years to come.”

—Joining Forces: Making One Plus One Equal Three in Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances. Marks, Mitchell Lee, and Mirvis, H. Jossey-Bass, 1998.

Mergers and acquisitions are increasingly more common in today’s rapidly changing environment. Driving forces in business, industry, government, and the nonprofit sectors are creating the need for new organizations. Statistics are plentiful about how few mergers and acquisitions fulfill the initial intention of bringing the organizations together. Many reasons have been identified for why organizations are combined, but never truly become one, such as, incompatible cultures. Often too much talent leaves in the transition to make the new organization successful, or combining the organizations takes too much time. In still other cases, combining the business processes did not result in the needed efficiencies, or the strategy for the new organization was not communicated well or committed to by enough people to carry it out.

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Medium 9781576753446

9. The New Scientific Management

Wheatley, Margaret J. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Science outstrips other modes & reveals
more of the crux of the matter
than we can calmly handle.

—A. R. Ammons


In the history of human thought, a new way of understanding often appears simultaneously in widely separated places and in different disciplines. These synchronicities, mysterious and inexplicable, pop up everywhere. For example, Darwin proposed his theory of evolution at the same time that another researcher, working in Malaysia, published very similar ideas. Physicist David Peat traces how the understanding of light evolved in parallel ways in both art and science over the centuries, a relationship that continues to this day. The sixteenth-century Dutch school of painters drew light for its effects on interior spaces, depicting how it entered rooms through cracks or under doors or was transformed as it passed through colored glass. At the same time, Sir Isaac Newton was studying prisms and the behavior of light as it passed through small apertures. Two hundred years later, the English landscape artist J. M. W. Turner painted light as energy, a swirling power that dissolved into many forms; simultaneously, physicist James C. Maxwell was formulating his wave theory in which light results from the swirling motion of electrical and magnetic fields. When Impressionist painters explored light for its effects on dissolving forms, even painting it as discrete dots, physicists were theorizing that light was made up of minuscule energy packets known as quanta (Peat 1987, 31–32; Schlain 1991).

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Medium 9781576751640


Foster, Jack Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781626561519

3 The Difference a Sector Makes: Lean Startups for Profit versus for Social Change

Gelobter, Michel Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I’ll never forget the time that Vince, a chief financial officer I’d recently hired out of the private sector, walked into my office and asked, “So … how do we make money?” He’d gotten on top of spending in record time and had a firm grasp of our burn rate—how much cash we were using each month to pay our bills. He’d reviewed payroll for any discrepancies or inequities. He’d established policies for promotions and new hires. The one thing he couldn’t figure out was how we made money. And, strictly speaking, we didn’t.

An organization’s relationship to revenue is one example of a big difference between business and the social sector. There are others, including mission, hiring, relationships to those we serve, and the risk profile of the organization and its employees. Each of these is relevant to how the lean startup works for nonprofits and government.

The organization I was running at the time was the country’s only sustainability policy institute (called Redefining Progress), and, in a good year, other organizations paid us $250,000 for our work. The rest of our $2.8 million revenue came from foundations and donors as charitable gifts. The fact that we didn’t sell anything—that we couldn’t project revenue from something whose production, marketing, distribution, and sales we could at least somewhat control—freaked Vince out. The dominant metric that Vince was used to driving was revenue, and we had a lot more on our agenda at Redefining Progress than that.

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Medium 9780983302032

Chapter Four: Improving Your Thinking

David A. Sousa Triple Nickel Press ePub

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.


A FEW YEARS AGO, THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION ESTIMATED THAT the average human brain generates between 12,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day, depending on how deep a thinker the person is. The unsettling part of this statistic is that most of these thoughts are nonsense—lamenting over the past, combating guilt, worrying about the future, drifting into fantasy, and playing with fiction. Frequently, these thoughts are negative, wasting valuable neural energy on past and unchangeable events. This leaves just a few thoughts for positive and consequential things. Being mindful of your thoughts is another important step toward raising your emotional intelligence and a key factor in getting the most from your brain’s extraordinary capabilities.

Thinking is essential to your survival and to your success as a leader. Do you ever think about your thinking? Ever wonder how a three-pound mass of tangible flesh can create such phantom things like ideas? Or how electric signals traveling across tiny cells can produce a symphony, design a computer, or create a weapon of mass destruction? From birth (some say, before), the brain collects information about the world and organizes it to form a representation of that world. This mental model describes thinking, the process we use to function in our environment.

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Medium 9781567264029

CHAPTER 8: Accountability and Liability of Individuals

Arnold, William G. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The idea that a person entrusted with money is accountable for it is a common notion. If a cashier in a retail store comes up short at the end of the day, it’s likely that he or she will have to make up the shortage from personal funds. The government operates on the same principle. This chapter examines the accountability, liability, and relief from liability of accountable officers—government employees who are involved in the handling of funds or who have specific responsibilities in the payment process.

Accountable officers include officials such as certifying officers, disbursing officers, departmental accountable officials (in DoD only), and other employees who by virtue of their employment have custody of government funds.1 It is important to note that GAO has ruled that accountable officer status and pecuniary liability (the requirement to personally repay lost funds) may be imposed only through statute.2 An agency does not have the authority to confer the status to anyone not so designated in statute.

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Medium 9781626564411

CHAPTER 6 Discerning: Think Smarter

Pasmore, Bill Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THE OBJECTIVE of Discerning is to learn from experience to improve the organization’s capacity to change over time. Learning may not be as important in onetime change efforts, but it is crucial in continuous change. Without learning, costly mistakes are repeated, confusion persists, and motivation takes a nosedive. With learning, confidence grows—assurance that important changes can be handled simultaneously without overloading the system or taking an unnecessary toll on those involved.

The US Army is well known for undertaking after-action reviews in which those engaged in carrying out a mission pause afterward to understand what went well and what didn’t and why.1 During these reviews, efforts are made to eliminate the effects that rank would normally have on the frankness of conversations. Privates are asked to speak openly to generals, who need to hear what the privates saw and did in order to learn from them and improve how engagements are led in the future. There are four basic questions: What did we expect to happen? What actually happened? Why did it happen? and What do we need to do differently going forward? After-action reviews are one way to begin Discerning. For Discerning to be of maximum benefit, the learning needs to be put into action through making adjustments in our approach to change.

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Medium 9781605099866

Foreword by Dr. Jeffrey Wigand

Devine, Tom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

by Dr. Jeffrey Wigand

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is that good men do nothing.


There are concepts and then there are the names we use to describe them. One concept that badly needs a new name is person of conscience. Currently, the name used to identify this person is whistleblower. But the name whistleblower needs to be replaced. Why? The term is laden with pejorative connotations, such as rat, tattletale, fink, and turncoat. Obviously, these words signify opprobrium rather than approbation. The word we use to describe a person of conscience should be free of negative connotations. Indeed the word should connote courage, strength, virtue, and an overriding concern for the good of humanity. The term whistleblower lacks these properties. The fact is, there is no single word that connotes the meaning of person of conscience. So, I propose that instead of using the term whistleblower to refer to a person of conscience, we call a spade a spade. A person of conscience should be referred to as a Person of Conscience. The capitalization signifies the important role that such Persons play in protecting and promoting the human good.

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Medium 9781576750698

27. Track Expenses and Expenditures

Dinnocenzo, Debra Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF


Working Well in Your Home Office

Review your schedule for the next two weeks to assess the level of

“isolation buster” activities on your calendar. Be sure your schedule reflects at least:

5 Work breaks throughout each day.

4 Networking events (meetings, phone calls, etc., with people other than your team).

3 Exercise opportunities each day. (Can you share these with someone?)

2 Opportunities to meet face-to-face with either your boss or a coworker.

1 Professional development activity.

0 Days that hold the promise of no face-to-face human interaction. (The FedEx and UPS drivers do NOT count!)








Track Expenses and Expenditures

After you’ve cured yourself of the tendency to keep everything and you’re more inclined to effectively manage the administrivia (Tip

10), it’s important to be clear about which documents you will need to retain. In addition, you’ll want to establish a streamline tracking and retention method that is easy to use, easily accessible, and relatively automatic.

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Medium 9781576750025

8. Use of Appropriate Technology

Maynard, Herman Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


The Second Wave
In a vacuum

The Third Wave
In growing harmony
with sociocultural, political,
and environmental values

The Fourth Wave
In full accordance with
principles of appropriate


THE RISE SINCE WORLD WAR II of a host of complex technologies has created both prosperity and pollution. While the prosperity has been welcomed, the resulting pollution has occasioned increasingly vocal criticisms of technology and of the science from which it springs. Contemporary critics of Second Wave perspectives of science and technology focus primarily on the limitations of scientism and the need for technologies appropriate to their time, place, culture, and environment.

In Chapter One we noted the trend toward the view that consciousness is primary, that immaterial things such as the mind have a reality comparable to material objects. This presents a challenge to the basic assumptions of scientism—which denies or disparages nonrational ways of knowing in its stress on the empirical testing of reality (Pascarella 1986)—and to the contemporary technologies that are based on it.

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Medium 9781605093451

39 Write Your Own Screenplay

Arneson, Steve Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Imagine Yourself in Future Roles

ARE YOU ENJOYING the journey outside of your Comfort Zone? How’s it feel to be trying some new things? You are trying to expand yourself, right? Are you pushing yourself out of your normal routine? Meeting some new people? Looking at things through a wider lens? Admitting that you don’t have all the answers? Great, that’s exactly what you should be doing. You won’t grow and develop new skills if you don’t challenge yourself differently than you have in the past. Think of it this way: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’re always going to get the same results. You have to break out and take charge of your development in new and exciting ways, or you won’t grow as a leader.

Here’s an exercise that really challenges you to look at things differently: Visualize yourself in a different role, environment, and industry. That’s right—take another step outside the Comfort Zone by imagining what you’d be doing if you weren’t in your current organization, doing this particular job. Now you might ask: “What does this have to do with developing my leadership skills?” Good question, but let’s withhold the answer for awhile and get into the exercise.

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Medium 9781523094639

Chapter 9 The “Golden Suggestion” for Working with Others

Eikenberry, Kevin; Turmel, Wayne Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Rule 9: Communicate in the ways that work best for others rather than based on your personal preferences.

The greatest lesson you might ever learn in this life is this: it is not about you.

—Shannon L. Alder, author

Two members of our friend Alice’s project team are equally good at their jobs. They both serve the same function, and she has an equally high opinion of both. Yet when she received some feedback from her team members, one of them felt she was “micromanaging” while the other felt she could check in more often. How can both things be true when she maintains the same schedule with each?

Alice was confused. After all, she was following the Golden Rule. She used to do their job, and was very good at it. She was also an experienced tele-worker, brilliant, and excellent at focusing and drowning out distractions until the job was done. She always wanted her manager to give her guidelines, check in infrequently, keep interactions short, and be there when she did have a question or needed help but otherwise generally stay out of her way. To Alice’s mind, that’s how she always wanted to be managed and therefore how she planned to work with her team.

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Medium 9781576753484

7. Evaluating Results

Kirkpatrick, Donald Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

Chapter 7

Evaluating Results

ow comes the most important and perhaps the most difficult part of the process, you decide—determining what final results occurred because of attendance and participation in a training program.Trainers consider questions like these:


How much did quality improve because of the training program on total quality improvement that we have presented to all supervisors and managers? How much has it contributed to profits?

How much did productivity increase because we conducted a program on diversity in the workforce for all supervisors and managers?

What reduction did we get in turnover and scrap rate because we taught our foremen and supervisors to orient and train new employees?

How much has “management by walking around” improved the quality of work life?

What has been the result of all our programs on interpersonal communications and human relations?

How much has productivity increased and how much have costs been reduced because we have trained our employees to work in self-directed work teams?

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