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April 2017
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Do populists fit in an organization?

Populism may be defined as the identification and vocalization of popular needs. Do populists fit in organizations? Yes. Of course.

Be clear that populism is not a bad thing, if you “pay attention” to the voices. As a leader, before you can create any plan of action, paying attention requires listening and listening requires using the skill of empathy.

I believe and encourage the point, that we are all leaders. Each and every one of you.
We take responsibility and accountability, at minimum, for ourselves. More broadly, we serve our team members, teams, our organizations, communities and globally. So please wear and bear a leadership weight on your shoulders that best serves.

Empathy requires more from us, individually, than just bearing weight. Empathy asks that we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, hear, feel and relate to the emotion expressed. We can then connect meaningfully to that person in our words, tone and body language. Empathy requires that we change ourselves first in order that we can support or facilitate (whatever is needed) change in others.

In organizations, we may have many populists. The CEO who can read the many threads and weave them together to align people and goals, will see success. Is he or she a successful populist? In a manner of speaking yes.

The senior manager or anyone who senses an unserved need and raises it to enable change is also a populist or maybe he can also be viewed as a “trouble maker” rocking the boat. When is the employee good or the employee bad? In Shakespearean terms, That’s the rub!

Good or bad (absolutist) designations result from judgemental organizations. Organizations having low empathy sewn into their culture tend to forget that there is a learning side, with thanks to Peter Senge, and waste much organizational energy judging. Learning organizations can respond more positively and constructively to populists and enable their thinking to be included and have an effect on the decision-making governance processes. All good for long term organizational sustainability.

Judgemental organizations tend to quash or ignore populists, at their peril, allowing the untended thread to connect itself to other loose threads building into larger future issues. So much for engagement and adoption!

So next time you meet a populist, do your best to breathe, “listen’ to the message without judgement and ask collaboratively how the message can serve the overall organizational good. Worth the dialogue.

Listen to your people – One thing we can learn from the US election

Through this election what can we learn, from an organizational perspective? One clear point is to know your employees. Trump appears to have taken advantage of a simmering thread sewn throughout the fabric that is the United States. Few identified that thread or its need to be addressed.

Organizationally it begs the question: How well do you know your organization? What do your employees think and feel? Is there alignment, dissonance or what? Is there a thread you have not addressed that can impact meeting objectives?

The simple ask is to talk to them! The harder task and more important, listen to them, hear them and engage them. Too often senior executives think they have their thumb on the pulse only to find out the negative after an attempted new product / service launch or other change fails. And that lack of success is very costly to organizational energy &performance, competitiveness and stakeholder value.

Surprised election pollsters complained that people often lied about their voting preferences when surveyed so pollsters allotted some numeric quantity to take this “problem” into consideration. For organizations it is about sustaining a dialogue and an underlying level of trust in the ability of senior management and the organization as whole to execute with alignment.

I have served organizations that from start-up to one’s with a history of over 100 years. The reality is our level of active, honest, transparent and active dialogue is lacking.

On line surveys and assessments are nice as one of the sources of data to glean insight. Streamed videos for the large and vastly disbursed as a start to talking is just a start, not an end. And assuming employee’s managers communicate consistently what they heard from their managers (and so on), this communication is also a start as well.

As opposed to 330 million people, organizations have a smaller and more manageable task.
Get out there, meet and engage face to face. Do it way more than once, do it deeply, meaningfully, with clear measurable objectives and very clear communications messages and engagement plans. Else you too may lose to a not so silent thread.

Before you start, stop! – change readiness

Before you start, stop!
Those first few steps of change

If culture eats strategy then speed and hubris in organizational change, kills culture.

Ignoring culture, its characteristics and responses, will doom the project to repeat past transgressions. This is a fundamental history lesson. But this is only the first lesson of readiness.

The term organizational readiness refers to that very early part of the change process where organizations self-assess their ability to effect change successfully well before project start. The organization can continue applying this assessment over time as one way to measure project direction.

The second lesson is first building your business case for change. This business case, respecting culture, sets the foundation for moving forward, measures readiness and sets the foundation for success metrics.

Ignoring these two basics, and just jumping in and executing, sets the stage for project failure and cultural/organizational resistance.

This resistance, to culture and business case, is fertile ground and it will eat and kill what treads upon it. The final result being an environment without the organizational energy to change, serving as a red flag for future growth.

The organizational drivers for this hubris-like attitude can stem from the culture itself, and/or from the leadership personality of the sponsors as they respond to the stress/inexperience from within themselves, shareholders, regulating stakeholders and/or competitive market pressures. Leadership has a tempo to it, all its own, that feeds or ignores the basics.

The longer you wait to implement the basics the greater the successful project cost and the sharper the cultural pain, with less guarantee of any percentage of success.

Do we wait and do nothing? Do we analyze ourselves into paralysis? Of course not!

As leaders your role is to pragmatically act with intention, and voice your empowered position at the outset. Demonstrate the value of the basics, influence and then execute the first steps as best you can. If need be, constantly measure with awareness if you cannot do it all up front. This will at least mitigate some of the organizational, cultural and project risks.

Inequality – A Broad Global Step Blog Action Day October 16, 2014

Inequality is a bully. It is a yoke on the shoulders of humanity, that is 20,000 years old and a milli-second young. It hurts.

It is a conflict that kills the young, and decimates cities. It enables global rifts and skewed self-perceptions manipulating benefits of “the one” over “the other”.

Inequality, through a minority of lenses, is also a motivator, encouraging the reach and span of individuals. These are individuals who can think critically, and independently, globally, on their own two feet. These are individuals that take the open risk of dialogue and debate with an ear to learning. Extending beyond the individual though, we are subject to the madness of crowds, where there is no “we” in inequality, only “i”, the “other”.

Transforming “i” to” “we” using external influence is difficult. The “i” must share itself with the “other”, breaking into two elements, so that each element can together be flexed, angled and curved to form a “we”. Does the “i” have the strength and will power, stamina and flexibility, to achieve this sharing? Is the “i” too old and rusty to show the empathy required? Is the “i” independent enough?

Political, social, economic and geographic arguments be damned. We, individually and together, must tap into a source of optimism, and willful intent to create movement to overcome the inequality of thinking/doing that hurts. It does require risk and it is not of sesame street immediacy.

Every continent is in turmoil.

Creating and leading a spirit of openness and intention that makes economic sense is a start.
Can we cost justify this approach and prove country by country, a quantitative return on investment so they buy in? The first answer is yes. The second is sadly, but. Will they listen, accept, understand and act?

Putting the world on a psychologist’s couch, what would you see? Can you the reader, sit back, with unbiased intention and listen to the world’s issues, and hear its cries? Do we have global methods and structures to understand and empathize, assess, counsel, cause action, lessen fear and measure results? Can we use power to leverage the realization and execution of these methods?

We are so locked in, we cannot see outside our old, comfortable, history laden boxes. We are in pain and fear, placating ourselves by washing the old walls.

As we absorb the external economic revolutions, we must finally invest in and pay attention to the education of our inner selves, starting with ourselves and definitely our children. Fostering global education, spanning knowledge and skills, coupled with self-awareness, new metrics and our place on the globe, is an objective. Can we use new measures for each other, which, like gross domestic product, serve as accepted yardsticks of achievement?

We have the technology. Do we have the will? When will we have it? Now.

There are still children/youth, if not adults as well, who only know of their personal surroundings. They are locked into the “i”. Who in this world is being educated based on narrow focused tenets that enable the “i”? Too many, yielding, too much inequality. Instead of a security council, reverse the model, and have an achievement council.

The World Bank ( , October 2014) suggests two goals :
• Essentially end extreme poverty, by reducing the share of people living on less than $1.25 a day to less than 3 percent of the global population by 2030
• Promote shared prosperity by improving the living standards of the bottom 40 percent of the population in every country

Unless we raise the level of required education (approach, content, global context, delivery, measurement) of our children/youth, globally we will be hard pressed to reach these goals.

The real impact comes when we seed the sense of curiosity, openness, action and acceptance, in our children, all our children, everywhere. No fear, No hurt, Just collective reach to exceed beyond our walled bounds, together. There is no right or wrong here. There is a collective measurable agreement based on global principles of, such as, acceptance or inclusion or respect.

Let us seed the contents and messages globally and enable a new world order. Not a wave but a seed. Yes, seed! This is a farming task not one of hunting.

Far from the external industrial revolutions of the engine, or light and power, or technology and the web, we must focus our efforts to develop inward to better manage and lead outward.

Seymour Hersh

Blog Acton Day


come together
are more than one
create solidarity
combine brains’
encourage ideas
engender confidence
create power
cross pollinate ourselves
focus on sustainability
giving us breadth
providing depth
stretching length
encouraging dialogues
acting together
overcoming racism
being as one
because we are WE

#powerofwe #bad12 #Blogactionday

SocialHRCamp Toronto Sessions (August 23, 2012)- looks great!

get involved in this exciting session!

SocialHRCamp Toronto Sessions (August 23, 2012)
#camp #SocialHRCamp #unconference #SocialHR #social hr #human resources #Toronto #HR #Social Media #social
Curated by SocialHRCamp via:

If I get votes I will talk about:

Organizational Competitiveness and Change – 0.1 or 4.0 ?

A dynamic dialogue about creating , executing and sustaining organizations that are competitive

quick post


Don’t forget to change your underwear

Some people in organizations feel forgotten, taken for granted, sat upon, kept in the dark. overworked , overused, not refreshed!

Well the metaphor can work! and now that I have your attention!

Note to Project & Program Managers and their Sponsors:

When Starting a project – Include Organizational Change Management (OCM) strategies, methods, processes, techniques.
OCM is the glue that deeply connects all levels of your organization to meet and exceed project objectives.

Project managers and their sponsors curiously complain, after implementation, about the lack of adoption of their objective. So much for project success! And that is because the majority of projects lack the integration of Organizational Change (OC) in their planning.

Before you even start, integrate OC . The later you wait, the steeper and more precarious the voyage to acceptance.

Managers: Here are some phrases that may stand for BRIGHT RED FLAGS and I hope will remind you to include OC or to at least contact me:

Well I asked them once and am still waiting
When I was doing this job I did not need anything
Let’s develop this now and ask them after
Ahh, they’ll just do what I tell them to do
Hey, we know this best, right?
What do they know about our product?
It’ s too complicated to involve others
They are too busy to involve them
I don’t want to spend the money
In my day we just did it and sucked it up
We are the bigger department. Right?

share more phrases!




Focus 2040 – A Future of HR

The Strategic Capability Network once again is worked with the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton to run the national student competition called Focus 2040. The competition invited students from the business faculties across Canada to predict what the world of work will be like in the year 2040. One of the objectives of this competition is to raise the profile and value of Human Resource Management in the minds of business students in Canada.
This is their second year of operation and the competition has expanded considerably beyond it’s successful beginnings in 2010. For an association to take this social/professional responsibility beyond it’s bounds is laudable.

Presented in a sleek modern art gallery, representing the brightness and future orientation of the human resource students ten finalists conveyed their view of HR in 2040 to 12 judges. These judges were bristling with strong business sector and academia backgrounds. Quite the daunting task. In the crowd behind me were upwards of 50 to 100 attendees, students, professors and anxious parents.

There were only winners in this competition. Yes, four competitors did garner the nod of the judges and were awarded one of four human resource internships provided. But I am hoping that the other finalists and all those who submitted entires participate again next year.

Presentations were challenging. Visions of interconnected, agile, socially responsible neo-organizations moving at new tempos and filled with generation Zs, alphas and betas flowed across their presentations. All this coupled with ideas about employee engagement, sustainability, use of scientific, medical, industrial and information technologies and the place of happiness.

The question for the listener: How will we integrate their thoughts and ideas as we work together to build to 2040 and beyond. More importantly, when will we add these bright minds into our corporations to help answer the questions.? The time is now.