Heretics Guide to Best Practices, cover, book, Toby Elwin, blog

Heretic’s Guide to Best Practices by the book

A look at what other’s have done to achieve success certainly offers a chance to avoid the aches and scrapes of heading into the unchartered wild of learning.  Surely there is a needed guide to best practices. In business, learning the hard way may come at the cost of professional or organization survival.  It is a jungle out there. Instead of winding your way through the bush to create a new trail, take a shortcut others have used, save time, as logic goes.  Time is money. In business a shortcut to a new option is a best practice.  Anyone in an organization today has heard about another’s best practice.  Usually best practice comes up to frame a challenge – a big challenge: “I read about this organization that also wanted to … “ “This happened at a Fortune 10 company and they did … …

agility, organization, Toby Elwin, blog

Fast Start — The Importance of Agility

Fast Start conversation:  People who operate and respond in an ambiguous environment today provide the greatest organization, comparative advantage. The competency to thrive is agility and this agility skill, more than at any other time in organization history, differentiates those getting better from those getting worse. When put in an unfamiliar situation, people with agility are not stumped.  They do not fall apart.  People who are agile are ones willing and eager to learn new things.  This learning agility differentiates the successful and the unsuccessful and within Human Resources Executive’s article, The Importance of Agility, agility as a competence is the in focus. Those committed to life-long learning are no longer leading by example and being an Agile learner usurps that.  We tend to hear of Agile project management, but what of Agile self-development?  Agile learning agility has five key elements: Self-awareness, Mental …

fast start, change management, Toby Elwin

Fast Start — What, Really, is Change Management?

Fast Start conversation: What, Really, is Change Management? Change swirls around organizations:  regulation, industry, competition, policy, knowledge, technology ability, and skills.  And those hit us before the first cup of coffee. There’s a professional approach to manage change, but what, really is change management? And who, specifically, defines, designs, and launches change management for whom? Brad Hall writes in TheStreet, a media company that provides financial news, commentary, analysis, ratings, and business and investment content, change management has three requirements: Each individual knows precisely what is expected of him/her; HR systems aligned to the new expectations; and The role of the manager is very clear If your change management does not include those three requirements, than you are arguing against Mr. Hall and his industrial-organizational psychology Ph. D. and that’s like arguing against your Chief Human Resource Officer. I completely agree with the three above, as …

Frank Barrett, leadership, Appreciate Inquiny

Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz by the book

Frank Barrett, is an active jazz pianist leading trios and quartets as well as touring the United States, England, and Mexico with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

Frank Barrett, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at the Naval Post Graduate school. Yes to the Mess is a journey through the power of music and the possibility of messiness. Frank correlates this mess to organization development, design, and possibility of innovation, managing highly-talented individuals, group communication, vision, and team dynamics.

Yes to the Mess is not just a book on jazz, but an organization behavior book, a leadership book, and a team development book.

1812, book, George Daughan, blog, Toby Elwin

1812: The Navy’s War by the book

I love history. Leaders, in trying times and challenges making pivot-point decisions that shape and impact states and people. Games people play that reverberate for decades and centuries, from a people and systems development frame, fascinates me. I read history and see organization development, leadership coaching, and strategic planning and wonder how  personalities and politics frame decisions and how I might analyze, recommend, or design a solution had I been a present. Currently, I am drawn to review the United States’ history, from experimental governing conception.  Earlier I wrote about A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic as a fascinating, well-written, engaging, and dynamic read for anyone — talk about change management. Where Leap in the Dark took me from the birth of the U.S.A. to the dawn of the Jefferson’s presidency, this book picks up at the dawn of Jefferson’s presidency.  For …

resonant leadership, cover, book, boyatzis, mckee, Toby Elwin, blog

Resonant Leadership by the book

Previously, Boyatzis and McKee collaborated on the book Primal Leadership:  Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence. In Resonant Leadership again team to provide solutions and incentives to fuel, as well as arm, people around values and importance of leadership introspection and coaching. It is too simplistic to say this book presents the cost of leadership lack of awareness, known as dissonance, has on previously successful high potentials.  More provides a return path to life as envisioned before dissonance.  Through case studies, as well as cited and studied research, the importance resonant leaders have on a team and an organization’s success. The book presents a case for awakening resonant principles for renewal of self and renewal of relationships; and everything in business is a relationship. The book also serves as a guide, a strategy, and a plan that scales from individual to enterprise need or for executive …

learning, bears, salmon, confidence, competence, Toby Elwin, blog

Confidence to learn and competence to contribute

Some people dedicate themselves to life-long learning.  Some people revel in positioning themselves as no longer able, willing, or interested to learn any more. Learn confidence when you allow learning as an on-going. competence. The reality is we continue to learn and process experiences until we draw our last breath. Today, those who resist, say learning new technology, are often called Luddites – artisans who resisted the industrial revolution. Those with confidence to learn build competence to contribute. People who do not have competence do not feel very confident. Their behavior may mask a lack of confidence with bravado, hostility, or self-deprecating humor. You might see this in a refusal to learn or resistance admitting they do not know – both equally frustrating. Those who lack competence rarely embrace learning because they may feel learning reveals a lack of knowledge others judge …

Steve Jobs, biography

Fast Start — Bio as Bible: Managers Imitate Steve Jobs

Fast Start conversation:  We’ve barely recovered from a decade of Jack Welch, cult of personality, CEO worship. Steve Jobs’ unfortunate death and Walter Isaacson’s biography now catapults us back in time. Bio as Bible:  Managers Imitate Steve Jobs talks about those who want to import Jobs to their jobs; the Wall Street Journal article includes video links. Cult of personality is cult of personality. Would your company culture trump cult of personality?

Organization Development, St. Louis Organization Development Network agenda, Toby Elwin, Social Media Fight Flight or Friend

Shifting Role of Organization Development in Business – St. Louis bound

Next week I will speak at the 2012, STL-ODN Conference. The day’s theme:  The Shifting Role of Organization Development in Business. The entire day’s agenda for St. Louis Organization Development Network [for those not familiar with the ODN acronym] is a topic near dear to my heart. So, OD [either organization development or organizational development, choose your poison] and its role in business is the event. Highly relevant, as we do live in times where if a professional can not directly affect business results there is little opportunity at the business table. The day’s events include impressive thinkers and topics: Dr. Ann Beatty, Donna Martin, and Seth Leadbeater offer perspective on Challenges Businesses are Facing in Today’s Climate Dr. Gary Mangiofico presents views on The Shifting Role of Organization Development in Business Rob Kaiser and Susan Duff incite a riot with 2 …

Appreciative Leadership, book, cover, whitney, trosten-bloom, rader

Appreciative Leadership by the book

Appreciative Inquiry is on a short-list of prime influences for my management, relationship, facilitation, change management, and organization behavior work. I have written blogs on Appreciative Inquiry a lot, but I find the constant default to deficit-based diagnostics and problem-solving relationships leaves me in need to recharge. The preference to look where things are correct, magnify people modeling what works, and shine a light where interactions model possibility is where I prefer the focus and this book lends the model to appreciative leadership. I’ve read Diana Whitney repeatedly and this book was a logical addition. Business assets appreciate when leaders appreciate.  This is a route to sustainable results.  Leadership is not a title given, leadership is a competency observed by others.  Leadership comes from all levels. Read More Books See a more current set of books on my reading list heavy rotation page.

change agent, bullseye, Toby Elwin, blog

Change agents are your organization’s real leaders

Market change, economy change, technology change, workforce change, communication change, today change riddles stress cracks in organization foundations. Whether 80-year-old companies, Fortune 500 stalwarts, or new-technology dynamos, change is as much an on-going assault on organizations as rust is an ongoing assault on metal. Change agents are your organization’s saviors. Tomorrow’s relevance is seen through your change agent’s lead. What is your organization’s relationship with change agents? How you and your organization treat change agents reveals as much about a dedication to relevance as it does about your organization’s relationship to market reality. Change agents seed organization with the thought-leadership and options for tomorrow’s relevance.  At even greater impact change agents tend, weed, fertilize, and till the soil that produces market fruits. Change agents, unfortunately, are also the ones with the figurative bulls-eye on their back. It’s not the strongest species that …

churchill, roosevelt, stalin, performance review, Toby Elwin, blog

3 performance review politics that always trump merit

Politics trumps those who have shown reliable, merit-based performance.

When rewards are given to those with little merit, but through a host of politics such as cronyism, parochialism, and kleptocracy engagement is sabotagued and have little hope to achieve true engagement.

Merit-based performance would focus on the employee’s behavior that exemplifies excellence or the employee’s behavior that needs attention or improvement. When cronyism, kleptocracy, and parochialism gang up meritocracy has no chance.

Toby Elwin, advice people ignore, blog

Stop giving advice people ignore

At work do you ever say, “let me give you some advice”? If so, do people lean forward with anticipation to hear what you have for advice?

When reviewing a draft ever heard someone tell you, “well, here’s my advice”? If so, do you take a deep breath so as not to lose your cool?

When you gave someone advice was your advice followed? The point of communication: action. Advice alludes to an option, not expected action.