Goodbye 2014; On to 2015!

Top Ten List


I hope you are enjoying this holiday season. No matter which holiday you celebrate, this is a time to slow down, relish time with family and friends, reflect on the past year, and think ahead to the new year.

In that spirit, I want to share with you my “Top Ten” newsletters/blog posts for 2014, based roughly on which of them you opened most often.

You’ll see quickly that my recent focus on corporate conversations dominates this list, but it also includes several other important observations about the future of work.

So, here goes, from the top down:

1. Mindsets are More Important than Skillsets

There are hundreds of books about how to conduct meetings, yet most corporate meetings are dull, unproductive time wasters. What’s going on? Why don’t leaders do what they know how to do? I suggested here that the attitudes and mindsets of team leaders are far more important than meeting management skillsets.

2. To Live is to Learn

Thomas Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM once refused to fire a project manager who “wasted” $6 million. Why? Because, as Nancy Dixon pointed out “Experience is inevitable; learning is not.”

3. Why are Good Conversations so Elusive?

Why do good conversations elude us? I believe there are at least six major factors that affect our conversations at work: individual differences; organizational contexts; organizational cultures; management practices; stress; and society. This note explores those factors in some depth.

4. Moving a Mountain (of People)

This note summarizes a conversation with Stephen Monaco, head of global real estate and workplace experience for Motorola Mobility, who led the relocation of 2000 employees to downtown Chicago following the company’s acquisition by Google. It’s an uplifting story of a change management program done right.

5. Every Big Change Starts Small

Every Big Change starts as a small one. If each of us who embraces the idea that the workplace experience is important begins acting as if that were true, we would see dramatic differences in the actual workplace experience far more quickly than if someone “on high” simply mandated a new set of policies and procedures. Taking personal responsibility for change is key to organizational success.

6. Driving Strategic Conversations

Traditional strategic planning is worse than useless when dealing with the uncertainties of today’s economy. Indeed, I believe that traditional thinking about the future, as if it were actually singular and knowable, is downright dangerous. In today’s highly volatile and unpredictable world, assuming any kind of predictability in the marketplace can be fatal. This note describes an approach to planning that imagines multiple alternative futures.

7. What Makes Good Conversations so Elusive (Part Two)

The post Why are Good Conversations So Elusive? (number 3, above) provoked more reaction than I’ve seen in a long time. Bruce Rogow, a former colleague and good friend, sent me such a thoughtful response that, with his permission, I turned the weekly newsletter over to him. This article is all his.

8. Nobody is Smarter Than Everybody

Nobody is smarter than everybody. That’s fast becoming my favorite phrase. Think about it: in a world where we have access to any knowledge we need, to anyone we want to communicate with, and the ability to share our perspectives with the whole world, we have truly become the global village that Marshall McLuhan first envisioned in The Gutenberg Galaxy almost 50 years ago.

9. Make Your Meetings More Meaningful

How often have you walked into a corporate meeting wondering why you were there? Or walked out angrily after wasting an hour getting absolutely nothing done? This note is my attempt to understand why meetings are so universally frustrating, and to offer a pathway towards more meaningful meetings.

10. Creating Community

This note recaps a conversation with Kristine Woolsey that I hosted for my “Talking About Tomorrow” program. Kristie helped us think about how workplace design contributes to (or detracts from) organizational culture and employee well-being.

There are many more, but these are the top ten for 2014.

I hope you find this recap stimulating and useful. What questions remain for you about how to make conversations at work more meaningful?

I look forward to continuing this conversation about conversations with you in 2015. Happy New Year!

Contact me for a free consultation about how you can orchestrate corporate conversations that transform the work experience and produce breakthrough organizational performance.