I often find myself stuck in the middle.
I’m a middle child, middle aged, parent of needy children and child of needy parents. In addition to that, I’m often debating in my head between two options, or sides. Work or home? Red or white? Star Wars Ewan McGregor or Long Way Round Ewan McGregor?
What if the answer is not to pick a side, but to embrace indecision? What if the result can be something far better? Is it a bad thing to see more than one possible outcome in a situation? Maybe that—let’s call it “open-mindedness”—is the best way to help people reach a common goal and see each other's sides?
As a project manager I've got, on one hand, a highly skilled team of strategists...
I don't know what’s next for us humble knowledge workers, but I feel excited about it. It seems a new style of thinking is helping make office-life smarter, all around.
We see workplaces being designed to suit real human needs, accommodating introverts (as described by ...
What if internal email was limited to 140 characters? Ever since doing away with the paper memo (remember those?) we’ve seen email as the main communication channel to lead, collaborate, and drive our day-to-day.
In my opinion (and the opinion of a growing number of thought leaders), email is a siloed messaging tool that can inhibit organizational effectiveness and culture development. Taking queues from Twitter, I wonder: If we had constraints on message size would we see the medium as it was intended—a tool for messaging?
I think shifting email back for internal messaging only would have some interesting outcomes:
Engagement & Passion: With email out of the internal equation, teams are forced to move beyond the screen and have substantial conversations person-to-person. Sometimes the anonymity of digital conversations allows us to be more aggressive (or, worse, passive aggressive) than we would be if we were in conversation with our colleagues. It introduces “noise” that can inhibit healthy working relationships.
Real Leadership: As organization leaders, we would be pushed to look for mechanisms to rally our teams. Yes,...
Recently I've been researching how people with strong opinions (and often differing opinions) can work together as a team to come up with great solutions. I boiled it down to five factors:
1. Unity of vision. Establishing unity of vision within a team is super important. It helps to overcome flame wars and infighting over specific ways of doing things or technologies. If you provide a true north that everyone agrees upon, it's easier to develop an understanding for team members that don't share your opinions.
2. Slow to judge. Don't judge something until you fully understand its benefits and shortcomings—especially in comparison to your current preferences, wherein lies an existing, festering bias. Don't get defensive and fill up with FUD when someone mentions a new technology or methodology to you. Posture yourself to be excited and eager to see how it could potentially be an improvement. Give it a good shake before drawing conclusions.
3. Eager to learn. This means being flexible, curious, open, and adventurous in your pursuit of perfection. The web changes too frequently for...
The Globe and Mail recently featured Domain7 in an article focused on building teams around creativity and flexibility, instead of creating a level of middle management. We've grown quickly in the last five years, but have worked hard to preserve our culture of community and collaboration. I think that's largely what makes Domain7 such a great place to work, and what helps us produce great results for our clients.
A few weeks ago I posted an initial response to the article and promised to follow up, explaining our approach. At D7 we've always put a high priority on collaborative work, but as we've grown we're putting much bigger emphasis on the role of skilled teams.
Here are some of the pitfalls we hope to avoid through this team approach.
- People management overemphasized - If you perform well in a team, does your next step need to be people management? We want to build a team where individual skills are valued and continually...
Today Domain7 was featured in the Globe and Mail's “Challenge” series. We presented a team of experts with our current challenge of growing as a company, without introducing middle management.
It was a very cool opportunity to get thoughtful feedback on a relevant challenge. And the more we dig into it, the more we see this challenge as a great opportunity for our team.
I really appreciate the helpful advice from the article—a big thanks to each of the contributors. In the weeks ahead I'll do a series of posts on our own approach to this challenge, but first I'll reflect on the advice we were offered:
First, Greg Tricklebank, principal at Delta Partners, Ottawa.
Although I'm not sure...
Are you more human than your competition? Part 6 of 6
I could feel the shortness of breath, the elevated heart rate, the tense-shoulders-tightness that alerted me that my progress had been inadequate. I don't know if it was the spreadsheet-with-scribbles-all-over-it in front of me, or the tangled web of project reminders spinning inside my brain, but it seemed the only rescue opportunity was to get as efficient as possible.
Yet I felt like I had already maxed out my ability to systematize: I've got OmniFocus managing my to-do list, I've got my own spreadsheet for tracking project status, another one pinned to my desk with reminders of bigger-picture goals. Philosophies? I've got GTD, I've got Inbox Zero, and I've squeezed all possible productivity juice from the stone of self I've been given. The only thing preventing me from becoming a streamlined automaton was my own broken, flawed humanity, with its rogue restlessness, distraction and dreams.
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