Working Wider

Systems and Process

Safety: The New Norm for Opening in Covid-19

As restaurants, shops, and bars light up their “Open” signs, there’s one question that everyone from employee to customer will be asking: Is it safe to come in? Outside heavy industry, safety training typically stops at fire drills and job-specific items such as arresting grease fires in the kitchen.  Customers don’t choose between Wal-Mart, Costco, [...]

How to Accelerate Covid-19 Vaccine Development

My friend Bob forwarded an opinion piece from today’s New York Times entitled: How long Will a Vaccine Really Take?  As the author of Fast Cycle Time, I’m rarely against faster development (as long as it delivers value). Bob’s note triggered me to take a deeper look at the underlying barriers and opportunities for speed [...]

You Can’t Be Serious!
The NSA is Monitoring Our Calls & Email???

Where have you been?  And so what if they are?  My president tells me they’re not listening live.  It’s like a week-old Facebook feed – who cares? Besides, they only have my phone number but that doesn’t mean they also have a reverse directory, does it?  And since they’re listening, maybe the NSA should pay [...]

A Perspective on 2013:
Looking for the Next Miracle of Scale

Almost one hundred years ago, Dwight Eisenhower departed Washington, D.C. for San Francisco as part of the first military convoy to cross the United States.  In July, 1919, most roads were unpaved and unimproved since settlers moved west.  Vehicles were slow, prone to breakdowns or tire failure. It took 62 days at an average speed [...]

Unexpected Expectations: Leadership Lessons from BP

On Christmas, the New York Times ran its most riveting story of the year. Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours has all the drama of a Hollywood action movie as it recounts the final nine minutes on BP’s ill-fated rig. In contrast to the coverage of efforts to stop the ecological damage from the BP oil spill [...]

Leading Outside the Box:
The Outward Facing Organization

This article outlines how to turn an inward facing organization outwards. It is meant for companies that seek significant growth rather than those in a pitched battle with established competitors in mature markets. The larger an organization becomes and the longer it lives, the more likely it is to become inward facing. As people, we [...]

New & Emerging Control Paradigms

If our corporate control structures were uncooked spaghetti, dropping them into the wider environment softens them like boiling water.  Working wider, requires us to challenge the central premise of corporate hierarchy: control. Our mental reflexes are so tuned to hierarchical control that imagining a world without it is difficult.  Corporations and Congress are quick to [...]

Overcoming Outdated Control Mindsets with Social Networking

Organizations are like icebergs.  The formal aspects of organization, roles, hierarchy, signing authority, rules, etc., are the 2/5 above the water line.  The 3/5 below the waterline is where the real work gets done through informal relationships supported by implicit norms and culture. Just as drunks are prone to look for their lost keys under [...]

How to Encourage Expansive Thinking

Stress accentuates our most basic fears and predispositions.  When Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was asked what he’s learned about leadership during the recent financial crisis, he said, “I learned about the importance of making sure that everyone in the organization interprets his job or her job expansively…People can get trapped by their context.” When [...]

New Citizenship Model Replaces Heroic Leadership

Everyone loves a great hero story.  The problem is that heroes rarely act alone.  Working wider rejects the heroic leader model not because it isn’t emotionally compelling but because it’s increasingly irrelevant.  When working across wider boundaries, it’s the citizens that rule.  The problem there is we think so much about leadership that we undervalue [...]

How Trumps What

One of the challenges of leading in a wider world is that what is true at home is probably not as true, if at all, when you’re working wider.  For example, George W. Bush’s “cowboy” demeanor may have worked fine in Texas but it didn’t translate well beyond; especially in  Europe.  Search giant Google’s success [...]