Friday, March 6, 2009

Designing Your Future and Your Success as a Team Effort

This blog does not depend on late breaking news, though posts are often put out late. Back on October 17, 2008 in the Acronym blog post Design and choice, Blogger Lisa Junker asked Rohit Talwar about the title of the new book he and his company collaborated with ASAE & The Center on, Designing Your Future:

Q: What do you think it means for an association to design its future?

We deliberately chose the word "design," because design is all about making a series of choices, about form, about functionality, and about how you assemble the components. That was very much what we wanted to get the associations thinking about--a design-led approach rather than a formula-led approach. The nature of design is, you ask yourself a lot of questions on the journey, and you make a lot of choices. So, we wanted [association executives] to think about that and to recognize that this was all about making choices, asking yourselves tough questions about every aspect of what you do and then making choices about how you're going to respond. That's why we chose this notion of designing your future rather than implying there was simply a future to be chosen. You could create it, and you have the power to create it.
Rohit Talwar's thoughts seemed to combine well in my mind with Sam Davidson's, A Thought on Leadership: Defining Success. The inspiration for these thoughts goes even further back to August 27, 2008 from The Other Side of the Pillow - Official Blog.

Sam Davidson wrote that everyone knows what it looks like when we're successful. What I am finding greater connection with is the concept at CoolPeopleCare, that one key metric for success is the depth of stories that emerge from our work.
We are successful when we hear from people about how our content, products and resources have helped them change the world. Therefore, we all work towards this end, each of us doing our part, performing our tasks in order to help others make a difference. That's the same page we're all on. And we all know it.

What happens many times is that people would be on the same page, if they only knew what that page looked like. Therefore, there's a deep need right when organizations form or start a new leadership cycle to have a candid and open discussion about how success is defined.

Are there any organizations like this in the real world of business? I came back to these concepts because of recent changes in my career and because I discovered one particular exemplar for what has been termed distributive leadership. The MIT Sloan School of Management invited Terri Kelly, President & CEO, W.L. Gore & Associates, who:

provides insights into the W.L. Gore Company, and explains its unique culture that encourages experimentation, risk taking and taking the long view Nurturing a Vibrant Culture to Drive Innovation.

The idea of leading by design through the creation of a common story that defines a role of beneficial change in the world rings true with me and will be explored further.

Monday, March 2, 2009

News from AAAS Chicago meeting: In-Depth Reporting From Scientific American:

This blog features links to both the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and to Scientific America in the right hand column under Science & SciAm Magazines. Scientific American Newsletters recently sent me an update combining both of these resources. The main link is provided below along with links to some of the articles of interest to this blog and my other blog Milestones for a New Millennium. Starting off though is the video blog from Science News. I especially enjoyed the insights regarding Digg.

In-Depth Report: News from AAAS

It has been a while since I have explored these resources for new ideas and that has been a detriment for me. While it is not blind faith, I still have a great deal of confidence in addressing many of the problems we face today through technology and science, more on that in the future.