Do not attempt to tackle complex, wicked problems without amply anticipating and preparing for the very real possibility of failure: On every attempt and at every stage. I'm talking about actual failure- not safe, fun, exciting failure or even safe failure, because it might not ever be emotionally 100% safe. I'm talking about the real stuff. The painful, uncomfortable, embarrassing type of failure. The kind you look in the eye and learn from... that looks back and tells you things you didn't know or care to admit...
This is an excerpt (Part 3) of an essay in progress to describe developing perspectives and practices for mapping organizational ecosystems. I recently facilitated a workshop with Agitare, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, and the Federal Innovation Network to explore how we view, create, and use maps of our massive, interconnected community, and how co-created and inter-subjective approaches … Continue reading Mapping Organizational Ecosystems: Artifacts & Rituals; Tribes & Institutions
This is an excerpt (part 1) from an essay I'm working on to describe developing perspectives and practices for mapping organizational ecosystems. I recently facilitated a workshop with Agitare, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, and the Federal Innovation Network to explore how we view, create, and use maps of our massive, interconnected community, and how co-created and inter-subjective … Continue reading Mapping Organizational Ecosystems: Introduction
People really like to share that quote from Maya Angelou that goes "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time". I am an enormous fan of the poet Maya Angelou, but this quote has always bothered me, mostly because of how incompatible it appears to be with a growth mindset, and … Continue reading When people show you who they are… don’t believe them?
The first time I questioned my decision to join the Air Force was in basic training, but it wasn't while being smoked by some screamy, sadistic TI (Training Instructor), who were mostly cartoonish, amusing, and annoying. It was when they sat us down to watch a hype video of bombs being dropped and detonating on … Continue reading On Death, Celebration, and Seriousness
Allow me to be transparent in a way that might make all of us uncomfortable. Over the course of the year that I worked at my last unit, I felt quite unaligned to their strategy and culture. I struggled to pin down who, what, and why we were, consistently coming up short. I was (very generously) handed a job that … Continue reading Alignment: Artifacts and Rituals
I saw a post this morning on LinkedIn which I found really intriguing. It proposed a type of icebreaker for facilitated workshops in which every participant shares a personal "Song of the Day" with the group. My initial response was positive. What a wonderful way to visibly, audibly, emotionally demonstrate the diversity in the room … Continue reading On Reflecting and Being Reflected, Musically
This is an adaptation of some words I gave at the retirement ceremony of one of my favorite leaders, Chief Master Sergeant Jen Larson. I met Chief Larson at a pretty difficult point in my career. I was fighting an Air Force assignment so I could stay with my family for the end of my … Continue reading CMSgt Larson
Imagine you’ve ventured deep into a mountainous landscape. Picture that in every direction are miles and miles of hills and mountains, varying in elevation from tiny hillocks to majestic alps... Now imagine that your goal is to find the highest peak possible... but visibility is extremely poor. It’s so foggy, you can’t see what’s beyond … Continue reading The Art of Wandering Downhill
In 2007, I was attending the Defense Language Institute’s Mandarin Chinese Basic Course. I was several months in and had a 3.8 GPA, second only in my class to my friend and fellow Airman James Fisher. I won’t say my academic success was because I tried harder than my classmates. I absolutely didn’t. I just … Continue reading It’s Personal