Bureaucracy: Machines & Pilots

Bureaucracy, as described by the sociologist Max Weber, is rational. Bureaucracy is how we logically create standardized and efficient systems of exchange, of competition, of distribution of labor at scale. It is rational in an abstract sense, when you abstract it away from the human, when you average people out and line them up and … Continue reading Bureaucracy: Machines & Pilots

Reflecting on Challenge Coins

I'm not a fan of every military tradition, but I do like challenge coins. They're these weird, heavy little tokens which can be imbued with substantial memory and meaning. But it isn't the item that holds the meaning, is it? Perhaps it would best be described as an augmentative interface that equips us to better … Continue reading Reflecting on Challenge Coins

On Actually Embracing Actual Failure

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...

Mapping Organizational Ecosystems: Artifacts & Rituals; Tribes & Institutions

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

Mapping Organizational Ecosystems: Introduction

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

When people show you who they are… don’t believe them?

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?

On Death, Celebration, and Seriousness

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

Alignment: Artifacts and Rituals

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

On Reflecting and Being Reflected, Musically

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