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The Governor of Alabama doesn’t understand “corporate governance structure”

June 14, 2010 Leave a comment

3d overview of the Gulf of Mexico, with some p...
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Bob Riley, governor of Alabama, probably needs to get with Robert Gibbs to find out how that “corporate governance structure” thing is supposed to work, so that he wont embarass himself with statements like:

A key governor on Sunday blasted the lack of leadership in the US response to the worst ever US oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, saying decisions were being gummed up in committee.

Governor Bob Riley of Alabama said he was more frustrated with the Obama administration‘s lack of coordination and unity of purpose than he was BP, the British energy giant blamed for the spill.

“You can’t have a committee making the decisions that are going to impact this entire coastal area,” he said on CNN‘s “State of the Union” program.

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breathing = trading

June 12, 2010 6 comments

  • ask yourself: “what is the crowd waiting for?” “What do they need to see?”
  • What would confirm in their mind that the trade is NOW?!”
  • learn to see it before it happens
  • create separation between you and the crowd
  • be on the edge of them, so you can sense the mood, but don’t be inside the crowd
  • be aware of the crowd but be OF the crowd
  • be positioned in the quiet moment before they take off running
  • let their energy propel your position
  • if you are using “Red-Doji-Green-Go” on the 5s, consider the 1s or 3s as you see the front end of a doji occurring
  • what’s a doji look like as it is beginning to form?
  • a change in the downtrend that was the big red candle….failure to fail further, created the beginning of the doji
  • that’s the time to dial in and listen carefully
  • do you hear the absence of further failure?
  • do you hear the quiet pause between exhale (fear, selling, money flowing out) and the inhale?
  • (beginning to generate the energy of the next leg up)
  • this is the “natural respiratory pause”
  • this is the moment we train in marksmen
  • to pull the trigger at a moment of stability
  • in between the exhale and inhale
  • it’s the most stable moment in the body
  • there are 3 points in the breath: inhale, pause, exhale
  • in your practice of meditation, do some breath work:
  • 4 counts inhale, 4 counts pause, 4 counts exhale, 4 counts pause
  • learn to recognize and feel each state
  • learn the quality of the pause
  • feel your smooth emotional state
  • sip the air in, hold, let it seep out, hold
  • now feel price breathing
  • learn to dial in to the pace of the breath in the cycle that seems to be in force
  • sometimes at the opening its 5s and 1s; later it may be 15s and 5s, or 60 and 15
  • try Ken Cohen’s CDs on breathing meditations
  • monitor the breathing of the crowd
  • but don’t breath with them
  • stay true to your cycle of breathing
  • dont match their pace
  • watch cats stalking and watch their breathing
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Brits deliver a ritual spanking to Obama

June 11, 2010 2 comments

the real world, where words and deeds have consequences beyond the PR value of soundbites and campaigns, our former allies, the people with whom we once shared a special and enduring relationship are opining on our Prez (kickin’ any ass lately, O?)

Former foreign Secretary with sensible analysis

The US will never take the blame for disasters

and this…

You can’t be surprised at President Obama’s poisonous attitude towards ‘British Petroleum,’ not if you keep up with this blog.  As I wrote last March: ‘Obama is the first US president who was raised without cultural or emotional or intellectual ties to either Britain or Europe. The British and the Europeans have been so enchanted with “America’s first black president” that they haven’t been able to see what he really is: “America’s first Third World President.”‘

‘Here is what is happening, though the British Government seems oblivious of it. The Obama administration is ready to dump the Old World in pursuit of the One World. Britain is being dumped. The special relationship, whatever is left of it, is over.

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No more Easter egg hunts: promoting search and discovery in the classroom

June 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Hanácké kraslice, a traditional way of decorat...
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Think about how we assign readings and discussion questions.

Let me exaggerate (am I?) and say that we:

engineer the amount of reading based on  words per minute, and convert that into pages, and then assign “x” number of pages. We select readings that “surround” the answer we want the students to “find”, and then we check in the classroom to see if the kids found the Easter eggs we hid in a safe part of the yard.

is that a procedure that will “reliably” encourage the development of critical and creative thinking?  Why would we think that?

Would a graduate school give the students an interesting question and ask them to return in “x” days, with an argument, researched, reflected upon, and presented as an entry into discourse?  Would a grad school confine the students to a sterile, preordained pasture of safe answers, with well worn paths and school solutions?

We should prohibit 1/4 of the class, on a rotating basis, from reading the “assigned” reading, and simply turn them loose to find what they will find; their job is to come back with something interesting and report it, with their reflections, in an interesting way; justifying why it is of intrest to their peers, and defending their claims.  😀

Whenever I have tried this approach, it has always been an eye and mind opening experience, but rarely predictable

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how OD interventions need to be adapted to fit different cultural contexts.

June 11, 2010 2 comments

Cummings and Worley acknowledge the importance of appreciating, if not understanding, the cultural context when considering an OD interventions. This includes culture on a national, regional, tribal, religious and ethnic dimension as well as the traditional social norms. They remind us that interventions appropriate in one area may not fit separate culture. This cultural context must be considered for the intervention from day one in terms of defining appropriate roles for the OD consultants, whether internal or external; the processes used to diagnose, analyze, design and implement strategies; the degree to which the culture requires or permits partnership status for stakeholders; the political culture and its accommodation for power and authority; the value system by which interventions will be judged as failure or success and the timeframe within which interventions can expect to operate. Culture will help influence the capacity for change as well as the degree of possible change in the narratives by which success and failure will be defined and propagated throughout the organization.

Because culture takes so long to change and is driven by factors beyond our control in many cases, while OD interventions particularly in business must happen in a much shorter timeframe, culture, in my opinion, can at best be appreciated and accounted for rather than changed in your intervention strategy. Positive results from the change you create well over the long run influence the culture, if you’re change in results are persistent, but I have seen an awful lot of energy spent on changing a culture come to naught, both in the Army and in my private business practice.

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Some characteristics of transformational change

June 11, 2010 3 comments

An Innovation Competence Process Coming From K...
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Discussing the three kinds of interventions associated with transformational change, namely: culture change, self-design, and Organizational Learning and Knowledge management.

Culture change: focuses more on the development of a strong, appropriate culture for the line of business, environment, workforce demographics and societal norms as a way to align organizations, mission and processes. Its central concerns are: behaviors, values, beliefs and norms. A rush to judgment premature characterization of cultural type in implications are frequent shortcomings of a naïve approach to cultural management. A distinction should be made between culture and climate in which culture represents weather patterns that are slow to change, while climate represents today’s temperature and humidity in which may be quickly identified and adapt to. It’s not clear that cultures can be managed; shine advises tempering your expectations pragmatically.

Self design: is a highly participative process incorporating multiple stakeholders who are empowered to set directions and then design and implement structures and processes that are appropriate for their situation. There is an educational component for both process and content to empower and enable stakeholders to take on the design and implementation tasks. Self design is any iterative and integrated approach with three basic phases: laying the foundation in which knowledge is acquired and then used to diagnose and reaffirm values; the design phase in which a new structure and set of processes emerge from the foundation; and finally implementing and assessing the results. This system of phases with feedback loops very much resembles traditional action research and action learning and the ideal Deming plan do check act sequence.

Organizational learning and knowledge management: combines two interrelated change processes: organizational learning which examines how an organization acquires and develops new knowledge, and knowledge management, which is focused on how that knowledge is then organized and applied to improve performance. It’s possible for this intervention to go beyond solving existing problems and proactively support continuous improvement. A central concern in learning organizations is the idea of formalizing for extracting the tacit knowledge residing in the hearts and minds of the workforce in translating that into an accessible enterprise knowledge database to support continuous improvement. Knowledge engineering, and knowledge navigation and cognitive task analysis are enabling skills needed for this endeavor.

Infrastructure, policies, education, resourcing the support staff, architecture, tagging and search are all essential elements of a knowledge management and organizational learning plan. Measuring the costs of creating, managing and applying the knowledge is nontrivial. Estimating the value of tacit knowledge in order to justify a given expenditure of resources to extract it is problematic. The buy-in of leadership, like all interventions, is important as well. A focus on hardware and software will often overshadow the all-important middleware or wetware residing between our ears. It may be more important to examine how we learn than optimizing the tools by which we will store the information we have created.

Our college is going through an institution wide approach to knowledge management in which we are making all of the possible errors noted in the book. An excessive focus on technology and hardware at the expense of how the end users actually use knowledge and what their particular needs are is evident from the first day of planning. Having the IT department director as the project lead pretty much guarantees that approach would be taken. He is looking for a technology driven, centrally managed, high cost solution, whereas the student and faculty representatives are much more interested in a robust set of diverse practices that support their particular and unique needs.

It’s not clear yet how we will bridge these competing values.

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Integrated strategic change and how it differs from traditional strategic planning and traditional planned organization change

June 11, 2010 3 comments

Model of the Human Processor
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Cummings and Worley define the concept of integrated strategic change (ISC) as a comprehensive OD intervention that examines how plan change that can add value to strategic management. The integrative piece looks at a synthesis of business strategies and organizational systems responding together to external and/or internal disruptions. This strategic change plan then would help members manage the transition from current status and organizational designs to a desired future strategic orientation. The simultaneity of strategy and organizational design is the essence of the integrated change plan. ISC is one of the newer concepts in the OD repertoire.

ISC can be either radical or gradual in its systemic realignment between the environment and the businesses strategy. It has a results-focus while simultaneously examining processes, structure and strategies. It is concerned with the implementation, transition states, and human resources and not just the conceptual plan.

It looks simultaneously at strategy, operations and tactics; and both planning and execution. ISC considers three-time states: the present, the transition, and the desirable future. It goes beyond the isolated, rational analysis of traditional strategic planning to include human factors, culture and environment in the implementation phase. It is a highly participative process as opposed to traditional strategic change planning which typically resides in a small staff sell at the highest echelon in the executive branch of the organization.

It has four phases: strategic analysis, strategic choice, designing the change plan, and implementing the plan. The four steps are overlapping and iterative as opposed to linear and compartmentalized, as in the traditional methods.

Finally, ISC differs from traditional processes by examining strategic orientation as the unit of analysis; considers how to gain commitment and support for the strategic plan as an integral part of the overall plan; and incorporates elements at all echelons throughout the organization in analysis, implementation and monitoring effectiveness. Ownership is central to this concept.

My experience with Army strategic planning has been of the traditional variety and it’s clear that ISC is a better fit for the real world of managing change in large organizations. The annual off-site gathering of senior leaders to create a vision which is put on a shelf and back to business as normal is the stereotype, mostly true, of the traditional process. The pilot program of reengineering an Army installation that I participated in as the senior military planner, featured some of the elements of ISC and in those areas the plan was much more successful than when we applied traditional means. To the extent that we consider transitions in implementation, human factors, and incorporated stakeholders from every echelon, we were successful. When we tried to implement a top-down, from-a-distance strategic vision, we suffered the usual problems of traditional planning.

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