The war drums

by Fabrice Calando on October 23, 2014

It’s tempting to beat them loud and strong. To stand behind them and beat our chests. The heart pounding and blood flowing.

A state of emergency is just what we need to get out of this rut. Call a company wide meeting, declare this the point of no return, throw out the book, the plans, the advantages and the scope. There might not be a tomorrow.

When the long haul seems too long, when the dip to far, when the plateau without end, it is easy to throw it all away self-trigger out fight or flight response and declare a sense of emergency. It’s much more difficult to keep going, through the unclear waters and the endless plains.

But before the drum beats let’s ask, where will this lead us, what are we sacrificing.


Dwindling average

by Fabrice Calando on October 20, 2014

One thing is clear, the middle, average mass is disappearing. Both average products and services as well as the middle class. There simply isn’t any more room for average. It’s not a new concept of course, Seth Godin has been talking about this for years. And of course, the middle is a relatively new concept as well. There are some big differences between then and now:

1. Networks are fueling the deterioration of the middle. They allow for cheap and efficient delivery of products and services. They favor skill over anything else.
2. There’s more opportunity for those who realize that skill trumps all. Its cheaper than ever to start, ship and start over. More opportunity means more choice for anyone who accepts this.
3. If there’s a dwindling middle, does that mean there are more extremes? The thing is there’s a redefinition of what success means. In fact, there’s a complete redefinition of what professional and personal lives should look like. I think saying the 1% vs. the rest is an old way to look at things.

Digital networks, along with automation, outsourcing and robotization is allowing us to optimize for skill whether that means empowering the network to create value (i.e.: Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) or using the network to emphasize skill (i.e.: Uber, Etsy).

What this means is that optimizing for average is clearly unsustainable in the long run. If you’re running a business it means you need to aim for the extremes: automation and network fueled value or skill supported by networks.


The future of work

by Fabrice Calando on October 17, 2014

A few weeks ago I signed up to take part in Bill Jensen‘s new project on the future of work. I was interviewed by his collaborator Mathieu Laferrière (coincidentally I’m happy to see my friend Frédéric Harper also took part).

I was asked to answer three questions:
1. From any time in your life… What tough choices have you made that now guide or influence how you make new tough decisions?
2.What are YOUR toughest challenges or what are the (one, two, three) toughest challenges and choices that organizational leaders need to make to lead us into the future?
3. What are your (one or two) biggest lessons learned that might help other leaders as they face similar challenges?

You can see the full video here (Keep in mind that, I did the interview over Skype on my Nexus 5 in a park on my way to work… in other words I was slightly under-caffeinated).

I signed up because the general topic of work, where it is and where it’s headed is something that’s always interested me. You might have noticed that it’s a topic that comes up regularly on this site. I truly believe work as we know it is changing in ways we don’t even realize and understand yet. I hope my answers help shed some light.

Earlier on I mentioned Frédéric Harper; I’m happy to see our answers are similar at times. It either means we’re on to something or not pushing the envelope enough…

I look forward to seeing and reading the upcoming book.


The buck stops here

October 16, 2014

All too often, we as leaders and managers are quick to pass the buck to another team or down the line. As far down as it needs to go to lose relevance and meaning. That means postponing decisions and refusing to claim responsibility for actions. It’s too easy to point to another group or department, [...]

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October 15, 2014

What’s the fuel that keeps a young organization going? What keeps it on the road when all it faces is obstacles? What is it that make employees scale and tear down walls? Vision. Not the nice words written on a plaque at the entrance or on the website, but the relentless, uncompromising dedication of the [...]

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Three company worldviews or which company should you work for?

October 14, 2014

When it comes to companies you have three types of worldviews – forward-looking, presentists and rearviewers. I think you can find examples of each type that work and that don’t work. Knowing a company’s worldview matters if you’re an investor. It matters if you’re looking to sell a product or service and it matters if [...]

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The four steps of an organization

October 9, 2014

Yesterday, Seth Godin talked about 4 steps to organizational growth, dominance or irrelevance. Those steps are Struggle, Servant, Bully and Utility. Each step I think creates it’s own set of challenges for employers and leaders as they navigate from one to the next. The first stage, the Struggle stage, is arguably the hardest – trying [...]

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Might as well complain?

October 6, 2014

Why fear taking a stand and making it our mission? For all the talk about entering the arena, having permission, a world of abundance and opportunity, why do would we still rather complain and sit still? Is it that taking that first step is risky? Maybe. Is it that it means sacrifice? Maybe. Or is [...]

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Faded negatives

October 3, 2014

Over time, photo negatives fade and soon the image is lost. That made images scarce and rare. Something precious that you’d put in an album. Of course today, pictures are abundant and plentiful. You can snap a thousand pictures without afterthought. In fact this digitization has driven the cost of amateur photography down to zero. [...]

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It’s complicated

September 30, 2014

Maybe your relationship is, I don’t know. Facebook does, but I don’t. What I know is that the rest – your job, your responsibilities, your family, your house – is simple. We complicate things. Maybe it makes us feel better, like we’re important, like we do really important stuff. Truth is, the important stuff is [...]

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