Week notes #177

This week I’ve been doing:

Talking about using Microsoft Teams

I had a few chats about Microsoft Teams, why organisations should use it and what benefits they should be aiming for from it. As a digital office space Teams offers communication and collaboration tools that can help people be more efficient but I think there is a bigger picture in how tools like Teams help to manage organisational knowledge and information and enable companies to turn it into competitive advantage. I put together some thoughts on Microsoft Teams.

Measuring and motivating

There is an interesting interplay between explicit and tacit measures of success. Both drive behaviour, sometimes in unexpected ways, and I have lots of questions about how we measure people, how closely connected measurement is to motivation. PDR’s are hard.

Storytelling for strategy

Strategy doesn’t have to be boring. I had some fantastically inspiring chats today about presenting strategy as an aspirational story, mixing in testimonials and impact measures from the past year with the vision or where we want to get to and how we’re going to get there.

We also chatted about how the biggest challenge for the charity sector over the next ten years is going to be to deliver coordinated solutions to problems rather than charities focusing on single solutions such as homelessness, alcohol abuse, or mental health.

This week I’ve been studying:

CSR as a response to market pressures

Last week was the end if term so this was my first week without lectures. I finished and handed in my assignment for the Principles of Management module was answers the question “Organisations implement CSR practices and make ethical decisions primarily to increase shareholder profit as opposed to wider social considerations“. I’m not very confident it’s going to be good enough to pass as I think I’ve misunderstood what was expected by this assignment, but if so I can rewrite it next term.

It feels weird not having the pressure of lectures, pre-reading, reviewing notes, revising for exams, and writing essays, but I’m hoping the next few weeks will give me the space to study more broadly some of the things that have interested me most this term.

This week I’ve been thinking about:

I’ve been taking some of what I learned about innovation last term and thinking about what an innovative organisation of the future might look like.

Why is flexible working about more than just letting people work from home

Listening to a podcast on flexible working helped me to get my thoughts together on why it’s essential for organisations as it helps them make the boundaries between the organisation and society more permeable, which allows more diverse ideas in and can become a competitive advantage.

What role will HR have in innovative companies of the future

I think the role of the HR department will have to drastically change from what it does in most organisations now and what organisations will need it to do in the future. When the knowledge workforce no longer needs a HR department to secure it’s commitment to the work (because those knowledge workers will bring their own commitment) then the role will shift to being more about managing human intellectual assets, ideas, knowledge and information, and enabling the organisation to turn those into a competitive advantage.

This week on my Twitter people were talking about:

Things that change together belong together

Kent Beck tweeted about how things that change at the same pace belong together. He was talking about programming but I think it’s an interesting idea for other things, such as ‘fixed scope fixed cadence’ work. So if two tasks need to be completed and one exhibits greater change than the other, then does tackling them both at the same regularity make sense? We tend to think in time spans of daily, weekly, monthly and annually because that’s how our calendars are organised but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to complete work. I wonder if setting thresholds to trigger work makes more sense, so, for example financial records are reconciled when a number of transactions have been reached rather than daily, and project status reports are issued when a certain amount of progress has been made rather than monthly.

I’ve also been thinking about product strategy as an intention to keep pace with the rate of change in market. So, the strategy could be either to ‘get ahead’ of changes in the market, ‘stay on the curve’, or ‘lag behind’ the market. This feels like a more responsive approach and informs how investment decisions are made based on that intention.