March 12, 2012

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Making the Invisible Visible

November 30, 2015

conversationsAlan Webber suggested over 20 years ago that the core work of knowledge-based organizations is conversation – the creation and exchange of ideas, information, knowledge, and even wisdom (see “What’s So New about the New Economy?Harvard Business Review, January-February 1993).

Then Webber asks and answers a really important question about the role of management in a knowledge-based business:

If the new work of the company is conversation, then what is the job the manager? Put simply: to create an environment where employees can have productive conversations rather than counterproductive ones, useful conversations rather than useless ones.

In my humble opinion, we should be spending far more energy than we do focusing on the quality of corporate conversations, and on teaching managers at all levels how to start and foster meaningful conversations that ultimately produce value for both customers and employees. [click to continue…]


Just Say Thank You!

November 23, 2015

Fall colors galore!

(image of fall colors courtesy of Cindy Ware)

This is Thanksgiving week in the United States – a reminder to slow down, pause, spend time with family and friends, and be thankful for our blessings.

It is a tradition that goes all the way back to that first autumn when the Pilgrims (North America’s original immigrants) harvested their crops, supposedly shared their bounty with the native American Indians and got ready to hunker down for the winter.

While some aspects of that first Thanksgiving are no doubt mythical, we have made the holiday into perhaps the quintessential American celebration. [click to continue…]


WORKTECH15-West-Coast-Marketing-Image2-720x305WorkTech is one of the best one-day opportunities you can find anywhere for learning the latest insights about the future of work and networking with fellow workplace futurists. And if you register at this link  as a friend of The Future of Work…unlimited you will get a $100 discount off the registration fee.

Phillip Ross and his Unwired Ventures team always assemble a mind-bending and eye-opening program filled with success stories, thought leaders, and provocative insights. [click to continue…]


Team CollaboratingLast week I asked my readers to complete a brief survey to help me understand the kinds of meetings you participate in and how you feel about them. Many thanks to those of you who responded and shared your experiences.

While the number of participants is too small for me to claim any statistical validity, I nevertheless believe the trends and patterns are interesting, and I want to share a few of them here, along with some thoughts about what they mean.

For starters, it appears that this group is generally representative of middle to senior managers. The respondents were predominantly HR and Facilities functional leaders, based in the United States, and averaging a bit over 50 years old. The group is evenly split between men and women. The age and seniority data suggest that these are experienced people, presumably with significant leadership responsibilities. [click to continue…]


My forthcoming book, Making Meetings Matter, will be published in January by Indie Books International. We’re now in the process of editing the text and designing the layout. One of the most important steps in publishing a book is designing the front cover; that, after all, is what draws potential readers (like you) to pick up the book (or to investigate it further at and other online booksellers).

Since one of my premises, explored in detail in the book, is that in the digital age no one is smarter than everyone (thanks to Rod Collins for that beautiful way of expressing the power of collaboration), I want to ask your help as I select a book cover.

Which of these do you like? Why? Please click here to send me a quick email with your recommendation.

  Cover #1:         Cover #2          Cover #3







I would love to hear from you; which one do you like most, and why? Just click here and send me a brief note. And if you like the colors on one cover but the images on another, tell me that too. We can mix and match as much as we want to.



The results are in, and they are overwhelming. Over 90% of the people who have responded here or to emails about these cover choices expressed a strong preference for cover #1, on the left above.

The good news is that I personally picked that one right away. It has a sophisticated and “cool” look, and blue is the color of business (so my designer friends tell me).

So stay tuned – we’re still on track to have the book on the bookshelves (both real and virtual) in mid-January. You can count on me letting you know when the book becomes available!



People in a Meeting

I have been studying and writing about meetings and other corporate conversations for many years.

My understanding of how meetings work and my “rules” for leading meetings that matter are based on a combination of personal experiences (both good and bad) leading and attending hundreds of meetings, lots of formal research, and many insightful stories I’ve heard from colleagues.

But now I want to refresh my understanding of what is actually going on. The digitally enhanced and richly interconnected world we live in today creates new challenges and new opportunities for designing effective meetings.

While I don’t question for a minute the value of all those personal stories I’ve heard and the wisdom other experts, I want to enhance our collective understanding by compiling and sharing a wider range of stories and of actual data about what meetings are like in 2015 and how effective they actually are. [click to continue…]

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I am currently collaborating with several thought leaders in Europe (my partners in the FutureWork Forum) to conduct a global survey designed to uncover trends and differences around the world in how leadership is evolving. We’re particularly interested in understanding how digital technologies and social media are impacting the role and style of leaders at all levels.

If you’ll give me five minutes to complete the survey I’ll send you a free summary of our findings. Just click here to respond:

And please pass this request on to your friends and colleagues. The more responses we get the more interesting the data will be.

Thanks! Please complete the survey by November 11 if possible. Five minutes is all it takes.



I may be celebrating prematurely, but permit me just a bit of shameless self-promotion.

As I have mentioned many times previously, I’ve been working for the past year on this book about corporate conversations and, in particular, the settings in which most conversations take place: formal meetings.

The book is now in the hands of my publisher, Henry DeVries of Indie Books International; it’s due to be published in early January 2016. I can’t wait!

There’s lots of work still to do to make the book worthy of your attention, but I’m now concentrating on the second big job any author has: creating “buzz” and visibility. Writing the book is challenging enough, but getting the word out about it is just as important.

I’m going to be very upfront and open about that process, because I’m learning as I go, and I have this core belief that you will find the process as interesting as I do. I hope I’m right! [click to continue…]


MultitaskingLast week I wrote about the challenges of living in a “boundaryless” world – one in which we can (and do) bounce back and forth between work and non-work activities.

It is now common to communicate with colleagues and friends all over the world, to take care of personal needs in the middle of our work days, and to engage in work-related activities at all hours of the day and night.

(see “In a Boundaryless World, Peak Performance is More Difficult Than Ever”)

How many times have you been part of a global conference call at 4 or 5 AM local time, or completed a work memo and emailed it off at 10 PM? [click to continue…]