What Process Teaches Us About People

What Process Teaches Us About People

Process improvement projects fail more often than they succeed. Even though there are many documented lessons from these failures, organizations continue to repeat the same mistakes. The result is wasted project spend and a process that is as bad (or worse) than when the project started. For would-be disrupters this is detrimental. Launching a disruptive idea and failing in execution makes your company trust you less and your customers are not going to risk their continuity with you anymore.

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Eliminate Your Own Job

Eliminate Your Own Job

On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for every job drops to zero. There are people and companies out there designing substitutes for what you do, and they are going to succeed at some point. The situation is ever more urgent because innovation cycles are getting shorter.

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Recognizing Mediocrity and Rising Above It

Recognizing Mediocrity and Rising Above It

Most people have good ideas, but only a very small percentage of these ever sniff execution at all, much less participate meaningfully. This is because most management structures enable mediocrity by providing employees with boxes to check, grading them on that box-checking and then believing things are going great.

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The Age of Individual Contribution and the Decline of Middle Management

The Age of Individual Contribution and the Decline of Middle Management

Great companies are becoming much flatter, and this trend will accelerate over the next 20 years. Promotion through the ranks won’t involve managing an ever greater number of people; instead it will mean an ever greater amount of accountability for an organization’s success.

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Staying Out of the Ivory Tower

Staying Out of the Ivory Tower

What happens to our favorite artists when they get popular? A lot of things do, but the reason they resonate less is that they’re in an ivory tower. The pains and struggles they sang about when they made their first few albums are gone. The unique perspective they drew upon to write in an original way no longer exists. They are different people. They still have problems and struggles, it’s just that now those are ivory tower problems; problems that are meaningless to you.

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Cultivate Disruption

Cultivate Disruption

Human reflexes tell you to be rigid when you are pushed. They tell you to seize control and to settle things down. It is a reflex because it’s overwhelming if you are already busy with something (or several things). You are at capacity, can’t work another 60-hour week and besides, there is enough cool stuff in the pipeline already.

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The Confidence to Disrupt

The Confidence to Disrupt

For ideas to become real, support from others is imperative. Disruptive innovations directly affect a number of stakeholders, in some cases across multiple companies. These stakeholders include not only executives and customers, but peers in other departments and frontline employees. All of these people care greatly for the continuity of their processes and outputs, and they are not going to support an idea that threatens to harm them. They need to see confidence to take on the change risk. 

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How to Read

How to Read

Experts and pontificators are not there to give you an instruction manual on how to be good at your job, but this is how they tend to be used by their readers. Most of the time normal people who are “well read” find a few authors they totally agree with and relate to and stick to them. They attempt to directly implement the things they’ve read into their job function. This is the wrong way to read because it develops critical thinking very slowly.

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Quality Controls: Keep it Light

Quality Controls: Keep it Light

Continuously adding controls is quite damaging over time. Since controls are applied to processes across all individuals who perform them, every control you implement reduces the productivity of individuals who would otherwise perform the task correctly. The penalty of adding a control to those who don’t need it is greater than the gain of a new control correcting the behavior of those who occasionally mess up.

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Disruption in Your DNA

Disruption in Your DNA

Disrupters make impactful change in their organizations as a course of habit. It is not a special effort and it is not daunting or stressful. It is organic because it’s in their DNA. Disrupters are different because of how they view their outputs. They became rock stars and now their vision has expanded.

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