Control and Creativity

Last month, I had the privilege to study with a renowned artist, Nancy Crow. It was a wonderful experience. Of course I learned about art —design principles, use of color, figure ground tension. I also came smack up against an issue that I see in so many...

Six Ways to Build Trust

Trust may seem mysterious—something that just happens or grows through some unknowable process. The good news is there are concrete actions that tend to build trust (and concrete actions that are almost guaranteed to break down trust). First, let’s agree on a...

Interview by Marcus Blankenship

I recently sat down for a chat with Marcus Blankenship of Programming Leadership. We talked about my book, 7 Rules for Positive Productive Change, and how change plays out for people and organizations. You can listen to the full interview on Marcus Blankenship’s...

Rules of Thumb for Agile Coaches

At the end of one of my Team Coaching workshops, a participant–an agile coach with years of experience– remarked, “I had no idea there was more to coaching than asking questions.” Another coach commented, “I see now why me teaching how to write stories...

An Alternative to the Annual Review

Well, it’s that time again — time for the yearly performance evaluation. The ritual starts with gathering feedback, proceeds to assigning rating/ranking, and drags on through doling out a raise. Do you enjoy annual performance evaluations? Thought not....

Change Artist Super Powers: Patience

John was out of patience. “It shouldn’t take this long!” John, the VP of Development, snapped. “Its just not that hard!” The “it” John referred to was a set of measures and metrics. He believed that if all the teams reported these, everyone would be better able to...

The Risks of Anonymous Feedback

In one of the online forums I participate in, someone declared that feedback between peers must be anonymous. His rationale was that people won’t be honest without anonymity. I have found that it is possible to be honest and not anonymous.  I’ve also found...

Change Artist Super Powers: Empathy

Some people seem to think that empathy has no place at work…that work requires a hard-nose, logic, and checking your emotions at the door. But, in periods of change, emotions—which are always present, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not—surge to the surface....

Jobs don’t fit in neat little boxes.

Most job descriptions decompose work into discrete chunks, clearly defining what each position must do. Competency models list required behaviors, seeking standardization across contexts. In essence, these models are akin to specifications for machine parts. Complex...

Change Artist Super Powers: Experimentation

In my previous two posts, I wrote about curiosity and observation. In this one, I’ll share some ideas about experimentation— my third Change Artist Super Power.   Tiny changes, done as experiments, may feel like you’re dancing around the real issue instead of facing...

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