February 10, 2011
In Linked Segments I worked hard to be succinct. In doing so, I actually squeezed the life right out of the blog post! Rather than rework it directly, I am attempting to metaphorically add milk, stir, warm, and thus reconstitute the soup rather than a leaving a congealed glob of condensed puree. :*)
I have worked with technical project teams spanning a few to many members . It’s easy to work with a few members – priorities and progress are easy to update – it occurs naturally in the hallway, across cubicle walls, and informal team meetings. It gets more challenging when there are more than about five (5) team members AND when one (or more) is not co-located – the fluidity declines to the viscosity of……..condensed soup!
I could make a list of many reasons why it becomes harder, but I believe the primary one is that with greater visibility (more team members) there is a tendency toward declining informality. Members feel pressure (internally?/externally?) to share only polished work stemming from personal struggles to maintain control and dignity (see my reference to Roger Martin’s work at Technical Complexity). So sharing frequency declines – we wait for members to fully analyze their data, prepare a slide deck, and then present at the next team meeting. These effects mitigate the efficiency and productivity gains of larger groups, because they slow progress down.
Gaining trust and reciprocity that facilitates frequent informal exchange is much easier in smaller groups because protective cliques form readily in small groups. Yet, gaining trust and reciprocity is not impossible in larger groups; it just requires forming a protective tribe – really. This is where the newer ESSP (Emergent Social Software Platforms) have a role. For example, in mid 2008, I began participating in Seth Godin’s online community, Triiibes. I was blown away at how effectively Seth created a large online community that allowed each of us to grow professionally – no polishing required. My blog post On Triiibes celebrates the 1st anniversary of that community and the value that it created — truly amazing!
Two of the very best primers on the subject of forming a tribe:
- Great Boss Dead Boss by Ray Immelman (note: although the title is unappealing, it is an excellent book!)
- Tribes by Seth Godin
When I realized that large organizations (agri-business, pharma, and medical research) were beginning to use larger work groups to increase efficiency and productivity (segment and specialize) I felt compelled to crystallize my most important insights. Unfortunately, my efforts to distill the essence left a blog post with the consistency of solid goo! I hope this greater context makes Linked Segments more readable. 🙂
My long-view message:
- Team members need to feel protected and valued.
Better? Your feedback is welcome and appreciated!
July 29, 2009
A few years ago, I found Purple Cow by Seth Godin when I was browsing the local bookstore. Purple Cow started me on a journey of reading other Seth books and then becoming a daily reader of Seth’s blog, I was immediately addicted to Seth’s daily pithy, yet succinct observations, advice, insights, and admonitions. His blog posts start my day.
In July of 2008, Seth invited his blog readers (me) to buy Tribes (a terrific leadership book by Seth) and to join an online tribe called Triiibes. I joined! Today is the anniversary of Triiibes and we are celebrating it with an interconnected blog ring.
The community of similar-minded professionals that emerged in Triiibes, with whom I converse, learn, and occasionally teach, is amazing. What I love most is that Triiibes is interactive and asynchronous – I can participate day or night and spend as little or as much time as I have available. Simply perfect! I have made many enriching friendships.
Most importantly, over this past year as I participated in Triiibes, I achieved a new perspective, gained confidence, and realized that I was in a cul-de-sac. Although I had achieved significant professional success over many years, I finally realized that I had already achieved my personal goals where I was and that my efforts were no longer leading to important gains – it was time to do something different and/or set out on a new adventure. So…
I initiated a rebuild of my personal long view:
- I resigned from my full-time professional position and am now achieving proficiency (mastery?) in the non-technical art of nurture.
- I am nurturing myself, my family, and my community through care-taking, volunteering, and just helping where I can. By doing this, I have met many interesting and amazing people that I would not have had time for previously.
- I created this blog to share – here I coalesce my long view insights and publish them.
- I am defining my next adventure. I have steadfast confidence that an opportunity to nurture technical innovation will emerge from this investment in nurturing. ☺
Happy Anniversary Triiibes! Thanks for everything, I look forward to many more insightful years!
Next on the Anniversary Blog Ring: Being Tribal
May 18, 2009
Rachel Alexandra, a girl horse, won the Preakness Stakes, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown of Horse Racing this past Saturday! It hasn’t happened in 85 years.
Part of long-view thinking requires identifying, being present, and breathing-in moments of inspiration to launch and sustain transformation. The achievement of Rachel Alexandra is one of those rare inspiring events.
Rachel Alexandra’s accomplishment reminds me of similar inspiration…
I was paying attention (and cheering) when Title IX was passed into law (1972) and when Billie Jean King trounced Bobby Riggs in the tennis “Battle of the Sexes” (1973). At that time, I imagined the transformation of our world to largely what we have now – women participating, competing, and being taken seriously in many, many sports, just like the men.
In 1977, I was the first girl in my high school to be allowed to take weight lifting for P.E. credit instead of the expected volleyball. I recall that the coach agreed to give me an “A” if my cumulative total for the three defined lifts: squat, dead lift, and bench-press, was three times (3x) my body weight at the end of the program. The boys needed a cumulative total that was five times (5x) their weight for an “A.” Although it was probably a fair accommodation considering that boys are stronger than girls, I wanted to be taken seriously. I set my goal at 5x in three lifts.
In class, I was partnered with Todd, the skinny kid who also weighed only about 100 lbs. and who didn’t really care about weight lifting. Although we had different outlooks and viewed each other suspiciously at first, we found common ground. I was grateful for his collaboration to help me achieve 5x. Together we learned excellence in technique and worked hard. At the end of the term, we both achieved 5x and the rest of the class took us seriously. ☺
I am grateful to have been inspired by the birth of equal opportunity athletics and to have participated in nurturing and sustaining the transformation.
Woohoo, Rachel Alexandra, you go girl!
How are you inspired?!