Archive for the 'Analysis and Opinion' Category

The Other Digital Divide – Where the Rich Lose!

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

The Digital Divide Wikipedia defines the digital divide as “an economic and social inequality according to categories of persons in a given population in their access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT)”. The idea is usually that people in lower socioeconomic circumstances have less access to the bounty of computing, and especially the Internet, than richer folks. This, of course, further limits their ability to succeed in life, deepening the inequalities that are so harmful to society. This divide between “Haves” and “Have-nots” is widely recognized; and yet I note an additional, different digital divide.. Read more

Curling – and the True Role of a Manager

Posted on July 17th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Some people are managers, and some are individual contributors; two very different species. Both are vital to the success of a company, which means both can make or break that success. Most individual contributors – engineers and technologists, for instance – are happy to do their thing and leave the bigger picture to their managers; at least, until they progress – as some of them do – to become technical leaders, when their input to management strategy becomes invaluable. But the individuals can’t do their thing unless the managers do theirs, and at times it seems that a manager is.. Read more

Oh, the Horror: What if You Miss an Important Message?!

Posted on June 6th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

In a world where knowledge workers may receive 300 emails a day, and have thousands of unread messages in their inbox, one of the best pieces of advice I can give them in my workshops may be Be quick with that Delete button! Unfortunately, people are so loath to heed this advice, that I often don’t even try. What’s keeping them from deleting with a vengeance it the mortifying fear that they will accidentally delete an important message. Oh, the horror!… The implicit assumption There may be two underlying assumptions at play here: one assumes deleting the message harms its.. Read more

Urgency and Email

Posted on May 21st, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

It’s less than three weeks to Overloaded 2014, IORG’s June 7 conference in San Francsico. I’m going – are you? Have you registered yet? I was discussing email overload solutions with a team of managers and we were considering how to differentiate urgent messages, when one guy asked: What is an urgent message? And who decides it’s urgent, anyway? Now, that is a deceptively simple question, one well worthy of some thought. What do we mean by Urgent? Although people seem to have a gut feeling of what “Urgent” means, once you open it for discussion you get different viewpoints… Read more

New Insight Article: The Importance of Having an Effective Action Culture

Posted on February 19th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Organizational culture is a fascinating subject – elusive yet critical to a company’s success. A crucial aspect of this is what I’ll call (for lack of a better name) Action Culture. By this I mean the norms and expectations governing how action – the tasks required by the company’s business – is determined, assigned, owned, and tracked to completion. Having a well formed action culture can make a huge difference to a company’s success; over the years I’ve seen quite interesting good and bad examples. My recent insight article, titled The Importance of Having an Effective Action Culture, shares what.. Read more

The two Faces of Anytime, Anywhere

Posted on February 14th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

A cool idea (or so we thought) … It really did sound like a great concept at the time: Work Anytime, Anywhere! Catchy slogans like that always sound good, like Andy Grove’s prediction in the nineties of “Free MIPS, Free Bauds” (which is pretty close to reality by now). And the concept of being able to do your work from anywhere as if you were in the office, and at any time of your choosing rather than 9-to-5, seemed particularly cool – so liberating and exhilarating! We in IT were certainly delivering the capability. Admittedly secure remote access was a.. Read more

Who Will Teach Oratory to our Employees?

Posted on January 23rd, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

An under-appreciated skill There is an art, or a skill, called Oratory, or Public Speaking, and in my current career it’s part of the required tool set: without the ability to speak well in a public setting I couldn’t make a living delivering interesting lectures, something I take great pleasure in doing. However, the art of eloquent speaking goes far beyond formal lecture delivery: it is what people do all the time in a business setting, whenever they present a PowerPoint presentation or just speak to assembled colleagues or managers in order to impart information and influence a decision. And.. Read more

New Insight Article: How You Can Instill a Culture of Innovation in Your Company

Posted on January 14th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Everybody, you’d think, likes Innovation. What’s not to like? And yet, as I’ve observed repeatedly, many companies pay lip service to innovation, but not that many walk the talk. Even hi-tech companies that thrive on making innovative products may not foster a culture of innovation internally. My latest insight article shares some thoughts and observations derived during my many years as a change agent within a large global enterprise. It discusses some critical success factors, some pitfalls to avoid, and a number of examples of proven techniques for making your company and in particular its workforce more innovation-enabled. Enjoy! [Image:.. Read more

A Disclaimer, Once And For All!

Posted on December 17th, 2013 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

An uncalled for dissonance As you know I lecture often on Information Overload in organizations, and I describe in these lectures the manifold damages of email overload in a workplace setting, followed by the available remedies. To my surprise, I sometimes encounter an indignant response: people declare that email is a vital tool, and I’m wrong to declare war on it! This always catches me by surprise, because my battle is with the abuse and misuse of email, not with the tool itself; and I’ve certainly never called for abandoning email – I benefit from its use as much as.. Read more

How Software Failed to Replace our Secretaries – and how it’s Getting Better

Posted on December 4th, 2013 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

Check out my guest post on the Doodle blog: Everything but the coffee: The evolution of the automated secretary. In this post I discuss the hopes, back in the nineties, that MS Outlook and other Office tools could make the trusty secretaries of old redundant (you could type your own letters and set your own meetings, right?), and how we found before long that a an 80386 microprocessor with some 300,000 transistors was no match for a human with 100 billion neurons. I then discuss the case of setting meetings, and why Outlook in itself is incapable of doing it.. Read more