Reflections 6th September

My ” thinking seat” at Doddington Hall near Lincoln

What I’ve noticed.

That people are beginning to make decisions for themselves.

We becomemore resilient, and antifragile even, the more decision making is distributed to where the action needs to take place. The military have known in for years, and utilities are gettin g it as they switch to sitrubuted networls to reduce the likelihood of power outages. Distributed authority links to its parts, and makes whatever decision is needed at the time.

We currently seem to be doing the opposite. Whether in education, or healthcare, or policing, we seem to react to challenge by bringing the power to the centre, into the hands of those furthest away from the action and often it seems with little experience or leadership capability.

The end result is perhaps inevitable. People are ignoring the centre.

I listened to a returning traveller on the radio this morning explaining in clear, cogent terms why he was not self isolating on his return from holiday. He knew the infection rates where he had been, where he was, and the risks of the points he had been in between. It was difficult to fault his logic, or his demeanour.

Conversations with people working from home suggests the same. They are more productive, and know it. They are more effective, have adjusted their routines to make space for the informal discussions they would otherwise have in the office, and are well aware of the need for occasional face to face contact – with the emphasis on occasional.

Whether its politicians fretting, understandably, about the fragility of the coffeeconomy, or old style leaders uncomfortable with not being able to see their “subjects”, the emerging reality is that the location of work has changed significantly. There may be some rebalancing, but it seems to have changed for good. After all, why would we continue to commute, using carbon, time and money when those being asked to do it know they don’t need to?

Building back better is more than a cheap slogan.

What I’ve been reading and listening to

I’m going to make a change for a few weeks here as I catch up on my reading. Fewer books for a few weeks, more links.

Efficiency vs Resilience. A good short piece by Chelsea Green Publishing brough to my attention by Joerg Geier. 3 min read.

The Four Tendencies. Gretchen Rubin suggests we all react as:

  • Upholders want to know what should be done.
  • Questioners want justifications.
  • Obligers need accountability.
  • Rebels want freedom to do something their own way

Take the quiz to find out your tendency. it might surprise you.

How bacteria talk to each other. Bonnie Bassier. Things we can learn from our smaller brethren.

Sheds not Grey. Working from home? How about one of these?

A quote

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things”

Steve Jobs

What I’ve learned

Positional leadership – the idea that authority comes with rank – is being severely tested. It doesn’t take too many errors, U Turns and poor communication for the authority of the role to evaporate. Those right now who expect to be followed are not being.

Local is becoming important. Whether that is sourcing, spending, or communicating, people are listening to those who are close to them. I think its changing how we spend our money. The inplications, if it continues, may be profound.

What I’m up to.

Working with small groups with big aspirations.

If you’d like to learn more, or start your own, contact us.

Catalysing the Future is set for Sept 30th. Here are some links. Join us.


Twitter: @CatalyzeFuture.

Have a great week.

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