Five links: tech for good; 10k happy startups; iterating org design; brain cell microchip

  1. Inspiration: Forget cats and TIE fighters, there’s tons of tech for good at SXSW too
  2. Mission: Help us launch 10,000 happy startups
  3. Org design: The Organization Lab (o-Lab): How might we create the next iteration of our organizations?
  4. Future: This Amazing Computer Chip Is Made of Live Brain Cells
  5. Book (free chapters): Why does this always happen to me?

Five links: Google team success; getting men writing; Medium is off Holacracy; falling behind; impact lifestyle business

  1. Research: What Google found from a study into successful teams
  2. Kickstarter: Beautifully designed journal to get men writing about their thoughts and feelings
  3. Org structure: Holacracy ‘gets in the way of work’ at Medium, so they’re moving off it
  4. Motivation: To anyone who feels like they’re falling behind in life (lovely counterpoint to throwaway motivational messages)
  5. Article by me: Supercharging a lifestyle business with IMPACT.

Five links: Seth Godin; Theory of Change; power struggles; near victories; Amanda Palmer

  1. Podcast: Great conversation between Tim Ferris and Seth Godin covering book recommendations, entrepreneurship, food, money and more.
  2. Article: How useful is Theory of Change in Complex Systems? 
  3. Article by me: Avoiding power struggles in mergers and acquisitions
  4. Podcast: Near victories (from Hidden Brain podcast) – some fascinating stuff studying human behaviour around nearly winning.
  5. Article: leadership and Amanda Palmer.

What I’m up to at the moment (Spring 2016)

A few people have asked me what I’ve been up to recently so here’s a little snapshot:

  • Advising a £1BN London Stock Exchange-listed financial company on clarifying and aligning the business around its purpose.
  • Working with the founder of an executive coaching company focussed on people-centred leaders to get clear on what it’s all about for them personally and advising on how to hold and realise their big idea.
  • Hosting ‘founder days’ with individual entrepreneurs, one-to-one, helping them to get get clear on their idea and remove anything that’s blocking them being fully creative.
  • Helping a new organisation working on solving the global refugee crisis to clarify the creative structure beneath the organisation, starting with the founder, so they have the foundation for building out the right formal organisation, governance and legals.
  • Working with the founder of an international tourism business to realise their ambition of creating a highly progressive business.
  • Advising senior leadership following the acquisition of a small iconic company by a large multinational tech company to smooth the transition from original founder to new management.
  • Helping the founder of Good Money to reinvent financial services for the public good.
  • Running money workshops at business schools, for the public and within companies to raise levels of consciousness about the nature of money and the human relationship to it.
  • Working with Joel & Michelle Levey, Brighton Youth Centre and others to bring mindfulness teaching to 14-18 year olds.
  • Getting started on working on Meaning Conference 2016.

Don’t forget the humans: Keeping the organisational soul in its right place

There’s a growing trend in organisational thinking to consider companies and other organisations to be distinct entities with a ‘soul’ of their own. Like an organism that evolves separately from the humans that created it. With this mindset, the role of the humans changes to listening and sensing where the organisation wants to go next and then acting on that.

It’s a powerful metaphor and can be useful to bring people together in service of something higher. But it’s easy to become attached to a belief that the organisation really is a separate, almost living entity. The risk is that we diminish the importance of the needs of the humans who are working together.

I’ve written about the subject before, for readers of Frederic Laloux’s excellent book Reinventing Organisations who may become overly attached to the organisational soul myth, but I wanted to write a standalone article for a wider audience. So here it is.


We don’t have to be happy all the time

“I for one am afraid that our American culture’s overemphasis on happiness at the expense of sadness might be dangerous, a wanton forgetting of an essential part of a full life. I further am wary in the face of this possibility: to desire only happiness in a world undoubtedly tragic is to become inauthentic, to settle for unrealistic abstractions that ignore concrete situations. I am finally fearful over our society’s efforts to expunge melancholia from the system. Without the agitations of the soul, would all of our magnificently yearning towers topple? Would our heart-torn symphonies cease?” – Eric G. Wilson Against Happiness, in Praise of Melancholia