Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my page, the meeting point of my activities. My name is Fede Andino and I’m working at something that I’ve named Culture Crafting. It’s not something very solid yet.

There’s a classic book. the Cathedral and the Bazaar. In it, there are two models presented for something that is built: a Cathedral, an organized vision of a particular mind and a Bazaar, an organic aggregation of ideas and people over time. My art is not a cathedral, nor yet a bazaar but rather a well-attended Inn at the crossroads of IT work, Management, Mindfulness, Agile, Lean and Storytelling. In time, it is my hope that it may be a bazaar or its even better cousin, the Souk: a vibrant place with a lot of tradition. But it is not there, yet. It’s just a cozy inn, at this time.

In this site I’ll post my work ideas, my pics and videos and also all the social networks that I’m currently working on.

Come on in and have a seat!

Review: Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? by Louis V. Gerstner Jr.

Jr, L. V. G. (2002). Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?: Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround (First Edition edition). Harper Business.

Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization’s makeup and success—along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like. I might have chronicled the positive and negative cultural attributes of my companies (“positive” and “negative” from the point of view of driving marketplace success). And I could have told you how I went about tapping into—or changing—those attributes. The descriptions would have been accurate, but in one important respect I would have been wrong. I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it is the game. (emphasis mine)


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

This has been an unexpectedly difficult text to review, due to several factors. Full disclosure: I work @IBM and I’ve been an IBMer for the last 10 years of my life. And I work directly with culture at IBM, being it Agile methodology, Mindfulness or Storytelling. Therefore, while I have a lot of hard-won insights of the struggle of cultural change at IBM, I also have probably a very strong bias. Also, some things seem discouragingly similar after so long. But when Guillermo García (the CIC visionary leader and probably one of the most committed people that I know for cultural change) asked me to include this book and the next on the review list, I told him that I would try.

Things has been…challenging.

 Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?: Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround Is a book by Louis V. Gerstner Jr., the CEO who essentially changed IBM’s profile and saved the company from fragmenting into small shards of a once imposing empire on IT. One of the major challenges on reviewing this book is its disorganized structure: it’s nor a journal of the experience, an argument for the politics or strategy of the change or an analysis post-fact, but rather a combination of all of it. It starts on the biography of the author, walks you through his first days at IBM in an hour to hour fashion, then jumps into the following years and ends explaining both the trends that the author predicted and does some financial analysis. That so schizophrenic a structure is understandable is due to the strong voice of the author, who is witty and self-effacing enough to admit the problems firsthand

I wrote this book without the aid of a coauthor or a ghostwriter (which is why it’s a good bet this is going to be my last book; I had no idea it would be so hard to do).


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

Since it is difficult to implement a succinct analysis of the book given its structure and lacking the wit of the author, I’ll try to summarize the main points at each part of the book and then do a final analysis at the end.

The beginning: bio and the choice to become CEO

The author begins with a quick story of himself; coming from an upper-middle class upbringing, he, interestingly is a graduate from both Darthmouth College and Harvard. His first job is an executive consultant at McKinsey; then he moves to become quickly CEO of Nabisco, of Amex and other major companies, until he’s approached in December 1992 to become CEO of IBM. At first, he’s reluctant but eventually agrees when it’s clear that he’s the main candidate. Then he presents a story of the company starting with Thomas Watson; there’s no mention of the issues and the existence of IBM before him nor the troubling time at the 40’s. The author’s main question at this point is: how a company that in 1990 had the most profitable year ever can be almost bankrupt in 1992?

New CEO

There was no computer in the CEO’s office.


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

Essentially, the author then takes us on a detailed journey of his first year as a CEO (to the level when, at the start of the part, the first week is recounted almost in an hour to hour basis). One of the first people he meets with is his brother, who was an executive at IBM before having to retire due to Lyme’s disease (he later says that he feels the brother provided the best advice overall). He meets with luminaries of the IT field (the meeting with Bill Gates goes specially badly) and clashes with the established IBMers. What he finds, however, is dauting:

For me at IBM this meant, in some respects, seizing the microphone from the business unit heads, who often felt strongly about controlling communications with “their people”—to establish their priorities, their voice, their personal brand. In some companies, at some times, such action may be appropriate—but not at the Balkanized IBM of the early 1990s. This was a crisis we all faced. We needed to start understanding ourselves as one enterprise, driven by one coherent idea. The only person who could communicate that was the CEO—me.


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

(as an aside, I’ve heard “balkanized” as a term for IBM more times that I can count)

He then goes to meet with most high-level managers in the company, including next CEO Sam Palmisano, from sales. But his most impactful encounter is with Thomas Edison Jr, whom with he shares a ride and a talk about “our” company.

The main issue that he finds, in Agile terms, is that there’s no space for value. The client does not have a voice at all. All IBM wants at the time is to lock down customers and then, essentially use them to pay an ever-growing, bureaucratic structure. There are no PO, no stakeholders looking out for value.

The author’s greatest genius, in our opinion, is his outsider perspective and his unshakeable conviction that he was the only man fit for the job. He recognizes that splintering IBM will give away its greatest leverage, the size at the same time that he recognizes how difficult the size itself makes the transformation possible.   Therefore, he starts a series of shocking, short-term actions to ensure the life of the company.

The first year ends with him, reflecting on the fact that both he and the company survived what was almost certainly a death trap. Now, he has to figure what to do next.

From ’94 to 2002

From then on, the narrative becomes jumpier: it can both change years from chapter to chapter, but it also can change from a journal of the year to a defense of a strategic choice.

It would be difficult to summarize it at, but essentially, the author’s choices as CEO was to put business value over almost every other priority (he keeps funded the research wing, despite not being directly business dependent, because he sees it as a strategic differentiator). He fires thousands of employees, reorganize all the systems of governance and promotes business administrators and sales over tech specialists.

They included a general disinterest in customer needs, accompanied by a preoccupation with internal politics. There was general permission to stop projects dead in their tracks, a bureaucratic infrastructure that defended turf instead of promoting collaboration, and a management class that presided rather than acted. IBM even had a language all its own. This isn’t to ridicule IBM culture. Quite the contrary, as I’ve indicated, it remains one of the company’s unique strengths. But like any living thing, it was susceptible to disease—and the first step to a cure was to identify the symptoms. The Customer Comes Second


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

Recognizing the value of the Mainframe, he streams and lowers the price of it to increase market share. He changes the philosophy of most of the company towards that of a Service company, understanding that the client may not want to be locked by having every single app or server be from a single company, but that someone still has to do that connection.

By 1996 I was ready to break the services unit out as a separate business. We formed IBM Global Services. The change was still traumatic for some of our managers, but it was eventually accepted as inevitable by most of our colleagues.


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

He invests in a consolidated marketing strategy (there wasn’t a marketing department with systematic training, the author notes), he does away with inefficient products (like Os/2 Warp) because he values Customer Experience over technical details.

With os/2-the fallacy that the best technology always wins. (…) So we came to the OS/2 v. Windows conformation with a product that was technically superior and a cultural inability to understand why we were getting flogged in the marketplace. First, the buyers were individual consumers, not senior technology officers. Consumers didn’t care much about advanced, but arcane, technical capability. (…) Second, Microsoft had all the software developers locked up, so all the best applications ran on Windows.


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

Essentially, he understands the client’s point of view well enough to empathize and direct the strategy towards the greatest value.  

In the case of application software-the myth of “account control.” This was a term used by IBM and others to talk about how a company maintained its hold on customers and their wallets. As a former customer, I was always offended and indignant that information technology companies talked about controlling customers.


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

The book ends with his farewell address and a financial analysis that shows how much more profitable IBM was under his leadership.

Analysis

As we mentioned in the intro, this was a difficult book to analyze, due to its changing structure (it is written like a blog post storm, before blogs) and both its greatest strength and weakness: the unique authorial voice.

On one hand, the author is witty, funny and very engaging. His points (disorganized as they are) tend to be clear and succinct. He has complete conviction: he must have been a terrific business speaker. His ideas of making the company more Lean, Agile and oriented towards Value…make perfect sense in an Agile world, 25+ years later. His experience as a CEO and a client makes his extremely valuable to deal with other CEOs and clients. He’s like the Ultra-PO.

On the other hand, it is clear that the author, although he considers himself a humble businessman, is anything but. Not all businessmen come from Harvard. He never had any job lower in the totem pole than executive and most of his life he’s been the CEO. While he works on an IT company and he deals with IT People, it’s made very clear in his writing that there are Leaders (with a capital L) and then there’s everyone else. When he makes himself available to be criticized via message, he’s almost in rage when someone does:

 One employee, even as his employer was burning and sinking to the delight of our competitors, had the time and inclination to critique my entire visit to an IBM facility  (…)

Sometimes I had to bite my tongue—almost in half. All I can say is, it was a good thing for some people that I was too busy to reply to all my e-mail!


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

This is somewhat compounded by the fact that he clearly believes in both dynasties and that he was the only person fit for the job; only his elder brother, sadly incapacitated by Lyme’s disease would have been an alternative. This total conviction on himself, making himself essentially the next big CEO after T.Watson Jr. does tend to run counter the Agile and Lean mindset of empowering others and being transparent and accountable.

But perhaps because of the year he took office on, perhaps because of the challenges and perhaps even because of this almost psychotic belief in his own value and incredible self-confidence, the author accomplished something no one believed it was possible.

Their book concluded that “the question for the present is whether IBM can survive. From our analysis thus far, it is clear that we think its prospects are very bleak.” (…) Even The Economist—understated and reliable—over the span of six weeks, published three major stories and one lengthy editorial on IBM’s problems. “Two questions still hang over the company,” its editors wrote. “In an industry driven by rapid technological change and swarming with smaller, nimbler firms, can a company of IBM’s size, however organized, react quickly enough to compete? And can IBM earn enough from expanding market segments such as computer services, software, and consulting to offset the horrifying decline in mainframe sales, from which it has always made most of its money? “The answer to both questions may be no.”


(Gerstner Jr, 2002)

So, my final review is: it is a very strange book. Almost a blog before the blog, it tells a valuable story on how one man changed a culture. We might take away his relentless focus and learn a lot about the almost LEAN way that the author approached his objective; and while his voice might be troubling, specially with some contradictions that glare specially in today’s Agile workplace, we would remiss to not say that despite all, the author’s immense confidence in himself was, actually, merited and he was the Right Man for the Job. His story is convoluted, changing and genial, but never dull.

Book Review: The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace by S.C.Edmons

Edmonds, S. C. (2014). The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace (1 edition). Wiley.

The Culture Engine is a book that deals in digital transformations based on culture; a focus that, as you will know from my interest in Culture Crafting, runs central to my career. So, with great interest, I read this text by S.C. Edmonds, which I found interesting, although I have some (constructive) criticisms.

The text is essentially a manual for consultants undergoing a digital transformation, with a focus on those who work with servant leadership as ideal.

What they don’t understand is that there are two aspects of effective leadership. The first is the strategic leadership aspect of servant leadership. Leadership is about going somewhere. If your people don’t know where you want them to go, there is little chance they will get there. That’s why Chris spends a great deal of time helping you develop an organizational constitution that outlines your team’s or company’s purpose, values, strategies, and goals. While there should be widespread involvement in the development of your organizational constitution, the responsibility for making sure you have one lies with top management. Once everybody is clear on your business purpose and values, the next aspect of effective leadership kicks in—living according to your organizational constitution. That involves turning the traditional hierarchical pyramid upside down to emphasize that everyone is responsible—able to respond— for living the constitution and getting the desired results while modeling the organization’s valued behaviors. Now top management becomes responsive cheerleaders for actualizing the organizational constitution. This brings in the second, servant aspect of servant leadership—the operational/implementation aspect. (Edmonds, 2014)

I think that the focus on the operational part of Servant Leadership is correct, although I have my own criticism of the concept (which I will develop later). But the text begins by emphasizing the importance of cultural transformation:

Of course, understanding the need for a safe, inspiring culture is one thing. Creating and managing a productive, engaging culture is another thing entirely. How does a leader go about creating something that, on one hand, is so important, but, on the other hand, seems so amorphous? It can be done through the creation of an organizational constitution. An organizational constitution is a formal document that states the company’s guiding principles and behaviors. These liberating rules present the best thinking on how the organization wants to operate. The constitution is a North Star that outlines the company’s or team’s defined playing field for employee performance and values. (Edmonds, 2014)

(strangely, like so many other texts, the author does not stop to define culture, not even in the context of corporate culture)

The text develops a thesis of the author, that the success of the transformation and the adoption of a new culture depends on three axes:

  1. Servant Leadership
  2. A workplace constitution
  3. A top-down implementation

We will explore each of these axes, but I want to mention that throughout the text the author presents multiple ways (through questionnaires, of simple application) to measure adoption. Although the measurement methodology is simple (without control groups or triangulation of data, for example), knowing from experience how little time is available in the transformations, I think it is more than adequate.

1-Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership is the concept that the leader essentially serves as inspiration and facilitator for the people who produce the products or services. For the author, the key question is:

If, for example, you believe that “ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things when goals are clear and leaders serve followers’ needs,” that might be a foundational element of your leadership philosophy. The vital question to have in mind as you craft your leadership philosophy is, “Are you a servant leader or a self-serving leader?” (Edmonds, 2014)

Servant Leadership Is the Foundation If I have inspired you to take steps (literally and figuratively) to boost your physical health, let’s look at the foundation of leading others effectively: servant leadership. (Edmonds, 2014)

Helping your organization’s leaders and employees align to these new rules of engagement requires that you be a model of servant leadership, a coach of servant leadership, and a champion of servant leadership. How do you know if you are a servant leader? You don’t have a vote! The only folks who do have a vote are those that interact with you daily: work colleagues, customers, friends, and family members. You must ask regularly, “How can I be of greater service to you?” then refine your behaviors to serve more effectively. (Edmonds, 2014)

Essentially, it is to shift the focus of a company’s governance from a leader in the despotic style of management-top-down to the Foucaultian definition of governance as the governance of a ship: helping the rest to accomplish their tasks and providing clarity both in general direction as in particular situations. How to carry out this “provide clarity” is detailed in …

2-Constitution

Essentially the knot in the book. The car offers a step-by-step (too long to include here) of how to make a working constitution, from which sub-constitutions hang. Interestingly, while I found no explicit reference, it essentially models the corporate enterprise into a federal state model: united by a general constitution, which governs interaction and core values ​​(the “federal” level) with departmental and constitutional sub-constitutions. working groups (the “provincial” and “municipal” levels so to speak). The leader is responsible for this clarity, to the point that the author advises evaluating employees (he provides a quadrant for this) and letting go (that is, kicking out) those who are not aligned in order to maintain the unpolluted culture.

A clear, succinct values definition helps people that interact with you daily by knowing what you mean by each of your values. (Edmonds, 2014)

One of the most interesting ways is that it not only seeks an abstract model, but also tries to generate a concrete image of what a good worker is, according to culture:

This piece outlines what great personal citizenship looks, acts, and sounds like from you, every day. (Edmonds, 2014)

Al mismo tiempo, se preocupa mucho en que aquello que está bajado sea totalmente medible, para eliminar ambigüedades o discusiones:

Your team or company’s valued behaviors must outline observable, tangible, measurable actions. Just as organizational leaders manage to performance standards, these behaviors become values standards that are lived and proactively managed by leaders and employees throughout the company or team. (Edmonds, 2014)

Are these behaviors measurable? Can peers and customers provide feedback about the degree to which any leader or employee of this company is demonstrating these desired behaviors? I hope you agree with me that they are—and they can. (Edmonds, 2014)

3-Implementation

In the implementation, the author points out that one of the biggest problems is the one he calls “Management By Announcement”. Essentially, what happens in many of the transformations:

  • A consultancy is announced
  • It is carried out
  • The leader announces the results of the consultancy and provides some actions or changes
  • There is no follow-up and finally, everything is in nothing

This smells a lot like the logical consequences of “managing by announcements,” a viruslike plague I call “MbA.” When infected by MbA, leaders do a good job of defining purpose or policies or procedures; they publish and announce the details, and then expect all employees to immediately align to them. Leaders believe, “We’ve told them, so now they know, and now they’ll do what we’ve told them.” How does a leader check that assumption? Ask and observe—often. It is likely you’ll find that too few leaders or employees are able to repeat the purpose or policies or procedures to you. (Edmonds, 2014)

Model the Way Once the organizational constitution has been published, leaders must model the valued behaviors, every day, in every interaction. (Edmonds, 2014)

Align the Way Once leaders embrace their responsibility to demonstrate the department’s values and behaviors, leaders must then coach other leaders, managers, supervisors, and so on (anyone with formal direct reports) to demonstrate the valued behaviors as well. (Edmonds, 2014)

At this stage, each leader is essentially an agent of change and it is the leaders’ responsibility to model (i.e., lead by example) and carry out the transformation. The author acknowledges that resistance can be generated, but provides a series of examples of how to work it and advises not to negotiate on anything, once the transformation was decided.

Analysis

This text, on the one hand, I found extremely useful. In a field where theoretical texts abound, a step-by-step model, with each of the documented steps, is something exceptional. I like the clarity of the model, which also offers how to generate concrete examples of the transformation and multiple approaches it takes, too detailed for this analysis. The experience of its author and its passage through various transformations is obvious.

On the other hand, the idea of ​​a system of constitutions seems extremely valuable to me, as does the hermeneutics it uses to develop them. I think I will start to apply this in my working groups as a way to gain clarity.

My main criticism is about Servant Leadership and its focus on leaders. In my personal opinion, the book is only considering leaders as agents of transformation. This worker / leader divide, while softened by the term “Servant,” sounds like a misstep. Yes, it says that the Servant Leader is only there to serve those who carry out productive tasks, but can this be so? In my experience, Servant Leadership is a way, at best, to influence listening to leaders and at worst, an excuse behind which despotic leaders hide, who do not take responsibility for the tasks (” I only listened to the experts ”).

This is seen most when leaders are the sole guardians of values. An interesting exercise may be to compare it with a modern state: in it, although the inhabitants do not have direct decision-making power, by voting they can discuss or dispute values. In the model presented by the author, employees can only adapt to the constitutions lowered by the leaders, lacking any mechanism to change them. In fact, this situation is reinforced with the recommendation that leaders kick out those who are not aligned with them. If we had to imagine a state generated by this model, it would probably be an oligarchy, with a patrician or noble class that keeps its values ​​and a class of employees that can only decide to emigrate or accept what comes their way.

This could be, in my opinion, modified with the displacement of leaders as guardians and arbiters of values ​​to a more distributed system of responsibilities, where everyone is responsible for something and in any case the general constitution is a sum of the values ​​of the constitutions that depend on them, a synthesis rather than a model. A bazaar instead of a cathedral.

But this criticism does not detract from the value of the book’s clarity and methodical strength. An interesting book to read and reflect, especially for those of us who work in corporate culture.

Book review & Analysis: Corporate Culture, by M.Radoff

Radoff, M. (2013). Corporate Culture: A Framework for Analysis (P. Radoff, Ed.; 1.ª ed.). Amazon Publishing.

The book itself recounts the formation of a corporate profiling tool, called by its author the Corporate Culture Framework (CCF) from now on. He came to form the CCF because in the process of looking for work, it seemed to him that the hiring process would be improved if there were a company psychometric tool.

What I came to spend the most time on was the issue of assessing corporate culture– the rather nebulous concept that nevertheless can have a substantial impact on one’s experience in the workplace. Job applicants and hiring managers want to know whether the applicant will “fit in.” In a workplace where one’s personality is important, so then is corporate culture, by any definition. And there we have our first quandary: how do we define and even measure corporate culture? (Radoff, 2013)

Given the apparent absence of any precise measures of corporate culture, I set out to design a framework, which I call the Corporate Culture Framework (“ CCF”), by which corporate culture could be measured– a collection of metrics and values. Such metrics might include, for example, how directly versus indirectly people communicate within a company (Radoff, 2013)

Essentially, by using a questionnaire, the author’s goal is to create a company profile, to ensure a better match. Finally, try to get a Curriculum Vitae.

By applying this test, that is, by having people respond to the questionnaire, we can develop a Corporate Culture Profile (“ CCP”). With the CCP, I sought to provide a reference for job seekers to answer some basic questions: “What’s it like to work at that company?” “Would I fit in there? Does it match my psychometric profile?” “What are the positives and negatives of working within that company”

(…)

This expanded profile, which I call a Corporate Curriculum Vitae (“ CCV”), could be used to answer not only “what is it like to work at the company?” but also “who is working there?” and “is there an opportunity for me to work there?” (Radoff, 2013)

Although the CCP and the CCV are mentioned, they do not appear significantly in the rest of the book. The book itself is neither a guide to the CCF nor a manual to apply it, but rather a strange and mutant genre: a mix of how it came to be put together and a mix of propaganda to be hired to apply it.

On one level, this book attempts to outline a method by which a company’s corporate culture can be more clearly described, with something approaching scientific rigor, in a manner that can be digested by many audiences. There are many psychometric tests for people; this book suggests we can have the same for a company. That is, our supposition is that we can develop a framework for measuring corporate culture (the CCF). (Radoff, 2013)

In theory, he bases his method on various psychometrics, but in reality, we believe, his method is an adaptation of the Myers-Brigg (MBI)

Among the commonly used personality tests is the well-known “Big-5” personality-based test (i.e. the personality qualities of “extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and emotional stability”), the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the DISC assessment, and others. There are also many lesser-known tests that have cropped up under the radar, the output of smaller companies in the HR arena (Radoff, 2013)

His method is essentially simple. It establishes a dyad of possible choices: in the cases analyzed, it uses categories A – Structured vs B – Flexible for processes and A – Individualist vs B – Group-oriented way of working. Structure based on a series of categories that defines questions that give A or B and then each one assigns a guideline value for how that category is considered for the client: from 1 to 5, with 1 being terribly bad and 5 being excellent.

That is, a company’s cultural characterization and whether that characterization is viewed positively or negatively by its employees are independent variables. Any correlation between a characterization and a judgment should emerge only over time, as the corporate culture of various companies (and any positive / negative judgment) is developed by practitioners. (Radoff, 2013)

1. Identify the components of a company that correspond to components of a person. 2. Decide which of those components are most suitable for analysis (“Key Components”). 3. For each Key Component, decide what are the broad Subcomponents or Groupings of activities that best describe how a company functions (“Groupings”) 4. Within each Grouping, decide what the specific activities are that enable the company to function (“Activities”). 5. Develop a bi-valued method for assessing the company’s performance of each Activity as reflecting a relatively Structured vs. Flexible, or Bold vs. Reflective, approach. 6. Develop a questionnaire that can be used to characterize each Activity in this manner and then, if deemed desirable, to characterize the Groupings, Components, and the company as a whole. The methodology described above creates what we call the CCF. In the sections below, we expand on these steps. Applying the CCF to a particular company creates its CCP. (Radoff, 2013)

An original question he asks is that he considers (in our opinion, not very happily) a division of the corporation into Body, Spirit, Mind and Heart. In its division, this is:

• Body: Assets, assets, logistics, etc. Everything concrete of a corporation

• Spirit: Values. Interestingly, this should be in our opinion a vital part of the culture, but the author considers it the domain of Executives and Strategy Consultants.

• Mind: Defined processes, methodology

• Heart: HR (this shows, if it were necessary to clarify, that the author is a HR professional) and interpersonal relationships

Example of Grouping (of) Mind

Example of grouping of (and I swear it is even difficult to write it) Heart

(Radoff, 2013)

Essentially, their method is to generate questions for each of the categories:

Applying categories to Employee Chemistry We now consider the case of our activities within the Key Component of Employee Chemistry and apply the concepts of (A) Bold and (B) Reflective. (A) Individualistic vs. (B) Group Oriented. Is it more important for people to be strong individual performers or work within a team? (A) Fact vs. (B) Concept. Which is more compelling within the company – hard facts or ideas? (A) Positive vs. (B) Negative. Do people in the company think about what could go right, or what could go wrong? (A) Serious vs. (B) Relaxed. What is the prevailing attitude in the workplace – stern and serious or relaxed? (Radoff, 2013)

This ends up generating a questionnaire in which each question has a dyad + a subjective appreciation rating. With this, create a Company Profile.

Unfortunately, the book ends at this point, without explaining the analysis or structure of a PCC, which was what in theory is sought. While the text has sample questions, it does not show an in-depth CCF or how it would be analyzed to produce a CCP. Instead, you have a request that the author be contacted to hire and apply.

Analysis

The text is frustrating, because on the one hand it is interesting how someone has applied a method from another discipline (as we said, for us the MBI is the only “father” of this method) and has applied it to corporate culture (a term that, incidentally, not defined).

But the fact that it does not really explain its model, but ends up being a kind of publicity for its author, does not help much in its assessment. Nor does it help that the author does not consider, for whatever reason, basic issues to apply surveys such as distribution, control groups, metrics, etc.

The text is a good starting point, an idea to generate a better framework for analysis. It can be useful to generate an application of the named frameworks or try to build what the author says it can do, a profile of the culture of a corporation. But as it is presented in the analyzed edition, it is simply a pamphlet about an idea.

News! New Storytelling Podcast, Book Reviews and Analysis of Culture Crafting!

Yeap, full bore storytelling

So…it’s been a while, right?

I’ve been very, very busy. Working on my PhD and Postdoc, writing a new book, organizing my meditation groups…this COVID pandemic has been a busy, busy time.

But I have great news! There are some things coming, that I think you will all enjoy!

  • There’s a New Storytelling Podcast (in Spanish) called “Sangha Sin Nombre” (The Nameless Sangha) where we tell short stories of meditation and we read books, with mindfulness sessions intersped. You can listen to it on spotify, or any other good podcast service, but the main link is here: https://open.spotify.com/show/6n7S0pkuQjUJbNoUXp1ufm?si=ayDHhC3fRjKPigZjIsAGHg
  • I’m also writing the first book (in english!) about Culture Crafting. More news soon!
  • Also, I’m going to be posting book and articles reviews of my research into Agile and Corporate Culture.

I hope that this is of interest, and, as always, please feel free to reach to me!

Meditation: it’s not the same

Urban Meditation Intro here

Begin by finding a secluded spot…

The Lamp on the Path – Deshung Rimpoche

So starts a manual of meditation by a major teacher of the XXth century. But he’s not alone in recommending seclusion as the first step to learn meditation. Countless other manuals, from Yoga classics to mystical Christian texts like The Cloud of Unknowing, solitude, and retreat are the requisites for learning meditation.

But I live in a City.

So, does this mean that I cannot meditate?

I would respectfully say, no, it doesn’t. What it means is that I should modify the technique and the way I meditate. I cannot ape those old masters, living in pre-modern times. I must find a way of making it work wherever I am, not pine for a moment where I will live as they did.

My name is Federico Andino and for the last 20 years, I’ve been practicing and later teaching meditation. I have both learn classical techniques (I’m the resident teacher for a Tibetan Buddhist school) and more modern techniques; I’m a researcher and teacher of Mindfulness for IBM. But at some point on the 20+ years journey, I’ve found them both wanting.

The traditional techniques are great: rich in both depth and detail, they form a great base to learn. They also have a very clear conceptual framework which makes their practice both rational and able to be measured. However, they are based on two improvable assumptions:

1) the teaching methods are not the best, especially for visualization techniques where rote memorization is taught over more modern systems like Image Streaming and

2) the learning curricula tends to favor long (months to years) periods of intensive learning and practice that are not feasible for the modern practitioner. Even those people who dedicate their lives to be a monk or a nun can lack resources to maintain such a lifestyle; therefore the techniques are never really practiced (since it would require always a moving goal of time) as the saying goes and they cannot be applied effectively on a day to day basis.

On the other hand, the more modern techniques are more portable, they are formulated in less complex terms and they have quicker subjective results. However, they also have two issues in my opinion:

1) the lack of a conceptual framework muddles both the metrics you can get from them and sponsors an “anything goes” mentality regarding technique and

2) they are geared mostly to produce states that are basically extended relaxations. You can try to visualize yourself as a mountain, sure…but what are you going to do when you’re in an overcrowded public transport or in a busy office? This is why techniques learn at a chic workshop never work in your day to day life.

Realizing this, I started to change my way of practicing. Instead of trying always trying to transport myself to an ideal situation, I started to work with the situation at hand and trying to transform my idea of a situation.

  • In a busy office, with people talking? Focus on sound metacognition and integrate into your meditation.
  • On public transport? Kinesthetic balance meditation will be a natural and enjoyable way to focus on yourself.
  • At the end of a long day and can’t sleep? Nidra-types of meditation will both relax you and make you aware of how tired you really are.

No matter where are you and how are you trained, you can meditate. It requires a sacrifice; to let go of those hallowed ideas of monks chanting in a mountain. And it carries its own rewards: the ability to become more aware and present in each moment. But you need to see the need for yourself to change approaches.

We are going to have a talk and a recoding on Urban Meditation on the 25th of October. If you’d like to participate, you can book it here.

May you have a day full of Awareness!

Corporate Mindfulness – Curso Online

¿Le interesa Mindfulness, la técnica que según Hardvard Business Review es la clave del liderazgo futuro? *

¿Trabaja en un entorno lleno de stress, para generar contenido creativo?

¿Desea generar una transformación digital y ágil que mejore la satisfacción laboral?

Si alguno de estos puntos le interesa, le invitamos cordialmente a una charla online sobre Corporate Mindfulness. Brindada por profesionales con más de 10 años de experiencia en la aplicación de Mindfulness en entornos corporativos, usted conocerá:

Las cinco claves para aplicar Mindfulness en el entorno corporativo.

•Los tres problemas principales que surgirán y como solucionarlos.

•Las formas de explicar, medir y vender Mindfulness a líderes que dudan de ella.

•Dos técnicas, una breve y otra más estructurada, para empezar a brindar Mindfulness en su trabajo.

La charla tendrá una modalidad online; en caso de no poder participar, se les enviará la grabación de la misma.

Nuestra experiencia tendrá lugar el día 20/09/2019a las 20hs de Bogotá (GMT -5)

Tiene un costo de us$9.99. Para inscribirse, por favor haga click aquí.

¡Los esperamos!

-UR Meditation, Meditación Urbana

*https://hbr.org/2017/01/spending-10-minutes-a-day-on-mindfulness-subtly-changes-the-way-you-react-to-everything