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What We're Reading
Hard Facts Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence Based Management by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton. Harvard Business School Press, 2006.
We’re big fans of Pfeffer and Sutton. This is a book that should be on every manager’s shelf, with pages dog eared and marked up. Pfeffer and Sutton blow holes in many of the myths and conventional wisdom about organizations and leadership. They present solid evidence and hard facts. Robert Sutton told us in an email that they worked for 5 years on the book. It shows. It’s clearly written and yet full of solid examples you will relate to. Both Pfeffer and Sutton are professors at Stanford and they combine the best of scholarship AND consulting experience.
Fail Early & Often
Our new Team Trust & Collaboration Assessment has an item that reads: As a team, we like to ‘fail early and often’ in order to learn new ways of meeting our goals.
The idea behind this statement is that innovation comes from trying lots of new ideas, many of which will not work. So a team that fails early in the process learns more and saves time and money. Or at least that’s the idea. The average score for this item across all the teams who have used our assessment is 2.21 (1=strongly disagree; 2=disagree; 3=agree; 4=strongly agree). It is the lowest scoring item for all teams in many different companies and industries. That tells us teams are not failing early and often.
We were delighted to see “The Wisdom of Deliberate Mistakes” by Paul Schoemaker and Robert Gunther in the June 2006 Harvard Business Review (Reprint R0606G). They do a nice job of explaining why mistakes are so important in today’s complex, fast paced environment. Also, the July 10, 2006 edition of Business Week addresses "How Failure Breeds Success."
You might consider providing reprints of either article to all team members to read and then use these questions as conversation starters around this item for your team:
- Do we believe it is beneficial to ‘fail early and often’ in order to innovate?
- What kind of monitoring system do we have in place to know if we are ‘failing’?
- What is a ‘forgivable failure’ within our organization? What is an ‘unforgivable failure’?
Suggested to do to increase ‘deliberate mistakes’ - Look back on past team or organizational failures. Analyze if it was a failure stemming from, for example, the lack of critical thinking, the wish to not upset someone in power, or of placing self serving interests first. Do any patterns emerge? What can you do differently?
TeleClasses - Enroll Now
A Thin Book TeleClass is a live, interactive, 55 minute training class conducted through teleconferencing. You will receive cutting edge information, practical tips, tools, strategies and techniques that can benefit your organization immediately. Unlike many TeleClasses, ours are not ‘veneers’ for marketing our products.
We have two TeleClasses that are free. Try them out and you'll see that our TeleClasses have the same high quality content you already receive in our books and live workshops. Read on...
Help us celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Thin Book of® Appreciative Inquiry during all of October by taking advantage of 10% savings on all Thinbook.com items.
Thanks for your interest and support.
Sue Annis Hammond