In the U.S. we’ve agreed to disagree about what to call that “other” sector of collective action that isn’t private (aka, privately owned business) and isn’t public (aka, government). Non-profit, not-for-profit, third, social, civil, voluntary all capture bits of it, but miss important bits as well. Which is why I’m increasingly fond of Henry Mintzberg’s […]
This week marks the 15th anniversary of the launch of The Artful Manager blog, brought to life through the invitation and innovative brilliance of ArtsJournal editor Doug McLennan, and my own growing curiosities at the intersection of art and management and collective action.
The yelling and pointing in our current civic environment keeps me going back to futurist Paul Saffo and his mantra: “strong opinions, weakly held.” In his extensive work exploring the present and divining the future, he found this combination to be a productive path toward more robust thinking.
There are countless ways to categorize collective human action (by legal entity, by sector, by formal/informal structure, by tax status, by geography, and on and on). But sociologist/political-scientist/historian Johan Galtung suggests there are essentially two types: thick-and-small (“the wheel” or “Beta”) and thin-and-big (“the pyramid” or “Alpha”).
One of the remarkable attributes of experts in a discipline or domain is how quickly they can assess and respond to a complex moment. In a flash, it seems, they cut through the noise, “see” the key components, and “read” the essential patterns that define the best range of response. Whether it’s a grandmaster chess […]
So much of leadership, management, and change narrative is about “gap analysis.” The thinking goes that we achieve a desired future by describing a bold vision, defining our current location, mapping the gap between here and there, and then planning and adjusting our route at check-points along the way.
It’s common modern practice to consider art and commerce in opposition to each other, and artists and accountants as cartoonish polar opposites, as well. But it wasn’t always so. About 520 years ago, art and commerce, artist and accountant, lived with and learned from each other through the lives of Luca Pacioli and an up-and-comer […]
The idea of “best practices” has always driven me a bit nuts. The world is full of complexity and context and interconnections, I figured. How could any “one way” or “single process” across many instances be “best”? In fact, how could it be anything more than a delusion? Sure, there are “fruitful paths” that seem […]
The new episode of my “Concept Test Kitchen” explores the PAEI Code, a framework by Ichak Adizes to explore the four functions/concerns of management and their interplay and implications. Full details on this model are available in multiple places, but I’m drawing from the book Leading the Leaders, Adizes Institute, 2015.
We often talk about an organization having a mission, as if the organization exists as some separate entity with its own individual will. But increasingly I’m wondering if that attribution hasn’t always been upside-down. Organizations don’t have missions. Missions have organizations. And when change is necessary, it’s important to know which changes which.