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The Rise of the New Groupthink

We have all heard the phrase “design by commitee” and we all know that it means a compromised process and result. Yet there is no critique of work environments and practices that result in this group think. We think design by commitee happens in meetings attended by bosses. Could it be that it is happening in every open plan office and brainstorming workshop? 
This is the belief of Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She published “The Rise of the New Groupthink” in the NYTimes.com

Some highlights from the article to encourage your further reading:

Culture eats strategy for lunch

Culture, like brand, is misunderstood and often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR. It’s not intangible or fluffy, it’s not a vibe or the office décor. It’s one of the most important drivers that has to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success. It’s not good enough just to have an amazing product and a healthy bank balance. Long-term success is dependent on a culture that is nurtured and alive. Culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death. Think about it like a nurturing habitat for success. Culture cannot be manufactured. It has to be genuinely nurtured by everyone from the CEO down. Ignoring the health of your culture is like letting aquarium water get dirty.

Google Santorum

Search for “Santorum” and the top result will land you on this page. I was just alerted to this long running campaign via a friend’s Facebook post. The details of it are documented on Wikipedia. Its part political activism against the US senator’s anti gay remarks, part organic google bomb. Organic in the sense that organic search terms are ones that rise to the top of search engine results pages without manipulation. The wikipedia entry of the campaign to create this neologism (a new word definition) included this account of the request to Google to address the matter.

Do incentives work? Autonomy, mastery, and the purpose (not profit) motive

Do incentives work? Well the answer is yes and no. They work for rudimentary mechanical tasks, but when you up the cognitive anti, incentives fail to motivate. Not only that, they can negatively impact performance. Pay people enough so they are not thinking about money and can instead be free to concentrate on their performance. Also relevant to management practice is the idea of giving people autonomy. Think autonomy, mastery, and the purpose motive. Watch the video to see how this plays out.