Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Springtime for Hitler or Choices for Change?

So it's spring and I've been doing some cleaning.
I've just thrown out a skip-load of news papers. Since the financial crash of 2006 I have been collecting copies of the Financial Times. My plan was to use them as the basis of my research for my next book an updated version of New Rules for the New World but instead of using fictional characters, to use real people and stories to illustrate how breaking the rules of our World After Midnight leads to surprising grief. And most important of all, how to avoid it in the future. That project is now cancelled, abandoned. You might ask why. Well the answer is very simple. For me Brexit was my "Bobby Ewins in the shower" moment. If you don't know what than means I've provided a link. In my youth I had dedicated countless hours to following the exciting twists and turns of the Ewing family in the soap opera Dallas. In the same way, for most of my adult life I have paid attention to the news, current affairs and done my bit as a citizen to remember things so we can hold the powerful to account and not have them fool us.
Then one day on Dallas, Bobby, who had long since been written out of the story line, re-appeared in a shower which he had been taking many many episodes before! In a flash several years of story-line were snipped out. As if time had been bent by gravity and snipped off a loop. For me Brexit has simply snipped of every single plan and goal and achievement and challenge of the past forty or so years. All norms are gone, assumptions evaporated and capabilities undermined. All of it is now completely irrelevant!
https://www.ft.com/content/b00f626a-735e-11e6-bf48-b372cdb1043a
I understand why many people voted Leave. Each had their own reasons. Many valid some less so. I also understand the role of Big Data analysis in helping the Leave campaign target and campaign so effectively. I also have studied the persuasion techniques used which I must admit were first class! Perhaps even better than the persuasion techniques used in the US elections. But without an understanding of the downside you know it is impossible to do a business case. The downsides were far too complex and unknowable to make headway without really deep study. They were unknowable because of the large number of self-interested parties involved. Plus the fact as time passed in the divorce, as it does in any divorce, the balance of power would likely shift.  And without an understanding of both benefits and downsides, a business case, any choice or any vote, however good the rhetoric, is simply a random act of faith.
And there are many things I don't understand. I would never have believed that such learned people would treat an irreversible choice so lightly but somehow ALL MPs and ALL the Lords voted exactly the same way. I have never seen that in my life except at times of war. Why did they all roll on their backs allowing their tummies to be tickled? Was it fear of the three-line whip? Was it a fear of being pilloried by the media? I can't believe that with all that wisdom, our high quality politicians would have thrown in the towel so easily. And yet they have but have given us no clear idea of the future, benefits, and the downsides which we now seem to keep tripping over and discovering one after another. Customs union, Gibraltar, two major EU Agencies, Banking & Medicine to leave London taking thousands of jobs and so on. Totally baffling to me. How it is we have swapped to a regime made up of people who no more than nine months ago we referred to as "swivel-eyed loons"?
So I have completely stopped following UK current affairs. I see no point. It's obviously far too complex and for a simple man like me to make any sense of.
My choices are to get behind the new regime; I have a wealth of knowledge of three things the new regime needs - I know how to get success in projects and change really, really, really well. I can accelerate innovation in any organisation by an order of magnitude and I have a deep, deep understanding of the World After Midnight, that is how to use all the levers, digital, human etc., etc., to create the outcomes you want rather than the surprises described in the FT articles I have just chucked out.
But should I? I don't want to be Hugo Boss, the talented designer of SS stylish uniforms. He encouraged people to join one of the vilest and most criminal regimes ever seen. And if the UK does fail it could easily become the new North Korea. A nuclear-armed, belligerent neighbour with bad relations propped up by the USA. Sounds far fetched? So was Brexit and I didn't see that coming. I don't want to be the person who helped it innovate in order to make the world a terrible place. 
I intend to be a 'citizen of the world instead focusing my efforts on people and organisations who wish to collaborate and work together on our small blue planet. I also want to put my effort into the non-human parts of the world. I'm certain that if we took whales dying of hunger because their stomachs were full of plastic and other real phenomena as seriously as we take what is really simple to achieve, economic growth, we would have better lives and more for those intent on power to be able to bask in it all.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Social Media has it's own 'Artificial Intelligence'

The last ten years of your life have been spent on social media.  And since we are alike, I guess most of your time has been spent typing text and attaching videos and pictures.  It's a bit like having your own mini BBC. You broadcast a little thing and then someone broadcasts back at you.  You smile, feel satisfaction but not completely because you never really interact as real emotional people.  If you want to understand this more deeply, read my previous blog that proclaimed loudly, “I don’t want to interact with data, I want to interact with people!   
I said Social Media 2.0 needed to be interactive.  I compared it how I and my clients live and work on QUBE and pleaded for change. Then along came Meerkat with it's live streaming app. Hooray! Even though it only streamed one to many. Every budding Hollywood star was up on Meerkat broadcasting like crazy. But all that attention brought predators to the poor critter. In no time Periscope had pounced on the Meerkat - even though it was stood up tall on it's hind legs to look as scary as possible.  And then it was finally killed and stuffed by Facebook's Live.  It seems social media is learning. but perhaps it's learning the wrong things.  I read recently that the bulk of views on live happen after the event and not live.  And to some extent it is evolving into an instant front-end for a YouTube like service. 
I guess it means we're back to the old clich├ęs from Henry Ford and Akio Morita of SONY about breakthroughs.  People wanting faster horses or insisting that, "No one would want to listen to music whilst on the move."  The breakthrough in social media is going to need vision and leadership, not just jumping on the fastest moving horse or Meerkat.
It's as if Social Media has it's own version of machine learning and is evolving just the way it damn well pleases.  Even if that doesn't enrich your life.
In a complex world the next stage of human evolution is networked collaborative minds

Join QUBE because EVERYONE ELSE IS  and you will have a chance to be an avatar at work, in the office, with your boss's approval.

NEW TALKS FROM EDDIE OBENG FOR 2017:

UNCERTAINTY - The leadership and strategic mind-set and toolkit to help you navigate the current global uncertainty.
NEURO-COLLABORATION - Making the most of digital opportunities to allow human minds to collaborate and engage.
METAMORPHOSIS - Transforming your incumbent/legacy organisation to outperform digital disruptors.
AGILITY - Successful and fast delivery of 'foggy' change in a turbulent business environment.
PERSUASION - Innovative Leadership in Complex Times - A master class in how to get just about anyone to follow you doing something new.

HUMAN-MACHINE - Visions and strategies for the future of work in a world where machines are stronger and smarter than us.

What do you stand for in a world of 'Truthiness'?


Apparently, according to the Oxford Dictionary, the world has now entered the ‘post-truth’ era. From how it’s described it would appear to be a significant change. If you, like me, have been involved in change or projects you probably just smiled wryly at the discovery the world has only recently made but which you have known about for ages. Consider the projects whose RAG (Red-Amber-Green) reports are full-on-green right up to the point where the project crashes and burns in flames over-budget, late and without deliverables. Or the wonderful way a phase can suddenly become a month late, overnight. Or how sponsors can confidently announce delivery dates without understanding the complexities. Or how organisations new to Agile can have scrum after scrum and yet produce an un-testable final product which can’t go to the full market. Many of these come from “invisible” type projects. Change where progress is not obvious or easily measurable. Projects in this category include software coding, culture change, innovation, marketing and artistic. In these projects, asking the team, “How is it going?” elicits a one word answer, “Fine.” They may not intend to speak ‘post truths’. It’s more likely that because of the invisible nature of the project, they themselves don’t know they are off-track.
As the world moved away from being about purely local transactions and people began to rely on ‘strangers’ to provide their food and medicine, it became a matter of life or death to know the truth behind what you were consuming and buying. As a result, branding was born and thrived. First with bits of hot metal on cattle and then in labels on bottles of medicine so you wouldn’t get taken in by fake ‘snake oil’ sales men but could be sure that you had the genuine article.
Brands have now taken on a life and value of their own. We automatically associate a range of very specific qualities with each brand which reassures us. In a complex situation, where you have little time to decide and you are unsure of the outcome, the brand works as a short-cut proxy for the truth. In fact the more uncertain and ambiguous the situation, the more likely people are to reach for brands they recognise or understand. For many enterprises the importance of their brand is significant enough for it to be reported in their financial results. Brands are also really significant for individuals. Just mentioning their names conjures up a distinctive list of adjectives which you can be certain they will embody. Think Branson, think Trump or think Madonna. You know exactly what to expect.
Apparently, according to the World Economic Forum the types of risk affecting the world are more diverse and ever more interconnected. In such a world, who would you look to, to guide you through? What is the list of qualities or adjectives which immediately spring to mind? Does that list match you?

You must get on QUBE because it will help you develop your cyber-brand

NEW TALKS FROM EDDIE OBENG FOR 2017:

UNCERTAINTY - The leadership and strategic mind-set and toolkit to help you navigate the current global uncertainty.
COLLABORATION - Working Out Loud - Making the most of digital opportunities to collaborate and engage.
METAMORPHOSIS - Transforming your incumbent/legacy organisation to outperform digital disruptors.
AGILITY - Successful and fast delivery of 'foggy' change in a turbulent business environment.
PERSUASION - Innovative Leadership in Complex Times - A master class in how to get just about anyone to follow you doing something new.

HUMAN-MACHINE - Visions and strategies for the future of work in a world where machines are stronger and smarter than us.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Fake News? No, Fake New!

So I'm a teenager singing my heart out loudly to the latest, coolest, pop song when my mother joins in. The shock of it. How could she possibly know the words and the tune? She can see the bafflement in my face so explains, "This tune was very popular when I was at college," she says. I'm still baffled. I'm too young to realise the industry uses remakes and cover versions to extend and maximise the returns from IP so I can't believe it. I look at her as if she must be making it up. Now she looks confused, and perhaps slightly hurt, that I don't believe her. But she was right and it was true. It's just that like most humans we assume what is new to us is new to the world. Few of us have the scientific instinct to do a reference search to verify the source and avoid 'Chinese whispers'. The song was what I now refer to as a "Fake New".
It happened to me that same way but in reverse twice last week.

How do you explain that you had been there, done it and got the t-shirt, without sounding like an arrogant, but very fake, schmuck?

I'd been telling my story about the hunter gathers surprised by the sabre-toothed tiger suffering from Joseph Le Doux/B F Skinner's research on 'Amygdala hijack' and using it as a way to explain how crucial it was to engage and not surprise stakeholders. The session was almost verbatim from my book All Change! a Financial Times best selling book when it was published a while ago. One of the participants approached me and said, "Do you have any other books you'd recommend? You're obviously telling us stuff from Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow." I knew instantly how my mother must have felt all those years ago. There is no easy way to refute such confidence. So I smiled, mentioned that I had shared a couple of stages with Kahneman (code for, "I am not pilfering his stuff. I am invited for my stuff") and said, "Do you mean any of my other books." Now it was her chance to look confused. But I think I felt worse. How do you explain that you had been there done it and got the t-shirt without sounding like an arrogant, but very fake, schmuck?

How do you point out the "Fake New" of a bad cover version to the author agent and publisher without seeming petty and perhaps ending up having to sue them?

The second event was even more galling but harder to handle. What do you do when a Pulitzer prize winning writer purloins your stuff then misrepresents it and gets the content and concept ridiculed? That's how it happened to me when a text from one of my colleagues sent me to this link. If you know anything about me and my work over the past three decades you'll recognise the curves. They are what I was asked to do a TED Global talk about. if you read the article or book you'll also realise the concept and solutions are completely misrepresented. But how do you point out the 'Fake New' of a bad cover version to the author agent and publisher without seeming petty and perhaps ending up having to sue them?

Surviving in a world of data overload where everyone want's to make a difference, be noticed and be famous regardless is not for the lazy or faint hearted.

Don't fall for cover versions - find the original. Remember the 'Fake New' often misinterprets or leaves out vital elements of what you are reading about. Consider how Digitalisation slipped into Digitisation. And transformation slipped into change. Ask yourself, "How likely is it that this person has a deep understanding of the issues, deep enough to really be a thought leader?" Search a bit around the concept. One "Fake New" I tripped over was a company who, having been advised by an 'Agile' Consultant, were making people sit at a different desk each day and stand up for meetings in the board room all squashed up in the corner because the board table and chairs were still present! Somewhere the principles of Agile projects got misinterpreted.
In out post truth world remember that "Not being known doesn't stop the truth from being true".*
* See, you almost fell for it. It's a great quote but it's not mine. It's from the visionary and author Richard Bach

You must get on QUBE because you will meet truthful people and also some who are not


NEW TALKS FROM EDDIE OBENG FOR 2017:

UNCERTAINTY - The leadership and strategic mind-set and toolkit to help you navigate the current global uncertainty.
NEURO-COLLABORATION - Making the most of digital opportunities to allow human minds to collaborate and engage.
METAMORPHOSIS - Transforming your incumbent/legacy organisation to outperform digital disruptors.
AGILITY - Successful and fast delivery of 'foggy' change in a turbulent business environment.
PERSUASION - Innovative Leadership in Complex Times - A master class in how to get just about anyone to follow you doing something new.
HUMAN-MACHINE - Visions and strategies for the future of work in a world where machines are stronger and smarter than us.

I must do something. But what?

Are you with me? Have you learnt the secret which few people know? Have you learnt that two parallel worlds exist? There is one which most people believe in. In that world, polls work, economic activity can be forecasted, prices go down in a recession, world events are not so interconnected that emergent surprises like millions of refugees suddenly arriving on your shores without warning occur. In that world investment leads to business growth and business valuation is linked to performance. Young people look for long term careers in big corporates. And the boss's KPIs make sense because they can set meaningful one year budgets and know how the market place behaves. Most people understand and recognise the rituals and tools of this world and have accumulated the requisite 10,000 hours in it to make them expert.
And then there is a second parallel world. The real world. The one which came into being at midnight whilst everyone was asleep and so no one noticed it starting.
If you're not sure which world you think is in operation you can test yourself by tracing the numbers from 1 to 22 in the BubbleDiagram which explains, "Why you have too much work!" (If you did your homework from my previous blog this will be extra fun)
Problem is you are probably in denial, or your logical brain has been turned off by all the surprises and at worst you are making up fake justifications and accepting as fact things which are not true just to support your world view and cognitive dissonance
Don't worry, I can help you accelerate how to thrive in this 'World of Apparent Chaos'

STEP ONE - Make time to change

Don't Panic! leaflet has tips and tricks on how to beat the 'time stealers'. I need you to to be able to carve out or find an extra hour per week reliably going into the foreseeable future. Once you have that then we can talk 'change'.
Habit forming
To make this stick in your brain, I'm going to make you put some effort in to doing something. Print out double sided the file here - Why print? Because I want you to have a physical copy. Now I need you to decide on your 'trigger' so perhaps put it on your screen so every-time you turn to your screen, there it is, or put it in the pocket or wallet where you keep your money so every-time you pay for something, there it is, or attach it with an elastic band to the back of your iPad... Get the idea?
Before you can change successfully you need space, time and fuel for change

You must get on QUBE because you will meet people who are on a similar journey


NEW TALKS FROM EDDIE OBENG FOR 2017:

UNCERTAINTY - The leadership and strategic mind-set and toolkit to help you navigate the current global uncertainty.
COLLABORATION - Working Out Loud - Making the most of digital opportunities to collaborate and engage.
METAMORPHOSIS - Transforming your incumbent/legacy organisation to outperform digital disruptors.
AGILITY - Successful and fast delivery of 'foggy' change in a turbulent business environment.
PERSUASION - Innovative Leadership in Complex Times - A master class in how to get just about anyone to follow you doing something new.

HUMAN-MACHINE - Visions and strategies for the future of work in a world where machines are stronger and smarter than us.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

If I could only see the future...

The foreign exchange market is huge. It trades more in a day than the entire stock market trades in a year. There is money to be made in foreign exchange trading and so it attracts lots of smart people and has plenty of resources. Smart people and resources means that they should have a better shot at knowing where the world is going and not being surprised by stuff.  Were you as amazed as I was last week when the dollar crashed and then rose like a phoenix to be higher than it had been before the US elections?
It seems that even smart people with resources can't see the future.
Moving from Forecast to Foresight
Being human means suffering from, 'The Shock of the Unexpected'*. Have you ever been surprised by events, to the point where you can feel that your brain has shut down and your emotions are raging?  What happens is that a bit of your old 'crocodile brain' towards the base of your neck turns off the modern frontal bits. Have you heard the gibberish you speak when you are in that state?**  (Just think of some of the things you have said in response to the surprise POTUS event I'll bet you are fully convinced even if there is no evidence).  Of course it's gibberish, your logical brain is turned off! 
I don't have resources, and I know about the danger of the shock of the unexpected and I do know how it can devastate your performance and get you making dumb decisions.  So I created two Performance Enhancement Tools (PETs) to solve this for me.  I know that once you have imagined an event, however unlikely, when it happens your brain doesn't get hijacked.  in fact you will feel a bit smug and happy that what you predicted has come true!  I know that today is the most probable day to precede tomorrow.  And that means tomorrow will be the most likely day to follow today.  So in idle moments I FutureDream and FutureMap.  Dreaming solves the emotional shock. Mapping gives me an idea of what might happen next.
Today I would like you to spend half your commuting time or coffee time FutureDreamingTM.  Choose something important for you, say a meeting with your favourite client.  Now imagine surprise events which could affect it. Start with the good ones, such as your client has been promoted, move to negative ones which could knock you off course, then move to slightly crazy ones and then back to positive ones at each stage note your feeling about the event. 
Tomorrow I would like you to create a FutureMapTM following the QwikGuide instructions here
In a complex changing world Strategy is the process of consciously manipulating the future

Join QUBE because the future is just about to happen

* the scientific description is Amygdala hijack
** psychologists call this cognitive dissonance

NEW TALKS FROM EDDIE OBENG FOR 2017:

UNCERTAINTY - The leadership and strategic mind-set and toolkit to help you navigate the current global uncertainty.
NEURO-COLLABORATION - Making the most of digital opportunities to allow human minds to collaborate and engage.
METAMORPHOSIS - Transforming your incumbent/legacy organisation to outperform digital disruptors.
AGILITY - Successful and fast delivery of 'foggy' change in a turbulent business environment.
PERSUASION - Innovative Leadership in Complex Times - A master class in how to get just about anyone to follow you doing something new.

HUMAN-MACHINE - Visions and strategies for the future of work in a world where machines are stronger and smarter than us.

They laughed when I said I liked uncertainty, they're not laughing now.

It's the millennium. A typical group of typical senior managers are agreeing on who to promote. The choice is between a manager who presents clear plans, good business cases and can demonstrate that they have experience and another who doesn't' do any of those things.  Who would they promote? But, remember even then, offshoring and outsourcing, of the more easily specified parts of the organisation, meant remaining internal roles had more complexity and change to deal with.
How to respond to different Types of Change
Now we live in what the BBC has called the "Age of Uncertainty" and I call the "World After Midnight". Now almost all the work and change in the organisation contains huge uncertainties. We are uncertain of what to do. We are uncertain of how to deliver or, sometimes, we are uncertain of both what and how. What use is a manager who is best at dealing in areas of clarity?
I wrote a book which became an FT best seller, about the best ways to deal with All Change! It's here in .pdf format so you can read it but not too easily ( :-) that way you'll probably end up buying a copy)
Today I would like you to try to classify what type of change your biggest change challenges are. Plot them on a map of change types. You will find an explanation here
Surfing a world of change means knowing more 'bout waves.

You must get on QUBE because you become more certain in your uncertainty

NEW TALKS FROM EDDIE OBENG FOR 2017:

UNCERTAINTY - The leadership and strategic mind-set and toolkit to help you navigate the current global uncertainty.
NEURO-COLLABORATION - Making the most of digital opportunities to allow human minds to collaborate and engage.
METAMORPHOSIS - Transforming your incumbent/legacy organisation to outperform digital disruptors.
AGILITY - Successful and fast delivery of 'foggy' change in a turbulent business environment.
PERSUASION - Innovative Leadership in Complex Times - A master class in how to get just about anyone to follow you doing something new.

HUMAN-MACHINE - Visions and strategies for the future of work in a world where machines are stronger and smarter than us.