Author Archives: Chris Jones

About Chris Jones

Thinker. Author. Instigator. Dad. Passionate about learning and coffee. Founder of #smchat and #orgdna. Now writing with #coop52

Agile Personas: A Step Toward More Dynamic Teams | Join #orgdna #futureofwork MON 4/23 from 9-11pET

In our 2018 #orgdna conversations to date, we’ve been discussing the specific roles in organizations that are essential for new thinking. On the short list from our latest transcript, consider the value of team members like these:

  • Connector – linking concepts across domains, silos, or functions
  • Catalyst – sparking or challenging new thinking, helping others break from norms
  • Designer – envisioning alternate end states (what is possible?)
  • Aggregator – focused on semantics, solution elements and actionable takeaways
  • Practitioner/SME – subject matter expert on problems at hand

These roles are laser-focused on problem-solving skills. They may be less common on traditional org charts, but they are essential to high-functioning teams.

You’ll note classic titles like “VP” and “Director” are missing from the list. Titles assigned by H/R are important, but so often hardwire us to limited task assignments and accountabilities. They don’t speak to thinking skills or problem-solving skills – key qualifications for fluid organizations who need to change how they operate.

Perhaps we need something in the middle?

Enter Agile, a methodology for solution design that aligns well with the more dynamic models we’ve been discussing. It emerged from IT, but brings with it flexible charters, movable scope boundaries, and fluid participation. That sounds a lot like the future of work we’ve imagined. And Agile offers faster results than traditional “waterfall” models, dated approaches that deliver answers in annual increments, often after requirements have changed.

Who doesn’t need to move faster in today’s demanding business environements?

Agile uses the notion of Personas, generalized actors in an organization, to define problem/solution stakeholders. Personas are really archetypes, representative roles that help design teams explain how things need to work. Some examples:

  • Leader/Executive – ultimate owner/customer
  • Planner – surveying options, constraints, barriers, and optimal scenarios
  • Line Manager – ensuring resources and productivity, while removing barriers
  • Analyst/SME – subject matter experts, working out specifics

While personas like these seem more familiar than our skill-specific, hypothetical #orgdna roles, they are still generalized. This feels like a step in the right direction. And there are definitely overlaps.

I’ve updated the #orgdna #futureofwork Coggle to show this.

In our Monday 4/23 #orgdna chat, from 9-11pm ET, we’ll unpack how roles become personas in the Agile context, and how this opens up new thinking. Here are a few specific framing Q’s:

  • Q1. On Agile Personas. How does generalizing roles into Agile Personas make problem solving and solution design more fluid?
  • Q2. Changing Mindsets on Key Roles. In practice, how might Agile Personas leverage the power of conceptual skill-based Roles?
  • Q3. Titles. Are they still important?
  • Q4. Can Generalized Roles take Action? In other words, can a team solve problems without task-specific accountabilities?

Much to discuss here. I hope you’ll join us.

Chris Jones aka @sourcepov | Charlotte NC US


ABOUT #ORGDNA.  If you’ve been following along, you’ll know our #orgdna conversation on Twitter is gaining momentum. What will the future of work look like? How can we get there?  See our new #orgdna META page for a little more background on our approach and objectives.  And, as always, we’ll see you online.

 


Key Roles for Dialog in the Modern Organization | frame for #orgdna #futureofwork 3/26/18

Across the corporate landscape, our silo-based cultures tend to force dialog along the chain of command. Look at your work emails. Instructions and permission are top-down. Ideas have to move up and down the chain. You see these patterns every day.

What will it take to change the rules? Can ideas and information flow seamlessly across silos?

This is a timely topic for the #futureofwork.  Open communication is critical for shaping change.  Ideas are all around us.  We don’t need to wait for holacratic, flat, or teal frameworks to start having the important discussions that lead to new thinking.

What are some key roles required to spark and sustain cross-functional conversations?  In my book, I introduce 12 collaborative roles (with definitions posted here).

Food for thought.  But there’s much more to the puzzle: how do these roles interact?  Much depends on group size, focus, skill sets and mindsets.  Holding context can be a challenge.  And that’s quite a bit to juggle.  Part of the magic in collaboration is creating visibility to the core elements for success, and keeping that model in view.

Here are some of those factors:

Key Roles for Collaborative Dialog

Exploring 12 Key Roles for Foster Dialog. Sparking and sustaining cross-functional conversations can require many roles. Contributors often play many at once, without realizing it. Adapted from The DNA of Collaboration (2012), Ch. 14, Fig. 20.

 

For our next #orgdna #futureofwork chat, let’s unpack the key roles that can shape better dialog, as we consider:

  • Q: How do Roles like these transform the nature of dialog in the modern organization? What is their unique power, and how do they work together?

Our regulars know a normal #orgdna Twitter chat has 4-6 questions, which often come too fast to process.  We’re going to slow that pace down a bit, as we seek to drive deeper insights, and more critical thinking.

Let’s do this.  Join us for the live chat Monday, 3/26 at 9 pm ET. Additional details for the chat appear below.

It should be a great conversation, about fostering .. better conversations.  I hope you’ll join us.

–  Chris Jones @sourcepov in Charlotte NC

 


 

ABOUT THE GROUP.  Since 2012, a self-selecting band of OD thinkers has been discussing the future of the organization, using hashtag #orgdna. The group continues to evolve, with 20-25 active contributors.

ABOUT THE TWITTER CHAT. On any given month, 5-10 of us come together on Twitter for conversation, which is open to all. For the chat itself, we recommend a tweet streaming app like TweetDeck. Just add #orgdna to your tweets, and we’ll start to exchange ideas at the appointed hour. We’re now running 2-hours to accommodate time zones; just join for any part that you’re able.

ABOUT THE TOPIC. Much is being said on “the future of work” and its unfolding dimensions. See Deloitte’s Tom Friedman interview, Use #futureofwork in your tweets for additional cross-over engagement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Chris Jones is a thinker, instigator, and explorer of edges, unpacking the forces inside organizations for over 30 years. Look for more here on the #orgdna blog, on Medium – or for the deepest dive to date, over on Amazon.


Will Roles/Edges shift in post-Hierarchy Orgs? | frame for #orgdna #futureofwork 2/19/18

Our conversation on the Future of Work continues, navigating with a Coggle mind map we starting building last Fall.  For February, we’re picking up with our January discussion on actors and roles (see transcript), infusing a new dynamic, the shifting of boundaries and edges.

To get you thinking, here’s a meta question:

In a post-hiearchy organization, where a flat or networked model drives new kinds of interactions, what will be different?  Must our mindset change on how we work to solve problems?

Let’s discuss via Twitter Monday, 2/19 from 9-11pm, using this outline:

  • Q1. In terms of roles, how should actors (catalysts, creatives, connectors) behave without hierarchy?
  • Q2. How might edges or boundaries appear in practice, post-hierarchy?
  • Q3. Are ‘boundaries’ necessary? Are ‘edges’ a better frame?
  • Q4. How should we think about teams in this brave new world?

Share your thoughts. Just drop us comments on this post, or better still, join us live using hashtag #orgdna; additional details are below.

Our conversations are lively.  I hope you’ll join us.

–  Chris Jones @sourcepov in Charlotte NC

 

ABOUT THE GROUP. Over the last 5 years, a self-selecting band of OD thinkers has been discussing the future of the organization, using hashtag #orgdna. The group continues to evolve, with 20-25 active contributors.

ABOUT THE TWITTER CHAT. On any given month, 5-10 of us come together on Twitter for conversation, which is open to all. For the chat itself, we recommend a tweet streaming app like TweetDeck. Just add #orgdna to your tweets, and we’ll start to exchange ideas at the appointed hour. We’re now running 2-hours to accommodate time zones; just join for any part that you’re able.

ABOUT THE TOPIC. Much is being said on “the future of work” and its unfolding dimensions. See Deloitte’s Tom Friedman interview, Use #futureofwork in your tweets for additional cross-over engagement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Chris Jones is a thinker, instigator, and explorer of edges, unpacking the forces inside organizations for over 30 years. Look for more here on the #orgdna blog, on Medium – or for the deepest dive to date, over on Amazon.

 


Actors & Roles: A Deeper Dive | frame for #orgdna #futureofwork 1/15/18

A hearty Happy New Year to you, and thanks for stopping in.  Your timing is good, as we are just now organizing our 2018 agenda.  We’ll continue to use our Coggle diagram as a guide. It’s a topic map we’ve built from prior #orgdna chats, with an infusion of complexity thinking.

For 2018, we’re drilling deeper into the details, for a more pracitical, actionable discussion .. focusing on how the real work gets done.

Let’s use our MON 1/15/18 chat, 9-10:30pm ET, to dive into Stakeholder Factors.  Here’s the preliminary outline, in the form of our chat questions:

  • Q1. Why call them “Actors”? Is it, perhaps, where the action takes place, moving from theory into practice?
  • Q2. Focus on Key Roles: Skills, interests and task demands will vary, but what roles are always essential?
  • Q3. How do Catalysts function? Is this becoming the Leaders primary role?
  • Q4. Why Titles can hurt: Do they sustain calcification?
  • Q5. Long-term Change is hard. Can adapting in real-time be easier?

The conversation may move beyond this outline. This just gets us started.  In fact, the Coggle model we’ve created is evolving with the conversation too, as we learn more.

As a reference during the chat, I’ll insert our latest Coggle map; we’ll be discussing the upper left branch, in yellow.

ORGDNA_FutureOfWork-v1-OCT2017

For more in depth viewing, try the ORGDNA-FutureOfWork PDF .

We’d love your input on all this. Just drop us comments on this post, or to individual members tweeting at #orgdna. Better still, it may be easiest to simply join us live; details are below.

Our conversations are always lively.  I hope you’ll join us.

–  Chris Jones @sourcepov in Charlotte NC

 

ABOUT THE GROUP. Over the last 5 years, a self-selecting band of OD thinkers has been discussing the future of the organization, using hashtag #orgdna. The group continues to evolve, but the number of active contributors hovers around 20-25.

ABOUT THE TWITTER CHAT. On any given month, 5-10 of us come together on Twitter for conversation, which is open to all. For the chat itself, we recommend a tweet streaming app like TweetDeck. Just add #orgdna to your tweets, and we’ll start to exchange ideas at the appointed hour.

ABOUT THE TOPIC. Much is being said on “the future of work” and its unfolding dimensions. Don’t miss Deloitte’s recent Tom Friedman interview, hosted by Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert and their senior strategist John Hagel. Add #futureofwork to your tweets for additional cross-over engagement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Chris Jones is a thinker, instigator, and explorer of edges, unpacking the forces inside organizations for over 30 years. Look for more here on the #orgdna blog, on Medium – or for his deepest dive to date, over on Amazon.


Our Coggle Debut: Join the conversation, as #orgdna maps the Future of Work 10/16/17

First, props to Jamie Billingham for introducing us to Coggle, a mind mapping tool that’s allowed us to capture our preliminary thoughts on the Future of Work.

Now, what’s all the buzz about?

Inspired by Deloitte’s Tom Friedman interview back in July, we’ve started to reflect: What will the future of work look like? How can we shape it? What’s already happening to drive these changes?

Here’s the first “snapshot” release – what we have so far – for reflection and discussion.

ORGDNA_FutureOfWork-v1-OCT2017

For more in depth viewing, here’s a link to the ORGDNA-FutureOfWork v1 PDF version.

Let’s use our MON 10/16/17 chat, 9-10:30pm ET, to dive into this. We can discuss what we’ve captured so far using Q’s 1-4. Are we good with:

  • Q1. To the left, initial conditions: Stakeholders, Trust & Culture?
  • Q2. To the right, outcomes: Platform & Learning?
  • Q3. At the top, unsolved problems; Silos & Transparency?
  • Q4. At the bottom, enablers: Technology?

And then to chart our course for 2018

  • Q5. What can we learn from this model?
  • Q6. What’s next?

We’d love your input. Just drop us comments on this post, or to individual members tweeting at #orgdna. In fact, it’s probably easiest to simply join the conversation (details below).

Lot’s to talk about .. looking forward to where we might take this.

–  Chris Jones @sourcepov in Charlotte NC

 

ABOUT THE GROUP. Over the last 5 years, a self-selecting band of OD thinkers has been discussing the future of the organization, using hashtag #orgdna. The number of active contributors seems to hover around 20-25.

ABOUT THE TWITTER CHAT. On any given month, 5-10 of us come together on Twitter, as available,  for conversation. Please join us. The chat is open to all. For the chat itself, we recommend a tweet streaming app like TweetDeck. Just add #orgdna (and optionally, now, #futureofwork) to your tweets, and we’ll see you at the appointed hour.

ABOUT THE TOPIC. Much is being said on “the future of work” and its unfolding dimensions. Don’t miss Deloitte’s recent Tom Friedman interview, hosted by Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert and their senior strategist John Hagel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. A thinker, instigator, and explorer of edges, Chris Jones has been unpacking the forces inside organizations for 30 years. Look for more here on the #orgdna blog, on Medium – or for his deepest dive to date, over on Amazon.


Social Complexity: Inside the #futureofwork with #orgdna 9/18/17

Our August #orgdna chat was a deep dive on the #futureofwork, with the transcript posted here.

One area we touched on was social compexity, a modern, relatively robust way of looking at the forces at play inside the 21st century enterprise. To get us thinking about this exciting area, let’s contrast it with older models.

Consider two extremes:

  • Old hierarchical models. Not unlike a factory, control is administered via top down decision-making, seeking to drive efficiencies and compliance through standard practices. Variance is minimized in order to deliver according to a master plan. Assumptions are routinely made about cause and effect. Emphasis on structure. Works well when manufacturing widgets. Less effective at mobilizing a workforce.
  • New social complexity models. Diverse actors across an organization work together in countless interactions to produce change or ’emergent’ results. Actions can’t be directly controlled, but the conditions can be influenced. Cause and effect are not the focus. Emphasis is on flow. Provides the broad possibility of new thinking, on an accelerated basis.

To me, this is breakthrough-level material. Among OD practitioners, these ideas come up for discussion often. But how can we bring social complexity into real time? What factors make it work?

Let’s discuss:

  • Q1. How do independent, diverse Stakeholders change org dynamics?
  • Q2. Why do System & Design Thinking shift our thought processes toward complexity?
  • Q3. How do Patterns and Simple Rules (e.g., culture) work in a social system?
  • Q4. How do Initial Conditions impact our success?
  • Q5. Why do the quantity and quality of Connections play a major role?
  • Q6. Why does Adaptability – for both learning and change – become a differentiator?

To capture our ideas, there’s a mind map coming together, using Coggle, courtesy Jamie Billingham. I am hoping our chat on social complexity will help inform broader discussions on the future of work.

Trouble keeping track? We produce and tweet links to a transcript, courtesy John W. Lewis at Holosoft.

So, please join us Monday 9/18 from 9-10:30pm ET. We’re putting a dent in these exciting topics. And it’s always a lively conversation.

Best,

Chris (aka @sourcepov) Charlotte NC

 

ABOUT THE GROUP. Over the last 5 years, a self-selecting band of OD thinkers has been discussing the future of the organization, using hashtag #orgdna. The number of active contributors seems to hover around 20-25. On any given month, you’ll find 5-10 of us actually come together for conversation. Please join us. The chat is open to all. For the chat itself, we recommend a tweet streaming app like TweetDeck. Just add #orgdna (and optionally, now, #futureofwork) to your tweets, and we’ll see you at the appointed hour.

ABOUT THE TOPIC. Much is being said on “the future of work” and its unfolding dimensions. Don’t miss Deloitte’s recent Tom Friedman interview, hosted by Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert and their senior strategist John Hagel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. A thinker, instigator, and explorer of edges, Chris Jones has been unpacking the forces inside organizations for 30 years. Look for more here on the #orgdna blog, on Medium – or for his deepest dive to date, over on Amazon.


The Workplace is Changing. What Lies Ahead? | #orgdna #futureofwork series launch 8/18/17

As our conversations continue to explore changes in the workplace, the #futureofwork hashtag has materialized seemingly out of nowhere.

It’s rapidly catching on. You might say it’s caught up with us.

Our last 3 chats on org futures tapping Laloux’s ideas have helped lay the groundwork. You may see some of his thinking in our topic outline, below. Echoes of our conversations on Wheatley are there too. But even more catalyzing, to me, is Deloitte’s recent Tom Friedman interview, hosted by CEO Cathy Englebert and senior strategist John Hagel. Have a look, prior to the chat.

Then let’s use our chat space to distill a few of the key elements for our upcoming #futureofwork conversation, with inputs from Christy Pettit, Allison Honery and me.

Some early ideas for themes to explore include:

  • Purpose at Work | Work-Job Disconnects
  • Job Design
  • Gig Economy
  • Management Models | Anti-Silo Design
  • Roles not Titles
  • Engagement | Collaborative Models | “Radically Open”
  • Virtual Pros/Cons | Work-Life in the Balance
  • Learning at Work
  • Change | Embracing Ambiguity
  • Structure vs. Flow | Push vs. Pull
  • AI in the Workplace
  • Trusting Cultures
  • The New Leader

As always, lots to talk about, with some new ideas on how we frame and unpack changes in the workplace.

Join us MON 8/18 from 9-10:30pm ET to lay out and prioritize series topics. There’s enough content for a solid 6 months of monthly chats. I think it’s worth devoting a chat to a roadmap. Think of it as our chat agenda.

Stop in for the conversation. It’s always lively.

Chris (aka @sourcepov) Charlotte NC

ABOUT THE GROUP. Over the last 5 years, a small group of OD thinkers has been discussing the future of the organization, using hashtag #orgdna. Small, of course, is relative. Our number of active contributors has hovered around 20-25, but any given month, there are 5-10 of us engaged in a dialog on the future of work. Please join us. The chat is open to all. For the chat itself, we recommend a tweet streaming app like TweetDeck. Just add #orgdna (and optionally, now, #futureofwork) to your tweets, and we’ll see you at the appointed hour.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. A thinker, instigator, and explorer of edges, Chris Jones has been unpacking the forces at play inside organizations for 30 years. Find his thinking here on the #orgdna blog, on Medium – or for his deepest dive, over on Amazon.