Designing Opportunities for Serendipity

Designing Opportunities for Serendipity

Designing opportunities for Serendipity becomes an essential attribute for Leadership. Yet another takeaway that I got from reading the book from Frank J. Barrett Yes to the Mess. My initial reaction to this sentence was of surprise. The word Serendipity is defined as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. It was coined in 1754 by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a Persian fairy tale translated in the XVI century in Italian, and in which the heroes ‘were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of’. So the idea of designing for Serendipity seems an oxymoron. But after reading the book, I started reasoning a couple of other points. Francesca Gino mentions in her book Rebel Talent, the story of how Steve Jobs oversaw the construction of the main Pixar building that today carries his name. It was Jobs who came with the idea of having a very large atrium that every Pixar employee would have to pass through each day, enabling random encounters and conversations (…) The only bathrooms on the first floor of the building are …

What is Organisation Design

What is Organisation Design?

Organisation Design is a foundational skill for all HR professionals as well as managers. Yet from my experience, it is relegated to very few specialists, who often don’t even make it to the high ranks of the HR profession. I’ve already mentioned in a previous post how essential is the setting up of Operating Governance as a critical component for Agile Transformation. I have also discussed previously the fact that drawing an Organisation Chart is not the main aim of Organisation Design. I’ve also recently reviewed the Guide on Organisation Design by Naomi Stanford, a great book to start understanding what Organisation Design is at a very practical level. With this post I want to bring us one step further: as we redefine the role of HR to become The Architects of Work, something that Dave Ulrich again suggested at the recent HR Congress in Nice, we need to make sure we master the ins and outs of Organisation Design, which is why I’ve decided to concentrate on this topic, amongst others, on this blog. And what’s best than starting with a good definition of what Organisation Design is? Defining Organisation …

Life Events and Employee Experience

Life Events and Employee Experience

Life Events are an often forgotten element in Employee Experience design. As we engage in the design of the Employee Journeys that are at the basis of Employee Experience, we need to identify what really are the Moment that Matters. We have already discussed this definitely pivotal step in EX mapping. We will then end up with a map of all the Moments of Truth that matter most for our organisation. If we have designed our Personas correctly, we will have the appropriate diversity and variety. However, at this stage, we need to focus and we should narrow down the number of these moments to something that is of a manageable size. Several companies that have practised with EX implementation, have noticed however that a distinctive portion of these Moments of Truth is valued differently by the employee depending on the situation. My Goal Setting meeting is an important moment, but probably it will be worth more if it’s the first time I do it with my new manager. There’s however another layer of complexity, …

Build your Skills: Systems Thinking

I’ve always been fascinated by pictures of Planet Earth from outer space, especially those at night. You recognise the planet, then the plethora of illuminated cities. The largest ones seem globes of light in the night. Smaller cities look more like bland spots. In some areas, you can also see the main roads connecting the towns. Sometimes you see an isolated light place in the middle of the night. You still own a clear perception of the planet versus the deep black of the outer space. Perceiving this, the whole composed of the parts, as well as the relationship between the components, is System thinking, the critical skill that I will illustrate in this post.  In a recent post, I wrote about the dangers of Thinking in categories. I pointed out that to overcome the limits of categorical Thinking, it is necessary to drive models and tools of what is called “Systems Thinking”. However, it’s not just a question of means: I genuinely believe that Systems Thinking should be seen as a skill, and ability to foster and develop, and that …

The key dangers of Thinking in Categories

In a fascinating article on HBR by the title “The Dangers of Category Thinking”, Bart de Langhe and Philip Fernbach, analyse the critical issues related to thinking in categories in several domains. Humans tend to simplify reality by splitting items into groups, and in its nature, it derives from our capability to survive. Your mind is a categorization machine, busy all the time taking in voluminous amounts of messy data and then simplifying and structuring it so that you can make sense of the world. This is one of the mind’s most important capabilities; it’s incredibly valuable to be able to tell at a glance whether something is a snake or a stick. Bart de Langhe and Philip Fernbach, The Dangers of Category Thinking, HBR Fall 2019 Derek Cabrera further states that, in many ways, categories are useful structures for organising information. “There are many ways in which thinking is an act of classification, so categories are embedded in cognition itself. Because they help us situate and structure information, using categories can make us feel like we …