A tech revolution that changes the way we organize work & the danger of digital serfdom

The old style company, that is the company circa 1880-2000, had firm boundaries and fixed hierarchies in order to function efficiently. But with the advent of digital technology and the consumer social computing revolution there is a seismic shift in how technology is used within companies. There are also significant changes in worker expectations and, as a corollary, companies are changing their demands upon workers. … Continue reading A tech revolution that changes the way we organize work & the danger of digital serfdom

Leadership, personality traits, and success: Do nice guys really finish last?

I came across an article in Wired Science by Jonah Lehrer titled Do Nice Guys Finish Last?. It had plenty to get me thinking. Apparently: “… levels of ‘agreeableness’ are negatively correlated with the earnings of men” Then: “There are six facets to agreeableness: trust, straightforwardness, compliance, altruism, modesty and tender-mindedness. “ Also: “Women were slightly less likely to get picked for promotion regardless of their … Continue reading Leadership, personality traits, and success: Do nice guys really finish last?

When robots rule the world – the future of jobs in a hyperconnected world

Steve Hopkins was telling me recently about an interesting law firm he’d come across in San Francisco – it’s called Robot. Where lawyer and junior partner Tim Hwang and his senior partners, Apollo Cluster and “Daria” XR-1029, work to merge legal and technical systems. It was this law firm, and an interesting conversation Steve had with Tim Hwang, that sparked the idea for Steve’s session … Continue reading When robots rule the world – the future of jobs in a hyperconnected world

What about CSR and the triple bottom line?

In response to yesterday’s post someone on Twitter, @dmanww, raised the very sensible issue of the triple bottom line, or as some might call it, corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, having worked in a number of organizations that took the triple bottom line and corporate social responsibility very seriously, I know that it is not pervasive within the organization in the same way as the … Continue reading What about CSR and the triple bottom line?

Maximizing shareholder value should NOT be the only goal of the corporation

It is interesting to think about this now that we see Occupy Wall Street spreading around the world (even to Occupy Sydney). Back in 1976  Michael Jensen and William Meckling argued that the solution to the principal-agency problem — business leaders advance their own interests not those of shareowners — was to make the goal of the corporation the highest return to shareholders and to … Continue reading Maximizing shareholder value should NOT be the only goal of the corporation

Vale Steve Jobs: a leader with great passion

It is sad to hear of Steve Jobs’ passing. Not unsurprising news given his long battle with cancer. But the heartfelt responses to his death made me think. How many other leaders of big companies would elicit similar responses? Hardly any I suspect. His was a remarkable career, and the impact of his ideas brought to life will resonate for a long time. But must … Continue reading Vale Steve Jobs: a leader with great passion

Leadership: Doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching

I have worked with a number of great leaders and managers over the years, some of them are famous for this but others are quiet achievers. Watching ABC’s Four Corners program about St Ann’s Secret on television tonight made me think about what makes a great leader. The story of abuse of disabled children by paedophiles in Adelaide was heart-rending, and the failures of leaders … Continue reading Leadership: Doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching

Labour, forced labour, and capital – is the ground shifting?

Free people offering their labour in exchange for monetary reward has been fundamental concept for western society. Since the mid-nineteenth century we have not really used forced labour for production.  But two examples in recent times make me wonder if that assumption still holds true: Prisoners painted room for former UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith Wisconsin Union Workers Replaced With Prison Labor Under Scott Walker’s … Continue reading Labour, forced labour, and capital – is the ground shifting?

Business, boring jobs and social good

Over the past 150 years businesses have dealt with the challenges of increased scale by optimizing processes, resource allocation and expenditure. However, there is a limit to how much one can optimize a business and not damage the society within which that business exists. I have spent a goodly part of my career working on optimizing large scale businesses and increasing productivity. The main way … Continue reading Business, boring jobs and social good