July 21-22, 2021 / Online

Working Together and Working as One

Written by Working Together and Working as One

August 11, 2017


So I wanna go down dig down deeper into team stuff. I'm gonna boast a little bit about my butterflies first.

So I went on a trip, I went on a three-month vacation. That's what you get to do after you've single-parented a child to the age of 22. So unless you've actually single-parented a child to the age of 22 while owning and operating a business and selling two businesses, you don't get the three-month vacation. So anyhow, I didn't plan on doing it, I just left to speak to an event and didn't feel like coming home for a while. And so I didn't. So I went to some really interesting places. But anyhow, I'm sure I'll drop that it.

But my butterfly was from Indonesia. I stayed in the same place for a month and I don't think it was the same butterfly 'cause I don't think their life expectancy is that long. But there were always seem to be sort of a single butterfly in my room. And so I took lots of pictures of butterflies while I was there so you'll get to see them. That was really funny. She likes butterflies.

Anyhow, so hi. I'm not like you. I'm a management consultant. I'm not like the ones you've seen on TV, so don't worry about that. I've worked in the internet and webspace since the year my son was born, which was 1995. Somebody gave me a 14.4 modem* and an HTML book. And my son was really quiet, I strapped him on and I learned how to open up Notepad and learn some HTML. I subsequently went to Silicon Valley and started managing the web publishing infrastructure for Cisco systems. So that was in '96, '97. And they already had 250,000 web pages. They already had multiple country sites. They were already doing the thing that people think you can't do which is multichannel delivery. They were doing it. Their channels were the internet, the external website, and burning to CD-ROM and print. Right? So it was a little different, but still we were making it work.

So because of that I jut got to see big messed up web early. So it's funny. I go into organizations now they have the same sorts of problems. So that was my advantage. I'm sure when you sort of look back at your life, sometimes you can pinpoint just a single thing that you did that was usually an accident or got thrust upon you that sort of spun everything. For me that was it, it wasn't like I planned this, I was a Philosophy major in school, I had studied symbolic logic and was really into semantics, so I had the brain tilt for it. But it's just sort of all kind of what I did together.

I left there '99, started my own consulting firm because I figured if Cisco systems that actually understood how the internet and web work couldn't manage their website, there's probably a business model around it. And there is, and there still is. So if anyone would like to join me, please see me in the back.

I also write. I wrote a book about digital governance a few years ago. I've always written fiction and creative non-fiction around a variety of names. And I am actually writing a revenge murder mystery set in Silicon Valley right now, so I'm very excited about that. Things I like to think about are ethics for makers and global internet accessibility. And that's really about making sure that everyone on the planet has access to the internet. So those of us who live where we live, most of us are making some assumptions but I'm just assuming, who live where we live and do what we do, we just are speeds and feeds and all this other kind of stuff. They're just whole swatches of planet and whole swatches of places in our own country that there are* lot slow or low access internet or no internet whatsoever. Or use it completely different, mobily driven.

Some vary into that and I work a lot with them, folks in the UN, to talk about some of this human rights related issues. That's a little bit about me. So I'm a little bit weird. Somebody came up yesterday with organizational design. So that's how designy I am. I go intentionally inside large organizations that are fighting about their digital channels and I put them in corners and make them stop. That's pretty much what I do for a living.

This is a picture of my room in Senegal. Just one of the other places that I went. I slept on that bed. That's the little fairy that came once every hour. It's d'Ile de Goree which is where the house of slaves is, where it's sort of like a pilgrimage place for people in the African diaspora who wanna go back and think about how bad that was, right? So it's kind of a cool place to be. I was in that room for almost about a month. That's when I decided to write a revenge murder mystery. They have their relationship to them.

But what really happened there for me was I really started to think what I wanted to do for the next wave. So I just had quit my job job, I had run businesses, I joined another company to help grow that company for acquisition that had done that, right? And my son had miraculously graduated from college and not come back home. Somehow I've done everything right, all of this sort of major milestones. So all of a sudden I was free. Like, what is that? Like, who gets that? So I mean really, like, right? Am I right? Like, what even is that?

How many times do you have that sort of opportunity and so I started thinking about what I wanted to be, midlife crisis on 53, what I wanted to do and what I wanted to do for that last pushing wave as I move towards retirement. I think in very long terms. I'm a process engineer, I think in 10 and 15 year cycles. So my brain I've got one really last push. So I was really thinking about what I wanted to do around that and what I wanted to do by myself and what I wanted to do as a group. And so then I started thinking about the work that I did around digital governance and started thinking that that's sort of the kind of question that people that I'm working with inside the organization.

So on the phase of it you might go inside a large organization and think, people are debating, it's marketing an IT, arguing about CMS, or the designer arguing with the writer about this or the business, I want these words, no, I want those words, I like that color, and like all those fights that you know about all the time. They're all over the place. So if you have them, it's a disease everybody has. Welcome to the club. Hopefully they'll make a pill and you can take it and it'll be over with.

But really what is coming down to is the sense of I'm in this group of people and I'm trying to make something cool and at the same time as a group, and I'm trying to express myself. So it's like it's part of this sort of human condition of yeah, you go to work every day but it's me and I have something to say. And I've invested all these years into all of these skills and I wanna use them. And I want to be valuable in the world. And so some of that can be really big fat head ego-driven and some of it can just be I'm a human being. Whatever your belief systems are, we're here and you sort of wanna make a splash while you are, right?

And so I started thinking about those things and I was thinking about that when I was writing this talk, so if it's a little esoteric, that's why I'm still gonna talk about digital governance 'cause I always make everybody take their medicine and I can't help it and you need it. So that's the question we're grappling with today. I'm gonna grapple through it at a leisurely pace but I realize that I'm between you and your snack. That's the most power I've had in a long time. I don't have a child that listens to me anymore. But I'm between you and your snack. So let's take it easy and do a little listicle.

This number changed a lot. It started out five then it was six and it was two then it was one, I tried to be really smart, I ended up with three. That's a good number, right? Three things that I've learned about working with people who make things and put them online. That's everybody in this room, am I correct? Yes. So that's a very generic way and that's how I see it. I don't really care if you are a graphic designer, I don't care if you're a writer, I don't care if you're whatever, when I'm working digital governance problems. It's everybody. I'm down IT, I'm down to business, the CMO, the CIO, all your external vendors, like I'm just all over your entire ecosystem. So you all are just sort of like digital people, right? So what if I learned working with digital people?

I like this quote and this is very concisely stated. I'm not a concise person obviously. Organizations are a competition between compliance and creation. So I wanna express myself. I have some things to say but I have to follow these rules. But I wanna express myself, but I have to follow these rules. It's just a sort of like, I'm really making you laugh. I'm like I've got one in the pocket. This quote came from this book How To Fly A Horse. Has anybody read this book? Really? This is actually a really good book. It's a quick read. If you're gonna be on an airplane or something, it's really good, it's story-driven, it talks about creativity and teams and all sorts of things.

But this is true. It's like between compliance and creation, and to me that's also the difference between expressing yourself as an individual and doing what you need to do for the group. It's still that same pull that I was talking about in that balance. So that's one of the things that I've noticed a lot. How and why does that happen? So I'm sneaking in here my digital governance maturity curve. But I colored it purple so it looks arty. And it's curved, right? Like this isn't like your typical, this is a nice, pretty, right? There you go. So say you wanna do something. Somebody comes up with a great idea. Let's pick something that we all understand. Let's call it the worldwide web. Here it comes.

It's a new idea and your organization, Jim, that guy down in IT or at Lynda that gal down in marketing communications has used their own personal credit card to buy the URL for the company. Now, 10 years later you're gonna have to try and get it back from them, but we're not thinking about that, right now we're just executing. It's this web thing. You're laughing because you know it's true. Right? You have this new idea and so you have a URL, somebody puts up this text-based website or who is it earlier today who had an image about POM page? Need a lot of those. Really bad. Just really just bad.

But anyhow, remember mapping out the quadrants? It was really quite something. You have this new idea and people try it out. And then if IT did it, marketing goes, oh, we could do it better 'cause we got better pictures and better words, right? Then they either work with them, not gonna happen, or they just make their own over here and then somebody in the other business says, oh, we're gonna make ours over here, except we're gonna make ours that PANTONE Color because the other one over there isn't right. And so you just keep going and you're making things up as you go along. And that's good. I would never say deeply govern at this point or make rules at this point. Why? Because you actually don't know what you're doing. So if you don't know what you're doing, you can't make rules about what you're doing. And you probably don't know what's gonna be successful so it's really good to try things out at the very, very beginning.

Now the problem is at some point you do something good. In the world of Cisco systems it was eCommerce. Somebody realized that you can actually sell things online and people buy them. So that meant not that they came up with the eCommerce engine and everybody rallied around it. It meant that different silos inside the organization tried different ways of doing eCommerce, so they were slightly different. And sort of that theory when you've got two parallel lines that are slightly tilted, eventually they bump into each other and then they go off in like completely different tangents. So down in this pit if you do too much innovating and creativity that's sort of close to the same, you end up with a mess which would be probably something a lot of you had seen. You've just seen it all over whether or not it's design, whether or not it's editorial, whatever the case may be you end up with a big mess.

So right there on that hump right there I should put like a golden little star there or there's a sweet spot where you might think we know what we're doing and we wanna replicate. Let's make a few rules before we replicate. Because if we don't make the few rules before we replicate, we're gonna just go off weird. But nobody does that and it's right down in that abyss where, and part of it is human nature. I don't wanna do what somebody else told me to do. Our business case is slightly different, really not, right? It just works that way. Right down in that chaos pit is actually where I make a living. I make a living. What happened? There it is. It clicked two times.

So I make a living pulling people out of that into basic management. And literally this is all it is. I mean there are techniques that I have that I won't tell you about. Basic management is just basically having some rules. Like what are we doing? Who's doing what? It's just lining up stuff. I can't tell you how many times people can't answer fundamental questions like, "How many websites "does your organization have?" And then the next somebody laughs. Somebody sort of looks really, really uncomfortable, puts their head down, and then the brazen one usually says something like, well, it depends. They're gonna give you sort of some kind of answer.

And so that's from a policy's perspective and from a compliance perspective. And usually your attorneys don't know 'cause if they did, they'd be all over you. But you hide that from them very well, somehow there's just kinda special dance that marketing communications and IT does where they don't really let in house council understand just how at risk you are operating online. It's a special dance that you do. It's advanced. It's advanced. But we come in and tell them and then it's over. So you have some basic rules. How many things do you have? Who touches them? Right? What are they supposed to look like? What application languages do we use? What tools do we use? Do you just have basic stuff?

I'm not talking about putting things through a governing sieve where every time somebody makes a design of something, somebody has to review it and put their stamp of approval on it. You could govern that way but I'm not demanding that, I'm just saying have a standard, right, against which everyone has to operate. How you execute on that, that's a matter of style and culture. Now the problem with that is that at a certain point if you get a super able person in there you have this risk of stagnation. People can say these are the rules and we can never change. And so that's a risk that happens at that point. But usually that doesn't happen 'cause getting there is hard enough.

The last stage of this is really where you have total integration. And if you're governing things correctly, it means that you've taken whatever that new thing is and you've pushed it together with whatever was there before and you've gotten rid of all the excess parts that don't work anymore. It' just total integration. So you're not talking about a digital strategy or a web strategy, you're just talking about strategy for the organization, and that includes everything. And so that's a responsive state where if one thing turns, the other one comes with it. It's really quite elegant. I honestly have to say even in some of the large dot coms, well maybe some of them, but except for, I'll say that that way, except for a few of the large dot coms you don't see it. There's too much legacy business model.

This is the challenge how to push these two things together so you don't have to talk about them separately. And enjoy that while it lasts because as soon as you've done that, something else changes. So it doesn't do that. That kind of leads to this next component of second thing that I see people do all the time which is that businesses think they can be done. And so those are actually aren't mine. I wish I was that good, but I wasn't really that good. Those are actually aren't mine, I had to go get those. We get the metamorphosis. People think that you can be done. Have you gotten that project done? Are we done with our digital transformation? Are we finished innovating? You've got project plans, things like that.

And so businesses actually think that they can be done but that's not how it works. You'll never gonna be done. Things will change and they'll change either nicely or violently so you'll either be completely thrown off and disrupted, right, like newspapers were very, very early on, right? Or you'll be mindful and you'll be shifting and navigating to sort of the new normal for your organization. But it's gonna change. So our job is to actually manage that reality. People don't generally tend to accept that. Reality they really wanna hold on to something and grip it and think that they can actually get done and sort of bake things in. So just get rid of that idea. It's not true. It's the nature of reality and you know it. As soon as I said it, you know I'm right, am I right? And so don't act like that. There, I'm done.

You've avoided the six figure management consulting engagement. So when they ask you to write up was it good for you to come here, you can say I've saved you. What did you learn? Stuff changes, get over it, yeah. So this guy on the left, this is the third thing. So we're on thing number three. This guy on the left I pulled him out from the deep, deep trenches of my laptop. His name is Wendell Wallace Web, get it? I wrote an eBook a long time ago, maybe 10 years ago now almost, called Digital Deca, Ten Management Truths For The Web Age.

They were really smart things and you'll see one of them like standards enable collaboration. Your online presence is the digital manifestation of your organization. Things like that. Genius, right? Well now we're still sitting there. It's great. If I hadn't said web 2.0 in it, it could be current. If I said social media instead of web 2.0, it would just be the same. Anyhow, creating for the internet in the web exposed all sorts of collaboration challenges and you saw the head, right? They're still there. It's like 10 years later. Anybody got that stuff licked? It's crazy.

Wendell Wallace Web, I made him because, you know phrenology where you can touch the lumps on somebody's head? That's why I was doing a play on phrenology. This is web phrenology. You can look at an organization's website and interact with it and tell exactly what's going on on the inside. Is there not single sign on? Well we know what that means. Are there multiple graphic designs for different areas of the business? You can tell what's going on inside. So it's still very, very true. So the result of all that is that there's a sort of internal tug of war over your digital channels, and unfortunately all of that stuff shows up online, right? It doesn't look good. You're not meeting anyone's needs. And the sad thing about it is it's really all about ego.

Everyone talks about being customer-centered and they think it's all about being customer-centered and doing the right research and design. But the biggest challenge and the biggest risk for all of organizations are you guys. You guys are fighting with each other over control of your digital channels. You're making that a priority over actually being customer-centered. And so think about that because I see it all the time. They're like well, it's more about power, it's not really about wanting this design over that design or that experience over this experience, it's about our group should be under control. It should be in control of this, not them. We own it. I hate it when people say we own it. It's like, nobody owns anything, right?

You all are stewards. The organization owns its online presence and you are stewards of an aspect of it. Just because you cut the grass at a university doesn't mean you own the lawn. Okay. So I know I had three things that I see but I've only got two things you can do. This is advanced. You're gonna have to somehow mudge that altogether and figure out how this all get addressed or not addressed.

Of course the first thing I'm gonna say is govern. Okay, next slide is your eat your weedy slide. Are you ready for it? Okay. So I wrote this book. I'm telling you I distill digital governance down into a single slide for you because Lord knows I could talk about it endlessly, on and on and on, but I thought maybe not today. Not for this group. This book Managing Chaos Digital Governance By Design. I have a couple of minutes. Can I tell you a very interesting small world story? It's not really that interesting but you guys are design type so maybe you think it was. I thought it's interesting. So I love this cover. You like this cover?

[Audience] Yes.

When Lou Rosenfeld, Rosenfeld Media asked me did I have any inspiration for a cover design, I said oh, you know, there's a mathematical representation of chaos, let me send it to you. That really I find inspiring. It's really interesting that chaos doesn't look particularly chaotic when you express it mathematically and you graph it mathematically. I said sure and so I sent it to him, never heard anything. I am your best kind of design customer. I'm gonna just let you do your thing. Honestly, I'm really just like, you ask me for some input, here's my input, give me back whatever you give.

I didn't touch this when it came back 'cause it's actually pretty cool when it came back. So I thought that I had given everyone in my life including my neighbors, my mother and my father and my sister, I don't have a brother, and my son a copy of my book. But apparently I had not given a copy of my book to my neighbor Whitney. Whitney Sherman is the woman who actually designed the US postal service breast cancer stamp. And she happens to live across the street from me. And she's also a professor in MICA. See, I'm trying to give you like some design chops here. Maryland Institute College of Art. I didn't go but I know somebody who teaches there. So that's what I've got, right?

I thought I had given her a copy 'cause I talk to her all the time, I'm over there all the time drinking her gin and tonics, which is what we like to do, but I haven't. And so she's working on a book, I'm hawking her book, I can't remember, which is like a history of illustration. That's kind of a big deal, right? She's working on this book and she's talking to her publisher and they're trying to find somebody to do a cover for it. And so she said she's gonna get one of her students that's graduated through a program to do it. And she was trying to get all of her collaborators to agree with her so she goes on to his website and gets to see, get the portfolio and she runs into the cover of this book.

And she calls me up and she yells at me, and she says, I didn't know that, I can't remember his name, Kevin did design the cover of your book. And I was like, who's he? This is how detached I am. This is bad. I don't even know the name of the person who's designed it. I'm just like, it's really cool. So I emailed him and it turned out she taught him. That's my small world thing. Isn't that kind of cool? And a little bit sweet, isn't it? Yeah, it was.

So I did email him and I said number one, I'm sorry that I never communicated with you about the kick ass cover you made for me. It really is great, I love it. I wish it was like a scarf or something, like I could make clothing out of it or whatever, and do you know Whitey 'cause she's my next door neighbor. And he was like, yeah, that's really cool. So there you go. So I said the first thing you should do is govern. That's really only three things. I'm gonna give them to you fast because they're kind of anal. All I want you to do in order to have a good governing framework is I want you to understand who in your organization does these things.

I'm not caring about the substance of your standards, I'm not really caring about the substance of your strategy, you do and it should be appropriate, but I wanna make sure that you know who's supposed to make these decisions. Because when I am working with folks like you that's what the problem is. It's not is it pink or green, it's who gets to decide if it's pink or green. He thinks it's pink, they think it's green. Which way? You just don't know which way that's gonna go. And so that's all that governance is for the purpose that yes we can write anal standards and yes there's some processes that you can do, and yes you have to figure out other things.

But really the crux of it is do you understand who makes decisions about your digital channels? Because if you don't, every time you have a project, it will be a debate. So if you can determine that once and for all, at least you know when you have a decision to make who the decision makers are. And it doesn't mean that you exclude everyone else. The process might include that you get input from a variety of people. And usually when you have a really good process for collaborating and making decisions, you come to consensus.

But on the times when you don't, understanding who the decisions makers are for a digital strategy, for digital policy which are the things that are gonna keep you from getting sued, right, and for standards which is what is the nature of it. What does it look like? What's the voice and tone? What types of tools do we use? Those things are really important. And the strategic piece is really important because often people who work in digital exempt or exclude from that pile their executive team.

They need to be on the hook because they're the ones who are gonna be able to write the check. So if you go up to them with a fancy digital strategy that's actually not connected to the business and doesn't really provide any business value, they're gonna ask you kinds of crazy questions and I'm not gonna give you the money that you want. But if they're involved in the process of creating it and it's actually aligned with the business and goals and objectives then you've got a better ride. So that's what I mean when I say govern.

Understand who makes those sorts of decisions. Now, at the end of the day what's gonna come out of the end of that pipe of governance are the last piece of it which are standards like, who decides about standards. And usually folks like you all that's what you care about. What's the editorial standard? What's the user interface standard? What are all of those sorts of things? What's the nature of things? And so I'm just gonna go through this sort of quickly. A lot of people don't like standards, and I love standards. Do you all love standards?

[Audience] Yes.

Okay, then we're gonna go on a standards party. And here it goes. So they think that it hinders innovation and creativity. And so they're wrong about that. Everything that we do at all as in things cannot exist without standards. So even in this example here which is a lead sheet, so I play jazz piano, medium well. I'm not horrible but I know Oscar Peterson. I'm pretty good. I'm a good singer. Jazz piano, whatever. So I have bunch of different lead sheets or whatever. So even this has, these are the chords, these are notes, this is a system.

And so yes they're gonna improvise and make up all kinds of things which is highly creative but it also has a system. Movable type, this is the first real movable type, came out of Asia. That's the movable type we talk about all the time. First one. Second one. Both movable types just style that one in, right? Systems, standards, right? Telephony. There's another example of a standard. On top of which you can do all kinds of crazy things, and it just goes on and on.

The examples of things that are highly standardized that we leverage and that you can do. Think of all the creativity that happen on the radio. Think of all the creativity of film. It's all standards based. So when people tell you that standards hinder things, throw some of these examples out to them and let them know that they're just sort of wrong. Television's another really good example, right? The first television image they think and my favorite television person that made me into the geek that I am today. I'm really excited though 'cause my son who poopooed the original Star Trek, he's home visiting now, a surprise surprise to me really just a visit, a surprise. He sat down and said he wanted to watch the original Star Trek. So he's grown. He's matured, he's got with it. He did say, "What's with the skirts?" "That seems wrong." So I must have done something right.

Computing, super standards based, infinite numbers of things that you can do, and of course there's our world, right? So you can't just like put some ink on your knee, put it on a piece of paper and put it through a web browser and all of a sudden you get a website, right? There are standards related to it, right? There are all of these protocols. There's a W3C. I mean it's screaming standards, internet and the world wide web. Wanna push even farther, there's us, right? So we are standards based. It's still required. Can you name something that like for matter to exist it's in a structure, there's atoms, there's rules, there's things like this. So you can't do that. In fact I'll jump all the way off the cliff and say that, as I said before, standards enable collaboration, they support sustained and quality growth, right?

And every intelligent systems has it. So, if every intelligent systems has it and your business is a system and you don't have them, therefore are you working smart? No. So anyhow, come on, that was almost like a syllogism, wasn't it? Almost but not really. So you use them, so you're bought into those already, so govern. Clear those things up and get them moving as you like to. Second thing I would like you to do, and this really goes into what Sharon was talking about, it was resonating with me when I was hearing Kertau is design your collaboration model with intent, and that's really about your team. You think your website's a mess? Look at your people system.

That's the second thing. Who's on your team? Well, what do you mean by team, right? And so there's a lot of different, it's true, I mean like you don't know who's touching your stuff. You don't know what you have and you don't know who makes it. Like so how good is that gonna work? Not very well over the long haul. So you need to model these things with intent, and there's a lot of different collaboration models that you can use. The thing that I'll to just start out on this piece is that these two things do not go together, right?

So you are creating an organic system online that goes in multiple directions at the same time with multiple nodes, and you're trying to do it inside of an organization that's top down nested. It's like nested hierarchy versus object oriented. That's object oriented, that's nested hierarchy. They don't work well together, so you're gonna have to come up with sort of a different type of collaboration model. That's why it's so hard, right? You are pushing against the seams, the actual nature and seams of your organization. It's built like tight like that for a reason because it made sense for the tools that you had in which to do business when things were made. It was all about relationships in that.

But now the information flows across the organization. It's not the same type of power. You know, Joan knows this and you must go to Joan. Everybody can know a lot of different things. Not that relationships don't matter, right? But it's very, very different. So one of the things that I sort of geek out on and that I hope to see sort of the end of is the impact of digital on the nature and structure of the enterprise. Forget about what the enterprise makes and puts online. But just the enterprise itself, like what can you do differently and how must you work differently because digital is actually there and you have this capacity to have information flow. So these two things don't go together. So you need to come up with some different collaboration models.

But because it's late I thought I would break this up and go through collaboration models with my music examples that I like a lot. This is more for me than anyone. So I want you to look at these. It's only gonna take maybe five minutes to get through them. And I'm gonna ask you a couple of questions. So this is one. ♫ He's my man ♫ Who could ask for anything more ♫ I got daisies in green pastures A bass and a singer, right? Making up as we go along. That's my friend Chris and me. We were recording something and we're just like, let's record this, let's put it in a tune. So we collaborated.

We made it up as we went along. We picked a key. He counted off, we started going. Very loose type of collaboration. No music, minimal toys, right? Next one. My favorite. I love Kenny Baron. Does anybody here love Kenny Baron? Thank you. We are friends. Okay, so this one's really interesting. This is gonna be meaningful for you in a second and you get to listen to music. So they're collaborating together. Look at the other two guys. They're hanging. Look at him. Speeding, he's slowing down, he's making up a lot of stuff as he goes on. I mean, why can he do that? Because he's playing by himself, right? I can play like Kenny Baron, no I'm kidding. I just thought I would try.

Okay, now watch. Watch what happens. His friends are gonna join him, watch what he does. He slips into the pocket. Why, because they can't all play crazy together. Still lovely, still creative. Autumn Leaves, everybody loves that tune. Sadly we have to go away. Now we got some more people. Regina Carter, I love Regina Carter. So they're interesting for what reason? I like how they're sitting. So they're playing together, it's pretty loose, but they're together and they're with each other and their bodies are moving and I'm sure they picked a key. Lots of eye contact.

You can do lots of eye contact or the equivalent when you're working in a relatively small group. You can check. You can go, "Did you mean that or did you not mean that?" "Oh wait I think I see what you're doing." You can do that in a small group. So think about that in terms of the size. Now even more people. Okay, they're clapping. Does anyone know why they're clapping other than it sounds cool? Thank you! It's in a really odd time signature. Do you know what it is?

[Man] 11, 4 I think?

Well I was gonna say seven, eight, 11, 4. Yeah, it depends on how you're counting it. It's weird, you know this piece? You know this tune?

[Man] Oh yeah.

Okay, so then you're right, 11, 4.

[Man] I'm not right, I'm never right.

No, it's funny because when I was looking it up I thought it was 11, but then I went to count it out I couldn't find it. I couldn't find it. Couldn't find the beat, needed help, they're clapping. Okay. They have something else that you haven't seen before either. What is it? Other than an all guy group? What? They have music. They have music. No, do you think this guy randomly decided he would take a solo? Right, okay. Other than the fact that it's a piccolo solo, which is an odd thing, however you see being creative because the rest of the team agreed to give him space to be creative right there, right? Still good. And then last but not least. How big can you get? No bigger than Mahler.

They've got one thing that they didn't have before either. And who is it? Is he gonna make it? It's so great. Does anybody here like the symphony? It's fab, right? I mean you go and you get like this is like a double chorus. I don't think it can get any bigger than this, right? And if you're alive in the room, and it's fabulous. So is this creative? Does it have beauty? Do you think the people doing it are having fun? Okay. So hopefully that installed something in your head, right? You can deliberately form models to meet any type of situation. This one's not gonna cut it for us. And so we're gonna have to figure how to do that. I'm gonna slide home right on time here.

So here's my little tiny small suggestion to you, take away one little thing going back to our first question which is how can you work with people, create something of value and still maintain a sense of personal agency and autonomy? In all those collaboration models, do those people feel like they had agency and autonomy to sort of do the things that they wanted to do? And depending on what they were doing or actually in all situations they were all highly trained.

They all had skills that they wanted to express and they found a good venue in which to do that. And the rest of it's just style. Do you wanna play classically, do you wanna play jazz? A lot of musicians do both. A lot of it is in that piece. But what can you do? Like what can you do inside your group when you got this nested hierarchy, this hierarchy and you're trying to create this thing? So, you can create an environment where the strategy and standards are clear and where anyone can lead.

So this is counter intuitive because I'm a management consultant. And you would think I would be thinking about hierarchies but I've worked with digital teams and the reality is that depending on where you are in a cycle or what you're doing, you need different leaders in different places. So here's an example of a model where that works. So everybody loves starling murmurations because they're beautiful. I wasn't able to capture a video of this one because people are really tight about their copyrights on their starling murmuration videos and I was trying to be respectful.

The other ones actually ask people, they're like, sure you can use it in presentation but no moving starling. So imagine the whole it's like a wave, it's like the wave thing, right, or whatever that goes at the ball park. Anyone know how this works? Yeah? That's correct. That's correct. You're the first person who knew the answer. Did you hear what she said? Each individual starling, oh I'm out of the light. Now the video guy's hating on me, sorry. I'm back. Each individual starling pays attention to the seven starlings around them. That's why they flow and don't lock step. There's a difference between everybody getting marching orders and marching and someone organically going this way. That means that any of you all can do that.

So if you have standards which means you understand what the rules are and what the parameters are, you know what piece of music you're playing, you know what key it's in, right? You know what you're trying to do strategically from a business perspective. If you see an opportunity and as long as you stay within those parameters you can move. You don't have to get a permission slip. And luckily the people who are around you are hopefully the people who are around you will follow you, right? They'll come with you because it will make sense to them as well. So that's all my only recommendation to you for today which is to be a bird, right? I want you to have agency. I want you to feel good at work.

Talked a lot today about empathy and a variety of other things, but one of the things that I find the most sort of poignant about the work that I do and I laugh and since I'm a management consultant, that always sounds really harsh. I get to work with people. And people who work in the digital space and anyone who works in their job is very passionate about what they do. You probably spend the majority of your time doing that job, right? The majority of your waking hours. And so it's important I think for people to sort of feel like you have personal agency and that you're working towards shared goals together. So I hope that's sort of some inspiration for you on how you can sort of work together. And I hope it was a little bit of fun and that we got to listen to some really good music, and thank you.

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