Sunday Quote : John Medina

September 14, 2014

“Using visual support is also a more efficient way to glue information to a neuron, there may be strong reasons for entire marketing departments to think seriously about making pictorial presentations their primary way of transferring information.”

Brain Rules is an awesome book explaining how our brain works and how brain science may influence the way we teach, learn and work.

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In 1944 George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University, provided the most comprehensive account of situational interest. It is surprisingly simple : Curiosity, he says, happen when we feel a gap in our knowledge.

Made to Stick, the book from which this quote is taken, is a great book to benchmark and design your communication strategy whether it is to sell washing machines or lead changes in an organization.

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This is an awesome video by Mike Rother at Lean Summit 2012. It’s not a friendly format as 18 mns TED’s. It is one hour 15 minutes long but it is worth every second of your time.

I have been interested for the last year or so in neuro-sciences and how they can help in understanding organization culture and how to change it. Mike Rother also had.

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Surf Lacanau

(Version Française)

When I decided last year to take a new turn in my career, I was lucky enough to be able to choose from two different options, both very exciting: Enterprise 2.0 / Social Business on one hand , lean on the other.

After much thought, I have chosen the second option because it seems to me more deeply aligned with the challenges of today’s business, namely the need to navigate through the turbulences of our uncertain world. These turbulences and uncertainty are largely related to the digitization of our daily lives: the digital transformation of the organization therefore seems inevitable.

My hypothesis is that today, Lean is the obvious strategy to carry out this transformation, for the following reasons:

  1. digital transformation actually means a radicalization of the use of new technological opportunities,
  2. it’s all about management principles
  3. a model exists, embodied by the born digital companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Pixar, Twitter etc. …)
  4. their management cultures are explicitly or implicitly aligned with the principles of Lean.

(Warning, long truck ahead : more than 1800 words) …

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“Le développement effrené des règles provient de l’illusion que la réalité peut-être totalement maîtrisée a priori et de la volonté de se décharger de sa responsabilité, en permettant de mettre en cause ceux qui ont à les appliquer.”

Christian Morel est l’auteur des 2 volumes des Décisions Absurdes : Sociologie des erreurs radicales et persistantes (2002) et Comment les éviter (2012), deux ouvrages que m’ont vivement recommandés Yves Caseau, Benjamin Pelletier et Marie-Pia Ignace : il va bien falloir que je me penche sur le sujet.

Cette citation est probablement la description la plus exacte du management tel que pratiqué dans les organisations dysfonctionnelles. Organisations dysfonctionnelles qui, à ma connaissance sont encore largement majoritaires aujourd’hui, que ce soit dans le public ou le privé. Elle est tirée d’un article sur l’intelligence collective, un des seuls à surnager d’un numéro spécial des Grands Dossiers des Sciences Humaines consacré à Changer le Travail. Read the rest of this entry »

Surf Lacanau

(English Version)

Lorsque j’ai décidé l’an dernier d’infléchir ma carrière professionnelle pour me diriger vers le conseil, deux chemins se présentaient, tous deux  prometteurs : Entreprise 2.0/Social Business d’un côté, Lean de l’autre.

Au terme de longues réflexions, j’ai choisi la seconde option car elle me semblait plus profondément en phase avec les enjeux des entreprises d’aujourd’hui, à savoir la nécessité de naviguer dans les turbulences du monde incertain qui est le nôtre. Ces turbulences et ce monde incertain sont en grande partie liés à la digitalisation de notre quotidien : la transformation digitale (ou numérique) des entreprises semble donc inéluctable.

Le Lean m’apparaît aujourd’hui comme l’évidente stratégie pour mener à bien cette transformation, pour les raisons suivantes :

  1. la transformation digitale correspond à une radicalisation de l’exploitation de nouvelles opportunités technologiques,
  2. il s’agit avant tout de principes de management
  3. un modèle existe, il s’agit des entreprises nées numériques (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Pixar, Twitter etc. …)
  4. leurs cultures de management sont toutes, explicitement ou implicitement, alignées avec les principes du Lean.
  5. (oh : et l’ part avec un handicap culturel dans cette transformation)

(Je vous écris un long billet car je n’ai pas le temps d’en écrire un plus court, paraphraserais-je Pascal : attention, plus de 2000 mots)

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“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging of an uncompleted task.”

William James was an American philosopher and psychologist, often referred to as the “Father of American Psychology”.

This quote resonates quite vividly for me as it echoes one of the main lean principles : to get things done, reduce work in progress.Why is it so fatiguing ? My take is that until it is completely done a task uses some of your background cognitive power.

A principle also referred to as “Stop starting and start finishing or “Multitasking is the first step in multi-failing”. I sometimes feel multi-tasking could be considered as self-inflicting the Sisyphus curse : going back to an uncompleted task is somehow like having to roll the boulder all the way up the hill, again.

There is some sort of mythology about alleged millenials ability to multi-task but this is just wishful thinking. I am currently enjoying reading Brain Rules and the author John Medina makes it clear that the brain is not able to share attention on two different tasks.

On top of an expert newbie, I rate myself a rather productive person, able to achieve things. [humblebrag] As an example in 2013 : one massive project, one e-book, one new album with my band and a major change in my professional career all the while attempting to have my family not to hate me too much [/humblebrag].

This principle is my north star. I try my best not to keep tasks hanging around and to complete them before moving to something else. How about you ?


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