Top Five Management Myths

Human Systems Dynamics, in which I am a trained associate, helps people leverage uncertainty in their organizations. In a post that I have been meaning to share, Glenda Eoyang talked about 5 management myths:

  1. Management is not leadership.
  2. You can measure everything that matters.
  3. “It is only about the people,” or “It isn’t about the people.”
  4. Theory isn’t practical.
  5. I don’t have time.

I love how complexity theory can underline what we need to do in our work. Read more here and let me know what you think:


BruceMJ_GraduationFinally, this past weekend on May 21, 2016 and after 8 (long) years, I graduated with my doctorate in Organizational Development from the University of Saint Thomas in Minneapolis, MN. Actually, I defended on March 17, 2016 and officially graduated on April 1, 2016. But there was some finality in walking with the other graduates and being recognized by the university president. Thanks for all of you who supported me, especially Mary Jane (MJ) Pappas, the love of my life, friend, mother of our children, and amazing human being. I’m excited to share my dissertation here in sections, but if you want a full copy, email me.

My (very) best,

Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Advice from Chris Vos, FBI hostage negotiator. Here are his 7 tips:

  1. Don’t be direct: Direct usually comes off as rude, no matter your intentions. Be nice and slow it down.
  2. Don’t try to get them to say “yes”: Pushing for a “yes” makes people defensive. Try to get a “no.”
  3. Do an “accusation audit”: Acknowledge all the negative things they think about you to defuse them.
  4. Let them feel in control: People want autonomy. Ask questions and let them feel like they’re in charge.
  5. The two magic words they need to say: Summarize their position to trigger a “That’s right.”
  6. Listen for levers: They might only need the orange peel. Listen, listen, listen.
  7. Keep asking “How am I supposed to do that?”: Let them solve your problems for you.

from “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

What are your thoughts?

The long hiatus is almost over

I have been working on my doctoral degree in organizational development for 8 years: 3 years of coursework and 5 years of dissertation. I have submitted my dissertation to my committee and will defend on April 17, 2016. Then I will most likely have some revisions to do by April 15.  When I complete my revisions, I graduate immediately, though I don’t walk until May 21. I promise that, when I graduate, I will recommence my weekly posts here on I’ll keep you informed. Thanks for your patience.

Say Goodbye to Annual Performance Reviews!

I’ve been advocating for years about the stupidity and needlessness of annual performance reviews. Best reviews are frequent, immediate and specific. Looks like some major corporations are following suit. How about your company?

Here’s what one company is doing:
In big move, Accenture will get rid of annual performance reviews and rankings
 (Washington Post)

Do the Hard Work First!

Years ago, I started a new mantra for myself when faced with a difficult task: “Do the hard work first.” It’s easier for us to put off (what we perceive to be) “hard work” and just knock off the easier stuff. I found in the hard work is usually the meat of my existence. I started reminding myself to: “Do the hard work first.” And I did (and still try to today). This article reinforces that idea.  David at Raptitude calls it, “Life is Easier When You Take the Stairs”.

Ricardo Semler: How to run a company with (almost) no rules

“And if we’re looking for wisdom, we need to learn to do that as well. And so, what we’ve done all of these years is very simple, is use the little tool, which is ask three whys in a row. Because the first why you always have a good answer for. The second why, it starts getting difficult. By the third why, you don’t really know why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
-Richard Semler

I love this TED Talk.  Can these simple ideas work for business and education today?