The agenda of the passive-aggressive manipulator

Thursday, 5 February, 2009

Some sage advice for dealing with people who persistently refuse to accept change. Regard them as you would speed humps on a road… slow down but essentially go right over the top of them.

But some people resist change no matter what. These are not people who take the time to analyze a new idea or concept, run scenarios, try to figure out contingencies, look for lateral opportunities, and get around potential pitfalls along the way. These are just difficult people who enjoy being roadblocks. Perhaps it makes them feel important: If they can’t actually be agents of change, at least they can be agents of un-change. Maybe it’s all one big ego trip. A passive-aggressive power play.

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Still got the blues with the Kottke redesign

Wednesday, 21 January, 2009

Personally I am liking the new look at Kottke.org, the striped back header, the new (and larger font) and of course the snap-fit blue border, which is probably generating the most talk about the redesign.

Some people like the changes, but mostly people don’t like the new design, really dislike the blue, and generally want the old site back. This is exactly the reaction I expected, and it’s heartening to learn that the old design struck such a chord with people. All I’m asking is that you give it a little time.

The last time Kottke designed was in 2000. The last time I did a redesign (the recent tweaks don’t count) here was 18 months ago. That’s an eternity by the standards of the dot-com-boom, when it seems we used to churn out new looks every couple of months.

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Agile uptake slowed by “ill-disciplined” industry culture

Monday, 24 November, 2008

Scott Ambler of IBM speaks about the benefits of the Agile development methodology, and also offers his thoughts as to why there is a reluctance among some application developers to go Agile.

It’s not really a technology issue or a domain issue. People have these excuses to not change, because change is hard. It’s not a technology thing, but it is a culture thing. You have to choose more discipline. One of the big cultural challenges in the traditional community is that they confuse bureaucracy with discipline. Bureaucracy is bureaucracy and discipline is discipline. Those are two different things and we need to get away from that. So if you’ve got this culture around this bureaucratic rigour, filling out forms and doing checklists, it’s going to be hard to move towards something quality-focused, value-focused like agile.

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Remember this day

Friday, 7 November, 2008

A fantastic personal consideration of the outcome of the US presidential election at Ample Sanity:

I have seen, just lately, a renewed sense of responsibility, as well as an unprecedented demand for humanity. I am not African-American. I cannot, therefore, begin to understand what last night meant for those of you who are. To be honest, I had not given it a thought until watching the election returns last night. During this entire campaign, I never once saw a Black man running for president. I saw a man. Period. Last night, I listened as this man of character, strength, and clarity of purpose proclaimed to the world that “a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.”

On the subject of Barack Obama, there’s some great photo galleries featuring the president-elect compiled by Time photographer Callie Shell, and also The Big Picture.

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Fear of the unknown kick starts the brain

Friday, 17 October, 2008

A case of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”, even survival of the fittest perhaps?

Happily, the brain’s other defining characteristic is that it is flexible. Once we know our weaknesses, we can compensate for them. The part of your brain associated with conscious thought, called the prefrontal cortex, has a direct line into the amygdala and can quiet it down. This requires effort – and creativity. “The most productive thing is to recognize that it’s natural to feel anxiety in the context of unpredictability. A rat would be going through the same stuff,” says Forsyth, and he means that in a reassuring way. “And then sit with it. Do not let your feelings decide what to do. Feelings are fickle.”

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Crisis? What crisis? This is an opportunity

Thursday, 2 October, 2008

Now is the time to get entrepreneurial says Seth Godin, because in crisis there is opportunity:

Growth is frightening for a lot of people. It brings change and the opportunity for public failure. So if the astrological signs aren’t right or the water is too cold or we’ve got a twinge in our elbow, we find an excuse. We decide to do it later, or not at all. What a shame. What a waste. Inc. magazine reports that a huge percentage of companies in this year’s Inc. 500 were founded within months of 9/11. Talk about uncertain times. But uncertain times, frozen liquidity, political change and poor astrological forecasts (not to mention chicken entrails) all lead to less competition, more available talent and a do-or-die attitude that causes real change to happen. If I wasn’t already running my own business, today is the day I’d start one.

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At least when you preach to the converted they listen

Thursday, 4 September, 2008

Isn’t this just overstating the obvious a little?

To create change, you need to reach out to those who don’t already agree with you. If you’re just having agreeable conversations with likeminded people, you’re probably not actually accomplishing much in the way of fostering change.

Than again, probably not. Although reasonably straightforward, it’s a point-of-view that is all too quickly overlooked.

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Big change comes quickly, in less than 100 days

Thursday, 26 June, 2008

Senior managers overseeing major IT projects have, to use the words of Australian communications company Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo, three months to “catch the vision or catch the bus”, when it comes to understanding the significance of major IT projects, according to PwC national transformation leader Stephen Woolley.

“A visionary and charismatic CEO might think they would win the hearts and minds of their direct reports over a period of 12 months,” Woolley told an audience of information executives at a recent AIIA CxO Forum in Melbourne. “The lesson we learned was that you can’t wait 12 months, and you can’t wait six months. If they haven’t gotten on the bus in three months, move them on and get someone that you trust to run it.”

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Riding Shotgun

Saturday, 12 January, 2008

Riding Shotgun by Christine MacLean at Jugglezine.

The new year; this is the season for making changes…

Angela King, a manager in her mid-thirties, knew that her husband Kevin was restless in his white-collar job. While it was good in many regards, it hadn’t been giving him any personal satisfaction. When Kevin started riding along in the squad car with his police officer brother and asking him questions about the police academy, Angela hoped it didn’t mean what she thought it might.

A look at how the life choices of those close to us can have an impact on our own lives.

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Who moved my cheese?

Monday, 29 October, 2007

Who moved my cheese?

Somehow I ended up with a copy of this book, and rediscovered it, yes, when digging around in a cupboard the other day.

Let’s cut straight to the chase…

Hem and Haw awoke each day a little later, dressed a little slower, and walked to Cheese Station C. After all, they knew where the cheese was now and how to get there. They had no idea where the cheese came from, or who put it there. They just assumed it would be there.

So, you know, how about Cheese Station… like, G, then?

After a while Hem’s and Haw’s confidence grew into arrogance. Soon they became so comfortable they didn’t even notice what was happening.

I know some people find Who moved my cheese? a tad condescending, but its warning about becoming overly dependent, or too comfortable, with the way things are seems especially pertinent at the moment.

And with my point made, it’s back to the cupboard for Who moved my cheese?

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