The Heretic's Guide To Management

The Art of Harnessing Ambiguity

The Heretic's Guide To Management

Management techniques such as strategic planning, project management or operational budgeting, aim to reduce ambiguity and provide clarity. So it is one of the great ironies of modern corporate life that these techniques often end up doing the opposite: increasing ambiguity rather than reducing it. It is easy enough to understand why: organizations are complex entities and it is unreasonable to expect management models, such as those that fit neatly into a 2*2 matrix or a predetermined checklist, to work in the real world. Indeed, expecting them to work as advertised is akin to colouring a paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa with the expectation of recreating Da Vinci’s masterpiece. Ambiguity has not been tamed: reality will still impose itself no matter how alluring the model is. Unfortunately, most of us have a deep aversion to situations that involve even a hint of ambiguity. Recent research in neuroscience has revealed the reason for this: ambiguity is processed in the parts of the brain which regulate our emotional responses. As a result, many people associate ambiguity with feelings of anxiety. When kids feel anxious, they turn to transitional objects such as teddy bears or security blankets, providing them with a sense of stability when situations or events seem overwhelming. We contend that as grown-ups, we don’t actually stop using teddy bears - they take a different form. Backed by research, we illustrate that management models, fads and frameworks are akin to teddy bears . They provide the same sense of comfort and certainty to corporate managers and minions as real teddies do to distressed kids. This is not a problem in many cases. Children usually outgrow their need for a teddy, unless if development is disrupted or arrested in some way. If this happens, the transitional object can become a fetish – an object that is held on to with a pathological intensity, simply for the comfort that it offers in the face of ambiguity. The corporate reliance on simplistic solutions for the complex challenges faced is akin to little Johnny believing that everything will be OK provided he clings on to Teddy. Ambiguity is a primal force that drives much of our behaviour. It is typically viewed negatively - something to be avoided or to be controlled. The truth however, is that it is a force that can be used in positive ways too. The Force that gave the Dark Side their power in the Star Wars movies was harnessed by the Jedi in positive ways. Similarly, this new management book shows how ambiguous situations, so common in the corporate world, are processed by the brain, and the behaviours that often arise as a consequence. More importantly, though, it shows you how to harness that ambiguity to achieve outstanding results.

The Heretic's Guide to Best Practices

The Reality of Managing Complex Problems in Organisations

The Heretic's Guide to Best Practices

When it comes to solving complex problems, we often perform elaborate rituals in the guise of best practices that promise a world of order, certainty, and control. But reality paints a far different picture, which practitioners are often reluctant to discuss. A witty yet rigorous journey through the seedy underbelly of organisational problem solving, The Heretic’s Guide to Best Practices pinpoints the reasons why best practices don’t work as advertised and what can be done about it. “Hugely enjoyable, deeply reflective, and intensely practical. This book is about weaving human artistry and improvisation, with appropriate methods and technologies, in order to pool collective intelligence and wisdom under pressure.”—Simon Buckingham Shum, Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, UK “This is a terrific piece of work: important, insightful, and very entertaining. Culmsee and Awati have produced a refreshing take on the problems that plague organisations... If you’re trying to deal with wicked problems in your organisation, then drop everything and read this book.”—Tim Van Gelder, Principal Consultant, Austhink Consulting

The Hasidic Masters' Guide to Management

The Hasidic Masters' Guide to Management

Using Hasidic stories and parables along with the insightful cartoon satire of Dilbert, this readable and entertaining guide shows how today's managers can provide inspirational leadership, clear direction, business vision and organizational guidance to their team.

The Executive Guide to Integrated Talent Management

The Executive Guide to Integrated Talent Management

This guidebook paves the way to integrated talent management by assembling the collective experience and insight of 19 experts who examine research-based theories and current practices in highly successful enterprises. These contributors (including Marshall Goldsmith, Peter Cappelli, Leslie Joyce, and Edward E. Lawler, among others) provide practical advice about how you can adopt effective, state-of-the-art methods in your own organisation.

Socially Collaborative Schools

The Heretic's Guide to Mixed-Age Tutor Groups, System Design, and the Goal of Goodness

Socially Collaborative Schools

This book examines vertical tutoring and mixed-age group lessons.

The Rough Guide to Videogaming

The Rough Guide to Videogaming

Videogamers will find all they need to know in this collection of reviews of the top 150 games. Includes a roundup of monthly magazines and e-zines and Web site contact information for all hardware manufacturers, game developers, and publishers mentioned in the guide. Screen shots.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn't chase. You will look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. Stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day is inspired by one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture, a blessed and audacious act that left no regrets: “Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it” (2 Samuel 23:20 -21). Unleash the lion chaser within! What if the life you really want, and the future God wants for you, is hiding right now in your biggest problem, your worst failure…your greatest fear? Story Behind the Book “Our best days often start out as our worst days. And our greatest opportunities are often disguised as our biggest problems. You can land in a pit with a lion on a snowy day, and it will seem like the end of the road. But God is in the recycling business. He recycles past experiences and uses them to prepare us for future opportunities. That is the story of my life. And that is the story of your life. Look in the rearview mirror long enough and you’ll see that God has purposely positioned you everywhere you’ve been—even when it seemed you’d taken a wrong turn.” —Mark Batterson

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature

Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature

An author subject index to selected general interest periodicals of reference value in libraries.