Monthly Archives: December 2010

IBM Report: Capitalizing on Complexity

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Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study

Do you occasionally sit back and wonder why work is so complicated?  What happened to our worlds of work when we knew almost every day how to attack and beat back the infamous “to-do” list?  A good day ten years ago was when I finished all but a couple of the items on my list, and was charged up to refresh and hit it again the next day.  Those days are gone.  Work and life priorities are in constant change.  Reaction times require continuous immediacy.  Requirements simply present themselves as “complex”, sometimes bordering on the edge of chaotic.

If Uncertainty was the word for 2010, then Complexity is the word for 2011. Complexity is defined as: “the varied relationship of multiple elements that are relative and changing over time.”  The nature of the elements, the relationship of the connections, and the change nature of it all, compound over time resulting is a loss of predictability and order in the system.  The personal result is that today our daily lists of to-do’s are often blown up in hour one of the day, never to be returned to again.

In the spring of 2010, IBM released the fourth year of a study of what is on the minds of the world’s CEO’s.  The title of the 2010 report is Capitalizing on Complexity.  The introduction to the report states:

“In a world fraught with uncertainty, what are today’s CEOs doing to strengthen their situations against competitors?

Previously, CEOs have consistently identified change as their most pressing challenge. Today, CEOs are telling us that the complexity of operating in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world is their primary challenge. And, a surprising number of them told us that they feel ill-equipped to succeed in this drastically different world.” (more…)

The Company vs. The Individual

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When I began working at my current company in 2005, I was completely unprepared for the cultural shift I was about to experience.  My ideals and pursuit for professional results were an apparent match for those of the company, but my preferred behaviors and approach to work were very out of sync with “the company”.  The resulting tension that was created was palpable.  I listened with great interest to the stories about the founding fathers of the company.  I learned about the days when, if you needed a refill on a lead holding pencil for drafting, you had to go in front of the owner, Cyrus Baxter, and ask for the new stick of lead.  I found great insight in the story our current CEO told about when he was 14 years old cutting the grass at the office, and Cy came down from his second story office and chewed him out for not keeping the wheel lines of the mower straight enough. (more…)

What Community College Leaders Think…

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Over the summer of 2010, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview community college presidents, provosts, vice presidents and deans, to better understand the challenges and opportunities that these institutions face as they navigate through these historically tough economic times. Over the course of the next several blogs, I’ll share some common themes that came up consistently during these enlightening conversations:  (more…)