Tag Archives: Organizational Change

Giving yourself options…and a few other things I’m into right now.

tree stump on cliffThis is the view from my office window.  I keep thinking there’s some inspirational metaphor to be had… something about hanging on in the face of adversity?  I don’t know.  But it’s an interesting backdrop.

I love the idea of “engineering” the life you want and financial planner/money coach Leah Manderson hits the nail on the head with How I’m Planning to Be a Work At Home Mom Someday.

“With the work world becoming more flexible, I believe that it’s possible to have a fulfilling career that supports, rather than detracts, from motherhood. And I’m crazy enough to think I can engineer that life for myself… if I start working on it now.”

Amen, sister!  I’ve written here before that building a savings account is key to taking control of your career.  Both my husband and I have been able to leave unsatisfying jobs and/or change industries because we haven’t been saddled with consumer debt.  Does sticking to a budget suck sometimes?  Yep.  But having options is worth it.

Menlo Innovations CEO Richard Sheridan shares his company’s unique approach to workplace culture in Joy, Inc.  While there is much to think about in this book – hiring for cultural fit, creating changeable space, face-to-face communications – one bit I keep coming back to is this thought on extreme reactions to change:

“…in the face of a significant change initiative, emotional reactions fitting a standard bell curve will likely never create lasting change. You need the energy from the edges, not the middle.”

While I fear my days of being able to rock citron track pants at the office are well behind me, I admire Mary Orton’s sense of style and love browsing The Classy Cubicle.

I recently stumbled upon Grant McCracken’s take on contemporary culture via these two posts on Orphan Black.  So two recommendations here, really.  1- check out McCracken’s blog and 2 – watch this sci-fi conspiracy thriller from BBC America.  Tatiana Maslany, who plays all of the 5+ main characters, is crazy good.

P.S.  Are we Twitter friends yet?  Find me @TheMgmtMaven.


(This post contains affiliate links to Powell’s Books.)



Read This Book: Predictable Success

“Any group of people can reach a state where they will consistently (and with relative ease) achieve their common goals – a state that I call “Predictable Success.”                               Les McKeown

Whether you’re a seasoned leader or just starting out in your career, you need to be able to analyze the business dynamics playing out around you.  This book will help you do that.

Drawing on a deep understanding of organizational behavior, Les McKeown describes the seven stages he considers common to all businesses.  He then provides a step-by-step guide for leading your organization into Predictable Success and offers a practical blueprint for achieving sustainable growth.


Visit the Reading List for more book recommendations.


This post contains affiliate links to Powell’s Books.


Non-profits and the pitfalls of crappy technology.

old floppy disks

I’ve been thinking a lot about the need to address culture change at the process level.

While leaders often try to kick-start culture change with broad, company-wide initiatives, the reality of culture is in the processes and procedures of the day to day.  Individuals draw conclusions about what an organization values by observing work processes, evaluation systems and resource allocation decisions.  So as a leader, you have a much better chance of making meaningful change by focusing your attention on those things.

What does this have to do with the antiquated computers, piecemeal reporting systems and hand-me-down phone systems that are found in many non-profits?  I believe the lack of proper tools illustrates the culture of scarcity that pervades those organizations and can also be a first step in mitigating it.

As a former non-profit administrator, I am well aware that scarcity is a reality.  There are rarely enough funds to meet the community need, leaders are under pressure from funders to keep administrative costs unrealistically low, and the funds that are available are rightly prioritized for direct service.  I get all that.  But I also think that the scarcity mentality leads to complacency and the acceptance of a lower standard.

Team members need the proper tools and resources to do their jobs.  Ignoring this leads to a culture that undervalues employees while simultaneously expecting them to perform miracles.  Mission-driven organizations depend on the passion of committed employees and volunteers.  But passion only goes so far. Hit too many roadblocks in your daily work and eventually passion will burn out.

If you want to change your culture of scarcity, start at the most basic level.  Consider what tools would help your team do their job better and focus your attention there.  Is top-of-the-line hardware realistic, or even necessary?  Probably not.  But demonstrating to employees, even in small ways, that you care about making their jobs easier goes a long way.


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Are you meeting your team’s needs?