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So-Called "Protection" of Information

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways". 

Until my early twenty's I was under an illusion about the reality of South Africa.  I have often wondered why I was not outraged by what was taking place behind the white curtain.  I am still suffering from the co-called legacy of apartheid.  The main reason for this was that our parents and our peers were shielded from the truth by rules that prohibited us from getting our minds on information.  Some would have explained that we were being protected.  The facts later bore out that the rule-makers were protecting themselves. 

For the last 15 years I have been wondering what my children and grandchildren will write on their blogs about the travesties that their parents and peers have imposed on them, and why they did not act with courage and intent.  I also wonder what I missing in my own lifetime.

You probably are not able to read this paragraph directly from my web site because it is back text on a black background.  I have chosen to make this paragraph a secret.  I will tell you when I have chosen to make it not a secret.  Until that time you will have to "break the law" by copying and pasting this paragraph into another program and changing the background colour, or by highlighting the text to expose what is underneath.

Today is the 22nd of November 2011. In one hour from now a bill will probably be passed in parliament called the Protection of State Information Bill.  This is a misnomer.  It should be called the Protection of Some Individuals Bill. 

"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun."

 

Change Partners Coaching - A New Avenue

I am pleased to announce that in addition to organization architecture consulting through Urban Canyon Consulting (www.urbancanyon.biz), I have recently signed up with Change Partners Coaching (www.changepartners.co.za).  

Change Partners is South Africa's foremost executive coaching provider.  My particular niche is Leadership and Team coaching.

Should 360 feedback be used for development purposes or for performance appraisals?


As I see it, there are three fundamental ways to measure effective work in organizations: lead indicators, lag indicators and current-state indicators. 360 degree feedback is a current-state indicator. I suggest that we don't reward according to current-state indicators.

The Plaque on The Wall

This plaque is not the one mentioned in the story.  This one is from the foyer of the Virgin Atlantic office in Johannesburg.
Some are beautifully illustrated with modern typeface and graphic design. Others are boring, black and white, and with as much flair as a concrete brick. I am talking about the (in)famous mission statement plaque on the wall. Yes that bastion of the strategic management boom of the 1980's and 1990's. That shrine to the idea that writing something down and framing it suddenly sparks passion in the breasts of the dedicated followers of flashy.

Mosquito Nets in Context

A while ago I heard an interesting story about Malaria prevention in East Africa.  I was reminded of it again while watching this TED video by Esther Duflo.

An aid organization working on the eradication of this preventable, treatable disease initiated a program of using mosquito nets to prevent insect bites and thus preventing the disease, but came across an unusual twist.

Are you working on it?

There are a number of paradoxes of the the consulting professional that can cause the careless practitioner some difficulty.  In this short article I would like to consider one of these: do consultants work "on" organizations, or "in" them?

People Are Our Greatest . . . um . . . Assets?


People are our greatest assets! Right? Well I certainly hope not! I think that there are at least three reasons why seeing people as assets might not be such a good idea:

Correct, But No Help At All


"There's been a lot of talk about this next song -- maybe too much talk! This is not a rebel song -- this song is Sunday, Bloody Sunday."

[Bono, U2 - Under a Blood Red Sky (1983)]

Some songs are oft' mentioned and oft' quoted. Some ideas stir up dis-chord and some ideas sow harmony. Some words are novel, and some words have holes in their soles.
One such word is "authenticity", and it's equally hackneyed pairing in the form of "authentic leadership".

I once thought that Honesty and Authenticity were the same. Now I do not. I once thought that saying exactly what you thought and felt, irrespective of what other people thought of it was the most authentic thing you can do. Now I do not. I have had to re-frame my thinking substantially, and it has been a rather painful journey.

Transformation and Mindset


The term "mindset", as generally conceived in everyday talk, is what goes on inside a person that enables them to perceive and evaluate the world around them, and select their responses and intentions towards the world. However, in this article I will narrow the concept of Mindset to a more formal definition to enable us to understand the dynamics of personal and organizational transformation.
(This article is based on material originally conceived by Joe van Staden. Joe can be contacted at joevs at iburst dot co dot za)

Change Management - Rhyme or Reason


This cartoon shows the frustration that many organizational people feel about change and change managers. Without "just cause" there is no reason to change. And without clear and reasonable communication about the reason to change, there is also no reason to change - at least, in the minds and hearts of many of the supposed "people that have to change". Probably the single most critical success factor to a veritable and sustainable Alternate Future is a picture of what that future looks like, spoken by a credible and charismatic leader of the charge (yes, charge - with an R).

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