Business Entrepreneur Storytelling at Entre-Slam with Deb

Entre-Slam is an entrepreneurial story telling competition held in Ann Arbor. Storytelling is powerful – and is a key leadership tool.  Telling my story was also a great way to illustrate storytelling as important to change and communicating complex ideas, including my history in organization development (OD).  

Deb, Entre-Slam in Detroit
Deb’s most recent Entre-Slam in Detroit, Fall 2013

Explaining OD to the uninitiated is like describing “Business Intelligence” or “databases” to optometrists, professional athletes or golf pros.  Really, why should they care without a good story?

In my situation, this was a signal to myself to enter the speaking circuit.  I also wanted to place in the top three, so I did something rather unusual for a story telling slam – a rap.  I had a lot to memorize in a short time, so I prepared for this.   The theme was also useful to my professional focus on change; it was Arising from Failure.

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Two Tried & True Change Models – Evergreen for Agile Change

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“There isn’t anything so practical as” a good model to help leaders, change agents and advocates explain what is happening in change and transition, paraphrasing Kurt Lewin.  An informed change leader can head off the deadly effects of compliance and indifference and increase true, community commitment with a good set of tools, facilitation skills and change research, informed by timely data.

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Messing up a Change Implementation with Someone Else’s Learning Culture?

Netflix culture and their lack of need for leadership development is SO attractive, like the siren song of Greek myth.  It creates great press for Netflix, yet it is so un-duplicatable without the right staffing & culture values mix.  

Once again, culture trumps strategy every time.  Helping culture to shift using smart, agile strategy is the big challenge of change work.  It’s not work for the amateur.

Siren Song This is the one song everyone would like to learn: the song that is irresistible: the song that forces men to leap overboard in squadrons even though they see the beached skulls… Excerpt from Siren Song by Margaret Atwood
Siren Song
“the song
that is irresistible:
the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls…”
Excerpt from Siren Song by Margaret Atwood
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There’s No Such Thing as Leadership? Pull, Influence and “Open Space” vs. Power

How many times has the question been asked, “What is management vs. what is leadership?”   This question, which is actually about power and influence, seems as if it may never die.  A web search on the difference between the two delivers 176 million results.

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Agile Leader Learning for Sustainable Change: Steps through Sharp Rocks

You’ve probably experienced it, that uncomfortable feeling of letting go of something tried and formerly true without knowing what is coming next. Welcome to the Neutral Zone, coined by change writer William Bridges1 who helped us understand the human element in Change.

In the 21st century, it’s important to  “unlearn” what no longer meets the needs of your clients/customers. Creating a “quiet mind” to understand what will meet those needs is one the BEST things you could do to adapt, to become agile and to stay relevant in the business world today. Coaching with iterative practice and using fractals as a model for learning are a two ways to build an adaptive learning approach that also happens to be flexible, most likely far cheaper and is less prone to the scarcity and rigidity traps of conventional certification programs and training. More examples are listed below.

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Change and Endings: Letting Go and Acceptance before New Beginnings

Successful transition through endings is a necessary skill in the 21st century.  A William Bridges classic gives insights into helping endings succeed.

<This post is part one of a two-part series on William Bridge’s Transitions change approach, with related change models and business examples.>

Sometimes an ending is a major, transformative revelation for a business, such as when CEO Darwin Smith exclaimed they needed to shut down the paper mills leading the shift to a new way of doing business.  

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Change, Innovators, Creativity and Community, Will it Blend?

As the technology age moves us along, innovation has been heralded as one of the few growth spaces left, and the power of community, think social media, is the other.  

Do they blend?  

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Does creativity have a place in how this can happen?

Enter change.  It is important to keep change leadership and innovation separate, but related and integrated so that both qualities assist in successful realization of an organization’s mission & aspirations through taking advantage of the yearnings of its current and future talent.

Sometimes this is really about:

Oh, you 10+ years employees.  You were cool when you were young and energetic, but now we’d really prefer to get more new-thinking, young things in here.  

Current talent, are you really talented anymore?

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A Two Step, Two Video Dance towards Loose – Tight Change & Innovation Leadership

If there is one thing that is buzzing in leadership circles in social media, it is that building an innovative, agile culture is key to remaining viable, surviving disruptive change, and thriving.

Consider Loose – Tight leadership by rightsizing your grip.

Deb, first flying experience

Grip the steering wheel too tightly and the result can be crushed creativity, stifled innovation and minimal risk taking.  You also ward away the energy from your renegades that bring productive tension to your organization.  Grip too loosely, and fragmentation, de-acceleration and multiple leaders heading in different directions can crop up.

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The Impact of a Challenging Goal, Parasailing in Key West

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If you’re trying to be miserable, it’s important you don’t have any goals.

  • No school goals, personal goals, family goals.
  • Your only objective each day should be to inhale and exhale for 16 hours before you go to bed again.
  • Don’t read anything informative, don’t listen to anything useful, don’t do anything productive.
  • If you start achieving goals, you might start to feel a sense of excitement, then you might want to set another goal, and then your miserable mornings are through.

~ John Bytheway

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Knowledge, Passion and Power: 3 Simple Change Principles to Release It

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Leverage is a reason that leaders use when choosing to work in collaboration as well as hire consultants, who have the skills of helping leaders see multiple perspectives.  This is especially an asset when dealing with difficult, complex, even wicked problems. 

This quote rings true in our experience with change projects:   “If knowledge is power, clandestine knowledge is power squared; it can be withheld, exchanged, and leveraged.” ~ Letty Cottin

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