Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TEDx USC: Dave Logan and Tribal Leadership

Dave Logan, Associate Dean and Executive Director of Executive Development at University of Southern California's (USC) Marshall Business School, gave an excellent talk about tribes, based on his recent book, Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization.

According to Logan, tribes are small groups (10-100 people) of people that form naturally. They tend not to be the same from each other and that difference is called "culture." A crowd or a business will likely contain many tribes. Tribes can be classified by one of 5 stages and each tribe can only hear one level below and above its own level. The stages are:
  1. "Life sucks" (ex. gangs)
  2. "My Life sucks" or "How can people so dumb live?" (ex. the DMV)
  3. "I am great (and you're not)"
    (ex. lawyers or doctors meeting in an elevator, conferences)

  4. "We're great!"
  5. (ex. a company like Zappo.com)
  6. "Life is great!"
  7. (ex. any tribe with positive members that has a positive impact on people)
According to research, only 2% of tribes are stage 5, with most hovering in stage 2, 3 and 4. Mr. Logan encouraged us to "nudge our tribes" towards the next level, and to start doing triadic networking, that is, introduce two people you don't know to each other (in effect, bridging tribes together).

Ultimately the point of the book is to dispel the myth and mindset that only Dog eat Dog cutthroat companies survive and grow big. In fact, cultures based on back-stabbing and fear and "cover your ass" (as so prominent in FX and game companies in my experience) are doomed to stagnate or die. Not surprisingly, Mr. Logan encountered hostility when speaking about his book on FOX News:



A lot of TEDxers enjoyed this talk a lot, citing it as one of the highlights.

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posted by Brian at 2:52 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 29, 2008

How Our Government is Abusing Democracy: The Bailout Bill

Glenn Greenwald wrote on his blog about why the proposed $700 Billion taxpayer dollar payment -- demanded by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (to be paid to him with very little accountability, and which would likely be paid to his buddies in the banking business who made the poor decisions that caused the collapse) -- is not unlike the other examples of how the recent Administration has undermined the democratic process. These are his 10 principles, which all recent crises our country has faced have in common:
  1. Incredibly complex and consequential new laws are negotiated in secret and then enacted immediately, with no hearings, no real debate, no transparency.

  2. Those who created the crisis, were wrong about everything, drive the process. Experts who dissent from the prevailing Washington orthodoxy, particularly ones who were presciently warning about what was happening, are simply ignored -- systematically excluded from the process.

  3. Public opinion is largely ignored, as always, and public anger is placated through illusory, symbolic and largely meaningless concessions.

  4. The Government begins with demands for absolute power so brazen and absurd that anything, by comparison, seems reasonable ... [P]eople thus end up grateful for what is, by any measure, an extreme outcome, all because it's not quite as extreme as what the Bush administration began by demanding.

  5. Wall Street, large corporations and their lobbyists own the Federal Government and both parties, and (therefore) they always win.

  6. The people who run the Washington Establishment are drowning in conflicts of interest.

  7. For all the anger over what Wall St. has done, the Government -- as it bails them out -- isn't doing anything to rein in their practices.

  8. When the Government wants greater and greater power and wants to engage in pure corruption, it need only put the population in extreme fear and it gets its way in every case.

  9. On the most consequential and fundamental questions that define the country, the establishment/leadership of both political parties are in full agreement, and insulate themselves from any political ramifications by acting jointly.

  10. Whenever you think that the Government has done things so extreme that it can't top itself -- torture, theories of presidential lawbreaking, a six-year war justified by blatantly false pretenses -- it always tops itself.


I believe these behaviors are what emerges when self-interest is allowed to run rampant; when key rules of democracy designed to reduce corruption are eliminated, business and government become indistinguishable. Democrats and Republicans become indistinguishable. All that's left are rich people (and their friends) doing what's best for themselves and fooling everyone else into believing all is well. Unfortunately, THIS is what needs to be changed.

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posted by Brian at 12:35 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Personality Type? ENTP (or ENFP depending on the day)

My workplace sponsored a Myers-Briggs Personality test for any of us who wanted one. We then had a half-day workshop describing some of the personality differences and thought processes of the 16 different types. We took an online version last week and evaluated ourselves again throughout the workshop, and in my case, I got two different but very overlapping results.

My report came back with ENTP, while my self-evaluation came back ENFP. Makes a lot of sense, really. ENFP is described as "Catalyst," which I've often called myself. Someone once told me I'm a man in need of a direct object (Brian stokes...what?) ENTP is described as "Entrepeneur" which although I'm not one at the moment, it's something I've always wanted to be. The two types have exactly the same motivators and frustrations; the only difference seems to come down to Thinking vs. Feeling, and I find myself oscillating a lot between them. But thinking dominates about 55% of the time.

One of the hosts asked me a tie-breaker question: Do you find it easy to play Devil's advocate? (Yes) If so, then you're probably ENTP.

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posted by Brian at 4:09 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, March 03, 2008

TED Talk: Purple Cows, and Being Remarkable To Those Who Care


Marketing expert and Author Seth Godin talks about the changing landscape of creative success. The old model was to spend millions on interrupting people with the message about your product, a product that is "safe" and appealing to the masses. The new model is to recognize that "the idea that spreads, wins" and that this idea must be remarkable ("easy to remark about"), different, not boring, and appealing to people who care ("otaku"). If you let these people work for you, you win.

(The R.I.A.A raises its hand.)

"But can't we sue them? I mean, come on. They're ruining our old business model, and this new one where we can bully them into paying up is pretty neat. And we save so much $$$ not paying artists--"

Seth Godin stands up, answering "Well you can, but you'll lose. People will either get their intangibles for free or they'll care enough to buy them, preferably from the source. And anyway, you're boring now."

"Aww man."

(R.I.A.A stands up, sulks, walks out as Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, and I escort him out, consolingly)

"There there, cartel. It'll be all right. Have you ever considered a new career? Prison management maybe? Or smoking ban enforcement? I hear that's big in Europe now."

(R.I.A.A smiles hopefully) Ohhh!

To be continued...

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posted by Brian at 10:22 PM 0 comments links to this post