Re: Employee-created Company Values #vision #culture

David Snowden <snowded@...>

I think communication through metaphor has great value (and use it).  I also think its more valuable than examples.  Examples lead to immitation, metaphor to applying a new concept to ones unique situation.   

I don't buy the "people think its causal, so explain it in causal terms" - you just perpetuate bad thinking.  Better to create a metaphor and engage them in action - the theory can wait until they have the experience to understand it and engaging in intractable or difficult problems is one way to get people to experiment - they know the old ways don't work.  Of course some people just never get things, until half the market has already understood them - so if you want to sell to them OK, you would compromise, but as long as their are early adopters around I know where I prefer to work!

Software is fascinating in this respect (and I am working with some of the Agile people).  Not many people have yet got the concept that these days you don't design an application, you allow the applications to emerge from the interaction of people and objects ....

Dave Snowden
Founder, The Cynefin Centre

On 25 Feb 2006, at 08:14, Raj Datta wrote:

Great disruption Dave -- thanks for pointing this out.  I didn't mean to trivialize things and make them sound linear and mechanistic, and may have given that impression in the email, now that I look at it.  In the call and in the slides, I did stress the emergent nature of the behavior that we seek, and am on board with your thinking.
However, this brings up another interesting question that I would like to raise.  What is the best mechanism for communicating about emergent phenomena? 
Stories, analogies, and metaphors clearly help, visualization may help.  But if your audience is made up of left-brained rationalists who believe in cause and effect and linear deterministic relationships (which, let's face it, is dominant) , then how do you explain emergent phenomena to them.  I have had discussions with people where they have asked whether culture comes first or process or technology in how you deploy a change program!  I have used phrases like "interdependent, interlinked, inter-related" to describe culture, intellectual capital etc.  But some people don't understand even that.  As a change agent or salesperson, sometimes  you have to be able to communicate with the stakeholders in terms that they understand.  And sometimes that has to be reduced down to cause and effect or inputs and outputs which they may more easily relate to.  But then you're not doing justice to the actual nature or complexity of the phenomena.
Look at the software development world -- we have managed it as if it were a set of linear deterministic activities historically.  Recently of course, the Agile Software Development movement has brought attention to the interdependent collaborative and non-deterministic nature of that work.  But the question still remains on how to communicate in a rational world about such phenomena -- it is challenge.
Any thoughts?

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On Behalf Of David Snowden
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 10:58 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] Employee-created Company Values

Well just to be a disruptive element
The concept that you go from values, to beliefs to mental models to behaviour is linear, assumes cause and effect relationships and in no way reflects what we now know about how the brain makes decisions.
  In practice we partially scan data (5% if we really work with it) and scan stored patterns of experience in our long term memory to make a first fit pattern match which we then act on.
The patterns come from personal experience (especially failure) and through stories.
Values and believes are emergent properties of the interaction between experience and our patterns, and in turn influence which stories get told but there is no linear causality.

Dave Snowden
Founder, The Cynefin Centre

On 22 Feb 2006, at 07:00, Raj Datta wrote:

Thanks Bruce -- you're right, there do appear to be similarities, including
headcount and approach.

Also, the comment from Steve Denning was interesting about moving towards
managing values.   I reflected a bit on that after the call.

The way I see it, core values define our belief systems and behavior(e.g.
what is right and wrong) which define our mental models (e.g. rationalizing,
categorizing, etc.)  So, if we wanted to impact behavior and have a shared
vision and common understanding, then we must start with core values.  If we
are a knowledge based organization, then the core values must stress KM.

However, core values would state the intent, and putting it on paper would
not be enough.  To put it into practice, the role of the support structure
becomes crucial, including the enabling technology, people (HR) policies,
communication, social networks etc.  This, overtime, helps us walk the talk
so to speak.  Communication through Storytelling (e.g. good & bad, compliance
and non-compliance) IMHO plays a crucial role in value clarification,
particularly in tricky areas like integrity.  Mechanisms like 360 degree
feedback on core values are opportunities for everyone to reflect upon what
the core values mean.  Thus overtime, we move from intent into practice.

Raj Datta
General Manager, Knowledge Management
MindTree Consulting Pvt. Ltd.
Office:  +91-80-2671-1777 x1603
Mobile: +91-98451-97530

-----Original Message-----
From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...] On
Behalf Of Bruce Karney
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2006 9:59 PM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Employee-created Company Values

During Raj's presentation today when he talked about the creation of
the CLASS company values, I was reminded of a similar process that
took place early in Intuit's history.

See for a brief
story of what their 10 values are and how they were developed.

As I recall, Intuit was also approximately a 400 person company when
they created their values in 1993. 

Bruce Karney

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