Designing for Connection

Posted by on Oct 30, 2017 in Relational Business | No Comments

Tending the Field The “organization as house” metaphor explored in the last post is increasingly insufficient. The open exchange of ideas and resources now blurs the boundaries between organizations. The house has become more of a plaza, with shared spaces overlapping with owned spaces. The value chain has evolved into a value network. For any […]

Transparency, Openness, & Trust

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Relational Business, Trust | No Comments

If you imagine a company as a house, envision the typical departments occupying various rooms throughout the house. Perhaps human resources is in the foyer, operations in the basement, product development in the kitchen, and so forth. In this analogy, the traditional role of marketing has been to create a winsome awning and a fine […]

Principle of Participation

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 in Relational Business | No Comments

Peter Block captured the timeless truth that “people will be accountable and committed to what they have a hand in creating.” This principle applies to both customers and employees. Advocacy increases when people are not just “consuming” or “working” but are directly participating in a worthwhile endeavor. In a connected world, business models that are […]

Culture Shifts

Posted by on Dec 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments

This Q&A with Todd Hoskins originally appeared in the Pomello Blog. What are the most common reasons that you see companies pursuing a company culture change management strategy? Many organizations view “culture” as a problem that needs to be solved, typically after an increase in employee turnover, declining performance, or some disruption such as a […]

Managing Change

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | No Comments

“Every amateur epistemologist knows that knowledge cannot be managed.” — David Jonassen Change, like knowledge, cannot be managed.  If we remember that everything is in motion – markets, organizations, people – trying to manage change is like trying to hold water in your hands. Organizations that have “change management” or “organizational effectiveness” initiatives typically develop […]

Patterns & Principles

Posted by on May 9, 2016 in Relational Business | No Comments

“All good methods, explanations, and theories inevitably distance us from our primal sense of participation.” — David Tracy How do we get to engagement? Sales? Innovation? How does transformation happen? If anyone gives you a Step A, B, and C, beware. Methodologies are captivating. We are always trying to make sense of the world, and […]

Relational Business Design

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in Relational Business | No Comments
Relational Business Design

“An organization’s fitness—like that of an organism—cannot be assessed in a vacuum; it is a product of compatibility with the surrounding environment.” — General Stanley McChrystal With the present-day cynicism towards large institutions, we have lost our sense of their potential. The complex states of government, academia, corporations, networks, and multinational nonprofits are an evolutionary […]

Community of Communities

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Community | No Comments
Community of Communities

“A sense of belonging is what keeps people in communities . . . The hallmark of a strong community is when its members feel that they belong.” — Jono Bacon Within communities, interactions naturally segment into One to many (announcements, speakers, updates) One to few (group conversations) One to one (private conversations) Communities need each […]

Rethinking Accountability

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Community, Self-Governing Teams | No Comments
Rethinking Accountability

“People will be accountable and committed to what they have a hand in creating.”  — Peter Block Many of us know or remember the feeling of dread preceding an annual review. Sitting at my desk, I would go through a mental checklist of perceived failures along with my planned response for each one. Regardless of […]


Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Pattern Languages, Purpose, Trust | No Comments

“You do not have conversation to get work done. The conversation is the work.” — David Whyte Dialogue is more than conversation. You could think of dialogue as an open discussion where there are no winners or losers, right or wrong answers. As a pattern language, dialogue is an essential element of high functioning groups […]