I write about radical management, leadership, innovation & narrative.
I consult with organizations around the world on leadership, innovation, management and business narrative. For many years I worked at the World Bank, where I held many management positions, including director of knowledge management (1996-2000). I am currently a director of the Scrum Alliance, an Amazon Affiliate and a fellow of the Lean Software Society. I am the author of the Leader’s Guide to Radical Management, The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling and The Secret Language of Leadership.
I really enjoy most of what Steve writes, but there are two areas where I especially appreciate his thought provoking articles:
The World’s Dumbest Idea
The title of these posts come from a quote by Jack Welsh in which he refers to the idea of maximising shareholder value as “the world’s dumbest idea”.
The original quote come from the FT in which Welch says:
“On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world,” he said. “Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy … Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products.”
So why is it such a dumb idea? To radically over-simplify Denning’s writing the answer is that is reduces innovation and ultimately reduces the value of an organisation by bleeding it dry. An example of where this occurs is share buybacks:
The resources spent on share buybacks are resources that could otherwise be spent by the organization on innovation or compensating workers for their gains in productivity.
What’s the alternative? That’s summarised by another quote from Peter Drucker:
“There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer.”
I’ll leave you to read if your interested.
- The Economist Defends ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’ (2016)
- Salesforce CEO Slams ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’: Maximizing Shareholder Value (2015)
- Qualcomm: How Share Buybacks Hurt Shareholders And Society (2015)
- Why The World’s Dumbest Idea Is (Finally) Dying (2014)
- The Origin Of ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’: Milton Friedman (2013)
- The Dumbest Idea In The World: Maximizing Shareholder Value (2011)
I work in IT and the Agile movement has had a massive impact on the way that we now work.
We used to work on massive projects that regularly resulted in failure. These projects were managed through waterfall plans that were regularly late and over budget. We needed a different way of working and in 2001 a group got together in Snowbird, Utah. The result of this gathering was the Manifesto of Agile Development and the ignition of a massive change across the industry that it still, in many ways, in its infancy.
Denning isn’t a software developer, he approaches Agile, as a mindset, from the perspective of leadership and management. In 2012 he called Agile “the best-kept management secret on the planet”.
The following video is the best summary that I’ve seen, it even starts with a summary of the talk itself:
- What Does It Mean To Scale Agile? (2016)
- Explaining Agile (2016)
- What Is Agile? (2016)
- HBRs Embrace of Agile (2016)
- Why Do Managers Hate Agile? (2015)
- Microsoft’s 16 Keys To Being Agile At Scale (2015)
- Surprise: Microsoft Is Agile (2015)
- GE Healthcare Gets Agile (2012)
- The Best-Kept Management Secret On The Planet: Agile (2012)
- Scrum Is A Major Management Discovery (2011)