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July 23, 2005



Jonny, Jon, Jon! Welcome back to the fold, o prodigal one.

Great observation about the holdfast/grenade-throwers. You've made me wonder about the comfort-security/challenge-risk dynamic that separates certain people--ya know, the difference between perpetual employee and serial entrepreneur. But best of all that Mumford quote reminded me of the Big Chill:

MICHAEL (Jeff Goldblum): I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex.

SAM (Tom Berenger): Ah, come on. Nothing's more important than sex.

MICHAEL: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

Hey, lookit, we're ding-donging--your serve.

christopher grove

I often find that negative reactions are due to poor communications. Bad information flows often mean that people:
1: feel left out
2: are left out of communications that would help them understand situations better.
If people understand situations better, then maybe they can understand why something didn't work last time and how to make it work this time.
I'm not saying that everybody should know about everything, but I am saying that once people have enough relevant information to understand a situation, they usually contribute in a more positive way and create/perceive less obstacles.


[Pulls pin]


I really like the concept of Appreciative Inquiry, but I suffered dehydration AND a narcoleptic seizure reading that abstract!

I think Chris has a good point about information, but I also think that - as you pointed out in your most excellent "Origin of Unengaged Employees" - many people are hired to fill a well-defined box on the org chart; not to think about ways to make the organization great.

Loretta Donovan

Put the academic rhetoric on the back burner . . . let it simmer and you can get back to it (if and when you want to). Appreciative Inquiry, front-burner style, is an engergy-raising stir-fry for your Wok.

You recognize Debbie Downer and her kin, so you already have the gist of what makes the organization and its good people become walking wounded: looking for blame, finding fault, post-mortems, taking sides, win/lose, expecting the worst, snuffing out creativity and vision . . . The alternative is to tap into the incidental and unnoticed success, innovation, and collaboration that's already there and build from that (while intentionally making the negative stuff undiscussable). The key is aligning mental tactics to the surge of endorphins that occurs in people who recall what works and share it with others.

There is a process to AI . . . 5 steps of:
* Define
* Discover
* Dream
* Design
* Destiny

It has done wonders with small teams, business divisions, whole corporations . . . and government agencies, nonprofits, churches have used it too. I have 7 years of great experiences with it. Would be pleased to share with you!

Matthew Cornell

"Grenade Throwsers" - I love it. Thanks for the great post, and for the references. I wrote a bit on it myself here, if you're interested: Debbie Downer and the Six Thinking Hats.


We say a lot about ourselves and a virtual market has opened for sharing blogs that one posts on.But fact remains and this is also necessary otherwise how we will know the other.I feel and apprhend bad days for Ipods days to come,and do not be surprised please if something more acceptable and less costly comes into market.

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