Star Wars Can Teach Us About Org Structure?

This time I go through a scene from the TV show Andor…so it’s better to watch me do this on video.  To do that, click here.

And if you can’t…I’ll go through it now.

Have you seen the show Andor?  I’ll bet you didn’t know there’s a lesson in there about organisational structure!

The show is part of the Star Wars pantheon, but it’s different.  Deeper, and goes right into the effects of colonisation, imperialism and how that can turn individuals. 

And…we get to see what’s called the Imperial Security Bureau in action, which we can picture as an Executive Team of an organisation.  Here they are:

The scene I go through is a meeting of the ‘Supervisors’, who are the equivalent to Executives, with the boss being Major Partagaz who we might say is the CEO.

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The 4 S’s That Will Move Your Culture

Prefer to watch on video rather than read?  Click here, 5 minutes with captions.

Getting your culture moving in the direction you need doesn’t have to be a mystery.  There are tangible actions you can take right now that will make a difference. 

I’ve named them the 4 S’s, and if you know the work of Frances Frei and Anne Morriss in Unleashed, and the body of work known as Systems Leadership developed by Ian Macdonald, Catherine Burke and Karl Stewart…you’ll already be familiar with some of these ideas.

First – my definition – culture is the shared understanding about the way you need act to fit in around here.  Don’t get too caught up in it…this works fine.

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Command and Control – not automatically evil

Prefer to watch on video than read?  Click here – 4 mins with captions.

The Paintball Experience

I went paintballing once.  Thought it would be fun – I’d played a lot of sport, am pretty coordinated, I like reading about war…

And it sucked.

The whistle goes, I attempted to move…POP…..POP….POP and I’m out.

Regroup, go again, POP…..POP….POP and I’m out.

You know what I needed?

Some sort of sergeant.  Some sort of person who could yell at me

“Thompson, over there…NOW”.

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The Weekly One-on-One – the simple thing that makes you a better leader

Prefer to watch on video than read?  Click here to do so, it’s 4 mins with captions.

There’s a thing that you can do to become a better leader that it is so simple, it’s difficult for many to believe it can make so much difference.

That thing is the weekly one-on-one. 

The best descriptions of the importance of this and some guidelines come from Manager Tools, founded by Mark Horstman and Mike Auzenne 15 years ago.  Originally a podcast, it’s now a consultancy, training company and there’s a book.    They call the one-on-one the ‘O3’, and they have it as one of their cornerstones of good leadership.

They’re not wrong.

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What We Really Need – It’s Not Leadership

Prefer to watch rather than read?  Click here to watch me go through this on video – 5 mins, and with captions if you need no sound.

The stupid ‘manager and leader’ thing came up again on LinkedIn this week.  This time it was in the form of this:

…as always – leaders are cool, managers are the worst.

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Leading in Dissent – more lessons from Captain Hanks

Prefer to watch rather than read? Click here to watch the video, 5 mins, with captions. 
(Previous videos here BTW)

Like I did in my article and video on Radical Competence, this week I again break down a scene from a movie starring Tom Hanks.  This time it’s Saving Private Ryan, with our mate Tom playing Captain John Miller.  To get the full effect, it’s really best to watch the video, the article doesn’t really do it justice.

What you’ll see is an example of handling what we might call justified dissent – Captain John Miller and his soldiers have stormed the beach at Normandy in World War II, and he is given their next mission – select a small group of your people and find a Private Ryan.  The mission exists as Private Ryan’s three brothers had all been killed in action, and the US had passed the ‘sole-survivor’ policy which required that in situations such as these, the surviving sibling be brought home.  As you might expect, this is not exactly the mission the soldiers signed up for, and not all are happy.

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Stepping Up to Senior Management – Your New Kettle Of Fish

If you’d like to watch me go through this on video, just click here.  6 mins with captions.

Senior Management is not just more management.  It’s a new kettle of fish.  I’ll go through:

  • The change in the nature of the work
  • What the job actually is
  • Action To Take

Senior Management

First – what are we talking about here?  The key thing is manager of managers.  Or, managers of multiple teams, who each have their own leadership.  These roles can be called various things, some of the ones from my clients are:

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Radical Competence – Leadership Lessons from Captain Hanks

Prefer to watch rather than read? Click here to watch the video, 5 mins, with captions. 

(Previous videos here BTW)

This week I break down a scene from Tom Hank’s new film Greyhound, which he wrote from the book The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester.  To get the full effect, it’s really best to watch the video.

What you’ll see is an example of a small, agile organisation responding to the conditions at hand.  The organisation is made up of two Allied navy ships, and the conditions are attacking a German U-Boat that is threatening the convoy they are escorting across to Europe in World War II.  Here’s what we learn:

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Parent or Partner? The deep reason behind getting KPIs to work

Prefer to watch on videoClick here – 5 minutes, with captions.

‘We need to get KPIs sorted’ is a common refrain, which carries with it the assumption that it is the lack of these things that is constraining performance.

Unfortunately or fortunately…there’s deeper stuff going on that we need to be aware of if we want this sort of thing to work.  And if we’re not aware of it, sorting the KPIs will actually make things worse!

You’d know from your own experience that when the next initiative is introduced, including KPIs, the sensible response is to smile politely until it blows over, then get back to work.  This is a deep issue of ownership, and to understand it, we need to go deeper into working relationships.  And for this, we’ll use the work of Peter Block.

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Leadership Now – What You Need To Do

We’re in some unprecedented times, and it’s crucial now that leaders take on certain actions. This article will go through quickly and simply what you need to be doing.

(Click here if you’d prefer watch & listen than read)

If you’re in a managerial role, leadership has never been optional, it’s always been a requirement of the job. Manager means you’re accountable for the work of a team, leadership’s required to get that done. Team Leader roles are similar. Even if you’re not in a formal leadership role, leadership is actually a verb. It means the actions that get people to move towards the direction that’s required. This means that if you have influence, if you have some sort of power, and things need to happen… these same leadership ideas apply to you too.

Take Charge

Now is the time to take charge. This is not the time for consensus leadership. However, do not make the mistake of thinking ‘take charge’ means you get on your angry face. Taking charge means you have to be decisive. If you’re in that manager role, you’ve got the authority to make decisions. Use that authority, but take charge in a way that says, “We are making a decision. I need everyone’s angle.” Get people’s angles, get people’s views, understand what’s going on, but then make a decision.

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