I have another video blog for you today: a salon-style conversation on mapping the external and internal realities of organizations. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes, and significant portions involve non-trivial visuals, so you may want to grab a drink or your lunch, lean back, and watch like it’s a TV show, rather than listening like it’s a podcast.
My guests are Simon Wardley, whom I met back in 2012 on a gig with the Leading Edge Forum, where he is a researcher, and Dave Gray, whom I met at the LIFT conference in Geneva in 2013, where we were both speakers. Since this is my first true video blog, I don’t yet have a transcription workflow. But I do have some brief show notes below.
Simon has developed, over the last decade, a very interesting mapping technique called Wardley Maps (slowly turning into a book on Medium), which are a way of visually modeling and mapping the context an organization operates in. Dave has written a number of books, most recently Liminal Thinking and The Connected Company, and among the things his consulting firm XPLANE does is reduce some of the thinking in the books to practice using a tool for culture mapping.
I figured it would be interesting to chat with Simon and Dave at the same time and explore the connections between mapping external versus internal realities. I am not much of a process person myself, but I often cobble together bits and pieces from people who do enjoy inventing processes in my own consulting gigs. So I’m constantly, if lazily, scanning for interesting new tools that I can then appropriate and abuse for my own needs.
This conversation came about thanks to a tweet by one of the earliest guest bloggers on ribbonfarm, Marigo Raftapolous who contributed a post on enterprise games back in 2008 before gamification of enterprises was cool. Funny how these things come together. Curiously, all four of us are consultants, so this is also a glimpse into how we consultants talk, think, and network when there are no clients around.
In terms of content, in a meandering, discursive conversation (what else do you expect from a salon moderated by me?) we touch upon:
- The mapping techniques used by Simon and Dave in their work
- Boydian thinking, OODA loops, orientations etc
- Comparisons between military and business cultures
- The problems with thinking of company culture as a single thing rather than a collection of distinct subcultures
- The pathology of thinking about culture as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as opposed to just a matter of ‘fit’ with the environment
- The role played by time, and how different cultures grow at different speeds
- How organizational evolution in relation to the market affects its position and play externally…
- … and its culture internally
- The idea of wartime and peacetime CEOs
- How Amazon is a great model for nearly all these ideas at their best
Apologies for any rough edges in the video production quality. I’m kinda new to this particular game.