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Tiffany Shlain’s “The Adaptable Mind: Skills to Flourish in the 21st Century”

September 20, 2015

Thanks to Jennifer Sertl (@JenniferSertl) for sharing . . .

Tiffany Shlain (@tiffanyshlain) explores the skills we need to flourish in the 21st Century:

  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Initiative
  • Multi-Disciplinary Thinking
  • Empathy

This is a most beautiful expression of the adaptable mind — can’t but help ask similar to Jennifer . . . “are you ready?”

See Let It Ripple and Pearltrees Film: The Adaptable Mind, Discussion Guides & Resources for more!

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Secret to Success”

September 20, 2015

Thanks to Graham Hill (‏@GrahamHil) for sharing . . .

Arnold Schwarzenegger (@Schwarzenegger) explores the (rules) secret to success:

  • Trust yourself
  • Break some rules
  • Don’t be afraid to fail
  • Ignore the naysayers
  • Work like hell
  • Give something back

This is a most beautiful expression of the secret to success — can’t but help agree with Graham . . . “Best personal motivational video I have seen to-date”!

The September-9-2015 Antifragility Panel/Webinar: Powered by Viral Change

September 13, 2015

On September 9th, 2015, Leandro Herrero (@LeandroEHerrero) explored Viral Change and antifragility.

Leandro Herrero is an Architect of Organizations who focuses on organization change (orchestrating large scale, grassroots, and behavior change), culture, leadership, and innovation as he champions the quest for Building Remarkable Organizations. Leandro embraces “shaping tomorrow’s organizations today” and “making today’s organizations remarkable” — “We don’t do ‘small difference’ – if this is what you have in mind, don’t hire us.”

In his books Viral Change and Homo Imitans, Leandro Herrero introduces The Viral Change Mobilizing Platform.

After re-structuring, re-engineering, re-sizing and re-designing, the forgotten ‘re’ are renewal and reinventing.

Granted, some of these journeys may require changes in structures and processes. But the ultimate real change is behavioural.

Any 21st Century organization, big or small, . . . needs an engine of change and transformation, a permanent capability for change-ability, more than the one off method of ‘going form A to Z’. It needs a modern, flexible and powerful Organization Operating System.

The Viral Change Mobilizing Platform provides the conditions for sustainable, large scale behavioural and cultural change. Viral Change is the antithesis of the old traditional ‘management of change’. It is a mobilizing platform, not a method in the traditional way. A platform that provides the behavioural DNA for the organization and that creates an unique Organization Operating System.

We explored how antifragility and Antifragile Organizations may be powered by The Viral Change Mobilizing Platform — including how he’s interpreted the concept of Antifragility, translated his interpretation into practice, and the results and impacts of his efforts!

The recording is available here and see here for all Antifragility Panels/Webinars!

The conversation explored:

For more insights see

From Agility and Scale to Antifragility

September 7, 2015

Dave Snowden (@snowded) has been quite critical of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) — SAFe: the infantilism of management and Agile – sound practice, poor theory.

SAFe . . . It is only fair to see that I was appalled by the retrograde nature of the approach. To be honest the criticisms I had heard were mild compared with some of the tweets I launched during the session. One comment makes my overall point SAFe is to Agile as sick stigma was the BPR. BPR in its early days had clear utility, it drove a needed change to horizontal product and customer focus in contrast with the previous hierarchical models. But then it got applied inappropriately and finally taken to nonsensical excess with the sick stigma obsession with measurement.

Put brutally SAFe seemed to be PRINCE II camouflaged in Agile language. SCRUM as an approach was emasculated in a small box to the bottom right of a hugely overcomplicated linear model. The grandiose name of a dependency map was applied to something which is no different from a PERT chart and in general what we had is an old stale wine forced into shiny new wineskins.


Regarding Agility, Dave emphasizes the importance of Theory and Practice.

Agile is practice and Complexity is theory . . . Without sound theory, practice will not scale. Without good practice, theory will not develop . . . Reflective wisdom and practical wisdom, both have to co-exist, both have to co-evolve, we can’t afford to abandon either.


Regarding Scale, Dave emphasizes the importance of Decomposition and Recombination vs Repetition and Aggregation.

You don’t scale a complex system by aggregation or repetition . . . nor drawing hugely complex diagrams with thousands of boxes using every trendy word you can ever find which has ever been associated with agile . . . You scale by allowing radical recombination with partial copying . . . You don’t scale by imitation or aggregation, you scale by decomposition and recombination.

From Systems Thinking to Complexity Thinking to Antifragility Thinking

As Complexity Thinking vs. Systems Thinking and Sonja Blignaut‘s (@sonjabl) 5 Differences between Complexity & Systems Thinking and here and here explore Systems Thinking and Complexity Thinking, perhaps Systems Thinking focuses on the complicated domain while Complexity Thinking focuses on the complex domain . . . and perhaps Antifragility Thinking focuses on the chaotic domain!

SAFe, LeSS, DA 2.0, and more!

As Dean Leffingwell’s Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Craig Larman’s and Bass Vodde’s Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), Scott Ambler’s Disciplined Agile (2.0), Jeff Sutherland’s Scrum at Scale, and Ken Schwaber’s Evidence-based Management demonstrate “repetition and aggregation,” their challenges only fuel our transformation work (Conscious Agility) towards exploring and fostering Antifragility . . . and our continued conversations!

The September-2-2015 Antifragility Panel/Webinar: The Science of Successful Organizational Change

September 7, 2015

On September 2nd, 2015, Paul Gibbons (@PaulGGibbons) explored the science of successful organizational change and antifragility.

Paul Gibbons — who operates at the nexus of Science and Leadership / Philosophy and Business with a focus on leading change, changing cultures, and change leadership — champions  change-agile organizations. Paul embraces the “unorthodox, challenging, and thought-provoking” to guide businesses!

We explored antifragility through Paul’s The Science of Successful Organizational Change — including how he’s interpreted the concept, translated his interpretation into practice, and the results and impacts of his efforts!

The recording is available here and see here for all Antifragility Panels/Webinars!


The conversation explored:

  • Integration of the human sciences (human beings) and organizational change (world of change)
  • The book on antifragile business has not been written yet!
  • Approaching the subject of antifragility with humility
  • Taleb’s great breakthrough . . . when we make systems more robust, we make them more fragile . . . when we prevent mistakes, we disable self-corrective mechanisms
  • We must consider structures, processes, and cultures at the individual, team, and system/ecosystem levels
  • Mindsets (fixed vs growth) are crucial for the antifragile individual
    Mindfulness is crucial to enhance consciousness (fine-tuned to context) versus habitually react
  • The transfer of fragility/antifragility over space and time (the law of conservation) is crucial . . . rigidity in mindset versus flexibility in mindset, arrogance and hubris foster fragility by offering less choice/options while humility fosters antifragility by offering more choice/options . . . power and freedom . . . short term and long term
  • Change and “resisting change” . . . emotionally, rationally, and culturally . . . habits, choice, consciousness
  • The attributes of the antifragile business leader

For more insights see and Conscious Management Consulting.

The “fundamental” characteristics of a Coach

September 3, 2015

What are the “fundamental” characteristics of a coach?

Embracing the question and . . .

. . . reflecting on the International Coach Federation‘s expression of Coaching (Code of Ethics and Core Competencies) . . .

Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

. . . as well as reflecting on Tom Landry’s expression of a Coach . . .

A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.

. . . Donald E Gould (@DonaldEGould) and I (@SAlhir) explored five fundamental characteristics of a Coach.

#1 Energy

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think it terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.
(Nikola Tesla)

Energy and persistence conquer all things.
(Benjamin Franklin)

Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.
(Donald Trump)

Fundamentally, all things have their source and roots in Energy!

Without Energy, there is no potential life or aliveness, but only lifelessness!

#2 Awareness

Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.
(Stephen Covey)

While Energy is foundational, only with Awareness might Energy be channeled towards honorable or noble ends!

Without Awareness, there can be no actualization of potential Energy!

#3 Confidence

Be humble in your CONFIDENCE yet COURAGEOUS in your CHARACTERS.
(Melanie Koulouris)

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
(Norman Vincent Peale)

While Energy and Awareness are quintessential, only with humble but reasonable Confidence is it channeled towards honorable or noble ends!

Without humble but reasonable Confidence, there is no potential realization (or making anything real)!

One bridges the chasm from #2 to #3 with “Critical Thinking & Deliberate Practice powered by Insatiable Curiosity at all Levels of Abstraction” — not Arrogance (a lack of appreciation of context)!

#4 Partnership

Of all the myriad ways we define love, there is perhaps none more honest and powerful than this: Great love is rooted in great partnership.
(Sarah MacLean)

Friendship is essentially a partnership.

Only in a Partnership does Energy, Awareness, and Confidence manifest (through Love)!

Without Partnership, there is no shared intent (even when is seemingly honorable or noble ends — we’re all connected)!

#5 Momentum

Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.
(Bryant H. McGill)

Success requires first expending ten units of effort to produce one unit of results. Your momentum will then produce ten units of results with each unit of effort.
(Charles J. Givens)

And only by fostering Momentum does Coaching (and a Coach) manifest impact (execution and results)!

Without Momentum, there is no actual realization (or making anything real — navigating reality)!

Your Thoughts

What are the “fundamental” characteristics of a coach? Energy, Awareness, Confidence, Partnership, and Momentum!

What are your thoughts?

Leandro Herrero: A Counter-Revolution . . . the New Change . . . Change that Changes Itself

August 30, 2015

My fondness for Leandro Herrero (@LeandroEHerrero) (LinkedIn) is deeply rooted in his statement concerning change:

A consultant that can’t facilitate visceral and sustainable
cultural change in 6 months is not worth the money!

Leandro’s wisdom, expressed through Viral Change, is quintessential . . . and as Leandro’s wisdom has advanced the conversation around Antifragility, we are looking forward to delving deeper where he will share how Viral Change™ as a Mobilizing Platform can power the development to antifragile organizations!

Leandro’s Homo Imitans and Viral Change among his other works are absolutely a must-read! See his LinkedIn posts for more!

Here are a few of Leandro’s thoughts . . .

The Rolling Luggage Paradox

Knowledge (and institutionalized knowledge in particular) does not bring innovation.

There is no magic in how to exploit disruptive approaches that will help us to ‘see’ the innovation, other than injecting this disruptive thinking and letting the innovation emerge.

The company on a treadmill: devise routine Stress Tests

Organizations should also have Stress Tests. I am not talking about financial conditions, but organizational.

Stress tests should be routine in any Planning process. It’s the company on a treadmill. It’s called a health check up. And they should be in your calendar.

Corporate needs a 60′s counter-culture revolution, and these are five trends that could deliver it.

Corporate needs a 60′s counter-culture revolution, and these are five trends that could deliver it.

I believe there are five distinctive bundles, packages, groups of factors, Lego pieces, for the revolution in waiting.

  1. Social purpose is not just a nice, theoretical, ethical, politically correct concept anymore.
  2. Taking control of one’s destiny is serious.
  3. Digitalization is bigger than globalization.
  4. New forms of work are ubiquitous, not anecdotal anymore.
  5. ‘Build to last’, to use the title of a prominent bestseller, better described as a Bible, is dead.

All that together has the potential of a counter-revolution in the making. . . . For the record, I am cooking. Want to join?

Respectfully, when Leandro indicates that he’s “cooking” . . . take notice!!!

Do you have a ‘Chaos Monkey’ in your management system? You should.

Many organizations have a Risk Management function of some sort. Often scattered amongst different constituencies.

Outside the most standardized areas of operations, in this area of Risk Management, I’ve seen more lip service and bad planning than the opposite.

Companies need to devise their own routine ‘stress tests’, beyond the financials, to understand their adaptability and indeed survival. But I’d like to take this further and suggest that these ‘stress tests’ need to be formalised in the leadership capabilities.

I think we should hire some of these Monkeys, with proper role descriptions, (OK, job sharing allowed, but not working from home), and give them the formal role of generating some chaos to test our abilities and resilience.

Respectfully, take notice that Leandro suggest “we should hire some of these Monkeys” to foster “these ‘stress tests'” “in the leadership capabilities”!!!

The slack advantage: ‘The minute the future becomes unpredictable, efficiency can become your enemy’.

‘Slack in the system’ allows for experimentation, adaptation, rapid reaction and rapid ‘grow-post-stress’, the basis of the antifragile concept. Innovation requires slack. You can’t have innovation without it.

‘Slack in the system’ is a source of competitive advantage, to use a business jargon.

Innovation and responsiveness requires slack. Slack is inefficient, for some people. A bit of inefficiency could save you. The minute the future becomes unpredictable, efficiency can become your enemy.

The last thing you need is a robust, sustainable culture. Next time you use ‘sustainable’, add ‘but not too much’.

Robustness has always been a logical desire when it comes to the company and its culture in particular. But too much of robustness may become stiffness, and stiff is the last thing you need in today’s environment. The challenge is how to keep robust pillars and principles without compromising adaptation, response and continuous reinvention.

The trouble is what to substitute robustness for. Agile, flexible, adaptable etc, are the logical cultural antonymous, but what they mean has multiple interpretations. Si Alhir, has done a great job framing all these possibilities . Antifragile, as described by Nassin Taleb makes tremendous sense.

Sustainable, yes, bot not too much.

The company that gets better and better after disruption, disorder or chaos.

Nassim Taleb Antifragile concept is perhaps one of the most attractive frames (conceptual, philosophical, practical) we have had recently.

I have been part of a panel discussion organised by the restless thinker and great business coach Sinan Si Alhir (@SAlhir) which recording can be found here. I recommend to those unfamiliar with Antifragility to look for Si’s writings and, of course, to read the book.

In my organizational consulting work I submit clients to ‘stress tests’ to simulate resilience, learning, adaptation and… antifragilty capacity.

There is something important here for the new organization of the 21sr Century and we need to keep exploring.

Is antifragility the new change?

Respectfully, “Is antifragility the new change?”

Antifragility: powered by Viral Change

The antifragile frame is extremely powerful. However, few people, probably Si (profile here) being the world leader, are stretching it to the world of organizations.

At the webinar, Leandro Herrero will share how Viral Change™ as a Mobilizing Platform can power the development to antigfragile organizations.

‘How to make change sustainable?’ This question needs a warning in the label: ‘but not too much?’

‘Sustainable’ is a magic word. Inevitable seat at the table of of ‘correct language’, 21st Century version.

How interesting. Sustainability is the default desired state.

But, in management, sustainability without qualifications is a cancer. Very sustainable business models, very sustainable cultures and very sustainable leadership may end up in very poor response to markets, embedded inflexibility and lack of reaction and rigid views of the world with an unmovable vision leading to disaster.

The antifragile frame described by Nassim Taleb, and which he never developed fully as far as the organization is concerned, is the best we have to at least force us to think in terms of change that changes itself, sustainable-to-a-point change.

Respectfully, “the antifragile frame” . . . “change that changes iteself”!!!

Join Leandro Herrero — foster a Counter-Revolution . . . the New Change . . . Change that Changes Itself — to explore how Viral Change™ as a Mobilizing Platform can power the development to antifragile organizations.


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