#OneDSplit, business and #Google

The heartbreaking news that One Direction might be taking a sabbatical is one full of lessons for organisations. Within any system there are recognisable patterns and phases that emerge in commonality with other systems. The recent decision by Google to split the organisation into separate identities (under the umbrella of Alphabet) is the most immediate [...]

Swallows and Amazons

Interesting take on this from Simon Jones.

Ariadne Associates

You may have missed it, but the New York Times published an “exposé” of the culture and working practices at online retailer Amazon at the weekend. If you did miss it, then you can find it here. It’s caused quite a furore, with lots of condemnation of Amazon, and company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos having to issue a formal statement in response.

I don’t know anything at all about Amazon’s working conditions and culture. However I can spot emotively manipulative journalism when I see it, and the fact it’s in what is apparently America’s “newspaper of record” doesn’t make it any more palatable.

Let’s leave aside all the “they texted me on Thanksgiving Day” “I saw grown men cry daily*” “I was criticised for having poor wi-fi on holiday” stuff which may be true incidents but are simply anecdotal evidence (*As an aside, presumably women crying at work…

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Arrogance – can it be useful?

Sukh Pabial wrote a post on speaking Truth to Power. It's worth checking out here as it raises a very interesting question about how you can cultivate organisational voice and how organisations can create conditions for individuals to speak out. It also raised for me the interesting concept of which individuals are most likely to [...]

The fattening of the rush hour

This is genuinely fascinating. The future of work is more crowded tube lines.

Flip Chart Fairy Tales

Five years ago I asked whether people were starting work earlier. Based on my own observations and anecdotes from others, it seemed to me that roads and railways were packed with commuters at times of the morning when they used to be almost deserted.

Thanks to an article in the Economist, retweeted in the context of yesterday’s Tube strike, I now have some data to back up my hunch. Since 2001, the number of people using the Underground has increased and so has the length of the rush hour. It’s more like a rush three hours now. As passenger numbers have increased at peak times, the number of  people leaving early or delaying their journeys has also risen. In just over ten years, the volumes have shifted at each end by about half to three-quarters of an hour, so 6.15am now looks like 6.45am used to.

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This example from the article reflects many…

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Red flags, Risk Appetite and Tank Shells

"Stop trying to convince some people we don't know to drive onto a potentially active military firing range..." "Sorry." One of the hardest parts of joining a new organisation or team is working out how to match your risk appetite with theirs. The statement 'I think we should ...' often depends on an understanding of [...]