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Summary of SIMPLE

persoonlijkGeplaatst door Mary Beijleveld ma, december 31, 2012 16:02:25

SIMPLE is an acronym and a concept that consists of:

S = for success, success story
This letter stands for the successful things; the things we want contribute to. E.g. a socially relevant service, some meaningful idea you want to help achieve, the virtual network that you want to create, that great product your organization makes. Not the loose baggy or ukase from some manager who thinks he can coach, or in advance proclaimed structural changes that has to be achieved based on 'old school management thinking ".

I = for intelligence

This letter indicates how and whether you have considered the ‘why‘ behind the demand of your customer, organization, manager or other stakeholder. Or whether a task is given to you just to fix something for the short term. In the Netherlands projects are diminished to mere COPAFIJTH (A) aspects. Your contribution to fulfill your job, working together with your colleagues, and your goals are reduced to SMART(B) formulations. Quality, Intellect and Emotion are degraded to a fixed outcome that is written down in blood.

M = for Mission driven
The letter M represents the bigger picture, which could be your own mission in life, the mission of your organization or anything else that you can really relate to. The letter M also stands for the question whether events are addressed solely within their own subsystem.

P = for Passion
The letter P stands for the passion you have to achieve things, where you are enthusiastic about. The reason you want to take responsibility for to accomplish by yourself and/or with your colleagues, business partners and friends.

L = Love & Leadership
This is the time in which the love of power (and money) must be replaced by the power of love. A love for money / status (shareholders view) is not enough anymore in this time and age. Respect for your colleagues is ‘love in working clothes’. Real leadership means standing side by side and balancing all stakeholders needs, including you own.

E = Energy giving, empowerment
The E stands for whether you get energy while you attempt to meet a specific goal, something you fancy to do. Or to note what it is that makes your energy leak away and you should therefore stop doing alltogether.

My simple advice is as follows:

Think in S & I
Think big and think in intelligent (small) steps without losing sight of the whole. Consult your colleagues or fellows for being successful. If something has to be accomplished or we must get things done, don’t restrict yourself to the (im)possibilities you see. Remember to do that thinking together. Make use of the wisdom of crowds. D e S and the I are especially focused on the thinking (head).

Act for M & E
Mission driven is all about purpose and E is about the energy and strength you have. These letters are especially aimed at doing and acting (hands) The leader or manager is responsible for ensuring that the right strategic choices are made and to make these choices transparent. So you can get clear view of where the balance lies between your own mission and that of the organization and of course whether/how that fits together.

Feel with P & L
Stay authentic and keep in contact with each other. Stay connected with your network and keep in touch with what others do. Especially in the organization you work for. Bring passion and love into the workplace and inspire each other. The P and L focuses on feeling (heart).

What can you do with the SIMPLE concept?
You can use the SIMPLE concept as a, kind of, travel companion or partner, or perhaps as a value system or maybe just as a reference. Please do not use it as a steering mechanism or decision-making management tool. Then it becomes an emotionless yardstick, sort of a business case, which assumes results in an accuracy that is never ever going to be met.

What can I do for you?
The simplest thing I can do for you is to supply you with a (long) list of books and articles, depending on what you are looking for, or in what domain you’re working.
If you want to know more (after reading), I can give a presentation. Or better yet: I organize an Open Space with this theme ‘in-house’ at your organization. Where it comes to point you to other ways of managing projects: I would also like to help you with that too. And if I don’t know how to help you myself, I do know several Agile coaches, Scrum Masters or lean architects that want to help.

If you have any questions: tweet me or send me a 'direct message', or ask me a question via LinkedIn. You can also write/e-mail your question or comment to or post a comment on this post or call me (You can find my mobile nr. on the home page)

And, provided I can combine this with my work, you may ask me to advice, lecture or assist you during so-called office hours (1) and in my spare time (2)

At this moment I'm making a booklet out of the Dutch SIMPEL and English SIMPLE blogs. I want to achieve this on my own, because I want to keep the (financial) threshold as low as possible.

Where you can help me is when you have any suggestion to make my concept better or want to share a story with me! I would like that very much and it is very much appreciated!!smiley

(1) This provided you are willing to pay a fare/compensation

(2) In my spare time – please note that I have a 7 day weekend! - I will ask compensation in the form of free participation to a congress, do a certain training, etc. Or maybe you have another, more creative idea?

(A) Copafijth is an acronom used as a checklist in project management

(B) smart is used as a HR instrument of general management tool.

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the E of SIMPLE

persoonlijkGeplaatst door Mary Beijleveld zo, december 30, 2012 13:06:15

As said in my previous blogs, SIMPLE is an acronym. Each letter of the word SIMPLE stands for an approach, point or principle.

S = Success story or just story
I = Intelligence
M = Mission-driven
P = Passion
L = Love & Leadership
E = Energy-giving, empowerment

These words are carefully chosen. Not just because the first letter of each word, together form the word SIMPLE. The word SIMPLE has been my most important starting point, though.

With this set of SIMPLE principles I want to appeal to managers, leaders and (sometimes just self-appointed) coaches to remind them that there are very useful alternatives to traditional management methods, old school frameworks and traditional ‘thinking”.

Secondary purpose of my blogs, of course, is to create a more hands-on purpose to the one-liners I regularly use in this blog series and in real life, so they’re not mere words. These words and motto’s have to indicate what approaches are needed nowadays in the relationship between executives, managers, coaches and workers.
The S, I, M, P and L are already posted, so now for the letter E.

Where 'Energy-giving, empowerment’ stands for

Do you get energized, do you feel empowered when you think about, or have to work towards, a particular goal? Does this goal give you purpose? Does it have a meaning? Is it engaging? Of course, I don’t just mean goals in your working environment. It can be any goal or purpose. It has to be ‘something’ that induces energy.

Especially in this sense, this doesn’t have to be formulated SMART. (SMART as in the misused acronym) It can be a personal goal or a common community goal, something related to your family or something you like to achieve with and within your network.
I don’t like to use the buzzword ‘engagement’. But it does comes down to when you can feel so involved with the aim that it inspires you and gives you energy to promote it.

In the dictionaries there is a multitude of meanings of the word energy.
I have simply divided them into 2 categories.

The kind of energy a manager would like to see in the workplace:
• working power, activity, enterprising.

Tom Peters argues that in the current and future time, leaders are asked to manage people into their own strength.

That is why I mention the meaning of word energy in the other category, which are far more "personal":
• strength of spirit, dynamism, bravery, decisiveness, vitality, liveliness, diligence, willpower.

What gives energy?
Oprah Winfrey quoted: "Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. "

If you look at the SIMPLE concept you see that all insights, approaches en principles that are described and with the letters, it can raise a hell of a lot of energy. Success stories give energy, an Intelligent approach gives energy, a well-chosen Mission gives energy, Passion and Love & true Leadership give energy. All are interrelated, which I have tried to visualize with the picture below:

What gives even more energy?

That ‘something’ that just hangs in the air, that positive vibration, the enthusiasm that a leader notices and with which he can inspire people in the company. Value adding work. Meaningful work. Work that is appreciated.

Self-esteem, confidence, sensitivity, confidentiality, the things that are you, give energy.

It gives Energy when it is not only noticed that your colleague can’t handle (Peter or Petra principle) the job, but something is really done about it. Because, that colleague is very unhappy and he / she makes the entire teams / group or department uncomfortable. That person should do those things that he / she is good at. Or he / she should be dismissed with compassion and a fair severance payment.

It gives energy when you may play around with serious business ideas to gain perspectives from another side. Or if you may fantasize about the solution, without being regarded a nitwit. Or if you can make mistakes or may experiment and fail. Or if you may use other, than the existing and formalized, techniques to explain and to articulate something. Such as a mind map, a drawing, a cartoon, a fable or a story. To be short: what makes you go do your work every day.

Energy flowing away, a depiving force

What you can do, when you are able to do so, is to say goodbye, to all the things that drain your energy. Of course I can only speak for myself on this matter. My energy leaks away because of a few things, namely:

-> False compliments (Compliments that are actually not compliments).
Example: a CTO says: "I like her, because she is pretty technical, for a woman ....".

Example: After I indicated that I feel some things are pretty tricky: "Oh, how good of to you say that, you're aware of this incompetence". smiley

Example: "Mary, I admire you because of your… (summing up some characteristics), but you need more .......". To mention a trait I would never want to possess.

-> See certain personality traits as weakness
Example: To say it’s bad (or unintelligent) when I say that I sometimes rely on my intuition. This while I consider intuition as internalized knowledge. Something you are so well known with, such as a person or a subject, that this comes 'naturally '. Especially men find that intuition is not rational (enough) and find it hard to appreciate.

-> Nearsightedness that it is near blindness
Managers who say they appreciate integrity and demand this from you (and are backbiting about colleagues and employees who apparently haven’t got this standard), and then don’t hesitate one second to put a packet of cigarettes (for private use) on the lunch meeting receipt. Or managers who accept bonuses in the company but, at the same time, reduce pensions of employees, and who are surprised that people are outraged by that.

Energizing managers and executives
Managers that can generate energy in me are managers who live according to the following mottos:

- Building relationships is more important than developing status.
- I can build my stature because I’m seen as someone who connects people. Someone who brings people and interests together.
- Giving away your power is a victory instead of a defeat.
- Barriers for communication should be wiped out. So not an ‘open door policy’ but really being approachable.
- Really 'walk the talk' Example: If you are cost consciousness, then go about prudently with your privileges you've gotten as manager or better still: make no use of them. (This last one is very applicable in this time of budget cuts!)

In my next blog I will give you a summary of the SIMPLE concept.

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the L of SIMPLE

persoonlijkGeplaatst door Mary Beijleveld za, december 15, 2012 22:31:27

In this blog I would like to convey my thoughts on Love & Leadership.
You might ask: “What has love got to do with business?” Well, I think a whole lot!

When I started working on my SIMPLE concept, a manager of an IT company (whom I consider a dear friend), was immediately enthusiastic. We discussed about the concept and the only thing he had some problems with, was the word LOVE. Because it doesn’t sound very business-like. He suggested I’d better use the word leverage. That I came up with the word love, he could understand, but that love & leadership have something to do with each other was just a mere notion.

As I have said in my previous blogs, SIMPLE is an acronym. Each letter of the word SIMPLE stands for an approach, point or principle.

S = Success story or just story
I = Intelligence
M = Mission-driven
P = Passion
L = Love & Leadership
E = Energy-giving, empowerment

These words are carefully chosen. Not just because the first letter of each word, together form the word SIMPLE. The word SIMPLE has been my most important starting point. The S, I, M and P are already posted. So now for the letter L. This blog is about the letter L for love and leadership.

Several people asked me: "What is the purpose of your effort to draft/write extensive blogs on SIMPLE?". Well, with this set of SIMPLE principles, I want to appeal to managers, leaders and (sometimes just self-appointed) coaches to remind them that there are very useful alternatives to traditional management methods, old school frameworks and traditional ‘thinking”.

When I make these remarks they sometimes feel like I make an indictment to them. I understand that, and in some way I think this is true. Well, kind of. I have had the pleasure to be appointed to be a group- and team leader of various groups and teams of sometimes more than 30 people. I made a lot of mistakes driven by the rational and linear thinking frameworks I was taught. I guess, by my lack of compassion and lack of experience. So it is also an indictment to my own ignorance, too.

Have courage!
Through my blogs I want to give all people who have (or had) to face traditional management some courage. I want to cheer them up! I want to investigate whether more people (especially managers, former managers, someone that has to manage without having “the title”) feels this awkwardness. I want to try different ways of ‘management’. The ways fit to people working in the current era and future time. I also want to make the ‘one-liners’ I often use, more practical so that they are not mere words.

Business as usual
If you analyze why love is not seen as “business-like” then you hit well-known phrases as "Business is business" and "business as usual". What is actually says is: “extreme competition”.

Apparently you're a whopper when:
- You’re trumping the competition
- You drop your partner when he is in your way,
- You’re able to reorganize a company (firing people) because of profit maximization goals.

You are a commercial rock when you show that you are only in for making money. You're “sharky the shark" in procurement, squeezing the supplier instead of forming a partnership. Even for strategic services / products as in an IT contract, negotiations go to the razor's edge. The latter one is one of the major failure factors for ICT projects. Architects seem arrogant and pedantic. Software developers and programmers seem coding cowboys.

Business, in this mind frame, is a working form of hate, the counterpart of cooperation, the opposite of love. On his scale hate beats love and competition beats cooperation & collaboration. It is a breeding ground for misery and poverty.

Love comes in many ways.
It demands a certain perspective on things to see that love shows itself in many ways. I think you will find many kinds of love in business. Respect is such a form of love. "Respect is love in work clothes", I regularly state.smiley

Without love for the job you do, you can’t make anything beautiful or of good quality. Craftsmanship is love. If you're in love with the work you do, you do the right thing. If the company shows warmth for the people it consists of, then it does the right thing. That is leadership, and leadership = love. Love makes you "disciplined" which results in intrinsic motivation. These are some of the conditions for a self-organizing team to function. Some say this kind of love equals engagement or commitment.

Love & business
To indicate that CEOs of successful and profitable businesses are strongly aware of that love is of interest in business, I’ll quote two of them:

"…..My thought is that love is the highest expression of trust. So love in a business setting relates to the attainment of trust…..” Bud Mingledorff, CEO, Mingledorff’s, Atlanta, GA

“….By “love” I mean kindness, consideration, positive feelings, clear interest in the other’s well being, generosity of spirit, compassion and that critical ingredient, fairness….” Peter Stranger, Former Advertising Agency President/CEO

Both quotes are from the publication of Marie Kane. I regularly twitter quotes about love that come from leaders from all disciplines, and get lots of statements by leaders from Fortune 500 companies. Showing "love" is not seen as love of money, status and power. I invite you to look at these tweets again: #! / Lady Beetle

A practical exercise:
To put more love into work we could ask ourselves:
- When was the last time I've done something nice and surprising for someone at work - just for the sake of it?
- When have I thanked or recognized someone for that special effort for the team, department or company?
- Who didn’t I thank who has done just something really funny (or especially useful) for me?
- Who makes 'the extra mile' regularly that I obviously take for granted?
- What can I do in my position to stimulate 'love' at my workplace?

And please, don’t give silly answers , especially on the last question! And do act on, on what you like your answer to be. Do not keep it inside your head, but pay attention to it, or it will not help. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to read someone's mind. Especially when you cannot communicate face to face.

Love & Leadership
If it wasn’t clear from the above, I state again: “Love & Leadership have a great deal in common”. Leadership is an important form of love. Leadership is all about love.

Leadership is about giving purpose. I mean this in a spiritual way because leaders have no power over others. Leaders are able to ensure that other people develop to their abilities. They have the responsibility to seize that opportunity. A leader enables people, helps them to create things together and to reach a common goal or mission.

A leader can ensure that we all understand what we’re in (in a company), why we are doing what we doing and how we fit in (the fifth discipline Peter Senge). You share a vision. If that understanding is there and you can relate to that, you can act autonomously. You don’t have to be coordinated and controlled. All those time consuming meetings become redundant. And if you opt out, you’re in fact not in the right place or not properly addressed. Someone once said that a vision is the same as a love affair with an idea.

In this case, love is also PASSION (as in the P of SIMPLE). As is having meaning in life and a sense to do well every day. Love is having a strong commitment to your colleagues, the goal of the company or the organization where you work. Love is found in a shared adventure, or in the cases that went wrong. Love is in sharing, growing and in having an insatiable curiosity for things and all kind of changes. That is love.

How can you go about this?
If you're a reader, I recommend you to read books like "Good to Great" (Jim Collins), "Spiegelogie" (Willem de Heer), "Nonviolent Communication" (MB Rosenberg) and "Leadership" (Tom Peters). In them you'll find tips on how to weave more love into business and leadership. I can give you a long reading list, depending on which domain you work in, or your taste.

You could also consider this SIMPLE concept as a traveling companion or partner. Or perhaps refer to it as a value system. Please do not use it as a control or coordination mechanism because then it degenerates into one of the many misused management tools. You know what I mean: the emotionless yardsticks, the monetized business cases, the impersonal personal development metrics.

We live in a time where the love of power has to be to cancelled out by the power of love. It is THE time for love and leadership.

If you want to know more or want to ask me any question about this, mail me, call me, DM me. You are very welcome.

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the P of Simple

persoonlijkGeplaatst door Mary Beijleveld vr, november 09, 2012 22:22:52

The P of SIMPLE is the P of Passion

The letter P stands for the passion that you have to achieve things. Things that you are enthusiastic about and that you want to take responsibility for. Alone and / or with your colleagues, business partners and friends.

In my previous blog posts I introduced an acronym: SIMPLE.
Each letter of the word SIMPLE stands for an approach, point or principle.

S = Success story or just story
I = Intelligence
M = Mission-driven
P = Passion
L = Love & Leadership
E = Energy-giving, empowerment

These words are carefully chosen. Not just because the first letter of each word, together form the word SIMPLE. The word SIMPLE has been my most important starting point. As said, the S, I and M are already posted, so now for the letter P.

Where do you find PASSION?

I think Passion is everywhere. If you look closely!
It is in mothers and fathers who are passionate to assist and encourage their children in sports or studies. It is in people who are committed to read a book to the visually impaired or the elderly. It is in volunteers of all walks of life. In people who support good causes by biking a mountain 6 times (Alpe d'Huez). By holding meetings to collect money. It is in the ones who remove weeds from the local park. And so on and so on. To see these people doing all these things awakens my fascination and admiration.

True leaders show their PASSION too. By doing what they do best:
• support people,
• doing things that matter,
• showing integrity,
• talk impassioned about the people who form the company,
• give people confidence to do the right things.

And in return, this passion fires the passion of the people they have a relationship with. Someone once said that "a vision of a leader is the same as a love affair with an idea." Leadership is almost always about love and passion, but I like to get back to the love & leadership bit when I present the L of love and leadership in the weblogs that will follow.

Passion at work (1)
Some people have a passion for designing a building, a system or an architectural drawing to perfection. Others have a passion to discover things gradually, without searching for perfection, and do that perfectly. Some have a passion to pursue challenging goals. And in reaching that goal, go about their own way and are trusted by their manager to do the right thing.

Managers have discovered that passion at work is at the root of entrepreneurship. A stimulating environment for innovation, that makes people happier in the company. Of course managers like that and thus they would like to have ‘people with PASSION'. But lately managers distinguish it as a precondition for you to have this 'feature' when you apply for a job or new assignment so they can ‘have and hold’ this.

Passion however is not a property of someone. It works very differently and you cannot agree upon it in SMART metrics. Not with time boxes or as a preset goal in your contract.

Passion at work (2)

PASSION is a messy thing. Passion is emotion. It is a result of interaction with others who can have totally different opinions, views and things that they like to do passionately. Passion is allowing coincidence in your life and sometimes to just let go. This said, that doesn’t mean you can’t discover or recognize passion. It also doesn’t mean that passion isn’t something concrete. Because:

• PASSION does have a purpose
When you’re passionate, you do have goals and targets. Everyone can visualize a purpose too, because everyone knows what he / she becomes passionate about. For example: almost everyone knows how their lover looks and sounds like and how that person does, smells and feels like. Passion nourishes and drives a purpose.

• PASSION is specific:
To achieve what you want, you involve all your senses to visualize. This makes it more concrete and increases your passion on what goals you have. The goal doesn’t have to be realistic persé and may be very challenging. After all, even dreams can come true. And dreams can be quit specific too.
Here’s a passionate statement Dom Helder Camara made: "When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality."

• PASSION works in small steps:
While visualizing your dream you can ask yourself: “What steps must I take first to fulfill this? Do I want to take those steps? Try not to outline everything in detail because that will take away your energy. Concentrate on what you’ve imagined (let’s say the BIG picture)

• PASSION also has a timeline and an end point
You should take some time after each step to think about: "Is this where I want to be and what is the next small step. It is also advisable to occasionally look a few steps ahead.
At some point you will reach your goal. No matter if it is exactly what you imagined, or not. It is then time for a new challenge.

PASSION strives when success is rewarded / celebrated:
Would you like a financial or a spiritual reward? A step up the career ladder or gain business? Or do you feel rewarded through better health, study, harmony in the family or belonging to other communities? Do not depend on someone else to reward you. Reward yourself! Enjoy a luxurious bath with nice bath oil. Be proud of yourself! Rent a great movie, go to a dinner or a musical performance. Reward yourself with an inspiring open space or seminar. Create your own music or give a presentation on your achievement. This will ignite more energy and more passion.

• PASSION creates new passion:
Find out what inspires and arouses your passion in the new goal you want to achieve. Does it give you a good feeling or a new sense of confidence? Use positive thoughts and energy to fight against obstacles that may occur on the way to achieving your goal.

Passion at work (3)

Passion at work often arises because the company has a valuable social function; it creates a product that meets a need or a service that delivers value to the client. True passion in the workplace occurs when managers and colleagues have respect for each other. Passion is in the skills of the people.

If you as a manager, let craftsmen do what they’re set about to do and trust them to do the job, you encourage their passion. If managers have a meaningful relationship with the people for whom they are responsible, you can be sure that passion comes naturally. Actually I think it’s a prime necessity for managers to realize that they are there for the workers and not the other way around.

Managers should admit they don’t know about the bits and pieces. They should welcome criticism and comments and give honor where honor is due. Doing stuff together, while recognizing and using each other's strengths with respect for each other. This post gives practical suggestions on how to keep passion alive. These suggestions go beyond rational thinking models and the usual management models. No technical stuff in here. It's about emotion and beauty, about meaning and passion.

Relationship and Passion

It's all very relational. Like a vision, which is very important for a manager and also helps to keep peoples passion awake. A vision gives meaning to us, to the leader, to the company, to the family and to society. It gives meaning, because all of these organizational forms are made up of people. People have passion. Passion is in their genes.

Vision = passion
Three quarters of the companies in the Netherlands have a vision. Every self-respecting company should have one. At least it's fashionable to have one. However, if we look at the places where we work there is a big gap between that vision and the way people have to work and behave. At one point we will find out we were seduced by managers to commit to a vision made in isolation. And then we realize we have committed ourselves to this non-executed vision and feel grossly wronged. A vision that uplifts sustained passion has to be made with the contributions of everyone. Therefore, a vision is not a product of analysis, but one of feeling and love. A vision can never be the outcome of the works of a management consultant. A vision (as a mission, see M of SIMPLE), cannot be formed by a committee as well, for that is unloving and sooooo not passionate.

This view is confirmed by the book with the somewhat silly title, "kus de visie wakker" (kiss your vision awake) by Hans van der Loo et al. It tells us of which parts a vision must consist. They use an acronym to explain this. AMORE for: Ambitieus, Motiverend, Onderscheidend, Relevant & echt en Evenwichtig & eenheid. It doesn’t translate into the same letters but it means: Ambitious, Motivated, Distinctive, Relevant & real and Balance & unity. The authors work to a vision that people can follow wholeheartedly, and with passion. I recommend managers and those who seriously want to ‘make’ a true vision, to read this book.

PASSION changes over time
Tom Peters, a management guru stated in 2005 that nowadays we need other things to run a business than was usual for a long time. This is what he said: ”we have to go:

• From rules -> to relationships
• From conquest -> to communication
• From a single task -> to multitasking
• From Yes, sir / madam -> to Thank You
• From the distribution of orders -> to asking questions
• From rigid claims -> to subtle hints
• From command and control -> to connect and compliment
• From competition and (match) -> to cooperate and play
• From managing -> to put you into power (see E of SIMPLE)
• From information on ‘a need to know' basis -> to information because we want to share”

The things on the right give passion. The things on the left definitely don’t.

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persoonlijkGeplaatst door Mary Beijleveld zo, oktober 14, 2012 12:22:15

Simple is a concept and an acronym. Each letter of the word SIMPLE stands for something:

S = Success story, or just Story.
I = Intelligence
M = Mission driven
P = Passion
L = Love & Leadership
E = Energy giving, empowerment

The words are carefully chosen, not because the 1st letters of it simply forms the word SIMPLE. This word SIMPLE has been the main starting point in my thoughts in this series of weblogs.

With the set of approaches or principles inserted in SIMPLE, I want to appeal to managers, leaders and many so-called coaches to remind them all, that there are alternatives to traditional management mindsets en methods. And also that it is very difficult to comprehend for these people, because they have been brainwashed with old school management theories for ages.
But mainly I want to put some heart into the people, who are confronted daily with the traditional management ways, or who can’t avoid the kind of managers I mentioned above. Wouldn’t it be great if I could find the right tone for you guys? That would be in the spirit of SIMPLE!

But now for the letter M, which stands for: Mission driven!

I want to address your mission in life vs. the mission of the organization you work for. It’s about whether that organizational mission is something you can connect or commit to. Whether you can find the balance between your own goals in life and the goals of the organization where you work. Which is actually the most important in work & life balance.

It’s about the ability to lead yourself and not be lead. And it is about the leadership competencies of your manager. I've previously written that leaders, together with others, will determine the direction of the organization. Leaders will rise above themselves and respect people that have an opinion that isn’t right up their alley.

Leaders can communicate with love, or at least in a non-violent way. But I'll get to that when we are upon the letter L of simple. The L of love and leadership.
To determine the direction of a business you must have a joint mission.

The joint mission
We now live in a time where people put emphasis on meaningful and motivating goals. It is what they are attracted to. What they themselves want to achieve as individuals, not as followers. Not as some kind of dolly for one or the other 'charismatic’ manager or decision maker. Leaders therefore test if the vision and mission is attractive and gives energy. If this mission has such parallels, people can connect their own standards and values to it. And when not, they can ask for comments or fearless criticism.

The coherent mission
A mission should be about the bigger picture. It is a kind of ecosystem in which workers find themselves. It needs to pay not only attention for the ‘things’ within a subsystem such as a function, a department or a specific vocational training. But it has to pay attention to connections between people, to the whole system and the relationship between the components of that system.

So, what can we do to create a coherent mission? Well, it depends if we are open to changes and dissenters. Not only in projects or at work but also in networks, associations, in politics and in science.

The way to do that is by:
1. Non-linear thinking and Inclusive thinking (non exclusive thinking)
2. not just multidisciplinary but interdisciplinary thinking
3. Systems thinking

1. Non-linear thinking and Inclusive thinking (non exclusive thinking)

I like to call this ‘circular thinking’. It’ll provide for richer thoughts and theories that are less 1-dimensional. It works like this:

• Request the input of someone else.
• Wait a while longer to state your own opinion.
• Listen and look at insights of other people.
• Decide as late as possible what is the right solution.
• Admit that you don’t actually know (which is especially difficult).
• Allow coincidence in decision-making.

An example of this can be seen in the Socratic ‘ House of Commons ‘ debate or in a discussion. It is where you, defend the totally different opinion of the other. Simply to see the argument from their point of view.

Inclusive thinking is allowing as many different ideas as possible before you pick one or two. It also lets everyone participate. A good way to learn inclusive thinking is to join Yammer, Twitter and forums. The advantage of ‘social media’ is, that you can consider your question longer or answer more extensively. You can’t steer or influence the other person’s opinion.

You can also join Open Space meetings, chat with your colleagues at the coffee machine or have a peer-to-peer talk. Share your amazement about how things are going. A big advantage here is that you have real life contact.

The flip side of this coin, is that is also means that you participate as little as possible in all those meaningless, hierarchy affirmative meetings. You know, those meetings that are mere valves for the opinion of the manager and seem to be held to confirm their status. Even a question such as, “what do you think of it?” during such a meeting, is intended to distinguish the bucks from the sheep. It is to discover the followers and the opponents. The latter is by no means meant to include or to really take note of another’s view on the case. To make a bold remark again: “There is actually no such thing as an effective meeting”. It is kinda, what Parkinson said:

2. not just multidisciplinairy but interdisciplinairy thinking
I think I find this important, because I have studied business administration, which is pre-eminently a study that calls for simultaneously consideration from a multiple disciplines angle. It is more then just multidisciplinary. It is actually interdisciplinary. At my previous employer we compared both using the following pictures:

3. systems thinking
Systems thinking is not about cutting complicated things into smaller part problems that are more easily managed. Because, when it comes to systems and complex problems within the system, problems can only be solved in conjunction. For this to work you need to discover the relationships between different levels of abstraction and the variables. You can read more about this here:

Systems thinking is also about discovering reinforcing loops. It is about discovering that a revolutionary change (or the correct emerging crisis) is a process of prolonged and almost invisible evolution. Just like the flywheel and the doom loop. You can read more about that here:

It is you that must discover the cohesion. And self-reflective systems are part of the problem. In one of my previous blogs “The I of SIMPLE” I wrote something about that. You can read it here:

In my life I have had the pleasure to cooperate on many occasions in the composition of a mission (statement). What worked the best, and in any case inspired me the most, was the following: To, together with my colleagues, manager, executives, sharing a number of like-minded etc. core values that are the motive for the organization/company/department. The actual initiative to work. To write down our core values and our relationship with the customer/members/stakeholders. To find and display the companies reason to exist.
I have made a large contribution to the following corporate mission and mission statement of which I’m very proud:

"In partnership with our customer, we want to achieve business goals and opportunities by ensuring that business, people, and IT work together optimally. It is our mission to deliver added value by deploying flexibility, efficiency and quality in conjunction.
Our core values consist of customer interest, professionalism, customer satisfaction, solving problems together, communication skills and self-confidence.
With partnership we mean a fundamental attitude in which:
• We see the relationship with the customer and as a partner for the long term
• We believe mutual respect is a prerequisite in our relationship with our customer and our partners
• We see our role as being the trusted advisor
• We want our services to be especially complementary to the competences of our customer and
• We want to assist our customer and partners in their growth path to adulthood.
In summary: “A relationship that is balanced"

Incidentally, this beautiful mission was not a guarantee that we got things done and it remained alive. There are many other things to take into consideration here, but I would have to refer back to all letters but of simple and that is not so easy.

My opinion:
Keep in contact with yourself and with others. Stay connected with your network and keep in touch with what others do, especially in the organization where you work.
The leader or manager is responsible for ensuring that the right strategic choices are made and that these choices are transparent. So you can get clear view of where the balance lies between your own mission and that of the Organization and whether / and how that fits together.
Then you can create your own choices.

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Intrinsieke motivatie & sollicitatie. Stoos -2-

AgileGeplaatst door Mary Beijleveld vr, augustus 31, 2012 12:21:46

In deze blog de resultaten van de Stoos workshop geleid door Jurgen Appelo, met wat aanvullingen smiley mijnerzijds.

Halverwege juli heb ik een blog gepost over de 10 slechtste manieren om te managen. Dat was natuurlijk niet de enige workshop in de twee enorm leuke Stoos dagen. Wellicht dat ik ook nog over sessie storytelling en gamification terugkom, dat zien we nog wel.

Maar terug naar de workshop van Jurgen getiteld: ‘can we rate organizations by intrinsic motivation?’ Jurgen legde uit wat – volgens onderzoek- de hoogste score op de motivatie ladder geeft.

Dat zijn de volgende ‘toestanden’: Curiosity, Honor, Acceptance, Mastery, Power, Freedom, Relatedness, Order and Status. In gewoon Nederlands dus: nieuwsgierigheid, eer, acceptatie, meesterschap (vakkennis), vrijheid, verbondenheid, orde en status.

We besloten na te gaan wat de meest nuttige vragen zijn die je kunt stellen om er achter te komen of een bedrijf bij jou past en die in een sollicitatiegesprek gesteld kunnen worden. Zodat je vroeg genoeg een indicatie hebt welke condities er in een bedrijf heersen.

Nou, er kwamen flink confronterende vragen uit. Ik had het gevoel dat je die niet zo plompverloren in een sollicitatiegesprek kunt stellen. Daarom hebben we er nog een paar slagen over heen gedaan door 1. Punten te geven 2. Een aantal mensen op straat te interviewen en 3. ze in oplopende volgorde van prikkelendheid te zetten.

Nou, hier komt het rijtje, met de gegeven punten er achter:

• What is the last thing you celebrated (5)
• Why do you work here (10)
• What kind of people are successful here (7)
• What is the purpose of the company (8 + 2)
• What is considered as a career here? (6)
• What is the most debated issue in the organization (11)
• What metrics do you use? (3)
• What improvement method is used here? (6)
• What are you proud of and where are you less proud of? (7)
• What do you think about own initiative? (5)
• What do i need permission for? (17)
• Who gets fired? (7)

Op punten geeft dit een weer andere volgorde:

• What do i need permission for? (17)
• What is the most debated issue in the organization (11)
• Why do you work here (10)
• What is the purpose of the company (8 + 2)
• What kind of people are successful here (7)
• What are you proud of and where are you less proud of? (7)
• Who gets fired? (7)
• What is considered as a career here? (6)
• What improvement method is used here? (6)
• What do you think about own initiative? (5)
• What is the last thing you celebrated (5)
• What metrics do you use? (3)

Uit de interviews die we op straat hebben gehouden, bleek inderdaad dat veel van deze vragen niet snel door een sollicitant gesteld zullen worden. Zo bleek de vraag naar het doel van de organisatie slecht te vallen omdat je dat al op de website of in de advertentie kunt lezen. Ik denk overigens dat als je naar enkele steekwoorden refereert zo’n vraag echt wel kan.

Ook de 2 hoogst scorende vragen werden door geen van de geïnterviewden als ‘vraagbaar’ geclassificeerd. De vraag: ‘who gets fired’ viel al helemaal niet in goede aarde. Helaas hebben we maar drie mensen kunnen interviewen in de ca. 40 minuten. Dat waren overigens 2 managers en 1 was een receptionist. Niet echt representatief.

Mijn conclusie is dat het deelnemende publiek aan een Stoos evenement een hoog kritisch en assertief denkraam heeft, die je niet overal aantreft.

De vraag die ik had bijgedragen: “welk type mensen zijn in deze organisatie succesvol’? stond/staat wel in het lijstje, maar de vraag: “op een schaal van 0 tot 10; hoe liefdevol gaan de mensen hier met elkaar om?, is gesneuveld in de puntentellingsmiley

Nadien heb ik nog een nagedacht over welke vragen je ook nog kunt stellen:

• Wat zijn de dingen die aanwijsbaar bijdragen aan goede resultaten van deze organisatie?
• Welke hobby’s hebben de mensen die hier werken voornamelijk?
• Hoe gaan jullie om met technologische ontwikkelingen?
• Welke resultaten verwachten jullie dat ik na bv. 3 maanden hier heb bereikt?

Dit zijn meer neutrale vragen en wellicht gemakkelijker over tafel te brengen.
Wie weet heb je er wat aan bij de beslissing of je bij of voor een bepaald bedrijf wilt werken.

Ik wens je in ieder geval heel veel succes als je nu in een sollicitatieproces verwikkeld bent en dat je de baan van je leven treft!

nog ff een fotootje, van Julya, waarvoor dank!

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persoonlijkGeplaatst door Mary Beijleveld za, augustus 04, 2012 14:17:18

Je moest weggaan en stuurde een kaartje met de volgende groet:

And your heart beats so slow, Through the rain and fallen snow, Across the fields of mourning, Lights in the distance, Oh, don’t sorrow - no, don’t weep, For tonight, at last, I am coming home, I am coming home.
(U2: A sort of homecoming)

7 keer zijn we een weekend met vriendinnen op pad geweest in steden zoals Londen, Parijs, Brugge en Gent. Wat hebben we gelachen met elkaar.
22 keer hebben we gezamenlijk korte en lange vakanties met onze gezinnen doorgebracht. Genoten hebben we, ook al was het regelmatig slecht weer.
203 keer hebben we gedoken als duikbuddy’s in de Hollandse plassen en op meerdere duikstekken in de Rode- en de Middellandse Zee. Zelfs aan de kust van de Dominicaanse Republiek. Het was altijd fantastisch.
47 jaar, 7 maanden en 27 dagen heb ik je gekend.

Ik hield van jou op zoveel verschillende manieren. Het was geweldig om je zus te mogen zijn.

Je was altijd vrolijk en met een onovertroffen gevoel van humor. Vaak zo wijs en altijd verbaasd dat ik als ‘oudste’ zus zo argeloos kon zijn. Ontzettend moedig en dat vooral aan het einde van je reis.

Je bent niet weg.
Nee hoor: je zit in mijn hart en blijft in mijn gedachten;
Ook al ben je een soort van elders thuis gekomen.

Wel thuis!

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Sjtooozz en de 10 slechtste manieren om te managen

AgileGeplaatst door Mary Beijleveld vr, juli 13, 2012 13:50:55

U als lezer zult direct denken: “wat is dat nu weer: Sjtooozz”. “Is dat een manier van slecht management”?

Welnee, het gaat om hoe je de naam van het plaatsje Stoos in Zwitserland uitspreekt. Een gewoon wintersportplaatsje, zo’n 60 km zuidelijk van Zurich. Daar zijn een aantal mensen bijeengekomen die daar gesproken hebben over goede en slechte manieren om te managen. En wat er in dit tijdsgewricht aan management nog nodig is.

De goede manier van managen is daar omgedoopt tot “management the Stoos way”

De Engelssprekende mensen spreken Stoos al gauw uit als ‘stoes ‘, terwijl je het op z’n Zwitsers moet uitspreken als “Sjtooozz”. Vandaar dit woord in de titel van deze blog.

Stoos Stampede

Wat ook belangrijk is, is dat een vijftal Nederlanders: Astrid, Erwin, Jurgen, Melina en Wouter op 6 en 7 juli 2012 een vervolg op deze bijeenkomst georganiseerd hebben in Nederland. Namelijk de (1e) ‘Stoos Stampede’ in Amsterdam. Deze tweedaagse conferentie werd gehouden in de Rode Hoed.
Er stonden in zo’n 8 tot 10 ruimten, ca. 4 sessies per dag op het programma, die allemaal gerelateerd konden worden aan (zelf)management en (zelf)organisatie.

Dus voor mij beslist een conferentie waar ik bij wilde zijn! En vele anderen vonden dat ook want volgens mij hebben er op beide dagen meer dan 150 mensen deelgenomen. Uiteraard waren daar velen van de zogenaamde ‘usual suspects’ uit het Agile wereldje maar ook mensen ‘uit andere hoeken’. Ik heb enorm van deze conferentie, en de contacten / activiteiten rondom dit evenement, genoten! En aan een paar enorm leuke sessies deelgenomen. smiley


In mijn herinnering (en aantekeningen smiley) komen vooral de sessies van Erwin, Jurgen, Joost en Laurens/Fabian naar voren. Dat ging respectievelijk over: “storytelling”, “can we rate organizations by intrinsic motivation”, “Gamification of the working environment” en “the ten worst management practices and how to turn them around”
Over de eerste drie sessies zal ik ook nog een blog schrijven. Later.

De laatstgenoemde sessie staat dus ook de titel van deze blog. De 2e "vandaar", za’k maar zeggen. De link brengt je op de beschrijving en de opbouw van de sessie.
Wat mij aangenaam verbaasde dat de ‘stille’ brainstorm (deel 3 van de sessie) zoveel geeltjes opleverde. Wat mij onaangenaam aandeed is dat de ca. 15 mensen die meededen, zoveel slechte manieren van managers wisten op te leveren. T’is nie best...

Omdat ik alle geeltjes mee mocht nemen kan ik je de volgende tellingen geven:
87 voorbeelden van slechte praktijken kwamen er aan het daglicht. Dat is ca. 5 per persoon. Er waren niet veel echte dubbelingen, hoewel sommige symptomen van dezelfde praktijk leken af te komen.

uitkomsten sessie

In het volgende onderdeel hebben we de geeltjes geclusterd. Ook dat deden we zonder te praten. Leuke dynamiek zo stilzwijgend met z’n allen sticky notes groeperen.

Al discussiërend hebben we het achterliggende ‘paradigma/reden’ benoemd die volgens ons achter de slechte praktijk ligt en op oranje plakbriefjes gezet. Daarna hebben we gestemd welke wij de aller-slechtste vinden door middel van kleine rode plakkertjes.

De 10 praktijken met de meeste stemmen hebben we gecompleteerd met het bijbehorende achterliggende paradigma/reden. Daarbij op groene plakbriefjes geschreven hoe we dit gedrag/ deze praktijk kunnen adresseren. Oftewel wat wij eraan kunnen doen om dat te veranderen.

Stel je voor, het werd een kleurrijk geheel. Geeltjes met rode plakkertjes, oranje en groene plakbriefjes. smiley
Maar even serieus weer.
43 van de slechte praktijken kregen 0 punten. 18 stuks: 5 punten of minder,
2: 6 punten, 4: 7 punten, 2 praktijken kregen 8 punten, 1 praktijk kreeg er 12 en 1 zelfs 13 punten.

De 5 slechte praktijken met de hoogste score zal ik in deze blog noemen:

Problemen negeren = 13 punten
Komt door: onbekwaamheid en stompzinnigheid
Oplossing: maak problemen visueel, transparant management, transparantie

Management met mijlpalen = 12 punten
Oorzaak : onzekerheid, stress
Oplossing: maak het spreadsheet /planning en lever ondertussen wat je beloofd hebt, delegeren, vertrouwen, prioriteer op hun meest belangrijke kwestie, focus op klantwaarde

Management door angst aanjagen = 8 punten
Oorzaak: onzekerheid, stress, angst
Oplossing: begrijp waardoor het komt en bewijs het tegendeel, delegeren, vertrouwen

Het een zeggen en het andere doen: 8 punten
Oorzaak : niet genoemd
Oplossing: je laten spiegelen door coach of medewerkers, geef het voorbeeld, voorbeeldgedrag

Verdeel en heers = 7 punten
Oorzaak: angst, gebrek aan zelfvertrouwen
Oplossing: focus op klantwaarde niet op kosten, les geven dat verdeel en heers de status quo handhaaft, prioriteren op hun meest belangrijke kwestie

Zoals je misschien opmerkt hebben de oorzaken en de oplossingen overlap. Net zoals de symptomen en praktijken die tot clusters gevormd kunnen worden.

En je zult ook opgemerkt hebben dat er nog 5 belangrijke (andere) slechte praktijken zijn die 7 of 6 punten kregen.

Dat zijn (in het Engels, dat was de voertaal) featurism over quality (7), avoiding conflict (7), failing to really listen (7), blaming culture vs. finding solutions (6) , try to manage by numbers (6).
Ook deze praktijken relateren tot de eerste vijf die ik hierboven uitgebreider heb beschreven. Volgens mij kun je er een zinnig systeempatroon van maken.

Voor degene die erin geïnteresseerd is, wil ik het rekenblad met de uitspraken, tellingen en clustering graag ter beschikking stellen. Mail mij op en ik stuur je die op. En waarschijnlijk is dit ook visueel beschikbaar want ik zag vele van de deelnemers een foto van de glaswand maken waaraan het gekleurde geheel was opgeplakt. Graag zou ik een foto krijgen om bij deze blog te plaatsen!


Ik zal proberen uit het materiaal nog enkele conclusies te trekken en misschien dat ik een systeempatroon map zal maken. Onderwijl zou ik het prettig vinden als mijn mededeelnemers nazien of ik de essentie goed heb weergegeven, waar de gaten zitten en met mij de resultaten willen bediscussiëren.

In ieder geval heb ik mijn belofte gehouden om, binnen 1 maand, over de uitkomsten van deze sessie een blog te schrijven.smiley

O ja, er is – as we speak - een Stoos bijeenkomst in Phoenix, Arizona/ USA. Dus als je in de buurt bent?

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