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Navigating the modern work landscape – impact and effort

As things have shifted so dramatically over the last few years and there is no sign of it abating nor of going back to normal, I wondered what that meant for modern work. Time for a DanelDoodle. This is a really high-level view and naturally I will have missed key elements. But I just wanted to map the landscape (the important factors being effort and impact) and then plot some elements I thought worthy. Some notes after the doodle.

What’s needed to get ahead at work in the next 10 years

Pick one or two at most, because you cannot excel at all.

  • Business Outcomes Achiever. My views on this are no secret, I’ve written countless posts with the tag. It is the most powerful of the activities in my view. If you can show how you are driving the company forward and to success, you will be successful. But it’s not easy.
  • Innovator. How are you thinking differently, doing things differently? This requires equal parts creativity and execution capability. Do it right and you will be rewarded handsomely because competition is so high and change so fast.
  • Productivity Pro. Because being able to withstand the pressures of distraction and so many things to do and focusing on the things that matter, matter. Not hard work but the right work.
  • Technophile. If you don’t master technology, it will master you. And get it to work for you, that’s why it is positioned as high impact and low effort. As every company becomes a software company and automation takes off, this becomes key.
  • Sense Maker. Navigating the onslaught of information, challenges and opportunities out there and making sense of it so you and your company ultimately make the right decisions.
  • Collaborator. As we work more from home and use tools to connect this becomes ever more important but it has always been. Because you go further together than alone.
  • Authentically Nice. Because you don’t have to be an arsehole to win. But it does have to be genuine.
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The opportunity for inspiration is infinite

I started my DanelDoodles as a way to capture simple inspiring thoughts visually, for myself. I also use them for visual sensemaking. Some of my early inspirational ones can be found here. They are also a great creative outlet.

I started creating them using the Paper 53 App and their Pencil stylus on an iPhone (now just Paper after being acquired by WeTransfer and their stylus is discontinued). Then I migrated to iPad and Apple’s Pencil. Now I create on both iPhone and iPad – the former for quick idea capturing, the latter for finishing in higher quality. I’ve also moved on to Procreate now – trying to get to even higher quality.

You could say the market for inspiration is infinite. You need only look at the many inspirational cards, mugs or t-shirts out there, etc. Which is one of the reasons I started my little side gig – getting my DanelDoodles onto t-shirts. But this is not for massive commercial success – with all the competition that would be a challenge.

But I do want to try and be different. I’d like my designs to be original, quirky, thought provoking or at the very least, to provoke a smile.

I have created two categories for them – one for personal inspiration (Mind Doodles) and the other for inspiring people at work or in a work context (Work Doodles). This is pretty much in line with the main purpose of this entire site, captured by the strap line: Adventures inside Organisations and of the Mind.

Which leads me to the featured image at the top of this post. This is a kind of showcase image and not just aligned to the title. You can also see it on a t-shirt and buy it if you like too – I’ve embedded the product page at left

I use it to remind myself when things are tough or I am down, that there is beauty everywhere and life is short so I should open my eyes to see that.

As far as I am aware, this is entirely original meaning I did not copy this from anyone or anywhere. I can’t say that’s the case 100% for this or any of my work since nothing is ever original and anyway, great artists steal (said a pretty good artist called Pablo once).

But I’m not saying I’m a great artist. I’m just having some fun, inspiring myself and hoping that perhaps that may rub off on others that might need it.

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Product led growth is not a panacea – it is a good start

Imagine not having to employ any sales or customer success people or adopt any of the tactics they use – because the product sells itself or gets utilised by users without any help. I’m being facetious, but in a nutshell that is the promise of product led growth.

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Productivity is not about place and balanced views are required

If the outdated and ironic view in the DanelDoodle above does not seem familiar to you, then you have probably been living under a rock, in your living room perhaps. Or under your desk in the office 😬

It’s no secret many leaders equate being in the office with being productive. This Harvard Business Review article which includes survey data on a related subject, nails it. But you will find many more with a simple search.

I struggle to believe that it is anything other than ironic, maybe even moronic, to think that the only time you can be productive is when you are in the same place and physically together with others.

That does not mean to say I don’t believe in the benefits of physical proximity to others. I’ve been writing about the middle way of hybrid work models repeatedly under the productivity tag.

And that is the point, to be balanced in your views – not blinded by the dogmatism of decades old management thinking. New tools and ways of working which favour virtual, asynchronous collaboration do work.

It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee ☕

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A review of the new Microsoft Whiteboard

Click to see larger view

Naturally I used Microsoft Whiteboard for the review itself. I then exported an image of it and that is what you see above. This is not so much a feature overview since you can find that all here: Welcome to the new Whiteboard! That was the announcement post from a few days ago. This is more about the drawing, writing and doodling capabilities of such a tool as I’m a massive fan – see my many DanelDoodle’s. For the record, these are the tools I use mostly on my iPad currently, as mentioned in the review: Paper and Procreate. As soon as the new Whiteboard becomes available on iOS, I’m going to try that and also in my next Microsoft Teams Meeting.

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Productivity – we have a problem

There has been a flurry of bad press for productivity recently, especially in relation to remote work, but in general too. This is not entirely a new thing – see this pre-pandemic post from a Global Government Forum on The productivity problem: causes, consequences and cures. Two recent discussions around productivity have spurred on this post.

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The ebb and flow of productivity at work

I was thinking the other day about the times when I’m most productive at work. So much has been written about the subject and I work at a company and in a role where it’s one of the key functions of my job, i.e. to make people more productive through technology. There are a gazillion sites and services out there on how to be more productive. I think a lot of them miss the point.

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Minding the accelerating technology gap

Even if every company is now a tech company, there is still a massive gap between the early and fast adopters and the laggards. It goes beyond the chasm of initial technology adoption because now the assumption is all companies have to be using technology in some form or other to compete. The question is how well and how much are they keeping up.

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The post pandemic organisation’s hierarchy of needs

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This is a long overdue follow-up to a piece I doodled and wrote about way back in 2016: The Modern Organisation’s Hierarchy of Needs.

For two main reasons its due an update. The clue to the first is in the original title. Anything that lays claim to being modern needs a revisit at least every 5 years.

The second is the more important one in that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on individuals and organisations since then and this requires the model to be revisited.

The pandemic has put pressure on organisations like never before and so it becomes even more important to hone your craft and perfect the way you actualise your business for continued survival. I would argue that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs continues to provide a sound basis for addressing the needs of an organisation (just as much as for an individual) and what to focus on for a healthy and successful business.

Some of the elements remain unchanged so I wont go into detail on those other than what you can read in the DanelDoodle – read the original post if you want to know more. Below is a little on what I think has changed in 5 or more years and since the pandemic hit us.

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Marketing sales and customer success for 360 degree effectiveness

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In line with the trend I’m watching and some recent work I’ve been doing working with colleagues in sales and marketing, I had some brief additional thoughts around this topic. More on the trend here: Customer Success Marketing and Scale.

These thoughts in the form of a DanelDoodle are a little heavier on the sales side. I do work very closely with sales people because I end up landing with what they have sold so it’s in my interest. I also want them to do a better job because ultimately, especially in SaaS businesses, its all interconnected. After I have done my job and they come back to renew or upsell the customer, they will expect that I have done the right thing to make that easier for them. So its a two way street.

I think the doodle is fairly self explanatory and I am using it to share my thoughts with colleagues on how we can work better together. Maybe its of use to you.

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Jobs of the future will be what robots cannot do

The title of this post actually comes from a video I viewed on Big Think way back in 2016. It was a short video by renowned American physicist, Michio Kaku. I’ve just searched the site extensively to try and find it again but couldn’t. Good thing I downloaded a copy at the time and uploaded it to YouTube. I wanted to capture it as I recall it was not shareable. I have based a lot of my thinking on its prognostications since then. I first referenced it here: After robots and AI – intellectual capitalism where creativity and imagination thrive.

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Innovation has never been more problematic or needed – 3 things you can do

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Everyone wants innovation, no one wants to innovate. It’s similar to change. Therein may lie the rub. They are such broad terms, they may have lost their significance. But the problem goes beyond lack of interest, there is a lack of purpose or organisation/management, the pace of change, all and more contribute to this situation. Call it innovation fatigue if you will, in fact a book has got that covered already: Innovation for the fatigued – How to Build a Culture of Deep Creativity. And yet, the imperative is as high as ever.

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5 ideas who’s time has come

This was more fun (to doodle) than anything else. But there is some data to back the ideas up, or at least sources I used to make my points. More than anything though, these 5 ideas are deep rooted feelings I have based on reading and experience over time. Anyway, here are some of my sources.

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