I am frequently asked for help in recommending resources. Here are two requests that I got this week "I am interested in the parallels/similarities/differences between architectural and organisation design principles: could you recommend any references that address both, please?" and "We are collecting some useful tools on OD, talent management, leadership development and other HR related topics. Are there any tool websites you can recommend?"
I am fortunate in one respect that my three career tracks of consulting, academic work, and writing, keep me constantly on the hunt for materials of various kinds. Looking back at my Google history for last week I find I looked at websites that offered: tools, books, articles, survey instruments, games, activities, methodologies, videos, comment and opinion, and news. I haven't yet cracked how to organize all this stuff in a way that makes for easy retrieval. I have various classification systems going simultaneously, rather than a master one that might make life simpler:
• My 'favorites' website listing with a rather random list of folders – what, wonder now, was in my thinking when, for example, I set up a folder 'learning', and another 'development'. I haven't had time yet to go through and consolidate/rationalize and consequently have to look in both for something I know I put somewhere.
• My two Dropboxes which have slightly different folder titles, but essentially for the same type of thing.
• With both Dropboxes I have an 'articles' catch all with folders in it – again somewhat different, but I have to remember that I've taken all the organization design articles out of the articles folder and got them in a separate folder in the high level list. On more than one occasion my heart has lurched when I think that Dropbox has deleted my organization design articles folder that I know I have in 'articles'!
• My Amazon wish lists – both public and private ones that house all the books I wishfully think I'm going to read. The lists relate to my book titles rather than the specific topic so if I'm looking for a book I know I put on a wish list I have to remember which book I was writing at the time I listed the book I'm looking for!
All this is a long preamble to getting round to saying that I am not able to easily and quickly recommend stuff because. I have to trawl around various 'libraries' for want of a better word, all of them using a different classification system. Thus I frequently fallback to Google Desktop but sadly, at this point it doesn't hit my Amazon lists. However, this may be ok because I've just read a blog from Michael Schrage on the HBR blog network called Tip for Getting More Organized: Don't. He says
"that IBM researchers observed that email users who "searched" rather than set up files and folders for their correspondence typically found what they were looking for faster and with fewer errors. Time and overhead associated with creating and managing email folders were, effectively, a waste. By combining threading with search, technology makes an economic virtue of virtual disorganization. The personal productivity issue knowledge workers and effective executives need to ponder is whether habits of efficiency that once improved performance have decayed into mindless ruts that delay or undermine desired outcomes."
Good, I feel much better now.
So maybe I can stop looking at types of consolidator programs like Mendeley that apparently organizes all one's articles. And Evernote that somehow claims to organize material from a range of sources but both require time learning how to operate them (at least it looks that way to me). My brother recommended a kind of card index system where you set up a topic – say project management, and then note every single item you come across related to project management. I tried that for a week or so and still got stuck on the keywords bit. (Project management or program management, for example).
Anyway in answer to the two questions I started with which boil down to a) HR related tools b) organization and building design. Here is my pick of ten websites for each. Additions welcome from any of you.
HR related tools – but really more business related as I have observed that HR people spend far too little time getting business savvy and far too much time working on stuff that may have become "an organizational mindless rut that delays or undermines desired outcomes".
1. Rapid BI Business & Organizational Development tools, training and services – Human Resources, OD & Leadership. Has over 400 Management Models, Leadership Models, Coaching Models and Business Models
2. Change management learning center (sponsored by Prosci) has a series of tutorials designed to provide consultants, managers and practitioners with insight into the field and practice of change management
3. MIT's Innovative Leaders video series conversations with innovative leaders from various companies.
4. HBR Idea Cast: A weekly audio podcast on a topic of interest to business, often an interview with the author of a new book.
5. Human Systems Dynamics Institute: Has some free tools and resources plus a page of links to related websites in humans systems and organization development
6. Edge: "To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves."
7. Mind Tools toolkit contains more than 600 management, career and thinking skills.
8. Management Innovation Exchange "is an open innovation project aimed at reinventing management for the 21st century. The premise: while "modern" management is one of humankind's most important inventions, it is now a mature technology that must be reinvented for a new age. In order to thrive in the future, organizations must become as adaptable, innovative, inspiring and socially accountable as the people inside them. "
9. Business balls a free ethical learning and development resource for people and organizations
10.Value based management – an enormous array of management tools, models, and theories arranged
Architectural and organization design
1. IDEO – human centered design toolkit
2. Design with Intent tool kit
3. Haworth Workplace Library a good collection of white papers highlighting topics and issues around workspace and organization
4. Fast Company frequently has articles that cover the intersections between architecture and organization. Linda Tischler is their main writer on this. They also have a site co-design where they "try to bridge the fuzzy border between design and business."
5. Steelcase has a useful magazine 360 that covers workplace and organizational matters and also a collection of research papers
6. Rotman School of Management, Business Design has videos, articles and information about business design and 'pure' design.
7. A list on Amazon called Design Thinking for Business lists some useful books
8. Roger Martin's own website. (He is the Dean of the Rotman School of Management)
9. Podcasts Design Matters with Debbie Millman
10.The Design Observer Group
As I said, any additions to either list would be most welcome.