What This Blog is About

A long time mentor and friend, Cicely Berry, often says: "all we do comes from our need to survive".

Cis is the Voice Director of The Royal Shakespeare Company. Her profound work and deep appreciation of the human spirit has affected diverse communities all over the world.

Will take you to my current work.

This blog is dedicated to the belief that the overall health of a community or organization is a clear reflection of their ability to communicate.

"Cada cabeza es un mundo" - Cuban proverb

"Every head is a world"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Measuring Culture?

It is commonly believed in organizations that measuring culture is difficult or actually impossible.

Yet, experts press on. I just heard a pod cast discussing this concept.

There are new measurements like Density of Communication and others, that have developed from learning about social networks. They are useful and relevant.

I have thought about these cultural issues for years. But truthfully, I heard a VP of Creative tell me today, that "my clients are not interested in anything meaningful", as he sighed to let me know that he meant it.

Wow. This statement came from one of the smartest and most committed professionals I have ever met.

I thought about the culture he works in and what could be measured? His interactions or his sigh?

So here's a thought:

Should culture be thought of as something to measure?

In fact, culture is a living entity that actually exists as an ongoing reflection/measurement of our collective experience. What are organizations looking for?

What is it about organizational behavior that makes us think we need to abstract our life experience to align with non-real business concepts?

You know, the current business "buzz" that inevitably moves into the Bermuda Triangle. It's amazing how we rush to rally and conform to "acceptable" concepts while working for companies that are allegedly committed to Innovation. Is that a cultural trait? Is it measurable?

Here's another notion:

When we think of atoms, why do we almost believe that atoms exist as red and white plastic spheres that connect to one another? It's as if "the real" and "the reality" we have created are the same thing.

One great philosopher said: "Reality, not the real, is dependent upon care"

In some ways, I find business explanations sometimes confuse the real from the abstraction and few organizations take care to distinguish between the two.

In cultures that truly "take care" to be inclusive and recognize the human dignity of effort and contribution, there is little need to measure the culture. Rather, the effort is to support its life.

The ancient Greeks defined "Economy" as the ability to sustain the life of something for as long as possible.

It's no wonder why we believe that Power Point presentations are a reflection of what we conceive to be factual. Mental models are often mistaken for true cultural elements.

Actually, it's funny when I think about our image of what atoms are and how hard we labor for slides 1 through 23 to be reduced to 1 through 5. As if rearranging the plastic atoms will significantly change conditions.

Abstractions of our experience -- measuring culture and finding a way to create a work place that for all of us, is built on what is real. It's been an interesting day.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It's Upside Down -- Health Care That Is

This is a serious subject and a perspective worth developing. I believe this to be true.

I intend to further investigate but from initial conversations with people smarter than me, the response is supportive.

I believe that the business of health care is directly related to a misunderstanding of Integrated Supply Chain logic. Consequently, the Value Chain is disturbed.

Simply put, the business models of hospitals, payers and support services are currently based on traditional supply management designs.

It's upside down. Traditional models rely on Demand Creation and Demand Fulfillment. Indeed, many of the hospital Performance Improvement Plans that I have seen, seem to me to actually be re-treads morphed from old world Automotive Sales Incentive structures.

That's anecdotal of course, but a strong impression nonetheless.

The key point is this:

In the world of health care and health care professionals, we do not want to increase Demand Creation. We want the opposite. That is, to literally reduce the need for services so that Demand Fulfillment becomes more focused on well being rather than treatment.

Our entire structure is wrong and demands a fundamental re-focus. Our Integrated Supply logic is out of sync with the realities of the health work place and the patient experience. This misalignment affects every contract that doctors, payers and institutions create to "do business" to provide positive Demand Fulfillment.

Issues like EMR (electronic medical records) become clouded in a supply chain environment that is confused. Rapid adaptation to technology is inhibited by silo behaviors and proprietary attitudes to protect time and money in a highly challenged professional environment.

It's this overarching supply model that institutionalizes certain behaviors. These behaviors actually inhibit businesses like emergency rooms, where connectivity to information and communication are vital to implement quickly and accurately.

This is not a knock at the health care professional. It is in support of their commitment and expertise. However, sharing information is not easy in these places. Ask the workers. Ask the patients (customers), and ask the hospital business developers if they really have a picture of their customers from the conventional surveys that are handed out. It's a value chain nightmare in many cases.

It's that serious and perhaps, that simple an insight to understand, that in health care today, we have an inverted Supply Chain bias that is literally killing us.

I am claiming this discussion and inviting thoughts. However, this is one concept I will not give up on easily.


Sal Rasa

Monday, July 7, 2008

Interesting View from the Nonprofit World

There are a number of critical changes in the nonprofit world that are worth understanding for every work place. This 2007 survey has good information and measurements.

"Nonprofits are stronger than business and government on three
types of peer and top management actions — communicating about
the importance of ethics, setting a good example of ethical behavior, and peer
support for doing the right thing."

National Nonprofit Ethics Survey
Ethics Resource Center’s 2 0 0 7

An Inside View of Nonprofit Sector Ethics

http://www.ethics.org/ will take you to additional information and the survey.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Conversation Today: Culture & Transformation

Met with a good friend and colleague today. He asked for a list of thought starters on culture and transformation at the enterprise level.

Here's my response.

Culture & Transformation -Thought Starters

“I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn't just one aspect of the game – it is the game.” L. Gerstner, former CEO, IBM

What experts and consultants don’t talk about when meeting a CEO.

  • · Today, there is no organization that has the time necessary to achieve the cultural changes they seek
  • · If it is true that “all politics is local”, then it is also true, that all significant business transformation is local and then networked
  • · Transformation on an enterprise level is dependent on identifying inhibitors to knowledge sharing, revealing the communication blocks and making work visible
  • Visibility = Accountability in effective silo busting activities
  • · It is possible to measure trust. Trust in people and trust in systems.
  • · Collaborative behaviors speed transformation across traditional boundaries
  • · The Change Management element is to put the executive into the mix. Not outside the mix, reviewing and providing approval
  • · Culture is a living entity. It is both powerful and fragile. Think of the Petri dish. Culture can be inhibited and even destroyed. Or, it can grow as it is supposed to.
  • · Changing the lens to view culture as continuous development professionally, and personally, is the power to transform the enterprise
  • · Web 2.0 provides us with the ability to organize critical conversations. It also changes fundamental roles and responsibilities. Stories help identify workplace realities.
  • · Alignment of key roles and responsibilities from the communities’ perspective is an imperative in today’s networked environment
  • · Time is on your side when a continuous improvement approach is enabled