The Power (and Pain) of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Fast Company has an interesting article in their May 2007 issue (sorry--not available online at this point) by Chip and Dan Heath of Made to Stick fame on the power of self-fulfilling prophesies. Entitled "Success Can Make You Stupid," the Heath brothers write about how Hollywood pumps out bad films because they get into a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies. What caught my eye, though, was this gem of a quote:... Read more →


Scarcity, Abundance, Mental Models and Reader Responses

In the past several days I've received a number of comments and emails on my posts regarding scarcity thinking in nonprofits. I wanted to try to summarize some of what's come my way because I think that it all furthers the conversation. In a comment on my original post, Mike Wassenaar left me a link to an interesting 2003 report entitled Battered Agencies: Supporting Those Who Serve Low Income Communities.... Read more →


Is the Scarcity Mentality the Biggest Barrier to Social Media in Nonprofits?

Through a circuitous route I won't bother to explain, today I find myself thinking about the impact of scarcity thinking on nonprofit organizations. One of the most powerful learnings I've had in my professional practice is that our mental models have a profound impact on our work practices. One of the mental models I'm observing at work today is scarcity vs. abundance thinking and I'm starting to wonder if the... Read more →


Do You Need Influencers Or People Who Are Easily Influenced to "Tip" the Network?

Several months ago I blogged about The Tipping Point and how different types of influencers helped move ideas from the fringes to the mainstream. Now according to Brandweek, (via Nedra Weinreich at Spare Change), Columbia sociology professor Duncan Watts is arguing that the notion of influencers is "bunk": " . . .most of the time buzz is spread by networks and a "critical mass of easily influenced people each of... Read more →


Two Other Strategies for Creating a Climate of Learning

The other day I was musing on strategies for encouraging an organizational climate of learning. Here are two more: Help staff create learning plans. Use ePortfolios Creating Learning Plans Steven Forth has a great article on learning plans, which he defines as: . . . a set of learning objectives (that) identifies the resources needed to achieve these objectives, indicates what constitutes evidence that the learning objective has actually been... Read more →


Why Nonprofits Should Reconsider Site-blocking Policies

A few weeks ago I wrote about organizational barriers to using Web 2.0 tools, citing Bev Trayner's and my experiences with clients as examples. We noted that many sites were blocked, that Skype couldn't be downloaded, etc. This morning I read this post from Lance Knobel who is working in Dubai: One of the issues raised with the company I’m working with here in Dubai is the need to improve... Read more →


Creating a Learning Climate for Nonprofit Staff

Awhile ago, Allan Benamer of the Nonprofit Tech Blog talked about nonprofit staff as knowledge workers and how technology and work processes need to support staff whose value comes primarily from their ability to make effective use of knowledge and information in working with customers. If we're to fully capitalize on the promise of a knowledge network, then staff need to have the tools, resources and supports necessary to truly... Read more →


People Love to Learn, But Hate to Be Taught

In my recent Web travels I came across an interesting draft paper from 2003 that's still very relevant today. It talks about "the other 80%"of learning. That is, 20% of learning in organizations is a result of formal training, while 80% occurs through informal learning. Yet organizations put more resources toward developing formal training options. One piece that struck me in this paper was the notion that "people love to... Read more →


Training for a New Technology--"The Book"

For those of us who have struggled to introduce staff to new technologies, this hilarious video shows what may have happened in the first training session on using a book. Could be a great video introduction to open up discussion on how when a "technology" is new, it may seem very confusing until we're used to it. Read more →


We Need More Passion for the Work, Not the Organization

Kathy Sierra, one of my favorite bloggers, posted the other day about passion at work. She argues that we shouldn't be asking employees to feel passionate about the organization they work for, but the work that they do. What does it mean for me to be passionate about my work, as opposed to passionate about my organization? A passion for work means that: I'm committed to principles of excellence and... Read more →