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« "Practically Radical": a new book by Bill Taylor, reviewed by Saul Kaplan | Main | Fabulous RSA Video: Radically rethinking education by Ken Robinson »

January 19, 2011


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Pearl Zhu

Hi, Steve, as always, great blog, thought-provoking story, from management perspective, the world bank example you deploy in Forbes, from its history into its several generation of leadership change, even you did work there, it reflects the same transformation facing all those legacy industry or organizations (say, the company surviving about half century already): digitization, globalization, decentralization, and now, cloudification.

Also appreciate you provide us the the root history of hierarchical bureaucracy--in 20st century, actually it means efficiency, concentration. But after being running a couple of decades, the organization became inertia, slow to change and non-effective, but as the story you pointed out, if change management without the right methodology and technology, it won't be successful.

Now we have your radical management, plus quite many great principles from management gurus, and we also have the great technology (cloud/social/mobile/analytics) and agile/Scrum PM tools, hopefully it's the right timing for sparking a great transformation for many great large legacy companies.

Look forward to reading your further posts.


Small teams are usual key to success. It is especially good when people in team are friends. All work is done much easier and better.

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especially good when people in team are friends. All work is done much easier and better.

Bob Allen (@CuriousAgilist)

OK, so to produce this sort of mindset, start in the schools.

Let's explore exactly how that might look. Let's start with the principal and assign them the role Agilist call the "single wringable neck", i.e. it's where the buck stops when a parent isn't satisfied with the response they are getting from their kids teacher. In that sense they are a proxy for the interestsof the parent (and today, also for state boards of education).

So who is the "team" in this setting: an argument for both the teachers in a school and the students in a classroom (or broken down into several student teams when a classroom has upward of 30 kids). BOTH would be correct. Teachers need to work as teams to deliver value in the classroom (leading from the back of the room isn't easy work), and students need to work in teams to deliver value to each other.

That brings us to who the "customer" is: ultimately it's the students themselves, and it could be argued that in lower grades it's the parents (as guardians of their children's education). Hmmm: a scenario in which the teams and the customer are one in the same. Sounds too good to be true. But if it can be "enabled" it can be magical.

Picture what students emerging from 12 (or 20 years) of managing their own education, in collaboration with and enabled by their teachers, would be like. What CEO could resist hiring a cohort like that?

So when and where do we start?

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