Management Innovation – Internet Time Blog Thu, 05 Nov 2015 01:35:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Last days of the world’s fastest ocean liner Fri, 09 Oct 2015 18:48:58 +0000 Continue reading Last days of the world’s fastest ocean liner ]]> states

On its inaugural voyage in 1952, the sleek S.S. United States set the record for an Atlantic crossing (3 1/2 days) and more than sixty years later, the record still stands.

The United States was the Concorde of its day: high tech, expensive, and luxurious, the fastest way across the ocean. Made of lightweight aluminum with R&D funded by the Department of Defense (since the United States could be converted into the world’s fastest troop ship.)


In June 1958,  my father, a career Army officer, was transferred to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) just outside Paris. We were to travel on the S.S. United States!

Right before departure, a general officer decided to fly instead of sail, and we were upgraded to First Class. Another military brat and I landed our own cabin. We went to see the movie Run Silent Run Deep four times. Burt Lancaster was aboard but we never got to talk with him.

By the way, our household furniture traveled with us, in two humongous crates stored in the hold.


I learned to eat in the First Class dining room of the S.S. United States. Caviar, squab under glass, beef Wellington, tornedos Rossini, sorbet. The waiters encouraged me to order everything I might want to try. I took them up on it.

One evening we had just sat down to dinner when the ship rolled 20 degrees starboard. Every plate on the tables crashed to the floor. Half the guests left immediately. The crew installed ropes along the halls and stairways so you could cling when the ship lurched back and forth violently.  North Atlantic storms are vicious.

No one saw this coming. Today we’d get amber alerts on our smartphones before hitting the bad weather.


Photo from The New York Times, October 9, 2015

The S.S. United States sailed its last voyage in 1969.  Various groups have tried to save it but they’ve run out of money. The S.S. United States will either be moored in concrete or, more likely, cut into pieces and sold for scrap.

Given a choice of speed or luxury, people opted for speed, and airplanes wiped out transoceanic cruises.

This is but one more example of technology knocking the stuffing out of an entire category, wiping out the best performers at the same time as the worst. Remember typewriters?



Souvenirs: excerpts from Jay’s 2013 graphics files Mon, 23 Dec 2013 20:30:41 +0000

Hard numbers on soft skills Wed, 20 Nov 2013 20:11:20 +0000 Continue reading Hard numbers on soft skills ]]> Google is all about the numbers. Questioning the value of management, the Googlers founded Project Oxygen to investigate the characteristics of successful and less successful managers.

Employee surveys and performance reviews pinpointed eight key behaviors of the company’s most effective managers.

A good manager:

1. Is a good coach
2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage (See the sidebar “How Google Defines One Key Behavior”)
3. Expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
4. Is productive and results-oriented
5. Is a good communicator—listens and shares information
6. Helps with career development
7. Has a clear vision and strategy for the team
8. Has key technical skills that help him or her advise the team

Now each manager receives specific feedback on items such as:

“My manager has frequent 1:1’s.”

“My manager provides difficult feedback constructively.”

“My managers helps me understand how my work impacts the organization.”

Managers’ scores have been rising across the organization.

For more information, see David Garvin’s HBR article How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management

Return on Intangibles Mon, 07 Oct 2013 02:15:19 +0000 Continue reading Return on Intangibles ]]> This article appears in the October 2013 issue of Chief Learning Officer.

Understanding learning’s value depends on measuring what can’t be touched. 

In his marvelous book Intellectual Capital, Tom Stewart asked, What’s new? Simply this: Because knowledge has become the single most important factor of production, managing intellectual assets has become the single most important task of business.”

In the last twenty years of the twentieth century, Wall Street investors changed the way they determined what a company was worth. That’s why Return on Intangibles is the most important metric in the CLO’s toolkit.

In the Industrial Age, tangible assets produced wealth, so investors put their money on plant and equipment. In the Network Era, know-how, innovation, and relationships became the keys to profitability, and investors began to value these invisible things more than physical assets. Things you couldn’t see (intangibles) became more valuable than things you could see and touch (tangibles).

In 1980, tangible assets accounted for 80% of the market cap of companies in the S&P 500. In a scant two decades, an amazing flip-flop took place. By 1999, intangible assets accounted for 80% of the value of the market. Instead of relying investing in expectation of a continuation of a stable past, investors began betting on the future.

In a scant two decades at the end of the twentieth century, an amazing flip-flop took place. Investors who had put their money predictable output began betting on the future. In 1980, tangible assets accounted for 80% of the market cap of companies in the S&P 500. By 1999, the situation was reversed, with intangible assets accounting for 80% of the value of the market.

That change in what investors value is fundamental to understanding return on investment, but sadly many L&D managers are saddled with outmoded, mid-twentieth century notions and procedures that don’t value intangibles at all.

Mechanically, intellectual capital is a company’s market capitalization (its value on the stock market) less its book value (the value reported on its balance sheet). When I attended business school in the seventies, nobody had this anomaly figured out. Shouldn’t stockholder’s equity be marked to market? The historical figures on the balance sheet failed to report what a company was worth.

Intellectual capital comes in several forms. Human Capital is the know-how and abilities of an organization’s people; Relational Capital is personal and business links to customers, partners, and suppliers; and Structural Capital is the infrastructure, processes, culture, and intellectual property that define how the organization operates.

Intellectual capital is largely a matter of mind and relationships. It’s impossible to measure directly, but you know in your heart that it’s real. What’s more important, the plant or the people? Where’s the real value to come from? The biggest upside is improving know-how, relationships, and processes; that’s what gives investors the confidence to up their ante.

Yet some experts tell CLOs not to quantify the returns on intangibles. Fearing a lack of precision in assessing their value, they leave them out of Return on Investment calculations entirely.

Business people love the security of firm numbers: they feel objective, even when they’re not the right numbers. The downside is that leaving intangibles out of the equation almost guarantees that they will not receive the attention they deserve, leading to unbalanced and suboptimal decisions.

Most business managers recognize that they’re managing a living organization, not a balance sheet, but many managers of L&D are still in a fog. Why? Because they’ve learned a narrow view of Return on Investment, namely ROI as seen through the eyes of a bank loan officer.

Commercial loan officers want assurance that if a loan goes south, they will be able to get their money back. Presumably, a borrower who cannot repay a loan is in trouble, perhaps bankrupt. The business is headed down the tubes. The banker looks at “liquidation value.” What could the bank sell the pieces of the company for? What can be salvaged?

In a fire sale intangibles are worthless. The Human Capital has already walked out the door. Relationships are frayed and there’s no one to maintain them. Brand is tarnished. Perhaps some IP and proprietary processes can be sold off at a discount but you can’t bank on it.

Were I evaluating a company in foreclosure, I’d list intangibles off to the side because I wouldn’t expect to be able to liquidate them.

When I’m working with a going concern, it’s the opposite. I pay more attention to leveraging the intangibles because that’s where the big upside resides.



50 suggestions for implementing 70-20-10 Sat, 06 Apr 2013 21:11:28 +0000 Continue reading 50 suggestions for implementing 70-20-10 ]]> Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. implementing 70-20-10 is not simple. Sharing 50 suggestions on putting 70-20-10 to work has consumed five posts spread over two months. Today the series is complete. Here’s what you’ll find:

Post 1   Post 2   Post 3   Post 4   Post 5

Post 1 People learn their jobs by doing their jobs. Effective managers make stretch
assignments and coach their team members. Experience is the teacher, and managers shape their teammembers’ experiences. Knowledge work has evolved into keeping up and taking advantage of connections. We learn to do the job on the job. To stay ahead and create more value, you have to learn faster, better, smarter.

The Coherent OrganizationAs standalone companies realize that they’re really extended enterprises, co-learning with customers and stakeholders becomes important as everyone faces the future together. Players throughout the corporate ecosystem need to be operating on the same wave-length. This can only happen when we’re adapting to the future, i.e. learning, at the same pace.Internally, everyone needs to stay current.

These posts offer guidance to managers who want to make learning from experience and conversation more effective. Replacing today’s haphazard approaches with systematic, enlightened management accelerates the development of future workers and gets the entireorganization working smarter. The potential is great.

Among the organizations that have adopted the 70:20:10 approach are Nike, Dell, Goldman Sachs, Mars, Maersk, Nokia, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, L’Oréal, Adecco, Banner Health, Bank of America, National Australia Bank, Boston Scientific, American Express, Wrigley, Diageo, BAE Systems, ANZ Bank, Irish Life, HP, Freehills, Caterpillar, Barwon Water, CGU, Coles, Sony Ericsson, Standard Chartered, British Telecom, Westfield, Wal-Mart, Parsons Brinkerhoff, and Coca-Cola.

Charles Jennings made 70:20:10 a guiding philosophy of learning during his eight-year tenure as Chief Learning Officer at Reuters, the world’s largest information company. (Disclosure: Charles and I are colleagues at the Internet Time Alliance. He is the world authority on 70:20:10 and these posts draw heavily on his work.)

Post 2 The 70 percent: learning from experience. People learn by doing. We learn from experience and achieve mastery through practice. Experience is a difficult task master. We learn more from making a mistake than from getting it right the first time. That’s why wise managers throw team members into stretch assignments. It accelerates learning. Being ejected from one’s comfort zone is why some say that the only thing worse than learning from experience is not learning from experience. Matching the most appropriately challenging experience to the developmental stage of the worker is the most powerful lever in the manager’s toolbox.

Charles Jennings reports that performance inevitably improves when managers ask their team members these three simple reflective questions:

  1. What are your reflections on what you’ve been doing since we last met.
  2. What would you do differently next time?
  3. What have you learned since we last met?

Post 3 The 20 percent: learning through others. Learning is social. People learn with and through others.

Conversations are the stem cells of learning. Effective managers encourage their team members to buddy up on projects, to shadow others and to participate in professional social networks. People learn more in an environment that encourages conversation, so make sure you’re fostering an environment where people talk to each other.

A Community of Practice (CoP) is a social network of people who identify with one another professionally (e.g. designers of logic chips) or have mutual interests (e.g. amateur photographers). Members of CoPs develop and share knowledge, values, recommendations and standards. An effective community of practice is like a beehive. It organizes itself, buzzes with activity and produces honey for the markets.

Post 4 Formal learning includes courses, workshops, seminars, online learning and certification training. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations aren’t using online learning to its full potential, and the results at those organizations reflect that. Learning expert Robert Brinkerhoff figures only about 15 percent of formal training lessons change behavior.12 This is a reflection of both formal learning creation and of the lack of focus on experiential and exposure learning. If what we learn is not reinforced with reflection and application, the lessons never make it into long-term memory.

Formal learning is typically conducted by an instructor. So why do we address it in a paper on managers? Because managers can make or break the success of formal learning programs. Research has found that the most important factor in translating formal learning into improved performance is the expectation set by managers before the training takes place13. Understanding the needs of the learners and following up after the event are also essential for formal learning success.

Post 5 You will need to become a champion for the new approach to developing talent. You must convince your sponsor that managers and supervisors are the linchpins to developing new talent. Without them, the company could find itself with nobody on the bench to take on future challenges. For your career, this lead role is high risk/high reward.

Managers have to learn how to develop their people. It doesn’t always come naturally, and managers can get too busy to pay much attention to it. Let them know you don’t expect them to train their people. Rather, they will set examples for their team; they will foster experiential learning by leading their team to tackle new challenges (the 70), by helping them reflect on the lessons of experience and by coaching them at every step (the 20), and by showing them how to get formal learning on the subject (the 10).

The Learning and Development Roundtable of the Corporate Leadership Council pinpointed three management practices that significantly improve performance.

  1. Setting clear expectations and explaining how performance will be measured.
  2. Providing stretch experiences that help their team members learn and develop.
  3. Taking time to reflect and help team members learn from experience.

Managers who set clear objectives and expectations and explain how they measure performance are much more likely to succeed. Their teams outperform their peers by 20%. That’s an extra day every week to get the job done (and engage in deep learning). Managers should make explicit why they’re assigning particular projects, what they expect people to learn and what sort of debrief will occur after the assignment.

The 70-20-10 model depends on L&D teaming up with managers to improve learning across the company, but often managers do not appreciate how vitally important they are in growing their people. This is the absolute, must-do secret to success to improving learning and development. Frontline managers must take this as the very definition of manager: someone who develops others by challenging them with assignments that stretch them to the point of flow17. This takes a can-do manager who knows how coaching creates mental models and habits, how motivation activates a chain of high-performance activities and what success habits their team members need to adopt.

Charles Jennings says that the role that managers play is far more important than that of Learning and Development or HR. Your role is to help managers learn that:

  • People learn from experience.
  • Managers shape the experience of the people on their team.
  • Experience coupled with reflection sticks lessons in memory.
  • Daily mid-course correction is much more powerful than after-the-fact reviews.
  • Every project they assign is a potential learning experience for their team members.


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Can your team’s marriage be saved? Mon, 25 Feb 2013 23:51:37 +0000 Continue reading Can your team’s marriage be saved? ]]> clo_logo_sm (1)Can This Marriage Be Saved?
by Jay Cross

Return to:


The National Institute of Mental Health spent millions of your tax dollars to build John and Julie Gottman a Love Lab. At the lab, personnel observed thousands of couples. They shot video, monitored heart rates, jitteriness and skin conductivity. They amassed recordings of hundreds of couples interacting at different times in their relationships.

The couples in the videos were engaged in 15-minute conversations — with their clothes on. Nonetheless, the results were quite revealing.

John Gottman ran the numbers and isolated one factor that enabled him to correctly predict which marriages would end in divorce nine times out of 10. Julie kids John that this is why they are not invited to dinner parties. His first study predicted divorce rates with 93.6 percent accuracy.

John Gottman has written 40 books and 190 academic articles on marital relationships and has appeared on the “Today” show and “Oprah,” and in The New York Times, Psychology Today and the Ladies Home Journal. Nobody knows more about what makes or breaks a relationship.

The Gottmans found that:

• Happily married couples behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways.
• Happily married couples are able to repair negative interactions during an argument, and they are able to process negative emotions fully.

Here’s how to predict the success or failure of a marriage: While watching the 45 minutes of video conversation, count the number of times positive emotions such as joy, interest, contentment or love are expressed. Then count negatives like anxiety, sadness, anger and despair. If the ratio of positive to negative emotions falls below 3, this marriage is doomed. Most marriages rate a 5.

Why is this earth-shatteringly important to a CLO? Because the same scheme can predict the likelihood a work team will thrive or languish. The CLO’s role is to ensure that individuals, teams and their entire organization are productive. Influencing their emotional well-being does precisely that.

Most real work and learning these days takes place in close-knit teams. In business, no single person creates value; it takes a village. If teams become dispirited, ideas cease to flow, morale plummets and productivity disappears in a downward spiral of gloom. Many companies are dying a slow, lingering death because their teams lost their way as the world changed from logical and predictable to random and full of surprises.

Keeping teams energized is everyone’s job in a networked organization. We’ve got to help one another. Members of teams need to act like wives and husbands in flourishing marriages. Behave like good friends. Watch out for negatives — they are toxic and contagious. Encourage positive emotion. Be considerate.

Researcher Marcial Losada and psychologist Barbara Fredrickson found that the ratio of positive to negative emotions, known as the positivity ratio, predicts the success or failure of business teams.

Losada invited 60 business teams to use his executive conference room for strategy sessions. Observers coded positive and negative emotions from behind two-way mirrors. When they ran the data, they found that a positivity ratio of 2.9013 was a tipping point. Any less positivity than that, and if the team does not change, it fails. The more positive members are, the better the team.

Gottman and Losada show us it takes three or more positive outbursts to make the same impact as one negative one. Anthropologists explain that we evolved to trust negative information more than positive. Back on the savanna, people who avoided danger by taking threats seriously had better odds of surviving to contribute to the gene pool.

The word “businesslike” is almost universally taken to mean free from emotion. That’s why workers are disengaged and that’s what’s been wrong in general: we’ve treated people like cogs in the business machine. If we treat people — leaders, workers, managers, customers, all of us — like people, everyone will prosper.

Have you taken the emotional pulse of your critical teams lately? Saving important corporate marriages and accelerating the breakup of doomed relationships could be the one of the most important contributions you can make.

Jay Cross is CEO of Internet Time Group and a thought leader in informal learning and organizational performance.




Innovation + Quality Fri, 08 Feb 2013 23:28:58 +0000 linqlogo

Learning Innovations and Quality Conference: “The Future of Digital Resources”

LINQ is the only European conference to cover both Learning Innovations and Learning Quality.

I will deliver the opening keynote on Friday, May 17th, at the Global Headquarters of United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.



Reinventing management, the Stoos movement Sat, 26 Jan 2013 20:22:05 +0000 Continue reading Reinventing management, the Stoos movement ]]> Full house (10) for today’s Hangout on Air. I don’t know how many watched on YouTube.

We had a good discussion of the Stoos Movement and combining agile with management. Or replacing management with agile.


Slides from Hangout:
[slideshare id=16193869&doc=stoossummary-130126132103-phpapp02]

Transcript from Hangout:

You invited people into the hangout.

Peter Isackson

9:49 AM

Hi Jay

You invited people into the hangout.

Loretta Donovan

10:37 AM

Given my audio issues, I’ll text. In the healthcare industry, there is agile behavior without agile management.

Individual performers (nurses, MDs, technicians) need to be aware of the results of their actions. But leadership does not.

Bjorn Billhardt

10:40 AM

Great listening to everyone – my plane is leaving so I have to log off. Thanks for organizing Jay!

Loretta Donovan

10:42 AM

Tenure, academic publishing, the “old boys club” are holding back the business schools.

Jim McGee

10:43 AM

@Loretta – excellent point about existing organizational reward systems

Loretta Donovan

10:45 AM

I’m seeing the Boards of some organizations playing a greater role in shifting management models.

Most of that is caused by the economics of doing business.


10:46 AM

Jeff— The guy in Seattle who has used agile throughout his organization is Bill Justice. I’ll try to track down his coordinates.

Jim McGee

10:46 AM

Boards have the advantage of being more aware of the external environment than management

Loretta Donovan

10:46 AM

Jim, I agree.

Jim McGee

10:47 AM

time for us all to reread Alinky’s “Rules for Radicals”

Loretta Donovan

10:49 AM


Jeff Tillett

10:58 AM

This was great Jay thanks for sharing the conversation as always!

Peter Isackson
11:01 AM
I have to leave. Thanks. Bye.

Loretta Donovan
11:02 AM
Excellent point, Dave.

Dave Ferguson
11:03 AM
Thank you all. Jay, I appreciate the invitation.

Anne Adrian
11:04 AM
thank you; interesting perspectives..always learning

Loretta Donovan
11:04 AM
Great discussion, everyone. Thanks, Jay.

Jeff Tillett
11:04 AM
Great hangout everyone!

Janet Laane Effron
11:04 AM
Thanks! Nice to have had the chance to stop in

Jim McGee
11:04 AM
thanks Jay as always for your enterpreneurial energy


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World Stoos Day Thu, 24 Jan 2013 22:52:05 +0000 Continue reading World Stoos Day ]]> Stoos (rhymes with close or dose) is a mountain village of 100 inhabitants at 1,300 metres in the center of Switzerland. People come to ski.



A year ago, twenty of us met on the mountaintop in Stoos to imagine management and business anew. Peter Stevens sent invitations:

Steve Denning, Jurgen Appelo, Franz Röösli and Peter Stevens are pleased to personally invite you to a spontaneous weekend in the mountains. Our goal is to bring together a group of (no more than) 20 (thought) leaders from around the world in business, IT, and human development. We have a nice hotel, ski slopes, a spa, and a conference room. 20 cool people and 2 days. What will come out of it? I hope you will join us to create something wonderful (or just have a good time)!

This first meeting has become known as the Stoos Gathering. Here’s Steve Denning’s description and a few snapshots.

s5 hotel

Everyone has his or her special twist on this Stoss-thing. Half the attendees were authors and we have our opinions.


For me, Steve Denning’s Radical Management covers most of the bases.




Come to our birthday party and symposium, Stoos Connect, . LIVE.

Things kick off at 3:00 pm Friday in Amsterdam. That’s 6:00 am in San Francisco, but I plan to be there.

Latest on today’s activities, via Steve Denning:

The event features a great speaker lineup, including Roger Martin (dean of the Rotman School of Business), Dan Pink (author of Drive), Jurgen Appelo (Management 3.0) and Lisa Earle McLeod (author of Selling With Noble Purpose). (My talk is expected to be around 14.25 US ET.)

Interestingly, Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman Business School, will be giving his talk from Davos. Hopefully he will share his thoughts on how “the sybaritic gabfest known as the World Economic Forum” relates to the Stoos movement.

The conference will start at 15:00 Amsterdam time (US ET 9am) and run till 21:15 (US ET 15.15)

Need homework? Steve Denning recommends:

Online, stay current with the Stoos Network on LinkedIn and #Stoos on Twitter.


The spirit of Stoos is still resounding in my head a year later.

Immediately after Stoos, I went to Lugano for a few days to reflect on the Agile movement, the Beyond Budgeting movement, the Management 3.0, Reinventing Management, and the Radical Management movement. I went into that delightful Flow feeling as I picked through dozens of wonderful, optimistic concepts.


Conclusions: Organizations are organisms, not machines. Those organisms are living networks of learners. Shareholder value is a con-game. The current system is irreparably broken.

Deep change doesn’t occur overnight (unless you witness a miracle); it soaks in. I think the spirit of Stoos got me so interested in the role of emotion in business and what happens when we trust workers to make their own decisions. I see everything though a clearer lens. Humans count.

Join us at the LIVE event. Tweet to #Stoos. See you online.


We’ll Hangout on Google at 10:00 am (Pacific) day after tomorrow to talk about what we heard on World Stoos Day and how it turns learning and development upside down.


Great, intimate professional gathering on talent management and learning Wed, 17 Oct 2012 00:24:01 +0000 Continue reading Great, intimate professional gathering on talent management and learning ]]> When people ask me what conferences they should attend, I tell them that small, intensive, participatory events work best for me. Most of these are invitation-only affairs. One exception, assuming you’re astute in talent management or corporate learning, is the annual Future of Talent Retreat.

This year will be the 8th Future of Talent Retreat. I’ve been to every one and will be attending this one in San Francisco, November 16-20.

Past attendees have included senior leaders and HR visionaries from Fortune 500, Global 100, and medium-sized companies from the United States, Australia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Dubai, and Singapore.

We have few presentations. Instead we engage in conversations and collaborative activities that will give you practical information to take back and use in your organization. We have great food, drink wonderful wine, and make long lasting friends.

This is a highly interactive, hands-on event where participants contribute and learn from each other as well as the faculty.