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Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
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Connecting #Holacracy with #VSM (Viable System Model) – there’s hope yet!

I’ve been reading quite some stuff recently on Holacracy, and I think it would make for a very nice mashup with the Viable System Model. Here’s how:

  • The circles look a lot to me like Systems 1 and a hierarchy of them (super-circles, sub-circles) smells like VSM recursive levels to me. If you add that you can have Cross Link representatives (connecting circles that are not hierarchically connected), that starts to looks like true recursivity to me.
  • Then, you have the “process breakdown” part of the constitution that, to me again, is a way to detect unmatched variety at some level and pass it up the hierarchy/recursivity for managing (System 2)
  • And of course, the Lead Link/Rep Link roles match somewhat naturally with the vertical channels: the ones going down from system 3 to System 1 and up through System 2 as well.
  • Separation between operational meetings and governance meetings would fit well with an S3/S1 separation as well
  • Holacracy incorporates some features of the personal productivity method “Getting Things Done” (GTD) from David Allen, and this obviously would make for a very nice addition to a VSM-based organization (or any other one for that matter).

Indeed, Holacracy looks like a very nice way of running a VSM at whatever level you consider it. Where people might mismatch a VSM organization for a hierarchical one, having circles one inside another as a way to feature the recursive nature of VSM and at the same time having each circle functioning as a viably entity in its own would be a great addition. Holacracy doesn’t address the viability of circles explicitly, yet it provides for some nice alerting mechanisms (algedonic signals in VSM terms) that would allow to bootstrap viability.

Where VSM brings a bit more to the picture, to me, is with its specific focus on the Environment (bringing the outside in, something that Steve Denning identified on Forbes) and the explicit focus on the Future and Ethos through System 4 and 5.

What do you think?

Getting Things Done (#GTD) : l’art de l’efficacité sans stress | @ShakeYourMindFr

Voici des explications et une présentation de GTD en Français: Getting Things Done (GTD) : l’art de l’efficacité sans stress | Shake Your Mind.

À comparer à mes divers documents publiés sur Slideshare.

Le site contient des informations intéressantes et utiles sur plusieurs sujets, expliquées en profondeur (Pareto, Mindmaps, Process Com, etc.) Faites-y un tour!



My GTD documents on SlideShare

I just uploaded my GTD documents (mostly in french, sorry) on Slideshare here: My GTD documents on SlideShare.

You’ll be able to find:

  • presentations (slides)
  • coaching questions (excerpted from online sources, referenced)
  • Job Breakdown Sheets for those willing to coach or train others (à la TWI)
  • summary leaflets
  • etc.



Décomposition des tâches #GTD nouvelle version en français

September 19th, 2012 Posted in GTD Tags: , , , ,

Je viens de me rendre compte que j’avais fait une mise à jour de ma décomposition “job breakdown” de GTD depuis la 1re version.

La nouvelle décompose chacune des cinq étapes du processus (collecter, identifier, organiser, faire, revoir). Cela peut servir :

  • comme memento si vous avez oublié certains points
  • pour présenter GTD à quelqu’un en étant sûr de n’avoir rien oublié
  • comme support de formation (attention, pour vendre une formation, il vous faudra une certification “train the trainer” auprès de DavidCo)
  • pour vous tester afin de vérifier que vous n’oubliez rien dans votre pratique de GTD 😉

Voici le document.: STD GTD Job Breakdown Sheet v2.4 FR

Pour rappel, j’ai un autre site où je diffuse gratuitement plusieurs documents que j’ai créé autour de GTD:

#GTD: the power of paper a @nytimes paper

September 18th, 2012 Posted in GTD, Lean Tags: , , , ,

Here’s a paper on the power of paper over digital (IT) stuff when it comes to getting things done. Obviously, the same goes with Lean Visual Performance Management: when you have it on paper in front of your face all day long, including physically writing your performance (in good: yay! or in bad: yuck!), it makes a huge difference.

Serve. Aspire. Transcend. @JonathanFields

January 13th, 2012 Posted in Change, GTD, Personal Development Tags: , , , ,

I read few reviews of people on blogs or Internet at large. I can barely, if at all, identify with those. Indeed, that’s not what they’re for anyway (why the hell are they published at all is something I still wonder…)

But the 2011 annual review by Jonathan Fields is of a different, mind-blowing, kind.

Although giving personal insight views of how he managed his life and businesses (yes, plural!) last year, it’s also full of suggestions and comments that give you a thrill. Because you know you can be part of that too.

Just the title of his review is thrusting: Serve. Aspire. Transcend.

Isn’t this in itself a summary of all positive psychology, strength-based, psychotherapy, life coaching books you had seen in the past few years?

Serve others, Aspire to more and Transcend yourself...

To best serve yourself, serve others first.

Give first to be given.

And aim at excellence. Not just big.

Wouldn’t it make for a powerful driving force if adopted as an organizational vision?

Would you like your company to just beat its competitors or Transcend and Inspire its market?

I know what I’d choose.

That too works on a personal level. Do review your personal vision (from a 50,000 feet perspective as advocated by GTD). It should be a vision, but is it a BHAG (Big Hairy and Audacious Goal)? If not, think bigger. And Bigger. And BIGGER. Until you get to that “woah” moment: there you are: aim for this!


Advantage of the lastest version of #Autofocus (superfocus) over #GTD

People that know me a bit know that I’m a big fan of GTD (Getting Things Done), the personal productivity methodology created by David Allen. However, that did not prevent me from trying a few other approaches, one of them being “AutoFocus” by Mark Forster (please note that there is now a new system: SuperFocus).

Although GTD undoubtedly helped my greatly reduce the level of stress associated with all my work to do, I still sometimes feel the problem of procrastination. Having all my commitments written down allows me to relax and… do something else! Indeed, I work better under pressure, so this is not really a problem. Yet, sometimes, I envy people who can just crush through things and get them done.

This is where AutoFocus comes to play for me. Out of its simplicity (as compared to GTD; yet, I’m convinced that GTD is easy and I wrote about this earlier here – David Allen himself tells it!) there’s a rule that forces its users to achieve some things. That rule states that you can’t turn a page until you’ve worked on all of the right column (urgent or stuff not yet finished).

This is powerful! As you know there are other things you would like to work on other pages, you’re forced by the system to first finish urgent or previous stuff.

Indeed, this refrain yourself from going too fast and thus creates an expectation feeling. By forcing you to slow down it indeed speeds up the finishing of tasks. Really what I needed!

Of course, it won’t prevent anyone from surfing and emailing, but at least, some more things will get done.

What’s more, you can combine this with GTD by forcing yourself to work at least on one task on each page of your GTD system (which is easy with mine since it’s paper-based).

Now, in “pure GTD”, if you feel like you can relax and do something else, it also means that you trust your system and that, being confident about your plate of work, doing something else is actually the best thing to do now!

#GTD and #SolutionFocus: doing what works for you!

September 28th, 2011 Posted in GTD, Solution Focus Tags: ,

In this somewhat different post from what I’m used to publish, I’d like to give some highlight on Getting Things Done (GTD) which I’m practicing since 2006 (5 years as of today!) which unbeatable success.

GTD is an approach (some say a method) to personal productivity which allows you to get things done without the traditional accompanying stress (hence its subtitle: “stress free productivity“). I need to say this is absolutely true and GTD changed my life for the better!

Now, a lot of people are reluctant to doing GTD because they feel it overwhelming: lots of lists, lots of writing stuff down (or entering in a PDA or smartphone) and, in the end, lots of thinking. That’s true. Yet, when one think of it, there’s nothing new as compared to what people are usually doing when they’re starting to feel stressed by their work (beside, home stuff is still some work to do).

Indeed, I claim that GTD is the result of applying the principles of Solution Focus to personal productivity and stress reduction techniques.

On Actions

What do people do when they feel overwhelmed by all the stuff they need to do?

They write it down onto lists!

And what increases the chances of an Action to be done? That there is no thinking left as to what needs to be done. Hence the stress on Next physical actions as opposed to just “stuff” written done on a list. Stuff isn’t done, actions are.

On Lists

What do people do when they have too much of different things?

They make different lists!

Do you write your shopping list on the same page as your office lists or on your gardening list? Probably not, because you create lists that depend on Contexts: stuff that you can only activate when in the proper context.

With respect to gardening, should you need some fertilizer, chances are you’ll note it on your shopping list and put “Spread fertilizer” on your gardening list.

This is exactly what GTD urges you to do…

  • Contexts (and Agenda) lists are used to separate actions that can’t be done because they mandate different places, tools or people
  • Someday/maybe list is some things you don’t need to see often but need to store somewhere nonetheless
  • Waiting For lists are to be reviewed to remind people (or yourself) of pending stuff so that your brain doesn’t have to remember that all the time
  • Calendar is a special form of context where you note actions (“meetings”) at specific dates and times to be automatically reminded when they’re due

On Outcomes

How many times have you been asked in business settings to apply the SMART criteria to tasks and objectives? This is exactly what GTD asks you when you’re asked to think about the Outcome of your Actions and Projects (or to your Horizons of Focus on a different level).

On Projects

When it comes to projects, all that GTD advocates for is to gather all project related stuff into one place and write Next Actions to the context they belong to (ie, what is most efficient to ensure they’ll be done).

On Horizons of Focus

Horizons of Focus is just GTD way of sorting the short from medium and long-term stuff. What you want to get done now depends on where you want to be later. So one’s has better to identify that later as soon and as clearly as possible before going in the wrong direction (which is demoralizing so say the least and hinder doing of actions)

On Review

We all know life’s full of surprises and sometimes you get caught in the whirl of life. You get lost with yourself. So, what works for re-centering yourself? Reviewing of course!

  • review of your lists (to mark what’s been done)
  • emptying your head again to get clear
  • review your horizons of focus to stay current with where you want to go

Frankly, in 5 years of GTD, I’ve never found the system unbearable or some kind of lists useless. I may not use all contexts (I don’t use Phone for instance) and my Errands-for-tonight-after-work ends up as a Post-It™ in my shirt jacket, but all of GTD is useful and easy to do (also here by David Allen himself)!

GTD is nothing that you’re not already doing by yourself, systematized.

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