• Joshua Ehrenreich

Learning faster, exciting problems, and 10x-ing Organizational Behaviors.

use beacon projects to 10x organizational behaviors
Image by Evgeni Tcherkasski from Pixabay

Another good meeting for the Psychological Safety Podcast Club last week. We listened to a podcast by IDEO U—This is the Way Google & IDEO Foster Creativity. Lots of great stuff in this podcast, here are a few themes from our discussion.

Shorter Arcs

The interviewees frequently highlighted the importance of shorter, smaller, faster initiatives. We loved the quote, ‘It doesn’t feel like failing when you’re failing in a week or a day’ instead of a quarter or year. Consciously plan projects and sprints to be shorter, so you can learn faster. This way, it will feel more like intentional learning rather than a big sore failure.

People want to work on exciting problems

Big surprise, right? The importance for leaders, whether people-leaders or thought-leaders, to frame how and why the work matter is well documented.

Often this meaningful work has a certain amount of space for creativity and autonomy, offering some contrast to the monotony of 'pushing paper.’ This creativity helps us internalize that we are adding value to the job rather than holding space until automated away.

Beacon Projects to affect organizational change

Beacon projects are focused on 10x-ing organizational behavior. We loved this idea and felt it could be integrated into our work.

There are many case studies on organizational change, but here’s an excerpt from How to Create Change in Your Organization by IDEO U talking about beacon projects specifically:

"One story of leading change through influence comes from an IDEO client working across a siloed company. She used one small change, a weekly team update, to get more inter-business unit collaboration. She invited colleagues from other businesses to join her team's regular weekly meeting. Those who showed up realized how similar the challenges were across the businesses. This led to an increase in project collaboration and learning from each other’s work.”

Want to read a more detailed case study on the use of beacon projects to driving sustainable transformation? Check out this case study published by the Accelerated Delivery Program at GlaxoSmithKline, discussing beacon projects as a key component in an organizational change initiative.

Do you have an example of a beacon project (or any project designed to test organizational behaviors and norms) to share? Post it below! I'd love to read and hear more.

Want to join us at our next Psychological Safety Podcast Club? Our next episode is about having tricky conversations in those environments that aren't psychologically safe. It's on Thursday, May 5/14: 12:15-1 pm PST. Drop a note in the comments if you'd like to join.

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