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The Organizational Chart is dead – Bring on People Value!

Org Charts – Order from Chaos?

Org chart
Image by jonny goldstein via Flickr

The company I work for has undergone many changes in the last 3 years. Many of these changes have seen people move from manager to manager and/or team to team.

During these cycles of change there tends to be much unrest. People are used to order and structure; these changes introduce dynamic situations which lead to uncertainty. As a consequence it’s quite normal for people to search for order. One of those ways is to look for an organizational chart which will describe where either they or their manager sit in the hierarchy and therefore provide some form of assurance that they are still relevant in their organization.

Throw away your Org Chart

What use does it serve? Think about what value it really offers – for example, how often do you refer to any org chart that is published? Here’s what I mean:

Traditional Org Chart Item
Traditional Org Chart Item

This is an example of how my Org chart entry would read. It tells you only that I’m a program manager. Great. Tells me nothing of value. There’s no concept of what value I add to the organisation or any other relevant information.

Additionally, Org charts don’t tend to be searchable – something that you might hope would redeem their purpose.

There is no Org Chart – Time to empower the people!

Now let’s put a spin on this – here’s what we should move to:

No more Org Chart - People Value!

This is no longer part of any Org Chart; this is my profile. This tells you now not just what my current professional position relates to but also what past experience and personal interests I have. This metadata is also now searchable (the hashtags are twitter-esque to represent this) so anyone in the organisation can now find me based off the rich set of data I have added to my profile.So now the concept of putting this in situ of an Org chart now seems less relevant. I’ve provided the key information for anyone in my organisation (or if such a thing were possible – to partners and clients – or anyone!), anywhere in the world to find me against a topic or subject I either have an interest in or can offer support, advice or other words of encouragement. This is far more valuable from the offset and creates empowerment for employees to feel they have access to discover and create networks enterprise-wide, get informed and build relationships without formal structure which limits and offers little intrinsic value. This in turn unlocks knowledge coffins that beset many organisations, enabling more people to be more knowledgeable. As the CEO of HP once said “If HP knew what HP knows, we’d be three times more knowledgeable”.

This is just the beginning

This forms part of a bigger picture of what is essential called Enterprise 2.0 or Social Media; creating data which is searchable and consumable allowing the creation of networks of people that previously would not be possible is incredibly powerful. However this empowerment can cause traditional company culture to baulk at the thought that employees now have the power to shape and adapt the very same corporate culture they are trying to control. This is a snowball that is still fairly small but is rapidly gaining speed and size. Visionary groups such as Gartner and Forrester are predicting that companies will either adapt to this way of thinking of sink in a mire as employees circumvent their archaic processes (see Yammer) to create their own social networks. Microsoft, Oracle and IBM are three huge players who also recognise this trend and are readying their offerings through 2010 and beyond – this is just the beginning.

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How to avoid paying more than you need to for HDMI cables

Macbook Connection to HDMI TV (Fascinated Kevin)
Image by kprogram via Flickr

I needed to get some HDMI cables for my new PS3/AV setup. Took a trip to Fry‘s electronics who, whilst not the cheapest are usually reasonable – and local.

After browsing around I was shocked to see that they would have the audacity to charge $40+ for 6ft cables. 12-15ft cables were running around $70-80 which struck me as crazy, so I left the store and decided to check Amazon.com in case I could find a cheaper alternative.

Sure enough, Amazon could offer me a 15ft HDMI cable for $4.00 – you read that right – FOUR US DOLLARS. Here’s the cable I bought. Fitted it to the AV equipment and everything worked just fine.

So why is it that other cables are expensive? An HDMI cable is by definition just like any other cable that is used to transmit data – it needs to have a quality signal i.e. not have any noise/interference from other devices. The cheaper HDMI cable I bought had gold plated connectors and seemed to be well constructed. Manufacturers such as Monster Cables suggest their products are far superior as they have high quality connectors and the wires are shielded.

There’s also lots of marketing around the different HDMI cables you can buy – some have “PS3/XBOX 360 ready” or some other kind of  spin that suggests they have the edge over other products. Ignore this. The only significant thing to consider is that you’ll either buy HDMI 1.3 or HDMI 1.4 cables. The difference is in the slight configuration change of the cable. HDMI 1.3 should be more than sufficient for your needs unless there’s something you feel would benefit from HDMI 1.4.

Audioholics has written up a few articles which will shed a lot of light on this subject:

HDMI speed explained

General cable / HDMI articles

I also picked up an HDMI port switcher for US$19.00 which lets me connect 3 HDMI devices and output the signal of the most recently switched on unit.

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27 songs for the ultimate Brit Pop/Rock playlist

When going through my iPod songs I realised there are a lot of British bands that produce some awesone songs and decided to put together my ultimate playlist for playing at gentleman’s parties, etc. There is one exception to this list of artists… I included The Killers who actually hail from Las Vegas… I think they’re style is very British in keeping with peers such as Kasabian, Franz Ferdinand, etc. Here’s what I have so far… I’m sure there are some I’m missing, so if you’d like to suggest some too…. all but one have their YouTube videos too … which was nice.

1. Squeeze – Up The Junction

2. Ultravox – Hymn (Vienna is too slow!)

3. Republica – Ready to Go

4. Supergrass – Alright

5. Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue – The Kids are Alright**

6. Stereophonics -Local Boy in the Photograph

7. The Cult – Sun King

8. Sisters of Mercy – Temple of Love (’92)

9. Carter USM – Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere

10. The Doves – The Pounding

11. David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure

12. EMF – Unbelievable

13. Feeder – Just a Day (awesome video btw)

14. Hard-Fi – Living for the weekend (now you know where this blog title came from!)

15. Kaiser Chiefs – I predict a riot

16. Kasabian – Club Foot

17. The Wonderstuff – Unbearable

18. The Killers – Mr Brightside

19. Manic Street Preachers – From Despair to Where

20. The Metal Gurus – Blockbuster* – can’t find a YT of it but here’s something else

21. Muse – Time is running out

22. Franz Ferdinand – Take me out

23. Ride – Twisterella

24. Scouting for Girls – She’s so lovely

25, Sugarbabes – Freak Like Me

26. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

And one to close out….

27. Pink Floyd – High Hopes – Although a little bit depressing for some, this song always takes my mind back to my childhood – and the reason is the bell sound; sounds exactly like the church bell that used to ring behind my grandparents cottage in Kirtlington. Looking back it makes me appreciate what a blessed childhood I had with my family. Anyway, here’s the live version too – didn’t know GIlmour used that instrument to do the solo… Although not generally a Floyd fan, I also love the live version of Comfortably Numb…. awesome guitar from 5:00 onwards. Genius!

Here’s the lyrics from “High” that particularly reverberate:

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
The taste was sweeter
The nights of wonder
With friends surrounded
The dawn mist glowing
The water flowing
The endless river

Adding more!

Radiohead – You Do It To Yourself

* The Metal Gurus were a side project for The Mission UK where they covered some of their favourite glam rock songs

** I’m not a big Robbie fan but this does have that good feel to it … the sort of good feel you find towards the end of a night at your favourite disco stroke club stroke wedding.

Bands that did not feature

U2 – South of the border Irish and therefore not a part of the UK 🙂

Keane – Some awesome tracks but I don’t think they’re really ones that make you want to bop around and pretend that you’re 18 again.