#Inspired2Achieve, take 2

Mt Kilimanjaro, here she comes …

In a previous note, I cited Leigh St John as an example of courage and perseverance.

She’s now gone fully public with her self challenge on behalf of those face life challenges … to climb Mt Kilimanjaro next year!  In her words:

“I want to be a role model for people with challenges – to be their ‘social proof’ that you can overcome obstacles and hurdles – and even climb a mountain… You just have to believe you can!”


Find out more about the back story and what she plans to do at http://leighstjohn.com/day-1-kilimanjaro/


I was recently quoted twice for the 35,000+ subscriber mrc Cup of Joe weekly article in an edition focusing on reducing application development bottlenecks:

“The craft of business analysis has degenerated into requirements writing and management in many companies,” explains Mike Russell, strategic consultant and best-selling author. “GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) still applies to application development. If businesses don’t make an effort to truly understand who the customers are and what they need, rather than basing products solely on internal thinking (“facts”) about what people think customers need, then applications development can speed up 1,000 times and still be a waste. The initial understanding should also be treated as an assumption and tested by market feedback.”

“Application development speed and capacity are usually NOT the issue,” says Russell. “The issue is that the business users’ requests are not prioritized and valued such that priorities are established and existing capacity is dedicated to higher value work, yielding better use and ROI of scarce development time. Every business has finite resources. If benefits/value are not established, then there is no way the business can rationally make decisions about how to use scarce resources, especially application development. Without valuation and associated prioritization, priorities are usually established by politics and the infamous ‘who yells the loudest’ methods. Also, there are no curbs on ‘business demands’ because no one knows what is reasonable.”

Read more, including quotes from Gartner and Forrester, at http://www.mrc-productivity.com/blog/2016/03/6-ways-to-reduce-application-development-bottlenecks/


Date: March 22, 2016
Appearance: 6 ways to reduce application development bottlenecks
Outlet: mrc's Cup of Joe Blog

Lessons on Change … Don’t Change?

Reorg Rethink

To reorganize or not to reorganize (or “reorg” as often shortened in corporate speak) is a typical question on the minds of those who want to bring change to an organization.

Change or Not? Reorganization Rethink - Mike Russell

On the surface, it may seem like an easy answer … reorg.

However, the answer is not that simple and depends on the specific situation.

In Robert M. Gates’ new book, A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service, Mr. Gates recommends not changing the organization to bring about change.

I agree and disagree.

Continue Reading »

Describe a complete leadership development and succession pipeline

… and do it in the space of an article

The title refers to a media query for an article.  The query asked about pointers for companies wanting to build their “benches” by building a leadership development and succession pipeline.

How Do You Build a Leadership and Succession Pipeline? Mike Russell

Books could be written on the subject (and have …) given the breadth and depth of what a business might eventually need to know or do depending on circumstances.  Therefore, an article can only scratch the surface and provide some starting points.

However, just because installing an effective leadership pipeline can be daunting does not mean it should not be done.  The media query is right … companies without effective leadership pipelines are in jeopardy.

What would you include as key pipeline aspects or pointers?

Continue Reading »

Why Agile is Failing at Large Companies

(and what you can do so it won't fail at yours)

“Agile” has reached near hysteria levels.  Yet in many companies, agile approaches fail to live up to promise and certainly fail to live up to hype.  Why?

Colleague Geri Winters is formally launching her new book, the title and subtitle of which are the title of this insight.  Her book digs into the failures and what to do to avoid the same fate.



I had a chance to review the pre-launch edition, and here are my thoughts from my Amazon review:

A needed dose of reality for “agile” near hysteria …

Continue Reading »

Hacking the Human Mind for Wrong Until Right, part 2

The Power of Language to Help Bring About Change

Have you ever heard or read anything about personal motivation?  Have you noticed almost all types involve some aspect of what people say to others and themselves?  That language is important to motivation?  Why?

Hacking the Human Mind for Wrong Until Right - The Power of Language - Mike Russell

Mindset and language are linked.  What language or words people use has a great deal to do with how they view a situation and, correspondingly, how the situation affects them.  How they are affected has a bearing on resulting behavior.  Therefore, changing personal attitudes, exercise routines, diet, and other habits depends greatly on changing the thinking – the mindset – and the related language.

Changing to a “Wrong Until Right” mindset is no different.  We have difficulty changing our mindset long-term until we also change our language to complement and reinforce the mindset.  And, until our interactions with others involve different language, people will not know our mindset and related expectations are different.

Words like “plan,” “project,” and “budget” commonly connote facts, ability to achieve as initially laid out, and so on … manifestations of “right until wrong” thinking.

Continue Reading »

Hacking the Human Mind for Wrong Until Right – part 1

The Power of Language

Language has power.

Hacking the Human Brain for Wrong Until Right - The Power of Language on Mindset - Mike Russell

That was one of the messages in the last insight.  More specifically, it is that language has power as long as it has meaning.  The issue explored last time is how some words are being overused, misused, and watered down to the point where they lose power.

This time, we will continue the focus on language … specifically on words and their power to affect mindset.

Continue Reading »


courage and perseverance, personified

Most of us in the “first world” in general, and the United States in particular, have much to be thankful for despite headlines and our perceptions.

Inspired to Achieve - Courage and Perseverance - Mike Russell

We also have many stories of those in the past and today who truly exhibit courage and perseverance.  Yet, as with many words, “courage” and “perseverance” have been watered down through overuse and misuse.

Courage to get a cavity filled is not the same for most of us as courage to voice our convictions against the flow or to go into a burning building to rescue someone.  Perseverance to make it through another boring day at the office is not the same as perseverance in the face of continuing crises like war that threaten basic existence or in the face of ongoing major physical ailments.

Continue Reading »