Hacking Iteration: Rehydrating Your Wetware

Recently I wrote about a technique for gathering requirements as a group. The technique is called rehydration and involves a very short meeting every day for 5 days. The idea is that the people in the meeting actually think about the meeting topic during the entire 5 days, not just the one hour each day.

The basic idea is to get the group thinking together over multiple days. Each short meeting constitutes a rehydration event. Such as event refreshes the neural pathways of your wetware (your brain). When a group of people execute on this kind of thinking together, the result is a substantially higher level of group cognition.

My friend Dave Logan wrote about this about a year ago. I was just up on his Facebook and I found this link:

The Single Best Time Management Tip Ever

your brain is brilliant at running processes in the background, but is awful at multitasking. While you’re driving to work, in the shower or answering email, your brain will be working in the background on the task, so that when you’re ready, it’ll drain through your fingers, into your computer or notepad, for about 20 minutes. The break allows your brain to restock the supply of brilliance. Each time you go through the process is a “productivity unit.”

This idea of a short burst of front-of-mind focus followed by a break that is much longer (and used for back-of-mind thinking) is a super-powerful technique for doing sense-making with a group of people.

The technique is really very simple:

1. Gather the group with the collective intelligence to make sense of the problem (example: the definition of software requirements)

2. Schedule a 1-hour meeting for each day for at least 4 days

This is a special form of iteration, where the break is much, much longer than the iteration itself. Use Rehydration when you need to make sense of something very complex with a group of people.


Gathering and then understanding requirements is essential in software development. This piece about “understanding” is where most of the problems are. We know how to gather requirements. What we are not so good at is understanding them. However, I have found a cognitive trick that works well, and it based on starting.

I call the technique Rehydration. It’s based on the cognitive phenomenon of inattentional blindness(IB). IB says you can miss what is right under your nose if you do not pay attention. You may have seen the video of the invisible gorilla. That is an IB demonstration.

IB says you do not build perception if you do not pay attention. In experiments, people asked to watch for blue dots on a computer screen focus on them, and do not see any red or yellow dots that appear. They just “miss” them since they are not paying attention to anything but the appearance of blue dots.

Starting turns out to be good for focusing attention and this, for learning. By starting we pay attention, and by paying attention we learn. For example, software developers usually do not pay attention until they start cutting code. THEN they start thinking about the project and that thinking stays in their mind 24 hours a day. At work, the coding is in the front of mind. At home, the coding is in the back of mind. Many developers think about code and dream about it while sleeping. Many bug fixes are solved while dreaming.

What does this have to do with gathering requirements?

In a typical facilitated session, you can generate about one user story per minute with a team. This means in about one hour you can get 60 or so stories done. Same thing with generating user-types, or personas.

What I notice is the duration of the meeting matters. A 1-hour session every day for 5 days is about 10 times better than one, big marathon-like 5-hour meeting. The 1-hour-per-day-for-5-days approach is simply superior to one marathon meeting or even 2 meetings of 2.5 hours each.

What we are basically engaging in here is super-frequent iteration with a group of people around a cognitive, sense-making task.

You get these advantages:

1. More engagement. People will come to a 1-hour meeting and if you make it opt-in you get much higher levels of engagement

2. The folks know the meeting is short and they show up ready to work

3. This one is big: they think about tomorrow’s meeting today, and tonight, and tomorrow morning. The requirements gathering stays in their mind for 24 hours. It stays in the back of everyone’s mind. Some of them even dream about requirements, much like a programmer with a bug to fix dreams about the code.

4. The folks feel refreshed and have a sense of control and progress. I have already described this to you in other blog posts and in my book The Culture Game (you can order it here).

5. By having the meeting every day for 5 days, you get a better cross-section of people participating since most everyone can find a way to set aside one hour at least.

The reason this 1-hour-a-day trick actually works has to to with IB: by spreading the 5-hour meeting across 5 days of 1-hour meetings, the time in-between is spent thinking about it.

People ANTICIPATE the next meeting and the one after that and the results are 10 times better for it.

Everyone stays engaged for a week !

By starting, you pay attention (for 24 hours, not just 1 hour). And by paying attention, you build perception and learning.

This concept of Rehydration (refreshing a neural pathway periodically) can be applied to any project. Simply work for at least 35 minutes a day on the project and the rest of the time you gain perception when it is in the “back of your mind”. For free.

This technique works especially good when you are trying to gain perception as a group around a project.

Triumph of the City

The ultimate cause of Athenian success may seem mysterious, but the process is clear.

I’m reading TRIUMPH OF THE CITY by Edward Glaeser.  The aforementioned quote comes from this book. Friends are reading it, and recommending the book. The book is super-stimulating and is a truly great read. One of things that is hitting me about this book is the virtualization of city life. I’m plugged into some amazing FaceBook groups now. The people I am meeting and interacting with are all in the same ‘city’ so to speak. The experience is insanely stimulating. It’s like moving to and living in a very large city, and having a core group of stimulating friends who make the place friendly and fun.

It all starts with one connection. Let me explain.

I have a friend who uses http://www.couchsurfing.org/ to do travel. He goes to Madrid that way, 2 years ago, for 10 days. Or so he thinks. He loves it so much he stays for 6 months teaching English. You might wonder how he pulls this off. It is all based on that one personal connection he makes via CouchSurfer. His CouchSurfer host got him connected socially right away, and off he went. Six months in Madrid, and he barely knows Spanish going in. From there he gets an apartment, develops his wider network of friends in Madrid, and ends up having a completely awesome time.

Same thing here with the online city-space. The new cosmopolitan city is the online space: groups of people with aligned interests. When we get truly intimate online, we move beyond interests to a more general alignment based on experience, beliefs, values, behavior, and results. We get serious stuff done together after disclosing information and getting more and more genuine alignment.

We are rapidly coming to a time where people of like mind can rapidly produce amazing results. It is all based on social introductions, dialogue and blending at EPIC SCALE. For that to happen, you must have an entry point. That entry point is the introduction, or invitation from one person to another. From there, you have proximity… and the fun begins. Once you enter the online city-space via a group of people aligned on interests, you have access to most of the social benefits of living in a large city. You have a network of support, many introductions are made, you also make introductions, and the mixing of ideas begins. You also end up attending live events when people converge in a certain place for dinner or some kind of larger context like a conference or symposium.

I am willing to argue that the largest city on the face of the earth is FaceBook. All the basic social elements are there. Yes, the form is crude. The content is not. As socio-technical systems get better, the velocity of change and creativity can only increase.

I say:

We may be entering a Golden Age of creativity, especially in the way we implement what is called society, or civilization.

As I read Ed Glaeser’s book, I am mapping what he is saying about brick-and-mortar cities to the online city-space.

This is a rich and yeasty time to be alive. We are living in a time that is exuberantly creative.

Ideas move from person to person within dense urban spaces, and this exchange occasionally creates miracles of human creativity. – Edward Glaeser, TRIUMPH OF THE CITY

Capitalize We

In digital terms, culture is an application platform consisting of a core operating system kernel and associated components, modules and low-level applications.  This implies We can hack culture by screwing with these cultural platform elements.

The operating system, components, modules and low-level applications of culture are actually our stories and narrative. Thoughts become things, and stories are highly organized, memetic compositions of related thoughts. Stories are culture-things with structure and content. Changing culture is an exercise in selectively hacking specific stories— the essential modules and components that constitute the core cultural platform.

(You can learn more about culture, story, and language here.)

Computer programs are written in a programming language. The programs are stored on digital media. Cultural programs– stories— are written in a natural language. The stories are stored in your head. The stories are the cultural software in your head. The language you use determines how the stories can be told.

Well understood stories get memorialized in writing– in language. Languages have a vocabulary, a syntax, and some rules and conventions. Modifying language is a way to make a change (to refactor) all the stories in that language.  To hack culture, hack the stories. The most efficient way to hack all the stories (at global scope) is to hack the language.

There is a rule in English that says We capitalize “I” and not “We”. This implies “I” is more significant than “We”. Anyone can chose to capitalize We. In so doing, “We” gets on an equal footing with “I” in sentences composed in the English language. By capitalizing We, the signal in writing is that “We” is at least as big, and as important, as significant, and as valuable as: “I”.

“We” is just one example. Anyone can choose to hack language and see what happens. If that language hack of yours comes into widespread usage, the language changes globally. As language goes, so goes story and narrative. As story goes, so goes the culture.

To hack your culture, hack your language.

Capitalize We.


Sixteen Patterns of the Learning Organization

Organizational learning is NOT random. If you do not intend it, it just NEVER HAPPENS.

To really encourage organizational learning, we must engage in 16 often-difficult learning patterns. THE CULTURE GAME book describes how to do this: by gaming the work. It is critical to design and implement the work around specific good-game mechanics, as described by Jane McGonigal in her book REALITY IS BROKEN.

THE CULTURE GAME describes a 3-part strategy for creating more business agility and learning in your organization. That 3-part strategy is:

  • Game the Work
  • Implement the 16 Tribal Learning Patterns
  • Socialize them with Triads

Let’s look at each in turn:

Game the Work. Work is a game. You are not working, you are playing. Usually, the work is poorly structured and does not have good-game dynamics built in. You can change that. Game the work. By deliberately gaming the work, you obtain a double-barreled win. This is because you eliminate bad game mechanics, and replace them with fun and enjoyable, good-game mechanics. You win huge by paying attention to this.

Implement the 16 Tribal Learning Practices. These are distilled and extracted from Agile software development. These are the behavioral patterns of the best teams. The best teams are small learning organizations. By doing what these teams are doing, you become a learning organization. It’s that simple.

Socialize with Triads. In your company, you can either make moves, or die a slow death waiting for someone else to do so. THE CULTURE GAME book explains how to apply the triad structures described by Dave Logan and others in the book TRIBAL LEADERSHIP. Triad are an essential aspect of spreading ideas and memes throughout your company.

OK. Now let’s run down the 16 Tribal Learning patterns from THE CULTURE GAME in some detail…

The Tribal Learning Patterns from THE CULTURE GAME:

Chapter 7: Be Purposeful. Without a clear purpose, you group cannot focus. You need one.

Chapter 8: Facilitate Your Meetings. Agile meetings are facilitated. We must do the same.

Chapter 9: Examine Your Norms. Nothing is beyond inspection. We must play serious.

Chapter 10: Be Punctual. Punctuality associates with Respect, Commitment, Focus.

Chapter 11: Structure Your Interactions. Real-time negotiation is over-rated. Agree in advance.

Chapter 12: Announce Your Intent. No one can follow when you do not state what you are doing. Tell people exactly what you plan to do.

Chapter 13: Game Your Meetings. Game mechanics govern engagement. Eliminate randomness in your meetings and level up

Chapter 14: Conduct Frequent Experiments. All learning is experimentation and all experimentation is play. Suspend disbelief and learn by experimenting.

Chapter 15: Manage Visually. Out of sight out of mind. Seeing is believing.

Chapter 16: Inspect Frequently. Iterate and inspect. When chaos comes, do this more often.

Chapter 17: Get Coached. The observer can see things you cannot. Coach is in it, not of it.

Chapter 18: Manage Your Boundaries. Good fences make good neighbors. Mend your fences.

Chapter 19: Socialize Books. Learning is at the root of greatness. Spread books & ideas.

Chapter 20: Pay Explicit Attention. We cannot change what we do not acknowledge. Attention is a scarce resource, that is why we call it “paying” attention. Zoom in.

Chapter 21: Open The Space. Closed space is space where we “don’t go there”. Open the space to discover what is going on, encourage engagement, and get the best idea on the table, regardless of source.

Chapter 22: Be Playful: Play is associated with joy and learning. Figure this out and you are on your way to more business agility and a much more adaptive organization.


Organizational learning is at the root of group greatness. Agile software teams have conquered the problem of how to do this. There are at least 16 core patterns of organizational learning. We call them Tribal Learning Patterns in THE CULTURE GAME book. Do them, and your tribe will prosper. Ignore them at your own peril.

Work is game, and it is poorly structured. This is why it is often not fun, and usually, unsatisfying. To level-up, Game the Work. Inject good-game mechanics into your work and meetings.

Once you are winning the culture game with your team, socialize your wins with triads. Form triads to socialize a culture of learning. Teach others that are willing exactly how to play the game. Once enough people are located in the wider story of organizational learning, the whole organization “goes Agile”. It sounds so simple. It’s not.

THE CULTURE GAME  book provides tools and a roadmap for encouraging real, genuine, positive change in your organization.


Gaming Happiness at Work

Happiness at work is a game. If the core requirements for happiness at work are not present, you disengage and check out. If the core requirements are there, you automatically experience fun, satisfaction and potentially, a deeply engaged sense of well-being. THE CULTURE GAME book shows how to deliver happiness through the intentional design and implementation of good-game mechanics.

Work is BROKEN when it is not fun to play. The THE CULTURE GAME book provides tools for playing an all-new game of engagement and learning. By doing this you are delivering happiness at work by injecting good-game mechanics into the structure of work and meetings.

The core requirements for happiness at work are:

A sense of control
A sense of progress
A sense of belonging and membership
A sense of wider purpose and meaning

Agile patterns and practices, authentically applied, definitely deliver happiness. The game of Scrum is simply one example.

The next thing to realize is that work is a game and that Scrum is a game, Kanban is a game, all your meetings are games, and that big Agile adoption underway at your company is in fact a game. Your company culture is also an elaborate game.

When viewed in this way, it is possible to more fully game your interactions, your meetings and work itself, so that participating is optimized towards a satisfying, fun and naturally productive experience.


Games have 4 basic properties. When the values for each of the properties are well-formed, the game is enjoyable, fun and satisfying. When the 4 properties are not well-formed, the game is not fun and you either opt-out or, if this is not possible, you disengage (“check out”) almost automatically.

The 4 basic properties of a good game are:

A clear goal
A clear set of rules that are uniformly applied
A clear way to “check the score”, get feedback and track progress
Opt-in participation

Agile patterns and practices are usually (but not always) well-formed games. Well-formed games associate with satisfaction, happiness and even joy; poorly defined games associate with disengagement, low levels of learning, and a distinct lack of enjoyment.

THE CULTURE GAME book draws on the work of four big authors: Jane McGonigal (REALITY IS BROKEN), Dave Logan (TRIBAL LEADERSHIP), Tony Hsieh (DELIVERING HAPPINESS), and Peter Senge (THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE).

The objective of THE CULTURE GAME book  is to introduce you to the tools and dynamics of happiness at work, and the basics of good-game design for work. As a result of reading the book, you are able to:

  • More fully understand business agility
  • More quickly analyze and diagnose the specific business agility problems you are facing
  • More easily design for successful meetings
  • More easily design for successful Agile adoptions
  • More easily design for satisfying work, and
  • Begin to encourage the emergence of a genuine learning organization in your company.

Drawing from wide-scope academic research, several core-foundation books and 4 years of real coaching in real organizations, THE CULTURE GAME takes you through a specific 8-part framework. This is a framework for designing and developing more learning at work by leveraging some very specific game mechanics for re-designing the way you do work with other people.

Are these ideas intriguing to you? Contact us to arrange a 2-day CULTURE GAME WORKSHOP for your organization. In this workshop, we teach you how to game your culture by gaming your meetings, so these meetings convert from soul-sucking death marches to fun and enjoyable and energizing team-learning events. During the workshop, teach you very specific business agility techniques, and we train your people as CULTURE GAME facilitators. Click here to learn more about THE CULTURE GAME WORKSHOP.

Design Thinking: Composing The Learning Practices

The CULTURE GAME is a book of 16 practices that accelerate learning in your organization. If you do just 3 or 4 of them , you team, your department and even your entire division can begin to learn, as a group, faster and faster. This learning is essential to respond to change. Societal change, driven by technology, is literally re-writing the rules of business. Enterprises that learn really fast eliminate competition by out-thinking them in real time. This level of group learning is not random.


I wrote the book as a set of 16 standalone practices, what I call Tribal Learning practices. You compose them as you see fit, by remixing them. Each reader faces a unique situation and will use the book differently. As a manager, you can pick and choose from the list of practices to create a tailored an customized application of the guidance in the book. This allows you to immediately begin. You can choose the practices that fit your context, situation and preferences.

Here are some pre-fab combinations of the practices that work well in specific cultures and contexts:


Facilitate Your Meetings, Be Punctual, Structure Your Interactions

Notes: These 3 are good for tuning-up your meetings. When combined, these 3 practices convert meetings from soul-sucking death marches to intentional team learning events.These 3 practices are  kind of starting point for converting your meetings from bleak no-engagement events to highly enjoyable and satisfying episodes of work with others. The book provides loads of detailed support for your use of each practice.


Pay Explicit Attention, Examine What’s Normal, Inspect Frequently

Notes: Iterating on work is essential if you intend to make sense of highly complex (even chaotic) work. Iterations provide a natural inspection point… at the end. Having the discipline to periodically inspect exactly what is going on encourages adjustment, experimentation and adaptation. This concept can be applied to any kind of work. These 3 are appropriate for organizations that are already relatively safe and open (as compared to unsafe and closed.)

The book explains specific tactics and things to consider as you compose your implementation.


Conduct Frequent Experiments, Socialize Books, Get Coached

Notes: Get Coached and Socialize Books are the two Tribal Learning practices that cost something. The rest to do not cost a dime. Socializing books signals that learning is valued; the content provides ideas to try out as experiments. A culture of experimentation leads to more learning. If  even a small “failure” is a source of potential career suicide in your company, get a coach to help you and start socializing books like TRIBAL LEADERSHIP (and others)  with new  and useful ideas. These 3 practices are a good starting point if you organization is already moving in the direction of more organizational learning; for example of your IT teams are already using some agile methods.



The Culture Game book contains 16 specific learning practices and guidance on how to socialize these ideas in your organization.  The book provides a detailed tutorial and a reference guide. It also provides a rich bibliography for further study. Collectively, the book forms a complete toolbox, with tools you can use …  as YOU see fit.

You have to intend to create more learning and a higher capacity to adapt in your organization, because team learning is not random. Mix and match, pick and choose. Create your own custom program based on your context, and what people are willing to try, and willing to do. The book provides loads of ideas, starting points and specific A-B-C guidance in Part 3, so you can get going now.

You can learn more about the CULTURE GAME book here.



Speaking in “We”, thinking in “Me”

Psst. Want to change the world?

If so, you’ll need the right kind of folks on the bus, the kind of people who “get it”.  You’ll need some leadership. Some TRIBAL leadership.

Me vs. We

My friend Dave Logan, author of TRIBAL LEADERSHIP, outlines 5 specific stages of culture. At each stage, the majority of the people in the culture are telling each other a standard story for that level. Stage 3 is “I’m great, (you’re not)” and Stage 4 is “We’re great (they’re not).” The difference is in where you get your identity from. At Stage 4, most (but not all) of the people get their identity from the group, rather than individual-ego….

The five stages of tribal culture, expressed as stories, from most basic to most advanced,  are as follows:

1. Life sucks!

2. MY life sucks!

3. I’m great! (You’re not.)

4. We’re great! (They’re not.)

5. Life is great!

There is a specific pattern of behavior that can rapidly create a dystopia in organizations and teams. It happens when people in a team or org “talk a good game” about Stage 4 and use “we” language, while behaving in Stage 3 “me” language.

I call it “speaking in “We” and thinking in “Me.”

“Thinking in We” is required if you are out to do something big that is literally impossible to do alone. It’s a Stage 4 way of being. At Stage 4, the language is about being the best tribe in a given domain or market. “We’re great” is the place where many successful companies START. Existing companies can do rework, to “refactor” or upgrade their culture by developing new “tribal” language. It’s all explained in Dave’s remarkable book.

If you cannot get big things done at Stage 4, “We’re great”, you have NO SHOT at Stage 5.

And what is Stage 5?

Stage 5 is the platform for manifesting world-building initiatives. Stage 5 the “Life is great” stage, where a focus on competitors literally disappears. The tribe has loads of alignment around a huge, world-changing  idea, and all of them together execute on making it happen. Stage 5 culture is rare.  When it occurs, the people in the culture are predominantly Stage 4 folks who know that game, and want to play a much BIGGER game.

(NOTE: These folks always seek each other out. And find each other. And help each other. It’s automatic behavior at Stage 4.)

Bottom line: We cannot do Stage 4 work unless we are at Stage 4 in our heads, in our mindset. This is why Stage 3 individuals have no shot at executing on big, huge, Stage FIVE work that requires a world-building mindset. That’s because, according to Dave Logan, you have to “own” each stage completely before you can move to the next. You cannot skip a grade. Stage 3 “I’m great” type people literally have no shot at Stage 5, because they are attempting to skip Stage 4 and do not have the essential “We” skills necessary to actually execute on genuine world-building.

Scrum and agile set up at least the potential for a Stage 4 culture, that  “We are great” mindset. We can argue that people that do not “get” agility are stuck at Stage 3, 2 or 1. You can learn all the stages of Tribal Leadership, in detail, by getting the book and reading it.

My book THE CULTURE GAME leverages the best ideas from Dave’s TRIBAL LEADERSHIP book. THE CULTURE GAME employs triads for socializing agile (group) learning up and out of IT, from teams to tribes. You can learn more here.

Dave Logan and I are developing products and services that combine the best of TRIBAL LEADERSHIP, agile, and what I call trans-agile or Tribal Learning patterns and practices as described in THE CULTURE GAME. There are 16 specific practices in the book, that any manager can put to work, today, to upgrade team culture.

If you want to sign up for interesting tutorial podcasts that Dave and I are doing around these ideas, click here to  sign up.

Trans-Agile and the Learning Organization

The organizations that LEARN FAST are the new winners in game of business. They have more fun and make much more money doing it … by learning faster that their competitors, and then eating their lunch.

Let me explain.

Recently, I went out to LA to work with my friend Dave Logan at the offices of CultureSync, Dave’s management consultancy. Dave is  the lead-author of the book TRIBAL LEADERSHIP. This book introduces the triad, a very robust 3-person structure for getting amazing amounts of work done. This book also enumerates a stage-development model of culture in organizations. The book is brilliant– and so is Dave. My book THE CULTURE GAME is based in part on Dave’s TRIBAL LEADERSHIP concepts.

We did work over 2 days using all the tools in the framework outlined in my book, THE CULTURE GAME. In this book I lay out the 16 specific practices that create nearly-automatic organizational learning. These practices are derived from agile, mostly from Scrum. These are the “trans-agile” practices. I call them Tribal Learning practices. If you commit to do them, your group learns fast, and almost automatically.

The Scrum framework is actually an amazing learning lab for teams. Teams literally “learn how to learn” when the framework is implemented in a genuine and authentic way… that is, in alignment with the spirit of Scrum, as described in the Scrum Guide.

My book is an enumeration of the practices I see the very best Scrum teams doing consistently inside my Agile coaching practice. Part 3 of THE CULTURE GAME details how use Dave’s triads to socialize the 16 trans-agile practices described in THE CULTURE GAME  book.


Playing the Culture Game at CultureSync

There were 5 of us present. We spent two days together. We ended up using all 16 of the practices described in my book, across those two days.

We got LOADS of work done.

The CultureSync team made these comments during the daily retrospectives:

“What just happened is amazing”

“I cannot believe how much we got done in one day!”

“It’s shocking how much fun this was. How much fun this IS!”

“Normally, after a full-day meeting, I’m glazed over. The day is over and I actually feel super-energized right now.”

“I’m in shock about how these simple practices completely change the tone and tempo of our meetings.”

“Some of these practices seem uncomfortable at first, and then it’s like: why weren’t we working this way years ago?”

I want you to notice that CultureSync has NOTHING to do with information technology and does not develop software.  CultureSync sells management consulting services, and training that supports leadership development.

Also, keep in mind that Dave Logan is the co-author of THE THREE LAWS OF PERFORMANCE and is tight with David Allen, the celebrated author of GETTING THINGS DONE.

The CultureSync folks are a tribe of over-achievers, much like Dave himself.

That made the feedback especially sweet !


The Coming Revolution in Work

It’s ten years since the Agile Manifesto. In my book, I explain how the high failure rates in software projects actually spawned a solution, and a revolution: agile, and Scrum.

In the book, I explain what Scrum is: a framework for creating shared knowledge, also known as team learning. Scrum itself creates small, team-sized learning organizations as described by Peter Senge and others. The habits of good Scrum teams are group learning practices. Being punctual, facilitating your meetings, opening the space, structuring your interactions … as described in the book, each of these (and the other 12) encourage and support absolutely massive levels of organizational learning.

The time has come to say it like it is: Scrum and related practices create a learning organization. We call it a Team. When that Team gets really good, it exhibits 16 specific habits I call Tribal Learning practices. When these practices are socialized using triads as described in TRIBAL LEADERSHIP, the results are truly amazing. Your organization gets smarter, adapts faster, has loads more fun, and makes loads more money, often at the direct expense of all your competitors.

The trans-agile revolution has arrived. Enterprise agile is here. It’s called the learning organization, powered by the Tribal Learning practices described in THE CULTURE GAME book.

Looking to ways for your organization to learn faster? Be more adaptive? Interested in how this works? THE CULTURE GAME books ships in February. You can learn more and pre-order the book, by following this link:

Learn more, and PRE-ORDER The Culture Game Book

Team Learning is Not Random

Team-level learning requires intent. Team learning, and group learning generally, is NOT random. If it was random or automatic, then our families, our teams, our organizations, even our societies, would automatically learn, and evolve. Instead, in terms of learning, we typically DEVOLVE in groups. We become ineffective after a while. That is what is automatic.

If we want to adapt, we must learn quickly as a group. Especially in times that feature lots of change, like the times we are living through right now. Organizations that learn faster than peers eclipse them, leave them in the dust, call it whatever you want. If we can figure out how to learn as a group, we have the secret to just about everything.

A valid question to ask is: why are we so dumb when we get into groups? Why do we design and implement soul-sucking interactions, stupid meetings, and ineffective team and organizational structures? Why do we behave badly? Why don’t we wise up??

One answer may be found in a community of folks called the Group Relations (GR) community. They are curators of a body of knowledge based upon the work of Alfred Bion. He developed a kind of depth-psychology for explaining what goes on in groups.

I attended a GR conference in 2008 and it opened my eyes. A pure experiential conference, the event focuses on the study of leadership and authority in groups. The object of study is the behavior of all attendees over a 4-5 day period.

Team learning, and group learning generally, is NOT random. If it was random or automatic, then our families, our teams, our organizations, even our civilization, would automatically learn, and evolve. If learning in groups was automatic, we’d be done with world hunger, and cancer, and war. We’d be colonizing other planets. We’d be done with poverty on earth. 

We get dumb when we get into groups. Period. That is what is automatic. Opposing this pattern requires full intent. My book is one small contribution to the body of knowledge around team learning. Team-level learning requires intent. The good news is, We now know how to do it. People like Jim and Michele McCarthy, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, folks in the GR community … all of these folks are pointing the way. We can literally create genius teams- IF WE WANT TO.

We have the technology to routinely do this. The problem is conquered

What is missing is the intent. Are you in?