Achieving our much-needed Diversity and Equity goals require that Inclusion is truly structural

Inclusion is the most important part of DEI: without inclusion, all your work hiring into diversity and assuring equitable compensation will be noble gestures whose impact is never realized. All three are important, for sure, but making your organization more inclusive is the hard part…Inclusion has to happen all day, every day, and requires significant systemic change to how your organization currently operates.

I say this from the perspective of 20+ years of management sciences research, and most recently, a decade training and coaching well over 100 organizations in worker and team empowerment, essentially inclusion by another name.

Our current…


It was the 1960’s and 70’s, when race and gender lines were still being tested

My father taught me a lot about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) almost fifty years ago, though I certainly didn’t realize it at the time.

He was the chairman of the economics department at Northern Illinois University, a 20,000 student campus an hour away from Chicago. In the 1960’s and 1970’s it was his job to build a legit PhD program despite being surrounded by top-flight econ programs at far-more prestgious schools like the University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of Wisconsin-Madison and several others.

He succeeded in getting the PhD program accredited — which required that he find great talent…


The Agile Toolkit wasn’t made for you.

In the world of business, the word “agile” has been over-used into virtual meaninglessness. It had a very specific meaning almost 20 years ago, and decayed rapidly under the distorting forces of rampant commercialization like I described in my How Marketing is Destroying Agile (link) article.

In 2014, Dave Thomas, one of the founders of agile, posted his own screed, titled It’s Time to Kill Agile (link), calling for “agility” over “agile”. …


Even today’s bad news has a silver lining of sorts

As I noted in my Footrace/War on COVID-19 (link) article, the virus spreads through asymptomatic hosts — all of us that don’t notice a thing, but our bodies have already created antibodies and effectively “won the footrace” with the virus. Yes, all of us, and probably me, that’s where the news of the last 48 hours really starts.

Many of us are asymptomatic Legionnaires of COVID-19

Some very cool blood work done in Europe and also in the US, using people who reported that they have never had COVID, showed that the rate of asymptomatic infection is something like 50X. The antibody screening done in Santa Clara county…


Empowered managing matters more than ever

Work from home (WFH) is far more impactful than you think, damaging the fabric of connection that makes an agency feel like a family, and also destroying a key mechanism that teams rely upon: co-location. Many organizations do and will still function, despite less-skilled management, because people are awesome at working and being together; as in the American sitcom The Office, they persevere despite the lack of skills above them.

But today, peering out from postage-stamp windows during an endless barrage of Zoom meetings, teams have become diaspora. They have been dislocated…like a shoulder or finger wrenched from its normal…


Taking the long view of an epic battle waged by Homo Sapiens

I start this with a prayer and moment of silence for those who have passed and tell you that although I will strive to get you to look beyond their numbers, the world’s loss of their lives does, and in fact, will always matter.

By the time this ends, we will all know people, and certainly many people who knew people, that have perished. I lost a business partner last weekend. …


Agencies may be the best examples of the knowledge-worker organization of the future — but they will need to be managed differently if they are to survive.

I’m often asked, “Will agencies still exist in the future?” In our industry, many have been predicting the demise of agencies, the result of a perfect storm of automation, the war for creative/innovative talent, and the invasion of the consultancies. The answer is. “Yes, but they will be different, and the biggest change will be the one that we all know is overdue: they will need to be managed differently.”

Misperceived as archaic…


Can in-house agencies benefit from using Agile? The answer is yes. Agile for Marketing, when done well, changes the game of marketing, and the dynamics of the organization. You may have listened to the Podcast by our clients at Insperity, where they explain how learning our brand of high-performance Agile brought their marketing services organization into a leadership position within the organization. We’re now happy to present the actual case study.

Download the case study here.

Why should Agile matter to marketing? Because the marketing function is one of the most chaotic functions in any organization. Agile was designed to solve a chaos problem —…


Technological disruptions mean that change is an imperative.

This article is part one of three that provide an overview of a joint project between the 4A’s and AgencyAgile, Winning the New CMO’s Heart, which explores the seismic changes affecting the business of advertising and marketing. This first article discusses how the forces of technology are shaping the future of the business. The second and third parts focus on the new face of competition, and key capabilities and competitive postures that agencies should consider.

Is your agency ready for the future? Virtually every aspect of the business of marketing, which includes advertising and many other services, is changing dramatically…


Our societal notions of what managing looks like are pretty messed up. Despite decades of research, we persist in the notion that “strong managers” or the act of “managing harder” actually improve team performance, when in fact, they do not.

One of the key reasons for this is that we equate strong behavior (verbal dominance) with knowledge of one’s craft — it signals that we should be passive and learn. As one inevitably ascends in their profession, often the chance to manage is offered. …

Jack Skeels

Transformation Leader, Researcher, Author, CEO

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