We've Moved!

In an effort to bring you a better blog experience, we've moved the Gen Y mmowgli page over to a new site.  To visit this site, please go to the following page : https://portal.mmowgli.nps.edu/wp/index.php/category/geny/

Thanks for your understanding! We hope to see you in game soon!

Ride the riptide!

Welcome Back RIPTIDErs!  A small cadre of GameMasters has read all of the 9600+ ideas.  Whew! We then spent several weeks analyzing them, , daydreaming about the possibilities and most vitally, putting them into Action Plan themes…combining similar and duplicate ideas that garnered a lot of conversation in the game.

That was quite a task, but we now have 21 powerful Action Plan starters.  We did see that the Action Plan themes sort of fell into three flavors, and we gave them names to indicate our level of excitement and, in some ways, what it might take to pull it off.  So, at about a weekly pace, we will work on three Action Plans, one from each flavor. Here are the flavors:

Buzzer Beaters – A buzzer beater is just one shot, but that one shot changes a game from being a loss to a win.  On the surface, it’s not difficult…it’s just a shot.  But we also know that we wouldn’t build our season strategy to depend on every game needing a buzzer beater to win.   These Action Plan ideas are game changers, and really amount to a key shot at the right time. 

Tide Changers – ok…you knew we’d have to piggy back on our RIPTIDE theme.  Tide changers are  Action Plans that can sort of change the way we go about daily business, sort of change from tides of low morale, low teamwork, low communication to tides of high morale, teamwork and communication.

Culture Quakers – change the landscape of Naval Maintenance forever, just like an earthquake.  We are talking about scary, daring, shake the foundations kind of changes.  These Action Plan ideas will rock our world.

So, get ready to RIPTIDE again.  This is the critical Action Plan phase.  You’ll get invites to be an author or you can watch from the sidelines.  It’s participative crowd sourcing, just like our Idea generating phase.   It’s messy, fun, chaotic, productive and …when we are all done, we will have 21 Action Plans that will be vetted with senior managers and executives to get resourced and put into reality.

RIPTIDE mmowgli Wrapup

Hello RIPTIDE mmowgli Players,

Stay Tuned !  We are now entering the Action Plan phase of our RIPTIDE mmowgli.  A small team of Game Masters have spent the last month reading, sorting and collating the 9000+ ideas and translating them into tentative Action Plans.  We will be inviting many of you to help develop those Action Plans in a collaborative way in the mmowgli game.



To summarize our RIPTIDE mmowgli so far and to give you a peek at what the Action Plan workspace looks like, we have put together this short 10 minute video.  Looking forward to collaborating with many of you to turn these great ideas into powerful action plans.

RIPTIDE mmowgli Idea Generation Phase Game Awards

Hello RIPTIDE Players,

Thank you for your committed participation in the RIPTIDE mmowgli game!  We have begun the arduous task of synthesizing your ideas in preparation for the Action Plan development phase and we are super impressed with what we have to work with.  As is customary with every mmowgli, we want to recognize those who contributed to the game in ways that stood out most to the game team.  Deciding on the top winners was difficult, but after much deliberation the following awards have been chosen.

Drum roll please:

Total Points Awards

Legion de MMOWGLI  Medal (LDM), is awarded to the top 3 players with the highest total score points.

1. COB2004.  Affiliation: Not Listed.  Expertise: Managing.  Location: Virginia.

2. pepper1.  Affiliation: Industry.  Expertise: US Navy Veteran & Senior Executive Recruiter/ Project Manager.  Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan.

3. BubbleheadAffiliation:  U.S. Navy.  Expertise: Career submarinerLocation: Bangor Submarine Base, WA


MMOWGLI Commendation Medal (MCM), is awarded to the players with the 4th - 10th highest total score points.

MMOWGLI Commendation Medal Winners

4. speedracer.  Affiliation: Department of Defense.  Expertise: Operated Business in Hawaii
Radiological Controls.  Location: PHNSY.

5. DagnyTaggart.  Affiliation: Department of the Navy.  Expertise: Learning Organization; LEAN Six-sigma; Change Management.  Location: Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard  & IMF.

6. 586steve. Affiliation: Department of Defense.  Expertise: NavSea Preservation and ServicesLocation: The 808 State.

7. Whiskey138Affiliation: Department of Defense.  Expertise: Current employee with PHNSYLocation: Pearl.

8. MaheaAffiliation: Department of the Navy.  Expertise: Learning OrganizationLocation: Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and IMF.

9. LO GirlAffiliation: U.S. Navy.  Expertise: Shipyard employeeLocation: Hawaii

10. greenduckAffiliation: Department of Defense.  Expertise: Background with most trades used in shipyard. Long history in the education field, at a Master's level. Leadership roles for over 30 years.  Location: NNSY.


Idea Card Play Awards

Longest Idea Card Chain

Snowdrifter with 152 children cards


Bandwagon Fan: Most Expand Cards Played

Expand Card pepper1 with 257 cards        

Overcomer: Most Adapt Cards Played

Adapt Card Bubblehead with 122 cards         

Devil's Advocate: Most Counter Cards Played

Counter Card COB2004 with 122 cards     

Trailblazer: Most Explore Cards Played

Explore Card speedracer with 61 cards            

Super Hero: Most Super Interesting Cards Played

Dr. Solomon and pepper1 tied with 6 cards each  


Honorable Mentions

Spurred the Most Conversation 586steve
Above and Beyond (blog post contributor) pepper1
Golden (all cards played were marked Super Interesting) WillyWonka




Bravo Zulu to the honorees and thanks again to all of our RIPTIDE mmowgli participants.  If you were not among the Idea Generation phase award recipients don't fret, you may have an opportunity to participate in the upcoming Action Plan Development phase and get on the top of the leader board.  Stay tune for future updates via email, this blog site and Twitter (@mmowgli). Who knows! We may call on you again...

Thank you!

Congratulations RIPTIDE mmowgli Team! 

You've been amazingly creative and productive, playing over 9,600 cards since we started using the MMOWGLI platform.  You have helped generate ideas to overcome the wicked barriers facing our Naval Shipyard Maintenance community.

Thanks for all your time and effort; your voice has been heard.

Keep an eye on the blog for more communication in the coming weeks and don't forget to follow us on Twitter (@mmowgli).

Another 'Trigger' event... Hunger Games Style

The first Hunger Games movie has another great example of system effects at work, but this time it's the opposite of our Band of Brothers example.

Watch this scene:



Let's look at this with System Thinking eyes:

Katniss does the dutiful;  she shows her skill.  It goes wrong.  She then follows the 'polite' rules and does it again.  It goes well, but with no effect.  That 'trigger' was no longer a trigger.

In some clever Hollywood scripting, you can see Katniss having the learning conversation in her head.  She then does the 'not polite' thing with the spearing of the apple from the pig.  The heated conversation that follows is so telling.  Effie (the woman with the outlandish outfit) is furious...worried about protecting her 'silo'.. ("this reflects badly on all of us").  When the drunk comes in, he makes an especially profound system thinking point:  "what are they going to do to her...to him".  What he sees is that Katniss accomplishes the opposite of a "fix that backfires"...she pulled off a 'backfire that fixes'.  As the end of the clip shows, her outlandish stunt served her well in getting patrons.  The seeming negative trigger actually was a positive trigger.  As the drunk points out, her stunt could NOT be the straw that broke the camel's back; they players are already on a death sentence.

Lots of enlightening system thinking ideas here...also a pretty fun movie.  Especially because there are "Game Masters".  ;-)


Some Amazing System Thinking

Let's look at triggers another way.  The HBO Series, Band of Brothers is a remarkable telling of the story of brave men in a most trying time.  One of the main men is the platoon commander, Lt. Winters.  This video is a clip of the remarkable deep thinking and resulting insight of system thinking.  What's great is that this is not some long conversation, though the passenger in the scene, Lt Buck Taylor needs to have him repeat the key system thinking insight.  Watch the scene.


What happened?  Winters asks the great system thinking question... what would have happened if you actually achieved the objective of the game?  You would have put your real objective...to have the men know AND TRUST you... at risk.  This is such an amazingly deep and counterintuitive insight.  In System Thinking terms, by shooting craps with the men, Lt. Buck Taylor instituted a fix (to not knowing his men) that backfires (puts their trust in him at risk).

This shows the essence of system thinking at its best.  It's a conversation that isn't polite, but it is a deep learning conversation.  It addresses a potential trigger and reveals it.  It gives the guiding principle to all further interactions ("never put yourself in a position where you can take from these men" ). 







Call To Action Recap

WE LOVE IT when we get direct feedback from our players.  Ask and ye shall receive.  Here are all three Call to Action videos we've revealed so far.  Also we've included our top two player asks right after.  So, if you're just now getting into the game, don't worry! We've got your covered.  Remember, Round 1 and Round 2 cards are visible (marked "round 1" and "round 2") and editable.  You may have to dig a bit since we're now at over 7100 Idea Cards!


Round 1 Call to Action

(Click on the image or go to the CTA directly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjZJFuS5YU0)

  • Eliminate: How might we annihilate win-lose conversations?
  • Promote: How might we make learning conversations habitual?


Call to Action Round 2

(Click on the image or go to the CTA directly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuBkdCjvkBM)

  • Eliminate: How might we annihilate narrow-minded box checking?
  • Promote: How might we share ownership of organizational outcomes?


Call to Action 3

(Click on the image or go to the CTA directly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZa8rv91D9E)

  • Eliminate: How might we annihilate adverse reactions "triggers"?
  • Promote: How might we treat "triggers" as opportunities?

System Thoughts

System thinking works hand in hand with Team Learning...as in being able to have learning conversations.  In the Fifth Discipine, there is a quote that 'we need to become skilled at conversation that is not polite'.  We used to quote (and misquote) that line all the time in Carrier Team One because we wanted to test our assumptions and get beyond being buddy buddy and move towards true teamwork.  True teammates make you better and make the team better...not just themselves.  (making oneself better is also necessary, hence Personal Mastery)

We have lots of idea cards that seem to be all around this concept.  So, it's not about needing a kumbaya moment, though those have great benefits for improving high level planning, analyzing and problem solving. (that's proven by fMRI imaging). It's not about having long system thinking conferences and not getting the work done, but trying to see the event in a system context.  That conversation is clearly harder than just reacting and putting the sock back in the basket...so, put the sock away AND have the conversation.

Keep those ideas coming !!!


What this about "triggers"

For the older folks, you may think we are talking about Roy Rogers' horse... not really.

We are talking about little things that spark big results.  Similar to the cliches about the straw that broke the camel's back, this is about finding those small things that lead to big differences.  Some are small by being gradual, some are small by being tiny in comparison to everything else in the mix.

If you watched the video, an insignificant sock found on the floor is the 'trigger'...that small event that jeopardizes the larger system or changes the larger system.

In our carrier maintenance world, Carrier Team One often found beneficial triggers...and were able to bring them to light so that we could use them beneficially all the time.  That way we were able to overcome decades of inertia to make system changes for the better.

This Round is the culmination round.  Lack of system thinking is one of the underlying factors behind non-learning conversations and behind the busyness vs productivity phenomenon.

Top Talent Indicators and Derailers

Every so often in a mmowgli, we get the pleasure and excitement of observing new player behavior.  It's exciting to us because it's completely organic, and it reminds us that we really are a catalyst for change.  pepper1 sent us the document below late yesterday evening. We're blogging about it for two reasons. 


First, the document itself encompases many of the idea cards that have been put forth by other exemplar players in both Round 1 and Round 2 of the riptide mmowgli game.  But more importnatly, we feel it speaks to the altrusistic nature of our players...their willingness and desire to do help make positive change by contributing to our mmowgli.

Keep up the great work!

Pay and Work and Motivation

Lots of cards that are bouncing around the topic of pay and motivation and how that drives defensive conversations.

For an illumination of this, see this video:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u6XAPnuFjJc

This may help to alleviate the concern that those ideas about the dark side of monetary motivation are socialistic.

Are the results measurable?

We have all had occasions where we were busy all day doing things like clearing our in box,  sifting through email messages,  straightening out the garage, attending several meetings,  signing off on a job, etc., and later looked back and thought I wasted a whole day  doing nothing.

Since we were obviously busy why would we define that as wasting time?   How do we identify when we are just busy rather than productive?  What does it really mean to be productive?  I would suggest that productivity has a definite goal in mind, usually requires some kind of a process and is measured by results.

In naval shipyard maintenance there are no shortages of processes but how might we ensure that there is always a goal in mind and that the results are measurable?

Busyness - and I Love Lucy

There's a classic I Love Lucy episode where she and Ethel are working on the candy production line.  The scenario is that they've already been tossed out of several other positions, so they are thinking of just one thing: Don't make the boss mad.

Here's a clip to the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NPzLBSBzPI

While you're enjoying a good laugh, keep in mind that this is the result of working to just please the boss.  With all that busy-ness is the job getting done?  If you were the worker downstream trying to put these in boxes...how much would you be laughing?


Busy-ness and Miserable-ness

Patrick Lencioni is an author of a book called The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. Those 3 signs? Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasurement.

What I am seeing in the over 1000 Round 2 cards on Busy-ness resonate amazingly with this book's themes.  How so lots of ideas talking about the need for decision making on the work team - these ideas remove anonymity and irrelevance. (e.g. "hey look ! what I say and do matter!")

These are piggy backed with ideas about giving the work team a way to know how work items fit in the schedule, whether it's done right, and how well they did (including lots of cool ideas about 'healthy competition')...these ideas are the antidote for immeasurement.

Lots of stuff on the internet about these signs of a Miserable Job... maybe we'll find some ideas for our  Busy-ness round.



Whoops! Even mmowgli makes mistakes

Well, you may have noticed (or may not) that there's a little error in the Leaderboard.  Not to worry! The points are correct but the round delineations are not.  That's because mmowgli is human too.  Here's what you need to know...

Round 1 points are associated with all cards played during the "Learning Conversations" round.  Now the error comes into play...Round 2 on the leaderboard displays zero points.  In reality, Round 3 on the Leaderboard is your Round 2.  So, you're getting points where points are due and in the proper round.  We just have it labled a little differently.

Don't worry if it's a little confusing...we've figured it out so you don't have to.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time via the Trouble Report button.  We're always happy to hear your comments, suggestions and improvements.  Now, back to the game!

Thoughts from Rickover; see no.'s 4, 10, 11

US Naval Postgraduate School Address (1954)
Address delivered to US Naval Postgraduate School (16 March 1954)
Some of the ideas I try to get across to the people who work for me are the following:
1. More than ambition, more than ability, it is rules that limit contribution; rules are the lowest common denominator of human behavior. They are a substitute for rational thought.
2. Sit down before fact with an open mind. Be prepared to give up every preconceived notion. Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you learn nothing. Don't push out figures when facts are going in the opposite direction.
3. Free discussion requires an atmosphere unembarrassed by any suggestion of authority or even respect. If a subordinate always agrees with his superior he is a useless part of the organization. In this connection there is a story of Admiral Sims when he was on duty in London in World War I. He called a conscientious hard-working officer in to him to explain why he was dissatisfied with the officer's work. The officer blushed and stammered when Sims pointed out that in all the time they had been working together the officer had never once disagreed with Sims.
4. All men are by nature conservative but conservatism in the military profession is a source of danger to the country. One must be ready to change his line sharply and suddenly, with no concern for the prejudices and memories of what was yesterday. To rest upon formula is a slumber that, prolonged, means death.
5. Success teaches us nothing; only failure teaches.
6. Do not regard loyalty as a personal matter. A greater loyalty is one to the Navy or to the Country. When you know you are absolutely right, and when you are unable to do anything about it, complete military subordination to rules becomes a form of cowardice.
7. To doubt one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. Don't defend past actions; what is right today may be wrong tomorrow. Don't be consistent; consistency is the refuge of fools.
8. Thoughts arising from practical experience may be a bridle or a spur.
9. Optimism and stupidity are nearly synonymous.
10. Avoid over-coordination. We have all observed months-long delays caused by an effort to bring all activities into complete agreement with a proposed policy or procedure. While the coordinating machinery is slowly grinding away, the original purpose is often lost. The essence of the proposals is being worn down as the persons most concerned impatiently await the decision. The process has been aptly called coordinating to death.
11. A system under which it takes three men to check what one is doing is not control; it is systematic strangulation.
12. A man, by working 24 hours a day, could multiply himself 3 times. To multiply himself more than 3 times the only recourse is to train others to take over some of his work.

The Busy-ness Video - the other conversation

Ok...if you watched the Busyness Call to Action Video, you may have answered "YES" to the ending question: "Sound Familiar?". That's normal, but we aren't here to whine about the way it is, we are here to develop ideas for a better future.  

Some folks think that video is about Requirement Creep...IT'S NOT! Requirement creep affects all businesses everywhere, yet companies like DuPont turn increasing pollution and EPA requirements into a way to IMPROVE profits; Toyota, KIA and other car makers actually take increasing EPA regulations as a way to improve their cars without passing on higher prices to consumers; the food industry is continually saddled with increasing regulations, yet grocery bills have shrunk as a percent of average household income.

Some folks think the video might be about folks shirking their work: IT'S NOT! It is showing us what happens when everyone is operating from the view that "I am my position" (for those who remember their Learning Organization stuff, you'll recognize this as a Learning Org disability).  It is a polite version of what Round 1, Defensive Conversation vice Learning Conversations is all about. But when everyone is "I am my position", then who is "We are the doers of this..."

Let's see what this conversation would sound like if we had learning conversations and accountability not to our own 'positions' but to the goal of the entire effort:

"All I need is this wrench"

  • Boss: "Let me see how I can help you with that...I'm stumped...I'll get the boss on this"
  • Boss' Boss: "I think that's a special wrench and I'll make sure I get the paperwork thru to help you get it ASAP"
  • Auditor: "We had a Lesson Learned on this; let me see if I can help you make this job easier"
  • Risk Mgr: "Keep going... we trust your judgment but I'll let you know if there's a sneaky risk that someone else discovered in jobs like this so that you don't get surprised"

Get the idea?  If everyone had adopted a learning conversation sort of approach, then this would have sounded much different... and then we'd be putting our energy into doing the job together rather than only seeing the world from our own silo. The troublesome reality is that when everyone is just focused on their silo, then who is really accountable for getting the job done.

Point keeping corrections

Wondering about your score?  Does it look like you lost some points?

You did not.  There was a little reboot glitch during the night on the mmowgli computer that triggered Round 2 point keeping, even though we are not officially beginning Round 2 until 1200 EDT Tuesday.

If you are wondering what your real score is, go to the Leaderboard (look at the top right section of your screen), and use the pull down menu on the Leaderboard screen to ask for "combined" and you will see your treasure trove of points.

Thanks for your patience.  The database is being adjusted this morning (Tuesday morning).  Meanwhile, keep those ideas coming.

Relying on others to help us learn

In Learning Organizations, especially when we talk Mental Models, there is a tool called Suspending Assumptions.  It's about holding our view of the world for others to test, i.e. to suspend out, like a pinata, our assumptions.  We want folks to poke at our assumptions and see if we can prove it wrong...because, WE LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES.  Ideally, we'd all do this before putting torch to metal, power to box. 

Here's a story on how this works.  When I was a kid, my Dad told me after a clamming trip that you have to put the clams in water because every once in a while, you get a bad clam.  Frequently, when I'd have clams, which I love, I'd get sick, and the reason was simple; I must've gotten a bad clam.  This all made sense to me because of my mental model; I kept bending the data to maintain my assumption as correct. 

In my mid-twenties, in Bath Maine on Sea Trials, I enjoyed some delicious clam chowder and spent the night very sick.  The other guy was in the room next door and heard me.  He asked in the morning what the heck was wrong with me.  I told him matter of factly that I must've gotten a bad clam. At that point, the small group all stood a bit stunned...what the heck did I mean, a bad clam.  I explained, how, you know, sometimes there's a bad clam.  They explained how we all had the chowder. Subconsciously clinging to DEFEND my assumption, I shrugged I guess I was just unlucky.  They persisted asking if I had ever NOT gotten a bad clam  I shared it happens a lot, to which they all said, "Paul, you're an idiot, you're allergic to clams !"

Only when I could clearly see that my mental model was WRONG, did I learn something very valuable.  I had spent a lifetime bending the data to fit my faulty model about bad clams.  When others helped me suspend and test my assumptions, I was able to LEARN.

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