You subscribed to this newsletter on better ways of managing and working. Thanks for being part of our Teal Tribe - here's your monthly goodness..
Company logo

Hello {name},

Welcome to our monthly newsletter. We hope you are getting value from our "Teal Tribe" community. Let us know.  We love feedback.  You can contact us via the website or book a time for a conversation with Rob.

Our newsletters are a month's worth of chunky goodness, so you may prefer to view this newsletter online.


  Most importantly, brave Ukraine fights on. Cherry and I are returning from three weeks in Europe, getting as close as next door in Poland and Slovakia. I reflected often on WW2 as we moved through the old towns of each major city, especially on Anzac Day, April 25th, our war memorial day in Australasia.  Lest we forget. Europe stands on the brink of it happening again due to another megalomaniac with delusions of restoration of empire.


Can we save Europe from another wave of destruction? And can Ukraine be saved from devastation? Almost all promised weapons have been delivered but are they enough for a Spring offensive to force the Ruzzians back?

It's unbearable for the world to stand by and watch a nation have to go through this.

OPEC could end this war by driving the oil price down to starve Putler of funds, but they don't feel they owe the West any favours for obvious reasons. Europe and the USA could end it if they called the madman's bluff, or at least gave Ukraine the tools to restore their homeland. Let's all do what we can to support Ukraine and bring about a restoration of their nation. 

Our trip to Europe is at an end

Teal Unicorn have been in Europe for three weeks, working and touring. We have finalised very little until the last minute, only those things the rest of the world insisted we should, such as air tickets and conference presentations.  I booked travel and accommodation a few days ahead, which allowed us to pivot mid-trip, and not go to Denmark after all, adding Poland, Slovakia, and Austria to our trip instead. This will seem like madness to those who haven't read our book S&T Happens (and will still seem crazy to some who have).

It has been a useful exercise in proving the principles of our book. 


This year we launched Open IT, "How to do IT in the 21st Century”

Over a hundred people have signed up for the free self-paced learning emails for the rest of the year. I promised to kick them off "in April" but didn't quite make it.  I sent the first one yesterday, May 5th. If you are getting this newsletter you quite likely have signed up already and should have received it.  If not, please join in by going to the bottom of this newsletter to modify your subscription, then add "Open IT" newsletter option. 

We had a great time at SRVision in the Netherlands.

It was our first time with a lanyard round our necks since before lockdown, i.e. at a "real' conference again.

We caught up with old friends and made new ones.  

We presented a workshop and a keynote


We also ran a workshop for itSMF Belgium on Open Work.  Again, old friends and new:


You can download our Netherlands workshop presentation on Open IT (and other resources) from our website.

Our Working From Anywhere reached a new level this month, as we mixed work with pleasure touring Europe.  Some places weren't much fun, such as airport terminals or an ICE train, but others rocked, from Brno town square to luxury hotels and rooftop terraces.


Found on LinkedIn this month:

On the web

On Twitter

  • When a job is at stake, I think loyalty usually wins


and on YouTube

...and so much more.  Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Blog posts for April 2023

Together we are better

We are a collective. It’s in the name: “organisation”. Some sectors like IT are riddled with prima donna thinking, solo operators convinced of their own genius, and equally judgemental of others. This is one endemic cultural deficiency that we must address.

The social impact of AI

People worry that there will be social disruption from AI putting people out of work, like coalminers in Wales or auto workers in Detroit. There potentially is, and I’m not trying to trivialize it.  But I don’t think it will be anything like as painful.

Be prepared

The world is VUCA. How do we be prepared for disruption?

Why we aren’t fans of Situational Leadership®

The Situational Leadership® model is great for an asymmetric power relationship, either master/apprentice or boss/worker. As the world progresses to more advanced workplace cultures, we think Situational Leadership looks dated for management – it is really only suited for training.

Lighten up on speed of making the product

This post is a long one.  It is about software creation but it is also much more general. It is for everyone: we should lighten up on obsessing about the speed of making our products.

If you can’t measure it…

It doesn’t have to be measured to be managed.
It doesn’t have to be measured to be improved.

Solving systems debt

The normalisation of a defect list is one of the biggest dysfunctions of conventional project management and waterfall.
“Thank you for your money, here are your defects. I shall now deliberately release this technical debt into your systems and then we will all leave.
Doughnuts for everyone!”

And three case studies, as I finally catch up with some of our clients in Vietnam

CareHome patience doing the right things for the right results

We are glad that, with Teal Unicorn’s help, CareHome home maintenance company has gone from a bulky management firm to a compact, agile one; from a place of constant loss, and insufficient compensation, to a profitable one; from unhappy people to happier employees and customers. The two owners Đào Hồng Hà and Quách Văn Giang have changed their management ways, from micro-management to open management.
We want to share with you their story:

A spectacular shift at PCS Group

Teal Unicorn’s client PCS is comprised of six divisions: Courier, Post, Logistics, e-Commerce, Online Import, and Trading.  We wrote a case study of the Courier subsidiary.   Here is an update from Cherry on the parent group and the spectacular changes there.

An agile enterprise success – updated

An agile enterprise success in the Vietnam online training industry.
This must be one of the fastest organisational improvements in Vietnam. Mostly over a period of just three months, with the guidance of Teal Unicorn’s Dr. Cherry Vu*, Amber Academy have advanced in a series of incremental steps.

As part of our transition to open ways of working, we all should reconsider our addiction to models of how we want to work, the way we look to them as easy answers.
They depict ideal models or patterns not seen in their perfect form anywhere, yet their champions evangelise them passionately, even aggressively, leading to endless debates between the sandal and the gourd.
It is not a question of which is best, but how we can leave the debate behind, and rise above it.
It is not that they are the wrong models, but that models are the wrong approach entirely when we use them as templates for our organisations. They are aspirational ideals, not blueprints. Reality will always look different to the ideal model.
"Not more knowing (theories, frameworks, processes), but more compassion, more understanding, more 'looking as' rather than looking at."
- Michael K Spayd

I’ve seen harm done by people so immersed in theory that they’ve lost sight of reality. It turns to precious posturing pontification.
Not to go all mystic, but we must let go of the perfectionism around which model to use, the intellectual fastidiousness. It matters less than we think. Models are all a simplification that always fail to capture the colour, richness, and unexpectedness of human culture and behaviour. They dehumanise. The models are so divorced from reality in specific practical work situations that they only offer a light from one direction. If one model occasionally offers a wildly better level of illumination, then I pay more attention, but mostly they’re all pretty dim. We need a bunch of them to see what we are doing. The looking matters more than the lights.

I get caught out with ambiguous or incorrect terminology, or loose thinking. If I’m sloppy it is because I don't care. All intellectual frameworks are just planks we use to keep us out of the mud. They’re useful but they don’t need to be polished to a shine. We have a higher purpose than the constructs themselves.
Work is human. It is as much about ethics and aesthetics as it is about science and intellectual abstract models. At Teal Unicorn, I work with the mind and the heart. It is not only about what’s correct, but also what is right and appealing.
As your thinking rises above, the specifics of frameworks and models fall away as operational noise, and we open up to more important things, like humanity and thriving.

"As I rise above the treeline and the clouds
I look down hearing the sound of the things you said today."
– Pink Floyd

from our book Open Management

Seen: "The biggest disruptor in the professional services and creative industries since the literal invention of the computer is the rise of Generative Al."
Remember the huge surge in unemployment due to computers? No me neither.

we should make this our local office in Berlin

Feel free to share this newsletter with friends to spread the news.  They can subscribe here and be part of the Teal Tribe.  

Let's share the ideas of Open Management and Open Work, to make better results, better lives, and better society.

Mā te wā
Cherry and Rob
Unsubscribe   |   Manage your subscription   |   View online
Two Hills Ltd trading as Teal Unicorn |
© Two Hills Ltd 2022