Welcome to Unicorn Thoughts

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For our Vietnamese friends: Ngoài ra còn có một blog của Cherry bằng tiếng Việt. Nếu bạn chuyển ngôn ngữ sang tiếng Việt, bạn sẽ tự động lấy nó.

We don’t know what unicorns think about (probably rainbows, glitter, and Frozen) but this Teal Unicorn spends a lot of time thinking about better Ways of Managing and Working, Human Systems Adaptability, and being an agile Manager (small “a”). We wrote a book. Click the image to learn more.

book cover

We will blog here to capture our thoughts. This blog functions as an archive for stuff we write elsewhere: on LinkedIn, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and documents for clients.

Here are some blog directories:

There is an RSS feed if you still use such cool technology to keep up.

Join our mailing list and we will send out an occasional update on blog posts.


Blog posts for November and December 2021

Reading Time: 4 minutesSomehow, time slipped by with no monthly updates.  Here are two month’s worth:

On the workplace culture

Viva la Resignation

There is no doubt that the movement characterised as the Great Resignation will settle back into the corporate yoke of work as life. But how much we backslide is up to us.

Don’t call it Agile

The word Agile with a capital A is being mis-applied beyond its intended purpose to build software.

Multiple mistakes mean incompetence?

No they don’t.

It’s not all about greed

Have you ever noticed how many e.g LinkedIn articles are about attracting more customers, increasing profits, and growing the business? As if that’s all anybody cares about, as if it’s all that matters.

People shortage? What people shortage ?

Let’s talk about why it is hard to fill job positions .


Having trouble “finding the right people”? This stuff isn’t hard.

How to find good people

I wrote a post about why it is hard to find staff. The corollary is what we should do to make it easy to find people. Logically, we just invert my earlier post.

Coming first depends on luck

Who said “success and failure happen in the same way”? No I don’t know either. But it is a profound insight. Combine it with survivor bias, and we have a formula for false expectations.

Work teams aren’t sports superstars

The analogy of elite sports competition is damaging in the workplace.

It’s not women who should be adapting

HBR wrote about how women need to be more confident and assertive to get equal treatment  It’s what women have to do, not what they should have to do.

On how work is different now

Big bets are bad ideas… mostly.

I boggled at the risk taken in launching the James Webb Space Telescope today, Christmas Day. But, on reflection, the launch is only one small piece of the gamble.

Change work gradually

To succeed at changing how you work, it must be done iteratively, incrementally, experimentally, in many smaller lower-risk changes.

Simple work is anything but

Work exists on a spectrum from familiar to exploratory. I wrote a book, Standard+Case, about it.  In recent years, I’ve absorbed the principles of complexity, and I’m rewriting that book.<

Do your head in

There are ideas that, when we first meet them, they “do our head in”: they mess with our head, they are a mindfuck.

Crazy goals

Set crazy goals.

Never judge a decision by its outcome

We need to defend how we came to a decision, not what the decision was.

Two thirds

Whenever we break down work, here’s my rule of thumb for measuring success; for each iteration, half is OK, two thirds is good, three quarters is great.

Pay the team

How should we best distribute the rewards for the production of value in order to maximize future value output?

Where is Teal being done?

No idealised model is ever “being done” anywhere.

On the year 2021

An article about Rob and Cherry’s work in Vietnam

We wrote an article about Cherry’s work in Vietnam in the Business Agility institute’s journal, Emergence.

Work-life balance

I was asked about our work-life balance at Teal Unicorn. I’m not sure we do keep a healthy balance, but for us it is fine. Work is life for Dr. Cherry Vu and I.

Reflections on 2021

Looking back, I can say 2021 was an excellent year. Business boomed, health was great, family was peaceful and prospering. Didn’t expect that reflection, did you?


Merry Christmas* and a Happy New Year

to all our friends, followers, supporters, partners, and clients.

In the season of seasons greetings I offer you seasons greetings from Teal Unicorn.

Change work gradually

Reading Time: < 1 minuteTo succeed at changing how you work, it must be done:
• iteratively, incrementslly, experimentally, in many smaller lower-risk changes.
• invitationally, collaboratively, inclusively. We change us, not we change them.
• open, transparently, without secrecy, with clear due process, honestly, with integrity.

You can’t step-change how you work. Changing behaviour is a continual graduated process.

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Do your head in

Reading Time: 2 minutesThere are ideas that, when we first meet them, they “do our head in”: they mess with our head, they are a mindfuck. And yet, once we logically unpack the idea, it makes perfect sense, even though when we first heard it intuitively our mind rebelled, rejected it as crazy.

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