Jim McGee’s Profile

We wanted to show you what kinds of questions we’ll be asking prospective members. To begin with, we’ll start with David Friedman and Jim McGee’s answers to the questions. It’s a way of letting you know what we’ll be asking of people and also of letting you know more about who we are.  Here’s Jim’s.

Basic Information
Your name Jim McGee
Your home location (City) Winnetka
Your home location  (state/province) IL
Your home location (country) USA
Your preferred email address jim.mcgee AT cminds DOT net
Your preferred phone number 1-847-867-1086
Another phone number for you 1-847-441-8842
Your website (s) www.newshorehamconsulting.com
Your blog’s title McGee’s Musings
Your blog’s URL http://www.mcgeesmusings.net
Your LinkedIn profile www.linkedin.com/in/jimmcgee
Skills and Interests  
Educational achievements Ph.D., Organizational Design & Technology  Harvard Business School, 1991 

MBA, Strategy, Harvard Business School, 1980

AB, Statistics, Princeton University, 1975

Work history/highlights
  • New Shoreham Consulting (2007-Present). Strategy and organizational design for improving knowledge work effectiveness in complex organizations including health care and higher education.
  • Huron Consulting Group (2003-2007). Organizational assessments and improvement programs for academic medical centers and research universities. Emphasis on effective use and management of information technology.
  • Kellogg School of Management (2001-2003). Clinical Professor of Innovation and Technology Management. Designed and taught courses on IT Management for General Managers and Knowledge Management.
  • Diamond Management and Technology Consultants (1994-2001). Co-founder and Chief Knowledge Officer/Chief Learning Officer of professional services firm helping clients address design and execution problems of strategic uses of information technology 
Fields you consider yourself highly capable in  

  • Knowledge work  improvement and effectiveness
  • Designing pragmatic learning experiences
  • Integrating technology with organizations
Other fields you are interested in  

  • Organizational development
  • Mathematics and science
  • Architecture
  • Design
Hobbies  

  • Community theater productions
  • Reading
  • Movies
Helping and Getting Help  
Tell us a story about getting help (on something important to you)

I’ve gathered a small group of friends that I meet with once or twice a year to listen to their perspective on what I’m working on. They’re sort of a personal board of directors

What are you good at helping other people with?
  • Web 2.0 applications and technology
  • Seeing complex systems problems
  • Thinking about business problems
Some examples of people you have helped
  • A former student who meets with me from time to time to discuss new business ideas he’s pursuing
  • Multiple friends who worked with or for me and discuss career goals and plans with me
  • Lots of people who worked with me
What methods and approaches do you use to help other people? What, in your experience, works best for you and them?
  • Listen – reflect and restate what they are saying
  • Start from where they are, but have a focus on what they can become
  • Don’t worry about how it will all turn out
  • Give them permission and support to take the risks they are contemplating
What have you learned  about how to help people grow and develop? What methods work best for you and for them?
  • They’re generally dismissive of what they’ve truly accomplished even as you point it out
  • They’re more likely to recognize closed doors than open windows.
  • Helping others perceive their self-imposed limits makes it easier to see your own
What should people who want to help you do? What would work best for you? Beat me about the head and shoulders when I try to resist genuine offers of help. Keep at it until I accept
Do you have a philosophy or approach to relationship building? If so, what is it? Relationships are built with the investment of time and caring.
Keep investing.
What interpersonal or relationship building skill(s)would you like to improve?
  • Get better and recognizing when advice isn’t desired, relevant, or useful
  • Get better at sensing and labeling the emotional layers of interpersonal interactions
What people or ideas have most influenced your thinking about relationship-building? How?  
Problem-solving  
How do you solve problems?
  • I generally start with immersing myself in the current state of the problem as well as its history and context
  • I like to play with multiple analogies and metaphors describing different aspects and perspectives on the problem
  • Frequently, I’ll recast my understanding of a problem in the form of a narrative storyline that can suggest paths forward and likely issues to address
  • Work at "staying in the problem" long enough to see multiple ways to attack it.
  • Resist the temptation to run with the first potential answer that appears
  • Look for leverage points and places to intervene that yield the most return for the least effort.  Remain skeptical of full frontal assault approaches to complex problems
How have your problem-solving methods changed, if at all, over time? Greater appreciation for the value of patience and of getting a good formulation of the problem before haring off after a glimpse of a possible answer
What people and ideas have most influenced your thinking about problem-solving?
  • Gerry Weinberg, Donella Meadows, Russell Ackoff and others on seeing problems as complex systems
  • The notion of "wicked problems"
  • Fred Brooks on complex software and systems design and implementation
Intellectual property constraints  
Do you have any intellectual property constraints that would affect your ability to participate? No
If yes, what are they?  
Other information and questions  
Reasons for your interest Because I like tackling hard problems and this seems like a path to build more capacity to tackle the hard problems out there to be solved
Are you passionate about the question, "What can we do together that we cannot do separately?" Please describe how that passion has been active in your life. Going back at least as far as high school working backstage on theater productions, I’ve always been involved in creative group efforts. You become part of all communities in the same way, by rolling up your sleeves and pitching in. Founding "Collaborating Minds" is one more chance to pitch in to solve problems that exceed my personal capacities
What topics get you talking (and listening)?
  • Wicked problems – both specific examples and the concept in general
  • The interplay between organizations and technology
  • Design as a field of study and practice
How would you like to be compensated? (You can change this later – we’re just interested) Pick among:
A. Cash to me
B. Donation to a charity of my choice
C. Donation to a charity selected by Collaborating Minds
D. Leave the money in Collaborating Minds 

My choice is D.

Anything else (personal or professional) that you’d like to tell us? No
Anything else you’d like to show us?  Please send as an email to minds@cminds.net No
Any questions you have for us? (ask as many as you like – that way we’ll be as prepared as possible when we talk with you)? No
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