NOBL Academy by Lauren Currie

An interview with a toolbox creator

Jim Ralley
Nov 8 · 4 min read

What’s your toolbox all about? Why does it exist? What problems is it aiming to help solve?

For the last five years, we’ve been working in the open. We practice what we preach to inspire and educate leaders and teams who are going through significant change.

NOBL Academy is our library of tools, case studies, essays, and trainings designed to help readers make their culture a competitive advantage.

The Decider is a tool we built to help teams make better decisions. Decisions are important, yet we rarely pay any attention to how we decide. Instead of choosing the right decision-making model for the situation at hand, we either fallback on norms or simply decide for ourselves in isolation. But a knee-jerk reaction can have irreversible negative consequences, both economically and culturally within our groups. We built a tool to support groups in decision making and to help groups become more conscious of their decision making.

Change Survival Guide is a publication we created for leaders going through change. Like any grand adventure, changing an organization’s culture requires skill, daring, and yes, good fortune. You’ll scale peaks of difficulty and cross valleys of doubt, taste the sweet nectar of victory and drink from the bitter cup of defeat — oftentimes within the same day. And inevitably, there will come a point when even the most intrepid, valiant leader will ask themselves, “What the hell was I thinking?”

Our newsletter, The Blast, is our weekly newsletter for folks going through change. It’s definitely the tool we are most proud of. We get phenomenal feedback and we know it has genuinely helped hundreds, if not thousands of teams all over the world.

Who developed it? What was the team that you put together?

Paula Cizek, our Chief Research Officer, works closely with the whole team to create content. Everyone on the team is encouraged to generate their own content and Bud Caddell, our founder, did most of the tech leg work to set up the systems and structures. Often our content is driven by the challenges our clients are having.

How do you practically use the toolbox in your work? And how do others use it?

We never advise a client to use a tool we haven’t trialled on ourselves. Most of the content comes from the work we do with clients and what we’re learning along the way. Folks often tell us our tools are a great way for them to start having conversations about culture internally. Our organisational charter is a tool that organisations like IF and Backed VC have used for their own teams. Our content around meetings is very popular and has been used by teams at The Department For Education and TBA21-Academy.

What do you think is next for the toolbox? Do you have plans to update or change it?

We are obsessed with serving our customers and understanding what works and what doesn’t work. We tweak and refine little and often. Right now our focus is producing content that serves people and helps our business grow.

What’s your opinion on the idea of toolboxes in general? At this point everyone seems to have their own! When are they useful and not useful?

We’re building WorkHub which we hope will become the world’s simplest way to capture how your team works together and the best place to explore how the world works. This has been driven by our belief that there should be a unification of these toolboxes.


Thanks to Lauren Currie for the interview, and to the NOBL team for their awesome tools and methods. Check out ToolboxToolbox.com for more where this came from 🛠

Jim Ralley

Written by

consulting / researching / making at http://flux.am

TOOLBOX TOOLBOX

News and articles from the Toolbox Toolbox — a curated list of the best analogue and digital toolboxes and methods from companies, institutions and thinkers.

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