By Dan Rockwell Article
The dark past draws you backward into futile conversations that solidify rather than solve. Complaints always focus on the past. Problems pull backward. But, solutions draw forward.
You become what you talk about.
… Leaders Solve the past by moving into the future. It’s the only way.
Talk about the past with the future in mind, tenaciously.
Rather than focusing on, “Where have we been?” say, “Where are we going?”
Shift from past tense to present and future tense language.
“What are we learning,” is better than, “What did we learn?” The latter takes you back while the former pulls you forward.
“What was done?” is only the beginning component of a, “What’s next?” conversation.
“Next time we’ll …” improves on, “What went wrong?””
“Under a new agreement, a patent awarded to Loren Brichter, a former Twitter employee, can only be used for offensive litigation if Mr. Brichter approves.
It seems that every week there is a new set of patent lawsuits in the tech universe. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Motorola Mobility, Google and many more companies are continually enmeshed in vicious patent battles. At the same time, the engineers who develop the ideas that in turn become the patents at the center of these suits often feel exploited. …
In a blog post on the company Web site, Twitter said it had developed a new type of patent agreement with employees that will give legal rights to engineers and designers who are awarded a patent, halting any potential of the patent’s being used for offensive litigation. The new patent agreement states that any patent awarded to an employee at Twitter cannot be use offensively, even after the employee has left the company. This means Twitter could not sue another company or person without the consent of the engineer to whom the patent was awarded. Twitter can, however, use the patent for defensive purposes.”
“… office politics is how things work. You can ignore it and suffer the consequences, do it the slimy way where a body count is taken, or do it well which benefits you and others. In its simplest form, office politics is about building relationships in order to achieve some kind of end result. …
Here is the ingredient list for office politics:
Who’s who. When you start your job the first thing you do is figure out who everyone is and what their role is. …
Who knows what. This is where office politics start. You eventually learn that there are certain people who not only know work things at a detailed level, but are keen observers of human behavior. They know how things really work. …
Goals. Every job has various goals, and on top of that we have our own goals we’d like to accomplish within the framework of our job. …
Who wields the power & influence. … We can be given position power like managing a group, but power also comes from other more informal sources within any group. You can have power based on the information you posses, charismatic power because people like you …
It is at this point where politics can be negative, because of people who are using power and influence to selfishly advance their own goals, largely at the exclusion of others. … On the other hand, when power and influence are exercised and it benefits the business and those in a work group, it can be a seriously positive thing.”
“Racism. That’s a charged word. Companies reprimand employees for blatant, careless comments about color, ethnicity, religion and gender. But most discrimination is far more subtle. It flies under the radar. …
Daily, we engage in prejudiced thinking without even realizing it. Two recent posts illustrate this phenomenon: “Straight Talk on Workplace Prejudice” and “5 Uncomfortable Observations About Workforce Diversity.”
Discomfort with a co-worker often signals bias
Next time you find yourself cringing in a colleague’s presence, fill in one or more of these blanks.
- I do not feel comfortable with this person because …
- I am skeptical about this worker’s ability to do a good job because …
- I would be hesitant to put this employee in front of a customer because …
- I would prefer not to have this individual on my project team because …
Are your answers based on work performance you have observed? Or are you simply uncomfortable with a nonwork-related trait the co-worker exhibits? Wardrobe. A pierced tongue. Sexual orientation. Age. Mannerisms. …
Each of us needs to do a frank self-assessment and come up with a personal action plan for becoming more sensitive. Your organizational success depends on embracing employee talent and suspending judgment of the “packaging.”
“ Here are 13 ways of knowing whether you’re a sucky manager:
1. People are afraid of you. In some workplaces, managers are feared even by employees who don’t know them — because their reputations precede them. If this is you, there’s a high probability that you suck: no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
2. You micro-manage. … If you’re not able to persuade or convince people of a vision and instead regularly have to crack a whip to achieve results, either the team is rotten to the core or you have failed to properly motivate (these ideas are not necessarily mutually-exclusive). …
3. Stress controls you; you don’t control stress.
… The difference between a good manager and a bad manager, however, is that a bad manager sends signals that the stressful circumstances are controlling him or her and not the inverse. …
4. You create real and perceived distance between yourself and your team. Humans detest hierarchies and those at the bottom resent being reminded of their place within them. …
5. You’re unavailable. … good managers are available to their reports at a moment’s notice. If you’re unavailable and inaccessible to your reports then you suck, regardless of how much you are appreciated by your superiors.
6. You don’t know your reports. A good proxy question to ask yourself about a report is, “if he/she could have any job in the world, what would it be?” Knowing this answer means you understand the person’s passions, dreams, and ambitions. …
13. You eschew vulnerability. … Bad managers abhor vulnerability for fear of appearing weak, while good managers use vulnerability as a tool to build trust and meaningful relationships.
Managing a sales team is not the same as managing a boiler room; good management is necessarily context dependent. Nevertheless, one final truism is that bad managers (enforcers) have reports who work for them, while good managers (enablers) work for their reports.”
“Like most everyone else, I worry about productivity. Since there aren’t more hours in the day, how can I get more done? That’s made me reflect on the truly productive people I’ve known or worked with throughout my career. They all share certain characteristics:
1. They have a life.
Far from being the maniacally focused, late night or early morning types, truly creative innovators or problem solvers have a rich life outside of work. …
2. They take breaks.
It’s easy to think that you’ll get more done if you never stop. But what’s clear from neuroscience is that we can easily get resource-depleted (tired) and can quickly become rigid and narrow minded (tunnel vision). In other words, we get stuck. …
3. They’ve often worked in several different industries.
This means that they regularly challenge orthodoxies because they’ve seen different frameworks and approaches. They may not take so much for granted, and have the experience to see the value in re-framing problems.
4. They have great outside collaborators.
Sometimes these collaborators are formal, often not. But their sounding boards aren’t just immediate colleagues or clients. …
What all of these characteristics demonstrate is that truly productive people have very wide and rich peripheral vision: external commitments, time to breath, multiple perspectives, and contacts. … What this means is that the secret to productivity isn’t a new organizer, a piece of software, or a new app. It’s having a whole life.”
By Stephen Shapiro Article
“Last month, I was on a flight from Orlando to Boston that had a bit of a problem. An hour before our scheduled landing in Boston, the pilot announced the main braking system was not functioning properly. Although the backup system would most likely work fine, the pilot and flight attendants were preparing us for the worst. They carefully described the emergency procedures. They were very similar to the ones frequent travelers have heard many times before. But this time, you could hear a pin drop as they walked us through what would happen. Everyone was paying attention. … This got me thinking: Do I ever really listen? The answer is no. And regrettably, I am not alone. Unfortunately even when you are trying to listen, you are still likely not really hearing properly.
Psychologists call this “confirmation bias.” We are naturally wired to filter and interpret information to conform to our underlying belief structures. And very simply put, these beliefs cloud how we hear. We only take in those pieces of information that align with our beliefs, and we disregard anything that contradicts them. …
The first step to listening better is to recognize the fact that you don’t. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you really hearing what others are saying? Or are you only passively listening?
- Are you focused on their words? Or are you thinking about what you will say next?
- Are you putting yourself in the shoes of the other person? Or are you only interested in meeting your own objectives?
- Do you ask a lot of questions? Or are you doing all of the talking?
- Are you hearing what they are really saying? Or are you too colored by your own perceptions, judgments and filters?”
By Business Marketing Association Article
“Locating a company’s “ideal” starts with senior managers getting together to ask themselves some tough questions: What difference does the company make in the world? Why do people come to work at this company? How do we behave when we’re at our best?
While the ability to “listen” to your audience(s) has taken on an added currency because of the immense changes in consumer behavior, companies also have to improve their capability to listen internally. “If we’re not listening to each other, if we’re not asking each other these questions, if we’re not in this together [the ideal] will be not be authentic and it will fall apart,” Stengel said. “I always work for many, many, many months internally before I go outside and that’s what you must do.” …
During the meeting Stengel will discuss a major component of “Grow”: a global ten-year growth study of more than 50,000 brands that he conducted … The study revealed that those companies that center their business on the ideal of improving lives have a growth triple that of competitors in their categories.”
“It’s possible that when you’re worried about a tsunami wiping away you and everything you hold dear, you’ll prefer a bucket of large extra crispy chunks as opposed to just a few crispy strips. Equally, it’s possible that the last thing on your mind would be, well, any kind of chicken at all.
KFC seems to have discovered the latter might be the case. As the Daily Mail reports it, some people were a little surprised in Thailand on Wednesday when, as they rushed home worried about a tsunami, KFC posted: “Let’s hurry home and follow the earthquake news. And don’t forget to order your favorite KFC menu.”
By Amy C. Edmondson Article
“The wisdom of learning from failure is incontrovertible. Yet organizations that do it well are extraordinarily rare. This gap is not due to a lack of commitment to learning. Managers in the vast majority of enterprises that I have studied over the past 20 years—pharmaceutical, financial services, product design, telecommunications, and construction companies; hospitals; and NASA’s space shuttle program, among others—genuinely wanted to help their organizations learn from failures to improve future performance. In some cases they and their teams had devoted many hours to after-action reviews, postmortems, and the like. But time after time I saw that these painstaking efforts led to no real change. The reason: Those managers were thinking about failure the wrong way.
Most executives I’ve talked to believe that failure is bad (of course!). They also believe that learning from it is pretty straightforward: Ask people to reflect on what they did wrong and exhort them to avoid similar mistakes in the future—or, better yet, assign a team to review and write a report on what happened and then distribute it throughout the organization. These widely held beliefs are misguided.”
By Douglas R. Conant Article
“In my 35-year corporate journey and my 60-year life journey, I have consistently found that the thorniest problems I face each day are soft stuff — problems of intention, understanding, communication, and interpersonal effectiveness — not hard stuff such as return on investment and other quantitative challenges. Inevitably, I have found myself needing to step back from the problem, listen more carefully, and frame the conflict more thoughtfully, while still finding a way to advance the corporate agenda empathetically. Most of the time, interestingly, this has led to a more promising path forward and a better relationship, which in turn has made the next conflict easier to deal with.”
“Say, “I’ve been meaning to apologize for a while…”
You should never need to apologize for not having apologized sooner. When you mess up, ‘fess up. Right away. You certainly want employees to immediately tell you when they make a mistake, so model the same behavior. If love means never having to say you’re sorry, leadership means always having to say you’re sorry.
Deliver annual performance reviews.
Annual or semi-annual performance appraisals are largely a waste of time. … The best feedback isn’t scheduled. The best feedback happens on the spot when it makes the most impact, either as praise and encouragement or as training and suggestions for improvement. Waiting for a scheduled review is the lazy way out. Your job is to coach and mentor and develop–every day.
Hold formal meetings to solicit ideas.
… the better way to ask for ideas is to talk to people individually and to be more specific. Say, … “What would you change if you were me?” Trust me: Employees picture themselves doing your job–and doing your job better than you–all the time. They have ideas. Sometimes they have great ideas. Be open, act on good ideas, explain why less than good ideas aren’t feasible….
Create development plans.
… You should know what each of your employees hopes to achieve: Skills and experience they want to gain, career paths they hope to take, etc. So talk about it–informally. Then assign projects that fit. Provide training that fits. Create opportunities that fit.Then give feedback on the spot. “Develop” is a verb. To develop requires action. “Development” is a noun that sits in a file cabinet.
Call in favors.
I know lots of bosses who play the guilt game, like saying, “Mark, I was really flexible with your schedule while your son was sick… now I really need you to come through for me and work this weekend.” Generosity should always be a one-way street. … Be accommodating when being accommodating is the right thing to do. … Remarkable leaders only give. They never take.”
From: The Startup Daily Blog
“David Ogilvy used to give each new office head a set of Russian nesting dolls as a gift. Inside the smallest doll at the center was a note that read:
‘If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants’:
“Many firms assume that customers can do just one thing of real significance: buy their products and services. It’s time to seriously challenge that assumption, as many companies are doing by looking to customers to fuel their growth engines. …
Customers know more about each other than you know about them. That’s the source of much of the stratospheric value placed on Facebook by investors. Imagine a traditional company that tried to generate the kind of information Facebook generates: real time data on what movies people are watching, where they travel, the books they’re reading, the restaurants they’ve tried. Facebook dispensed with all the research most companies would have tried to dig up, and instead focused on letting customers provide it. …
Customers are more credible than you are. That means they make better marketers for a firm than agencies or internal employees. …
Customers are more persuasive than you are. That means they make better sales people. Marc Benioff … relied instead on face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers in major city markets. He found, to his surprise, that prospects at such events were much more interested in talking with SFDC customers than with him and his executive team, and found to his delight that 80% of prospects who attended the events wound up becoming customers themselves — an amazing close rate for any offering. …
Customers often understand buyer needs better than you do. One of the great misconceptions still floating around is that customers can’t articulate their needs, much less develop ideas for products to satisfy them. A substantial body of well-established research has shown that many if not most successful innovations are customer-originated. In one compilation of studies of 1193 commercially successful innovations across nine industries by MIT’s Eric von Hippel, 737 (60%) came from customers. …
Prospects in your market would rather affiliate with their peers (your customers) than with you. …”
He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
“One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
“The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
“Increase Positivity: To increase your positivity score and enrich your life, here are some thoughts by the author[s]:
- Study positive psychology: Coined by Marty Seligman in 1998, this movement has had a profound effect on the field of psychology and on the author herself.
- Sincerity: An insincere smile or gesture can have an even more negative effect than doing nothing at all. Slowing down to be in the moment and be sincere about our responses can make a huge difference.
- Find Positive Meaning: Reframing an experience can make a big difference in not only how you react but also how you remember an event.
- Savor Goodness: Find ways to remember and re-remember good things.
- Celebrate Team Wins: Celebration boosts teams’ overall positivity state and allows you to savor the good memories together.
- Count Your Blessings: Being grateful for everything you have broadens and de-stresses your life. Keeping a gratitude journal [which I do] and listing 5 things (no matter how small…like water and electricity) a day that you’re grateful for can reframe your day and your life over time.
- Apply Your Strengths: People who work on and improve in their areas of strength are happier and more productive than those who work constantly on removing weaknesses. So, play life to your strengths and watch happiness abound.
- Connect with Others: We are pack animals, social animals. We need people to thrive. When in a tailspin, the tendency is to isolate ourselves to lick our wounds. In fact, that’s the worst thing…better to stay connected to those who keep us nurtured.”
“The key is to recognize that every employee brings different skills and attitudes, so your goal isn’t to ensure every employee is great; your goal is to ensure that as a team those employees can collectively be great. (There’s a big difference.)
To build a great team:
Decide what key attribute you must have.
Forget about the stereotypically well-rounded employee for a moment. If you could only pick one attribute, what would you choose as the most important skill or quality a great employee needs to have to succeed in the position?
Maybe it’s attitude, or interpersonal skills, or teamwork, or a specific skill set… whatever it is, that attribute is the foundation for individual employees and for your team. Training can fill in the gaps, but this is the attribute almost every employee must possess.
Decide what key attribute you can’t have.
This one’s easy. Just complete this sentence: “I don’t care how great he is, I don’t want him on my team because he…” Typically your answer won’t be skills-based; it will be something like terrible interpersonal skills, a horrible work ethic, or a larger than life ego. Just identify the attribute you can’t live with and make sure it stays off your team.”
“If such a thing as corporate DNA exists, it has animated the rise of the last decade’s most successful technology companies. Google had a relentless focus on data, Apple a Zen-like obsession with simplicity, and Facebook a world of social connections to mine. Amazon has relied on an altogether more prosaic trait: thriftiness. …
For Amazon, savings are more than a competitive matter. Indeed, the company holds “frugality” up as one of 14 leadership principles. (It “breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention,” the company says on its corporate site.) That goes back to 1994, when CEO Jeff Bezos jump-started the e-commerce company and jury-rigged a desk out of a door. “Door desks” became a popular staple within the company years after it went public, and remained “the quintessential example” of Amazon’s frugality, ex-employee Greg Linden explained in 2006. The company still hands out the “Door Desk Award,” a title given internally to select employees who have a “well-built idea” that creates a significant savings for the company and enables lower prices for customers.
That same sense of frugality bleeds into other areas of corporate culture as well. In 2009, Bezos revealed at the company’s annual shareholders meeting that all the light bulbs were taken out of cafeteria vending machines. “Every vending machine has light bulbs in it to make the advertisement more attractive,” Bezos explained. “So they went around at all of our fulfillment centers and took all the light bulbs out.” While Amazon estimated then the measure saved just tens of thousands a year on electricity, it speaks to the way the $48 billion company thinks.”
By Chris Isidore Article
“On Sunday, the United States gets a distinction no nation wants — the world’s highest corporate tax rate. Japan, which currently has the highest rate in the world — a 39.8% rate on business income between national and local taxes — cuts its rate to 36.8% as of April 1. The U.S. rate stands at 39.2% when both federal and state rates are included. …
But despite the headline number, the statutory rate only tells part of the story. Loopholes and other special treatment for different kinds of businesses mean that businesses pay an effective rate of only 29.2% of their income, which puts the United States below the average of 31.9% among other major economies, according to analysis by the Treasury Department.
… both Democrats and Republicans argue that the corporate tax rate should be lowered as a way of promoting greater economic growth, so that multinational companies have incentive to invest more in their U.S. operations than overseas. President Obama has proposed cutting the corporate rate to 28%, Republican challenger Mitt Romney proposes a 25% rate.”
“Most of us have grown up assuming that career success is vertical. We climb the ladder and move from junior positions to senior ones. As such, we implicitly compete with others because there are fewer positions as we advance. It’s like a reality show where people get kicked off the island.
The problem with this powerful paradigm is that today’s work is no longer divided up into small tasks that require higher and higher layers of management to put together. Instead most work is accomplished through horizontal processes that cut across different functions, geographies, and specialties. Therefore real success comes less from controlling people that report to you, and more from the ability to align stakeholders who surround you.
Given the hierarchical structures of most organizations, we will still have upward career paths. More and more however, the real contributors will be the process owners and project leaders that are able to provide horizontal leadership. To support this shift, organizations will need to reward and recognize horizontal contributions as much, if not more, than hierarchical positions. At the same time, each of us will need to overcome our personal assumptions about moving up the career ladder, and think more about how we add value across.”