Is working smarter foolish?

February 23, 2015

By Braden Kelley via innovationexcellence.com   Article

“Why is that we lionize the workaholics among us and penalize those that find ways to be more efficient?

Why is that we say ‘thank you for working so hard’ to someone who takes sixty hours to complete a task and penalize the person who figures out how to do it in twenty hours by giving them more work to do?

Out of one side of our mouth we talk about the importance of work life balance and out of the other side we praise those who worked the weekend. What’s worse, we often also speak behind the back of those who find a way to leave promptly at 5 PM every day, and look down upon them instead of admiring them.

There is the old saying ‘Work smarter, not harder’, but what’s the point when you get punished for doing so? Where’s the reward?

We reward companies for getting more efficient and more profitable by raising their stock price. Where’s the reward for the individual for finds a way to get more efficient?

And why do people who work neither hard or smart get a free ride? I am reminded of the saying ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person.’

The attitudes about work in our society that make this quote a truism, along with the penalties for working smarter, make it nearly impossible to achieve work life balance in our culture unless you’re lazy and difficult to fire. …

So, what could we do better as organizations and leaders to teach people how to be more efficient in their jobs and have the foresight to let them use that improved efficiency to allow them to go home at a decent hour to their families?

We must remember, all parents have another job to go home to, and single employees have passions to explore that work probably is not fulfilling.”


Results-oriented vs. Nurturing

February 23, 2015

By Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg via LBN Special Report   Article

LBN-COMMENTARY by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg

“Late one Friday afternoon at a leading consulting firm, a last-minute request came in from a client. A female manager was the first to volunteer her time. She had already spent the entire day meeting with junior colleagues who were seeking career advice, even though they weren’t on her team. Earlier in the week, she had trained several new hires, helped a colleague improve a presentation and agreed to plan the office holiday party.

When it came time for her review for partner, her clear track record as a team player combined with her excellent performance should have made her a shoo-in. Instead, her promotion was delayed for six months, and then a year.

This is the sad reality in workplaces around the world: Women help more but benefit less from it. In keeping with deeply held gender stereotypes, we expect men to be ambitious and results-oriented, and women to be nurturing and communal. When a man offers to help, we shower him with praise and rewards. But when a woman helps, we feel less indebted. She’s communal, right? She wants to be a team player. The reverse is also true. When a woman declines to help a colleague, people like her less and her career suffers. But when a man says no, he faces no backlash. A man who doesn’t help is’ busy'; a woman is ‘selfish.'”


Your character is your future

February 23, 2015

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.wordpress.com   Article

The Secret to you future

“Your character is your future. Leadership is first about character then skill.

Character is:

  1. Behavior you compel yourself to do.
  2. Attitudes and actions you resort to when stressed.
  3. The way you act when no one is looking.

The 6 essential character traits of successful leaders:

Humility

  • Acknowledgement that you need others.
  • Openness to new ideas.
  • Awareness and acceptance of personal limitation and frailty.

Integrity

  • Consistency between commitment and follow through.
  • No hidden agendas – transparency of intention.
  • Authenticity – opinion reflects personally held values.

Self-control

  • Choose language that builds up when tempted to tear down.
  • Withhold personal attack and extend forgiveness.
  • Explore options even when you think you know.

Courage

  • Bravery to stand alone.
  • Willingness to state unpopular opinions and speak truth to power.
  • Resolve to address difficult topics with kindness.

Love

  • Commitment to seek the highest good of others and organizations.
  • Lead with empathy and compassion.
  • Hold people to their highest potential.

Optimism

  • Keep long-term perspectives in view.
  • Belief that organizational mission is worthy of grit.
  • Confidence in proven teammates to deliver results.”

 


The world’s dumbest idea

February 23, 2015

By Steve Denning via forbes.com   Article

Salesforce CEO Slams ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea': Maximizing Shareholder Value

Jack Welch has called it ‘the dumbest idea in the world.’

Vinci Group Chairman and CEO Xavier Huillard has called it ‘totally idiotic.’

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma has said that ‘customers are number one; employees are number two and shareholders are number three.’

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever [UN], has denounced ‘the cult of shareholder value.’

John Mackey at Whole Foods [WFM] has condemned businesses that ‘view their purpose as profit maximization and treat all participants in the system as means to that end.’

This week, Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce [CRM] joined these CEOs and declared in an article in the Huffington Post that this still-pervasive business theory is ‘wrong. The business of business isn’t just about creating profits for shareholders — it’s also about improving the state of the world and driving stakeholder value.’

‘We have an imperative,’ says Benioff, endorsing the vision of Professor Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum ‘to shift from creating shareholder value to stakeholder value… corporate management isn’t just accountable to shareholders… businesses must focus on serving the interests all stakeholders — customers, employees, partners, suppliers, citizens, governments, the environment and any other entity impacted by its operations.’ …

He might also have quoted Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple [AAPL], who, when asked to disclose the costs of Apple’s energy sustainability programs, and make a commitment to doing only those things that were profitable, Cook replied, ‘When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,’ he said, ‘I don’t consider the bloody ROI.’ It was the same thing for environmental issues, worker safety, and other areas that don’t have an immediate profit. The company does ‘a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive. We want to leave the world better than we found it.'”


You have to be a leader too

February 16, 2015

By Liz Ryan via forbes.com   Article

How To Stop Measuring And Start Managing

“If you’re a manager, you have to be a leader too. You can’t beg off and say you aren’t wired that way — to value people, respect them, listen to them and acknowledge them for their contributions. We wouldn’t accept it as fate if a person in our Finance organization didn’t understand numbers. We would view that as a problem, and managers who don’t lead are a big problem too. …

Real leaders get out of their offices and put away the spreadsheets. They manage people face to face and over the phone. They say ‘How’s it going?  How can I help?’ like breathing. They talk about goals, but they realize that nobody on their teams will give a hoot about the goals unless there’s good energy in the team. …

Every leadership training should start with the topics of energy and respect. We won’t have any credibility talking about goals and yardsticks unless we are also willing to talk about respect and acknowledgement for the talented people we work with. It’s a new day.

Everything we want to accomplish at work is powered by human mojo. Our emphasis in 2015 and beyond must shift from the cells on a spreadsheet to the lively, warm, brilliant, funny and random people around us, the people who run our businesses for us and whose spark and passion move the numbers on those spreadsheet where we want them to be.”

 


Reverse causation

February 16, 2015

By Kaiser Fung via hbr.org   Article

An Important Data Lesson from an Inconsequential Football Scandal

“… one of big data analysis’ most under-appreciated problems: talking about reverse causation. In reverse causation problems, we know the result and we work backwards to understand the causes.

Reverse causation investigations have the opposite structure from A/B tests, in which we vary known causes, and observe how the variations affect an outcome. If the number of visitors to your website jumped after you changed the image on your Facebook page, you conclude that the new photo is the reason for the traffic surge. (Note: Good A/B test construction can help you see most likely causes; bad A/B test construction creates its own set of problems.).

By contrast, the biggest obstacle to solving reverse causation is the infinite number of possible causes that might influence the known outcome. This is compounded by the fact that we want to assign a cause. So when some data is plucked out of a large set that fits a narrative we may have already constructed, it’s very tempting to simply assign causation when it doesn’t exist. …

Big data is exposing all kinds of outliers and trends we hadn’t seen before and we’re assigning causes somewhat recklessly, because it makes a good story, or helps confirm our biases. You see this all the time in your Twitter stream: ‘7 Charts that Explain This.’ Or ‘The One Chart that Tells You Why Something Is Happening.’ We’re getting better and better at analyzing and visualizing big data to spot coincidences, outliers and trends. It’s getting easier and easier to convince ourselves of specific narratives without any real data to support them.

Most good statistical analysis will be narratively unsatisfying, loaded down with ‘we don’t know,’ ‘it depends,’ and ‘the data can’t prove that.’

You can see how this can become a big problem for companies wanting to exploit the big data they’re amassing. If you think about most practical data problems, they often concern reverse causation. The sales of a particular product suddenly plunged; what caused it? The number of measles cases spiked up in a neighborhood; how did it happen? People with a certain brand of phone tend to shop at certain stores; why is that? In cases like these, we know the outcome, and we often don’t know the cause.

The possibility of any number of causes tempts us to retrofit a narrative but we must resist it. The astute analyst is one who figures out how to bring a manageable structure to this work. See this post by statistician Andrew Gelman for further thoughts.”


The tiny b-word

February 16, 2015

By  via fastcompany.com   Article

The One Word That’s Undermining Everything Else You Say

“‘It acts like a mental eraser and it often buries whatever you’ve said before it,’ says Colleyville, Texas communications consultant Dianna Booher, author of What More Can I Say: Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It. ‘It makes communication spiral down instead of spin up.’ …

The tiny b-word also indicates, ‘I don’t agree with you.’ When you respond to someone’s idea or statement by starting off with ‘but,’ you’re essentially saying, ‘This is why you’re wrong,’ [and] … That can make the communication instantly adversarial …

FINDING A BETTER WAY TO SAY IT

A couple of tweaks to a ‘but’ response can greatly improve communication …. For example, let’s say your team had decided on a direction for your new project and at your next meeting, someone pipes in with a concern. If you respond by saying, ‘But, I thought we were in agreement here,’ you’re ignoring the concern and instantly putting the person on the defensive.

… the “yes, and” rule of improv for a better way of responding. … responding to the concern instead by replacing ‘but’ with “and,’ which adds to the conversation and invites further discussion without negating what anyone has said. So, you might respond, ‘I hear that you’re really concerned, and I’m a little confused because I thought we were all in agreement.’ The other person’s point is acknowledged and you haven’t made the exchange adversarial.

‘If you never used ‘but’ again, you’d be just fine’ … ‘It’s a conjunction used to marry two completely separate ideas. Why do that?'”


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