Manager – you were an “employee” once, too

May 22, 2017

By  via   Article 

Can You Say…Hero?

“You were a child once, too. That’s what Mister Rogers said, that’s what he wrote down, once upon a time, for the doctors. The doctors were ophthalmologists. An ophthalmologist is a doctor who takes care of the eyes. Sometimes, ophthalmologists have to take care of the eyes of children, and some children get very scared, because children know that their world disappears when their eyes close, and they can be afraid that the ophthalmologists will make their eyes close forever. The ophthalmologists did not want to scare children, so they asked Mister Rogers for help, and Mister Rogers agreed to write a chapter for a book the ophthalmologists were putting together—a chapter about what other ophthalmologists could do to calm the children who came to their offices. Because Mister Rogers is such a busy man, however, he could not write the chapter himself, and he asked a woman who worked for him to write it instead. She worked very hard at writing the chapter, until one day she showed what she had written to Mister Rogers, who read it and crossed it all out and wrote a sentence addressed directly to the doctors who would be reading it: ‘You were a child once, too.'”

Don’t smooth things over

May 22, 2017

By Steve Keating via   Article

“Courageous leaders don’t smooth things over. They don’t put band-aids on the symptoms of a problem. They don’t pretend ‘things’ are okay when they know darn well they are not and they never ever expect that a problem will just fix itself.  What courageous leaders do is make things right, even if sometimes that means plunging headfirst into conflict.

There are and have been many a great leader who preferred to avoid conflict when possible but I can’t think of a single truly great leader from the past or present who avoids conflict at all costs. The most effective leaders know that ‘smoothing over’ a problem isn’t much different than burying it under a rock. Sooner or later someone comes along and turns the rock over exposing the problem with all it’s rough edges on display once again.

Weaker leaders avoid conflicts because to them conflict means emotionally charged turmoil and fights and disruption and drama. In the hands of a weak leader that’s probably true. Under the guidance of an Authentic Leader, especially an Authentic Servant Leader, a conflict represents the opportunity for genuine learning and long-term growth.

Authentic Servant Leaders meet conflict head-on with the compassion, integrity, and understanding that you would expect from such a leader. They know that the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it so they work diligently to lower relationship tension and the emotions that go with it.

They lead the discussion with whatever facts are irrefutable to build common ground. They show empathy for every side of a conflict without minimizing the importance of anyone’s feelings.  They want everyone involved in the situation to come out of it with their self-esteem and the conflict gone. When that works it’s a great accomplishment. But the truth is it doesn’t always work.

When it doesn’t work the Authentic Servant Leader sets aside the Authentic Servant part and simply leads. If forced, they impose a solution that ends the conflict. They decide! They take action! That may mean some really bad stuff happens to someone involved in the conflict but the conflict is resolved and it’s resolved for good.

Authentic Servant Leaders do not allow conflict to linger. Conflicts are like an organizational cancer. Leaders should help diagnose and treat the conflict but if it can’t be treated it must be removed. That will likely result in some injured feelings. Authentic Servant Leaders understand that at least a part of their organization may require some time to heal from an imposed solution. They also know that needing a little time to heal is far better than dealing with a slow burning conflict that never ends.”

Never buy a stock again

May 22, 2017

By  via   Article

Here’s why you shouldn’t buy a stock ever again

“Stock picking is notoriously difficult, with almost no investors able to develop portfolios that can outperform the market over the long term, but few may realize just how hard it is to find a winner.

While the overall stock market tends to rise over the long term, posting better gains than both bonds and cash, albeit with greater volatility, the bulk of this move is driven by a few names that do very well, essentially lifting the overall market. The average stock, when taken individually, not only underperforms when compared to the overall market, but also may even lose out to Treasurys.

That assessment comes care of Alpha Architect, an investment firm that looked at research by Hendrik Bessembinder, a professor at Arizona State University. According to the data, which spanned the time period between 1926 and 2015, only 47.7% of all monthly stock returns were larger than the one-month Treasury rate. A mere 42.1% of stocks beat the return of T-bills.

The results are just as bad when compared to the broader stock market. According to Alpha’s own research, which looked at the period between 2007 and 2014, around 54% of individual stocks underperformed the benchmark index. Only one in 10 stocks posted a return that is twice as strong as the overall market.

Alpha also looked at the time period between 1983 and 2006, which was an even tougher market for stock pickers. Only 37% of individual stocks outperformed the benchmark over that period. …

According to data from Charles Schwab, investors have a 40.1% chance of losing money if they hold five stocks. That risk drops to 25.5% if they own 20 stocks, and to 12.9% if they own 40.

Obviously investors don’t pick their stocks at random, research can improve a trader’s odds, and just because a stock underperforms the market doesn’t mean it will lose money. But growing awareness of the difficulty of stock picking has increasingly pushed investors to passive investing, where they basically hold the overall index. Data have repeatedly shown that investing in the broader market not only produces better gains than an actively managed portfolio—where the holdings are instead selected by an individual or team—but also such funds cost less in terms of fees.”

Anyone can dream

May 22, 2017

By Todd Smith via   Article

Just Do It

“A couple weeks ago, we heard about a coffee shop that recently popped up in town. It was open only on Fridays and Saturdays. … When we walked through the doorway, I saw what looked like an abandoned office space: cold and cracked concrete floors, sparse walls, and folding chairs. … the place was packed, and the coffee was, as we had already assumed, fantastic.

The owners had a dream to open their own coffee shop. They didn’t wait for a permanent space. They didn’t wait until they could afford sturdy, handcrafted wood furniture. They didn’t sit idly by until the stars aligned. …

Anyone can dream, but few will put in the work to see those dreams come to fruition. Dreams give an illusion of ambition without the discomfort of risks and effort. Dreams are safe in your head. …

Here are eight tips on how to make the first steps toward your goals:

  1. Start with a burning desire. … ‘The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.’
  1. Build the discipline to do what is difficult, what is scary, and what is risky. … it’s the faithfulness in fulfilling the little uncomfortable things along the way that separate those who succeed and those who don’t. …
  1. Surround yourself with doers. Jim Rohn’s popular saying ‘you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’ rings true here. If your friends are ambitious people of action who don’t make excuses, you’re likely to follow suit.
  1. Start small. … starting small will reveal whether it’s something you really want to follow through with, as well as because it’s easier to move toward a goal you set to achieve in a week rather than a decade.
  1. Work with what you have. Like the coffee shop example, if all you have is folding chairs, at least people have a place to sit. If all you have is the music software that came with your computer and a cheap microphone, that’s enough to start recording and sharing your work.
  1. Get feedback. Your goal is consistent education and improvement, not instant success. …
  1. Realize that failure is inevitable. Whenever you start a new endeavor, you will fail. Your project may not crash and burn, but there will be small disappointments and failures along the way. … Reaching your goals will require learning, adapting, and not taking failure personally.
  1. Dream better dreams. If your dreams don’t spur you forward, then they’re not worth keeping around. If you can’t get past the first tip in this list, it’s time to trade your old dreams in for some better ones.”

Advice that forever changed my life

May 15, 2017

By Joshua Becker via   Article

7 Pieces of Financial Advice That Forever Changed My Life

1. “Most people who overspend their income do so in one of three ways: 1) Too much house, 2) Too much car, 3) Too much entertainment.” //  Financial adviser, 2008.

… generally speaking, if you have a hard time living within your income, check your spending on your home, your car, or your entertainment (dining, tickets, trips). I have tried to keep all three modest ever since.

2. “Begin your marriage living on just one income.” // Boss, 2000.

… My wife’s income each pay period went immediately into savings and my income went into the checking account. One year later, that savings account became the down payment on our first home. And four years later, when we had our first child, we were still living on one income which freed up my wife to choose to stay home if she desired.

3. “Buy your car with cash.” // Friend, 2004. 

… begin making a monthly payment to yourself for your next car. Whatever you would have paid for a car payment, put into a savings account. …

4. “If you can’t keep a monthly budget, use a spending plan instead.” // Writer, 2009.

… First, determine your monthly take-home pay. Second, subtract your fixed monthly costs. The money left over is your monthly discretionary income. With that number in hand, you are in a good place to determine where you’d like that money to go. Here’s a more detailed explanation.

5. “You are never too poor to give.” // Parents, 1979.

… No matter how tight my money situation has been over the years, I don’t think I have ever missed the opportunity to give away at least a small portion of every paycheck I have received. This is not because I made lots of money. Quite the contrary, it is because I learned from a young age that generosity has rewards of its own and is always worth the sacrifice.

6. “Never take a job just because of the money. Always consider the money, but never let it be the determining factor.” // Mentor, 1998.

… ‘A job that pays too little or seeks to take advantage of you will ultimately add stress and worry to your life and keep you from doing your best work. So you have to consider it. But never let it be the most important, determining factor in your search. Always consider your talents and skills and strengths and the opportunity to make a difference in the world first.” …

7. “One extra monthly payment per year on your mortgage shortens the length of your loan by years.” // Real Estate Broker, 2001.

… we’ve worked hard to add a little extra each month to our mortgage principle—even if it’s just $50. In the end, most years it’s added up to a full extra monthly payment.”

Think you think clearly?

May 15, 2017

By  via   Article

Think You Think Clearly? Think Again

“If you like to talk with pride about how you make ‘data-driven’ decisions, I have bad news for you. … I’d like to ask a question of all of you ‘highly analytical’ decision makers:

How do you adjust for the 175 cognitive biases that tend to push all human beings away from rational decisions?

… Since you are a rational, data-driven decision maker, I assume you have memorized all 175 and you have a unique and effective strategy for dealing with each one. But to refresh your memory, please just take a minute and mentally review your strategy for seven of them I’ve listed here (all taken from this Wikipedia page):

Automation bias: The tendency to depend excessively on automated systems which can lead to erroneous automated information overriding correct decisions.

Confirmation bias: The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.

Conjunction fallacy: The tendency to assume that specific conditions are more probable than general ones.

Empathy gap: The tendency to underestimate the influence or strength of feelings, in either oneself or others.

Illusory correlation: Inaccurately perceiving a relationship between two unrelated events.

Neglect of probability: The tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty.

Overconfidence effect: Excessive confidence in one’s own answers to questions. For example, for certain types of questions, answers that people rate as “99% certain” turn out to be wrong 40% of the time.

You have compensation strategies for all seven, right? Just like you do for all 175, right? Wrong. You don’t, and neither do I. … The people who deride intuition as being too vulnerable to human biases have it all wrong. Intuition is our way of getting to the right

The people who deride intuition as being too vulnerable to human biases have it all wrong. Intuition is our way of getting to the right answers despite all our cognitive biases.

Intuition is what allows a scientist, analyst, or strategist to look at an overwhelming amount of data and say… this is what we can ignore for now so that we can focus on these other possibilities. It is an essential skill, given that we lack enough time and memory.

Does this mean that intuition is free from human biases? Of course not. But it is an extremely valuable tool in navigating those biases successfully.”

Leaders, leaders, everyone’s a leader

May 15, 2017

By  via   Article

The Blaming, Blocking, and Belittling Behavior Of Today’s So-Called Leaders

“As a business school dean, I am part of that educational system, yet I, too, am not a big fan of how overused, and misused, the L-word has become. When an alumnus vigorously argued to me early in my tenure that we should rename our school of management a school of leadership, he made me wonder if I was in the right job. I suddenly got this image of the character Barney, who entertained my children in their younger years, singing to everyone, ‘Leaders, leaders, everyone’s a leader . . .’

… When used properly, at least in educational contexts, the word leadership now refers to high character, and the people who are leaders are those who think and act intentionally on behalf of the organizations and communities in which they live and work. They commit to using their lives to engage beyond the self, to engage in the call to human progress, by building up and strengthening the quality of human work and human organizations, rather than tearing them down.

The high character associated with true leadership can be demonstrated and lived anywhere in an organization or community; it’s not about rank or title. People can lead by example very powerfully at the lowest levels of an organization when they demonstrate true excellence in how they answer a phone, relay messages, or interact with every person who seeks their assistance. People can lead from the middle when they build strong, resilient work teams with healthy cultures and excellent performance. …

Now, we all make life confusing when we use the words leader and leadership sometimes to indicate high rank and sometimes high character. In the latter sense, I would argue, we are not seeing nearly enough leadership in action. Not on Wall Street, on Main Street, or on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Finger-pointing is not leadership behavior. Blocking appointments to the highest court in the land, which both parties have done or threatened to do within the last year, is not leadership behavior. Deliberately misstating the truth is not leadership behavior, nor is bounding your behavior by what’s legal but not thinking more deeply about what’s moral or just. Belittling, ridiculing, or ignoring those who think differently from how you do is not leadership behavior. And maximizing short-term profit and political gain at the expense of shared values and the long-term well-being of our country and world is definitely not leadership behavior.

So, while the word leadership may be overused today, we are still not seeing nearly enough of what it stands for. In my mind, excellence in character shouldn’t be optional for those fortunate enough to be selected or elected to lead from the top. And if we believe in the power of human progress, somebody has to model true leadership—that is, leadership in rank and in character—for the next generation. Way too many of today’s so-called leaders certainly aren’t doing that. So who is going to step up, and when? We are all waiting.”