“that, of course, is the problem”

November 26, 2012

By  in Inc.  Article

Petraeus & the Value of Failure

“If you have never failed at anything, then you haven’t been trying hard enough, aren’t very imaginative, or have had such extraordinarily good luck that you have come to believe you are invincible. And that, of course, is the problem. “Success confers its own blindness” ….”

“You’ll do what I tell you to do”

November 26, 2012


Social loafing

November 26, 2012

By Mark de Rond in HBR Blog Network   Article

Why Less Is More in Teams

“The earliest known attempt to investigate the relation between team size and productivity dates back about a hundred years to the now famous experiments by French engineer, Maximilien Ringelmann. In a set of simple rope pulling experiments he discovered that, in what is now known as the Ringelmann Effect, people’s efforts quickly diminish as team size increases. Eight people, he found, didn’t even pull as hard as four individuals. …

Social loafing is one of the most documented phenomena in social psychology, and has been demonstrated on all kinds of teams including those that rely on people with different skill sets working in some coordinated fashion … at least eighty studies on social loafing have been published, based on a variety of tasks — including such complex tasks as brainstorming or rating poems for quality. In these experimental contexts, the research shows that people tend to prefer teams of four or, at most, five members. Anything lower than four was felt to be too small to be effective, whereas teams larger than five became ineffective.

… smaller teams are generally better and, all other things being equal, that teams are more likely to optimize their performance when faced with slightly fewer members than the task at hand requires. If reducing the size of your current team is not an option, how might you go about preventing or tackling social loafing? … One option is to divide up a complex task into manageable bits, where every member of the team is accountable for one bit of it. … A second option is … A third option is … A fourth option is….”

Why I Hate “Fail Fast” and “Good Enough”

November 26, 2012

By Alan Shalloway via Net Objectives blogs   Article

“I continuously hear the terms “fail fast” and “good enough” in the Agile world.  Let’s take why I dislike both of these.

Let’s start with “fail fast.” No matter how you speak about it, failure has a negative connotation.  We don’t set out to fail No one is proud of failure, although we may be proud of overcoming failure.  The mere term “fail fast” implies we don’t want to fail slow – we want to get through the failure as soon as possible.   The truth is, what we really mean, is to learn fast.  To correct quickly if we are off course.  That we don’t even consider going off course a failure.  With this attitude we actually never fail.  Fail fast is not our goal. Learn fast is.

Now with “good enough” I know people mean to avoid extra work that doesn’t have enough value to warrant it.  But why don’t we say that?  I guess we think sloppy speaking is “good enough” (sorry, couldn’t help the pun).  I don’t think so.  I think Agile requires precision in our speaking and our actions.  We want to focus on the most important thing, where we can put our best efforts to get our best results.  Agile requires precision, not sloppiness. …

So let’s stop talking about failing fast and good enough.  Let’s start focusing on value and learning quickly.  Let’s have value and success be what we focus on.  Let’s have our subconscious mind work on what we want, not what we don’t want.”

What Great Leaders Have That Good Leaders Don’t

November 26, 2012

By Brent Gleeson via Inc.com   Article

“The difference between good and great leadership can be expressed in a single word: loyalty.

“My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach.” —Navy SEAL Creed

When you think of strong leaders, you probably think of people who are decisive, bold, confident, and fearless. You’re not wrong. Good leaders have all of these qualities. But how many good leaders are also loyal? I don’t know, but I know that every greatleader is. …

A commitment to loyalty is becoming uncommon in business leaders. I think that’s a shame. … These are some of the lessons in loyalty that I learned as a SEAL and apply daily to my job as a business owner:

Never throw anyone under the bus. … If you need to talk to a team member about a misstep, do it behind closed doors.

Never leave anyone behind. Instill in your team the belief that every person on the team is as important as the next. Include everyone in the celebration of success. And don’t blame any one person for a failure. …

Try to be as candid as possible with your employees, and never lie to themLoyalty is built on trust. If your people don’t believe you’re being forthcoming with them, they won’t trust you to have their backs. …

Give employees your unconditional support. … Pull aside someone who has had a bad day and give that person ten minutes of your time. Make it clear that he or she still fits into the future of your company.

I would never be disloyal to a SEAL brother. And I know my brothers will always have my back. It’s a feeling of trust and security that you get only in special places. I try to make my organization one of them. Leadership is a privilege we must earn every day.”


“Prepare to be hated”

November 26, 2012

By Miles Anthony Smith via Great Leadership blog   Article

“If we go into management to earn more, have more power/prestige, and work less, we are either naïve or ignorant. (And let’s admit right now that those are precisely the reasons most of us go into management.)

1. Prepare to be Hated

Wise leaders accept that some decisions will be unpopular. If you can’t handle others’ disapproval, then leadership probably isn’t for you. …

2. Conquer Your Fears

… We fear not being accepted, feelings of inadequacy, shame, rejection, discomfort, and the list goes on. …so what!” … So what if we don’t have it all together. So what if we didn’t go to the right school; so what if we didn’t have a good mentor. We all have something to offer, and we must choose to focus on what we do have to offer, not what we don’t. …

3. Betrayals are Par for the Course

One thing that fuels fears about the future is past betrayals, and betrayal is one of the ultimate tests of leadership. Are we willing to walk in forgiveness with those who betray or seem to have betrayed us? …  unforgiveness only hurts me, not the other person. …

4&5: Get Comfortable with Discomfort & Vulnerability

… criticism of our leadership decisions is much more out in the open for everyone to see. … If things don’t work out in leadership, that person usually doesn’t have the opportunity to move to another position within the company like a non-manager does.”

The Map of Truth and Deception

November 19, 2012

By Mark Wilson in Co.DESIGN   Article

 “You’re lied to 10 to 200 times a day, and a stranger will lie to you three times in the first 10 minutes of a conversation. That’s unsettling news, but according to a TED Talk by Pamela Meyer, we only pretend to be against lying. Because obviously, we’re all, to some extent, covertly supporting lies by propagating them.

In a sense, we’ve built our whole world around lies, and that’s an idea that’s quite literally mapped out by this visualization of Meyer’s talk, created by Ben Gibson, co-founder and art director of Pop Chart Lab.