Build the airplane in the air

May 27, 2013

By by Dan Rockwell via Leadership Freak Blog   Article

When Teammates Collide

“Forward-focused teammates clash with foot-draggers. 

My approach to an opportunity is grab it and go. Planning isn’t high on my list. I know it’s important but can’t we plan as we go. Just do something is my motto. Build the airplane in the air. “Just do something people” drive planners crazy. …

Heidi Grant Halvorson and E. Tory Higgins explain motivational collisions in their new book, “Focus.” They explain how some tend to promote and others prevent.

Promoters play to win.
Preventers play not to lose.

Promoters tend toward big ideas.
Preventers are great with details.


“For a promotion-focused person, what’s really “bad” is a nongain: a chance not taken, a reward unearned, a failure to advance… But for the prevention-focused, the ultimate “bad” is a loss you failed to stop; a mistake made, a punishment received, a danger you failed to avoid.”


Everyone, according to Halvorson and Higgins, has both motivations and, depending on the context, brings them out.”



One’s principles

May 27, 2013

It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”

— Alfred Adler,
Austrian medical doctor and psychotherapist

Lose is a little ego!

May 27, 2013

By  via   Article

4 Surprisingly Effective Things to Say

“As the boss, you have to know it all and always be in the right. Wrong. Try these simple, yet powerful words to build trust and lead with integrity. …

Perhaps legendary leadership author … John C. Maxwell said it best: ‘A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.’ …

The next time your defenses are up you may find instant relief in one or more of these surprisingly effective, yet simple statements. Give it a try, the only thing you have to lose is a little ego!

I’m sorry.

A short and sweet apology lowers the levels of resistance and anger in the room. …

I was wrong.

Admitting your mistake is cleansing. No need to defend yourself, no need to create a litany of excuses. How freeing! Admit it and correct it. It’s that simple!

I need help.

Go ahead. Accept that you don’t know it all. …

I don’t know.

Do you think you have to have all the answers? Well, you’re wrong. Even ‘experts’ don’t know it all.”

Separate lies from statistics

May 27, 2013

By Andrew Gelman via   Article

7 ways to separate errors from statistics

“Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have been inspired by the recent Reinhardt and Rogoff debacle to list “six ways to separate lies from statistics” in economics research:

1. “Focus on how robust a finding is, meaning that different ways of looking at the evidence point to the same conclusion.”

2. Don’t confuse statistical with practical significance.

3. “Be wary of scholars using high-powered statistical techniques as a bludgeon to silence critics who are not specialists.”

4. “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking about an empirical finding as ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ At best, data provide an imperfect guide.”

5. “Don’t mistake correlation for causation.”

6. “Always ask ‘so what?’” …

My addition to the list …

7. Make your data and analysis public.

This is the best approach, because now you can have lots of strangers checking your work for free!”

Blueberry pancakes and battleships

May 27, 2013

By Seth Godin via   Article

“The typical industrial-era organization is like a battleship. Hundreds or thousands of people onboard, …  most of them aren’t actually directly responsible for the work that we hired the battleship to do. … The battleship can go far, with impact, and change the course of history. … it’s designed to survive with people who are merely good at what they do.

The typical professional services company, on the other hand, is a lot like a blueberry pancake. While there’s an essential support team, the firm is all about blueberries working in parallel. …  As the firm gets bigger, it doesn’t get thicker. You don’t make a better pancake by making a thicker one. You make a better pancake by hiring ever better blueberries …

Apple is now a battleship. Most of the tens of thousands of people who work there have a line job, selling, building, fixing or interacting. Only a few are dreaming up something that you can’t even imagine.

Your favorite record label, though, ought to be a blueberry pancake. Each musical group is mostly alone, figuring out something that just might work. The goal isn’t to lock and repeat and scale. …

If you want to make your battleship work better, be really clear about defining the mission, the tactics, the chain of command and most of all, precisely what you measure from each person on the team.

Your pancake, on the other hand, gives up swing weight and firepower and instead gets flexibility and the possiblity of non-fatal failure (and game-changing magic).

Both work. The problem kicks in when a successful pancake thinks its future is in the battleship business. Or when battleships are asked to dance.”

A singularly bad idea

May 27, 2013

 By  via Manufacturing Leadership Center   Article

Big Data – The Antithesis of Lean Thinking

“… Big Data is the polar opposite of going to the gemba – lean thinking – and a singularly bad idea.  Effective decisions are made by empowered employees … made one at a time at the point of attack, where the work is actually being done.  Big Data … are built on the premise that mountains of data collected at the gemba must be gathered, sorted, analyzed … by smart people in far away headquarters buildings …

“… Imagine … that you run an organization with multiple restaurant outlets and you have amassed point-of-sale data for each of your franchisees, but none of them are using that data … You need to give each of them a report that actually explains how they are doing ….” …

So what sort of information Big Data actually do?  “Foot Long Hot Dogs were this week’s weakest menu item with average daily sales of fewer than 140 units. Bringing the store’s daily sales of Hot Dogs up to the same level as the co-op’s would add about $566 more profit each month. Over a year, that’s an extra $6,828. The store only needs to sell six more units per day to accomplish this.”

At how many levels is this scenario absurd? …

Typical headquarters analytical output – An overwhelming blast of the obvious, and absolutely nothing useful for the people who already know that, but are wrestling every day with how to sell more hot dogs. … Data from the places where people are actually doing things – creating value for customers – is gathered and used by headquarters staffers … and manipulated to create ‘gotcha metrics’ …

There is little in Big Data for people on the front lines, but their corporate critics will think they died and went to heaven with it.”

The benefits of being stupid

May 20, 2013

By Megan Hustad via   Article

The benefits of being stupid at work

“Superior intelligence often comes with hidden costs. Say you’re a person for whom schoolwork was always effortless. You may be more likely to become frustrated when a job doesn’t yield readily to effort.

“I often think that having had to work harder for good grades would have taught me much earlier that not everything worth doing comes easily — and not being immediately good at something doesn’t mean that mastery can’t come with hard work,” says Sara Grace, host of Ferrazzi Greenlight’s “Social Capitalist” podcast. …

The trick is not to play dumb, exactly, but rather to learn when to assert your superior intelligence and when to hide your light under a bushel. (And mix metaphors.) In other words, there’s being terrifically clever, and there’s making sure everyone realizes you’re terrifically clever. Those of us who don’t feel the urge to make sure everyone in the room understands, at every available opportunity, just how smart we are might do best of all. …

If you’re not worried about being perceived as a bit slow, you can ask better questions — better in the sense that they will likely yield more illuminating answers.”