Handcuffs?

July 29, 2013

By Dan Markovitz via timebackmanagement.com/blog/   Article

“Many people view standard operating procedures — or standard work, in the Lean lexicon — as shackles, constraining flexibility, creativity, and innovation. They’re wrong.

…  the R&D engineers at Abbott Vascular created standard procedures to reduce the burden of their internal communication. Because their culture necessitated that they check their email when it arrived, they could never get any real work done—they were always interrupted by their smartphones. They solved this problem by establishing a standard communication protocol: urgent issues had to be communicated face-to-face or by cell phone; less urgent issues were communicated by office phone or email.

With this standard protocol in place, they were able turn off their email alerts and have more time for critical engineering issues. …

Standards shouldn’t be seen as manacles or part of a Taylorist “command and control” management system. Rather, they should be seen as a way to reduce errors, improve efficiency, and provide more room for creativity and innovation.”

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Use pink

July 29, 2013

 


Looking for money?

July 29, 2013

By  via inc.com   Article

22 Crowdfunding Sites (and How To Choose Yours!)

“It’s not just Kickstarter anymore. Here’s a road map.

Today, there are scores of crowdfunding sites. Indiegogo, Bolstr, Fundable–the list goes on. With the SEC poised to allow projects to offer equity, crowdfunding has the potential to revolutionize how entrepreneurs raise money. (For now, you have to offer some kind of reward in exchange for donations.)

But all sites are not created equal. Some specialize in nonprofits, or in certain types of products; others offer consulting services in addition to sourcing funding. In an increasingly crowded and complicated marketplace, where should you turn to fund your endeavor? Follow our map.”

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Body language skills

July 29, 2013

By Maureen Mackey via theweek.com   Article

7 ways to fix your biggest management mistakes

“While circumstances will vary, here are seven smart tips for managers (and the rank-and-file, for that matter) to succeed in today’s open-plan environment:

1. If you want other people to speak up, listen closely and use eye contact when they’re talking. “Face them — with your shoulders, your feet, knees, hips ….”

2. Remove barriers between yourself and others. That means laptops, briefcases, papers, books, purses — and smartphones.

3. Expand your presence, rather than compress yourself. “Women in particular tend to hold their arms tightly to their bodies.” Instead, take your place at the table, as it were. Demonstrate your involvement to those around you.

4. Dress as a member of the team …

5. Try sitting in the middle of the table, rather than instinctively grabbing the lead spot.

6. Know how you come across to others … Allow yourself to be videotaped and examine the results …

7. Show empathy toward others. Younger employees in particular, … who are so adept at technology, may not always have the body language skills that can help them succeed in a collaborative environment.”


Expensive trolls

July 29, 2013

By Brad Feld via feld.com   Article

How Patent Trolls Really Work

“I’ve been asserting for at least six years that patent system is completely broken for the software industry. I’ve given numerous examples, dealt with the issue first hand as patent trolls have tried to extort many of the companies I’m an investor in, and I’ve had many public discussions about the topic.

On my run on Sunday, I listed to This American Life – When Patents Attack… Part Two! It is easily the best and most detailed expose I’ve ever heard on this issue. If you care to really understand how patent trolls work, spend an hour of your life and listen to it.

The issue has finally gone mainstream. Here’s a great quote on patent trolls from an article in Time Magazine (how much more mainstream can you get than that.)

“In 2011, Apple and Google spent more money on patent litigation and defensive patent acquisitions than on research and development. That’s not a good sign for the U.S. economy; in fact, it’s a stark indication that our intellectual-property system is broken. Rampant patent litigation is impeding innovation and ultimately increasing the costs of gadgets for consumers, according to legal experts and industry observers. Now President Obama says he wants to reform the system.”

There was an outcry of support last week when President Obama issued a set of executive orders and suggested legislative actions to fix the broken patent system. While the press release from the White House had a bland title, the substance was solid and the articles about it got to the point.”


Tone at the middle

July 29, 2013

By  via inc.com   Article

How to Defuse an Ethical Time-Bomb in Your Company

“Maybe you think that problems can’t infect your company because you’ve got clearly stated rules against them. Boy, are you in for a surprise.

Nothing keeps a business owner up at night like the nagging feeling that ethical time bombs are ticking somewhere in his or her company. Human nature being what it is, no company is immune from problems–from the deliberate frauds and rogue actions of traders gone wild to the gradual erosion of values and ethical standards because “everyone does it.” … If there is a time bomb in your company, people know about it. You just need to get them to tell you. …

An ounce of prevention…

Traditional ethical strategies focus on compliance programs, ethics training, and traditional operational risk assessment. But you should focus instead on:

  • Emphasizing not only “tone at the top” but “tone at the middle.”
  • Creating a culture where people can discuss risk and dubious behavior
  • Popularizing the use of ethical “tests”: for example, “How would we look if this business practice became public?”
  • Encouraging story telling about respected company leaders who overcame moral dilemmas in the past.
  • Ensuring that reward systems don’t create conflicts between business objectives and integrity norms.”

Not swallowed

July 22, 2013

“Flattery is like cologne water, to be smelt, not swallowed.”

— Josh Billings,
American humorist