Two reasons

November 25, 2013

A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” — J.P. Morgan, American financier

Set extremely short deadlines

November 25, 2013

By  via   Article

The Surprising Reason to Set Extremely Short Deadlines

“… the research of organizational psychologists. Work, they say, is “elastic,” meaning that it stretches and shrinks to fit the time allotted. This has fascinating outcomes in meetings: Northwestern management professor and Creative Conspiracy author Leigh Thompson has told us about how people get the most value out of their meetings in the first portion: as in you’ll be getting as equivalent quality of ideas in a 20-minute meeting as you would in a two-hour one.

There’s even a law for this: Parkinson’s Law–work expands to fill the time available for its completion–which originated in an impressively grumpy Economist column from 1955. …  the outcoume of Parkinson’s law is that if you give yourself a week to work on a two-hour task, then the task with grow in complexity as to fill that week–perhaps not with more work, but more anxiety about the work.”


The last cookie

November 25, 2013

Via   Article

Fight Like You’re Right, Listen Like You’re Wrong and Other Keys to Great Management

“A psychology study at UC Berkeley broke students into groups of three, with one person chosen to be the leader of a project. At some point, the researchers would bring in a plate of four cookies.

‘We all know the social norm is not to take the last cookie,’ says Robert Sutton, management expert at Stanford’s School of Engineering. ‘But the research showed consistently that the person in power would take that fourth cookie. They even tended to eat with their mouths open and leave more crumbs. And this is just in the laboratory. Imagine that you’re a CEO and everywhere you go you’re empowered, and everyone is kissing your ass. You can start to see why it’s so hard to be good.'”


It’s not sufficient I succeed – everyone else must fail

November 25, 2013

By Jennifer Reingold via   Article

Should companies manage like Microsoft or Yahoo?

“After Marissa Mayer came in as Yahoo’s CEO in July 2012, she instituted a ‘rank and yank’ — or ‘stacked ranking’ — system by which employees are graded on a curve, with those in the bottom category being asked to leave. Last week, Yahoo announced that it was laying off 600 workers based on the rankings. A similarly Darwinian system had been in place at Microsoft for many years. But on Nov. 12, the company announced it would abandon it in favor of more frequent and informal types of reviews. …

In the ‘people’ camp are companies like Google (GOOG), The Container Store (TCS), Zappos, and Intuit (INTU), and thinkers like Jim Collins and Peter Drucker. They believe that a company’s ability to create profitable growth is first and foremost a function of its people. Happy people work harder, are more loyal, and are more innovative, which translates to greater success in the marketplaces and — ultimately — the bottom line. …

The ‘process’ group argues that analytics, ruthless competition, and efficiency is more critical to success than anything else. … Human capital is just one input to the system; it’s the numbers, the intense competition, and the drive to cut costs at, well, any cost that leads to success. Just ask Larry Ellison of Oracle (ORCL), whose favorite quote comes from Genghis Khan: ‘It’s not sufficient I succeed. Everyone else must fail.”

Personal finance for engineers

November 25, 2013

By Steven Perlberg via   Article

Here’s The Cool Lesson That Was Delivered To Teach Twitter Engineers About Personal Finance

Wealthfront’s  Adam Nash gave a speech at Twitter headquarters entitled “Personal Finance for Engineers.”

“Personal finance can be a ‘noisy’ field, with a lot of investing aphorisms thrown around as fact.

And because engineers understand and prefer math, as Nash describes them, they tend to think they are being rational with their money … even when they are not. …

Nash’s presentation is a solid intro and useful refresher into the world of personal finance, especially for the more quantitatively-inclined.

We pulled his slides, courtesy of Wealthfront.” Slideshare

Man muss immer umkehren

November 25, 2013

By Shane Parrish via   Article

Inversion and The Power of Avoiding Stupidity

“… inspired by Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi, the German mathematician famous for some work on elliptic functions that I’ll never understand, who advised ‘man muss immer umkehren‘ (or loosely translated, ‘invert, always invert.) ‘(Jacobi) knew that it is in the nature of things that many hard problems are best solved when they are addressed backward’ …

While Jacobi applied this mostly to mathematics, the model is one of the most powerful thinking habits we need in our toolkit. It is not enough to think about difficult problems one way. You need to think about them forwards and backwards. …

Say you want to create more innovation at your organization. Thinking forward, you’d think about all of the things you could do to foster innovation. If you look at the problem backwards, you’d think about all the things you could do to create less innovation. Ideally, you’d avoid those things. Sounds simple right? I bet your organization does some of those ‘stupid’ things today.

Another example, rather than think about what makes a good life, you can think about what prescriptions would ensure misery.

While both thinking forward and thinking backwards result in some action, you can think of them as additive vs. subtractive. And the difference is meaningful. Despite the best intentions, thinking forward increases the odds that you’ll cause harm (iatrogenics). Thinking backwards, call it subtractive avoidance, is less likely to cause harm. …

So what does this mean in practice? Spend less time trying to be brilliant and more time trying to avoid obvious stupidity. The kicker? Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance.”

Four dimensions

November 25, 2013

By Ed Batista via   Article

Leading In Four Dimensions

Pierluigi Pugliese is a software consultant and agile coach … Pugliese recently gave a presentation … and his deck included a diagram similar to the one above. … I’ve re-organized Pugliese’s schema by pairing up the roles along four axes …

Expert vs. Coach

The primary leader archetypes: the Expert with the answers, whose extensive domain experience is the basis for their authority, and the Coach with the questions, whose expertise lies in helping people discover the answers for themselves.

Evangelist vs. Motivator

… The Evangelist is on a mission to spread a message, and their goal is to rally others to their cause. The Motivator is agnostic, seeking to identify others’ personal goals and help them move forward in their preferred direction, whatever it may be.

Trainer vs. Mentor

The Trainer is focused on the task at hand and shows others what is to be done (and how to do it better). The Mentor is focused on others’ development, and immediate tactical performance is secondary to long-term strategic growth.

Mediator vs. Facilitator

The Mediator seeks to resolve conflict and maintain harmonious relationships in the service of group effectiveness. The Facilitator seeks to maximize learning and ensure that all voices are heard in the service of candor, integrity and authenticity.”