Shape of the spoon

January 20, 2014

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” 

— E.M. Forster, British writer

Understanding the politics

January 20, 2014

By  Mark Suster via   Article

Understanding the Politics of Tech Startups

“One of the most common refrains I hear is, “I want to have a company with no politics. … But there is no such thing as “no politics” since we’re human beings and we’re genetically wired for politics. It’s called social interaction and understanding peoples’ motives, what makes them tick, who they don’t get along with, what rivalries exist, etc. is a very important part of being a leader. …

I would argue that each individual team member … trying to maximize their own personal outcomes (promotions, stock option grants, future resume successes, personal wins) produces better results for companies than pretending that we’re not human beings motivated by success. …

Trust me – ignore … politics at your peril. You need to understand power, ownership, leadership, performance, relationships, motivations, alcoholism, depression, resentment, jealousy, scorn. They all exist and ignoring them is like ignoring human norms. …

I love politics. Not the game playing itself. But trying to dissect human behaviors – good and bad. After all, every success and failure in business – as in sports – it attributable to how well we perform as teams.”



Accuracy, resilience and denial

January 20, 2014

By Seth Godin via   Article

“… three ways to deal with the future.

Accuracy is the most rewarding way to deal with what will happen tomorrow–if you predict correctly. Accuracy rewards those that put all their bets on one possible outcome. …

Resilience is the best strategy for those realistic enough to admit that they can’t predict the future with more accuracy than others. Resilience isn’t a bet on one outcome, instead, it’s an investment across a range of possible outcomes, a way to ensure that regardless of what actually occurs (within the range), you’ll do fine.

And denial, of course, is the strategy of assuming that the future will be just like today.

If you enter a winner-take-all competition against many other players, accuracy is generally the only rational play. Consider a cross-country ski race. If 500 people enter and all that matters is first place, then you and your support team have to make a very specific bet on what the weather will be like as you wax your skis. Picking a general purpose wax is the resilient strategy, but you’ll lose out to the team that’s lucky enough or smart enough to pick precisely the right wax for the eventual temperature. …

Unfortunately, partly due to our fear of losing as well as our mythologizing of the winner-take-all, we often make two mistakes. The first is to overdo our focus on accuracy, on guessing right, on betting it all on the ‘right’ answer. We underappreciate just how powerful long-term resilience can be.

And the second mistake is to be so overwhelmed by all the choices and all the apparent risk that instead of choosing the powerful path of resilience, we choose not to play at all. Denial rarely pays.”

5 Signs You Have High Emotional Intelligence

January 20, 2014

By  via   Article

You’re curious about people you don’t know. Do you love meeting new people, and naturally tend to ask lots of questions after you’ve been introduced to someone? If so, you have a certain degree of empathy, one of the main components of emotional intelligence.

You know your strengths and weaknesses. A big part of having self-awareness is being honest with yourself about who you are — knowing where you excel, and where you struggle, and accepting these things about yourself. An emotionally intelligent person learns to identify their areas of strength and weakness, and analyze how to work most effectively within this framework.

You know how to pay attention. Do you get distracted by every tweet, text and passing thought? If so, it could be keeping you from functioning on your most emotionally intelligent level.

When you’re upset, you know exactly why. We all experience a number of emotional fluctuations throughout the day, and often we don’t even understand what’s causing a wave of anger or sadness. But an important aspect of self-awareness is the ability to recognize where your emotions are coming from and to know why you feel upset.

You’ve always been self-motivated. Were you always ambitious and hard-working as a kid, even when you weren’t rewarded for it? If you’re a motivated self-starter — and you can focus your attention and energy towards the pursuit of your goals — you likely have a high EQ.”

7 Signs You’re Not Entrepreneur Material

January 20, 2014

By  via   Article

“Your workday must include a chunk of “me” time.

… Start spending all your “free” time thinking about how you’ll make money. …

You spend time personalizing your office.

you’ll be too busy chasing customers to worry about whether your office aligns with your personal brand.

You don’t empty your own trash, even when you’re headed that way.

… Entrepreneurs, especially early on, don’t wear several hats—they wear every hat. …

You feel you could be a lot more productive if you just had that new…

… I’ve never heard an entrepreneur say, ‘Jeez, we were really struggling to make a profit until I bought the new iPad—then our revenues took off!’ ..

You’re still mad your department got shorted during the last budget cycle.

… If you hate struggling with limited resources … you’ll also hate running your own business when you realize bootstrap is a verb.

You discuss work-life balance issues with passion and intelligence.

… ‘Work’ will eat ‘life’ for breakfast.

You’ve ever said, even once, “I’ve paid my dues.”

… You pay your dues when customers pay you.”


3 Things a Great Leader Would Never Say

January 20, 2014

By  via   Article

1. “Don’t bring me any surprises.”

… guess what happens when you tell people often enough not to bring you any bad news or surprises? They don’t bring you any bad news or surprises. Does that mean that all of a sudden there isn’t any bad news items or surprises going around? Of course not. …

2. “If you were an animal, what kind of an animal would you be?”
Or “What body of water would you be?”, or “What books influenced you when you were young?” or “What’s your favorite color?” –any question, in fact, that you think provides some deep insight into whether or not a potential employee has the ‘right stuff’. It’s all meaningless pseudo-psychological mumbo jumbo, and adds precisely zero to a true understanding of a candidate’s ability to do the job you’re hiring for. …

3. “Don’t take it personally.”
Really? You’re talking to, let me check…yes, a person, about them, their work, their livelihood, their ideas, their sense of competence, their choices, their discretionary effort, their life’s work, and you’re telling them not to take it personally? …

If you don’t think the act of working with others is in any way ‘personal’, perhaps you might be better thinking of a career as, I don’t know, a beekeeper, perhaps? They really don’t take things personally.”

Game Changers

January 20, 2014

By Dan Rockwell via   Article

Four Qualities of Game Changers

“The ability to distinguish between management and leadership exposes the path to the next level. Success requires both.

Management is evolution.
Leadership is revolution.

“Don’t just play the game – change the game. The goals are to create, improve on, and innovate around best practices in order to find next practices.”

Mike Myatt in “Hacking Leadership

Four qualities of game changers:

  1. Self-aware. The ability to know, grow, and express who you are – for the good of others – is your greatest contribution. The only alternative is being someone else.
  2. Awareness of and sensitivity to others. Insensitive people seldom change the game. The best leaders are both tough and sensitive to others. I’ll concede there are a few exceptions. I doubt if you’re one.
  3. Market-intelligence. Game changers understand what the market will embrace.
  4. Purpose. ‘… they understand the value of serving something beyond themselves.’ Mike Myatt”