Situation over facts

May 19, 2014

By Rochelle Bailis via   Article

5 Cognitive Biases That Affect Your Work Success

“… our brain (being oh-so-human) has many foibles. One such flaw is our tendency toward cognitive biases, in which our perception of a situation (rather than the facts behind it) shapes our daily decisions. …

1. Confirmation Bias

.. Confirmation bias is simply the tendency to favor your own hypothesis and selectively seek, remember and point to information that supports your own belief. …

2. The Bandwagon Effect

… states that the more people do or believe something, the likelier others are to join them, in spite of any contrary evidence. …

3. Negativity Bias

… Studies show that people are more likely to be affected by negative memories and feelings than pleasant ones, and this tendency leads to a huge negativity bias. …

4. Functional Fixedness

No matter how imaginative we are, it’s very difficult for us to see past the original or obvious use of things. …

5. Projection Bias

Finally, the projection bias describes our tendency to assume that other people think like us.”


Shadow Jumper

May 12, 2014

By Elio Qoshi  via   Article

Jumping over Your Own Shadow

“I like the comfort zone.

But you know the problem with comfort zones? After some time they become smaller and smaller until you’re squished by them.

Don’t make that mistake. Do something you normally wouldn’t do for fear of looking like an idiot. Be that idiot. You’ll be fine. And moreover, you will probably meet some great people in the process. That wouldn’t happen if you play by the rules.

I used to brainstorm with a good friend of mine, Murti Schofield, when he was looking for names for some characters in his fantasy book saga. In short, these characters would be some sort of ‘knights’ who would fight against evil demons. The whole story was basically dependent on them. I suggested him to call those knights ‘Shadow Jumpers’.


In German, there is a saying: ‘Jump over your own shadow’ (Springe über deinen eigenen Schatten). The only way to defeat these demons would be to get over your own fears ( remember the dementors from Harry Potter?! JKR did a good job with that).

Murti loved the name.

Are you a Shadow Jumper yet?”


More authority

May 12, 2014

By By Greg Satell via   Article

To Create Change, Leadership Is More Important Than Authority 

“Aspiring junior executives dream of climbing the ladder to gain more authority.  Then they can make things happen and create the change that they believe in.  Senior executives, on the other hand, are often frustrated by how little power they actually have.

The problem is that, while authority can compel action, it does little to inspire belief.  It’s not enough to get people to do what you want, they also have to want what you want — or any change is bound to be short lived.

That’s why change management efforts commonly fail.  All too often, they are designed to carry out initiatives that come from the top. When you get right down to it, that’s really the just same thing as telling people to do what you want, albeit in slightly more artful way. To make change really happen, it doesn’t need to be managed, but empowered. That’s the difference between authority and leadership. …

We tend to overestimate the power of influence It always seems that if we had a little bit more authority or had more data to back us up or were able to make our case more forcefully, we could drive our ideas forward.  …

Control is an illusion and always has been an illusion. It is a Hobbesian paradox that we cannot enforce change unless change has already occurred.  Higher status—or even a persuasive presentation full of facts—is of limited utility. The lunatics run the asylum, the best we can do as leaders is empower them to run it right.

And that’s why change always requires leadership rather than authority.  Respectable people always prefer incumbency to disruption. Only misfits are threatened by the status quo.  So if you want to create real change, it is not power and influence that you need, but those who seek to overthrow them.”

It’s a f-ing startup. Why are you here?

May 12, 2014

By Jason Goldbert via   Article

“It has now been 150 days since Fab completed its 2013 restructuring which saw us cut our operating expenses by two-thirds and go from more than 750 employees to around 300 today. …

Have you ever been clinging onto a rocket ship, then cut the engines at full speed, and then tried to fly again? That’s what we’ve been going through at Fab the past months.

In the history of startups I bet you can count on one hand the number of companies that went from $0 to $1B in valuation in just 2 years and then voluntarily cut their operating expenses by 2/3 and then rose to greatness again. Will Fab be able to do it? We’ll see. …

But if there’s one thing we are not going to do, it’s quit. …

It’s really hard. It’s intense. It’s a struggle. It’s ambiguous. It changes a lot. It’s all consuming. It’s a lot of sausage making. It’s working weekends to hit numbers and dates. It’s stretching people beyond their comfort zone. It’s insisting on doing it better even when it’s already pretty good. It’s being brutally honest about gaps and weaknesses. It’s one day you’re headed in one direction and the next day another, because the first move wasn’t the best move. It’s being ok with things not working because that creates opportunities to learn how to fix it.

It’s a fucking startup.

Since day 1 we have asked every potential Fab employee a simple question during the interview process: Why do you want to work at Fab? It used to be that people joined Fab because they wanted to hop on the rocket ship. We were the hot company that everyone wanted to climb onboard for the ride. Now, it’s a fucking startup.”

Only a fool

May 12, 2014

By   via   Article

The Chinese Jig Is Up

“…study from the Boston Consulting Group about the shifting and current costs of global manufacturing.  Among its conclusions:

The gap between China and the U.S. in overall manufacturing cost – before transportation – is less than 5 points today.’

Put another way, only a fool would manufacture in China unless they plan to sell the output of their production in China.  “Before transportation” is huge.  Even larger are the enormous wastes resulting from China lead times. …

The author of the study summarized it in BusinessWeek, including ‘As Chinese labor costs rise, American productivity improves, and U.S. energy expenses fall, the difference in manufacturing costs between China and the U.S. has narrowed to such a degree that it’s almost negligible. For every dollar required to manufacture in the U.S., it now costs 96¢ to manufacture in China, before considering the cost of transportation to the U.S. and other factors. For many companies, that’s hardly worth it when product quality, intellectual property rights, and long-distance supply chain issues are added to the equation.’

… Taking on the risk of third world manufacturing and exposing the company to the sorts of risks that await them, rather than thoroughly learning and embracing lean principles and going after that non-value adding waste is just plain silly.  Manufacturing as close to the customer as you can, with the greatest value adding cost structure you can create is the universal formula for success.  There is more to it than that, of course, but producing far from the customer focused only on labor cost is a fool’s game, and the BCG study is serving to expose quite a few fools who went all in on China.”

I will Instead of we should

May 12, 2014

By Brad Feld via   Article

“While driving down Highway 36 from Boulder to Denver for a FullContact board meeting, TA McCann told me a wonderful phrase that I’ve been carrying around with me for the past month or so.

At RivalIQ, we’ve implemented ‘I Will’ instead of ‘We Should.’

… TA embodies the concept of ‘I will instead of we should.’ I’ve always known him to be willing to roll up his sleeves and just get something done. He’s quick to give feedback, challenge ideas, and ask questions, but he’s never afraid to do the work himself.

At Foundry Group, there are twelve of us. I like to believe we embody the ‘I will’ spirit – if someone suggests that something is wrong or needs to be done, they do it. Sure – we pass things around and there’s some delegation, but there’s never a willingness to criticize or give feedback without a corresponding willingness to participate in doing the work.

It’s a small but powerful mental tweak that is similar to the I / We challenge I used to have. In this case it’s the inverse. By shifting to ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ when I talk about what Foundry Group accomplishes, our whole team gets the recognition for the work we’ve all contributed to. This is powerful externally. But internally, by saying ‘I will’ instead of ‘We should’ it puts the responsibility for getting it done on the person making the suggestion. Even if they only manage the work, they are still responsible for making sure it happens, instead of the non-specific and ephemeral ‘we.’ ”



May 12, 2014

By  via   Article

Millennials’ View of the Workplace Is Fantasy

“You have a boss, and at the same time people report to you. In fact, at the company where you work, every employee reports to a single other person.

Actually, that’s the way it works in just about every company, notwithstanding a popular perception that the trend toward flatter organizations equates to a weakening of corporate America’s traditional hierarchical power structure. That popular perception is nonsense, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Indeed, the hierarchical structure has barely changed in hundreds of years and shows no signs of doing so now, Pfeffer says in this article published by the school. That’s because it inevitably creates solid benefits, for both the organization and its individual members.

That’s not what many Millennials want to hear, of course. Millennials — the generation of current workers born from about 1980 to the mid-1990s — tend to have ‘this belief that we are all living in some postmodernist, egalitarian, merit-based paradise and that everything is different in companies now,’ Pfeffer says in the article. ‘But in reality, it’s not.’ In fact, even companies started by Millennials ultimately wind up with the typical organizational structure around leadership and power, the article notes.

… don’t fret much that your young hires will leave in frustration over what they see as an antiquated power structure. They’re likely to leave anyway, just as workers of earlier generations did when they were young. As FranklinCovey’s Haydn Shaw says in this Forbes article, ‘Instead of asking how to retain Millennials, we should ask: how do we get them engaged and productive so they make a big contribution for as long as they stay?’ “