My job is to make them better

February 25, 2019

By Marcel Schwantes via inc.com  Article

Steve Jobs Said There’s 1 Decision That Separates Leaders Who Achieve Success From Those Who Still Don’t Get It

In an exclusive 2008 interview, three years before his death to pancreatic cancer, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs spoke about the keys to Apple’s success. With the now-CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, by his side, Jobs dropped this little gem on his audience: ‘My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.’

… how many executives can actually claim ‘making people better’ as a key business strategy? How many leaders can say their goal is to stretch the growth of people and advance their careers — basically, make them better, which then filters down to management ranks? 

In the business of profit and the profit of business, people empowerment and things like ’employee engagement’ or leadership development in burn and churn pressure cookers–then and now–aren’t even blips on the radar screen. It’s survival of the fittest, where individual contributors on the same team have to compete against each other in dog-eat-dog, political environments.

Get out of the way

But Jobs knew better. First of all, Jobs believed in hiring the smartest knowledge workers he could find and then getting the heck out of their way — letting them self-manage and figure things out on their own instead of micro-managing them. That practice alone separated Jobs–and leaders like him today–from the majority of top-down bosses who have to call the shots and control people and outcomes. Jobs said, ‘It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.’

A common vision

Jobs then made sure his people had a common vision, that there was consensus on the vision, and that Apple leaders were actively involved in articulating the vision consistently and intently so Apple employees understood it clearly, got excited about it, and felt deep purpose in carrying it out.

In today’s decentralized and inclusive work environments where good leaders enroll their followers to express their voice as co-creators and co-contributors to the vision, people feel emotionally invested in it. This empowers and energizes them to freely collaborate and innovate above and beyond the basic requirements of the job. It’s what every leader should be after. It’s what Jobs clearly understood and leveraged for competitive advantage.”
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The happiness business

February 25, 2019

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blog  Article

How A Jerk Revealed Her Purpose

“On November 20, 2011, I had a car accident that landed me in the hospital for several weeks.

I received a menu from food services every morning. But I was busy doing other things. I didn’t fill mine out.

Purpose in a menu:

A food services worker came to my room in the afternoon.

‘Mr. Rockwell, we don’t have a menu from you. You won’t have anything to eat tomorrow if we don’t fill this out. Would you like wheat toast, white toast or rye? Would you like jelly?’

She completed the entire menu and left with a smile.

The next day she arrived in the afternoon with a smile. ‘Mr. Rockwell, we don’t have a menu for you. Would you like wheat toast, white or rye?’

She arrived on the third day still smiling. ‘Mr. Rockwell, we don’t have a menu for you.’

I finally realized that I was making her job harder. I interrupted her.

‘I’m being a jerk. You come up here every afternoon to do something I should do. How are you being so pleasant?’ She spoke four purpose-filled words.

‘Food makes people happy.’

She was in the happiness business, not the menu business.”


Transform your life

February 25, 2019

By Geoffrey James via inc.com  Article

The 1 Habit You Can Master in 10 Minutes That Will Transform Your Life Forever

“Consider your mental process when you see another person whom you don’t immediately recognize. Your first thought is automatic because it’s genetically programmed into your brain. It is the question ‘friend, foe, or neither?’  If your brain tells you that the person is a (potential) friend, you might approach them. If your brain tells you that the person is a foe (potential or otherwise), you go into ‘fight or flight’ stance. But most of the time, your brain says ‘neither,’ because most of the strangers you see simply aren’t immediately relevant to your world.

The thoughts you have in the third (and most common) case determine, in many ways, how you feel about people in general. Most of the time, you simply dismiss them from your mind. However, it’s also very common for people to immediately formulate a criticism of the other person, like ‘he’s fat’ or ‘what a loser’ or ‘what an ugly hat’ or whatever. The problem with such uncharitable thoughts is that they create a sourness in your attitude when dealing with other people. …

There is an alternative, though. Rather than dismissing or criticizing when you see a stranger, bring a kind thought or a positive idea into your mind. For example, while driving down the street you see a homeless person. You immediately realize ‘not a threat’ and then either ignore him or, worse, judge him or her. If instead you think something like ‘gee, I hope he’s all right’ or even ‘I’ll bet there’s a story there,’ you’re training your mind to think the best of people… even people you’ll never meet. This attitude quickly permeates your interactions with people whom you DO meet. People will sense that you’re a kind who wants the best for other people. You’ll treat them better and they’ll treat you better. …

Next time you’re in a public space or around a lot of people, set the timer on your watch or phone to 10 minutes. During that time think a kind thought about everyone you see.  You will be surprised at how more positive about yourself and others you’ll feel at the end of that 10 minutes. What’s more, it’s likely you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll find yourself doing it automatically, going forward.

I can say without reservation that acquiring this habit has changed my life for the better. I used to be hyper-critical of other people and the attitude it created in me both made me miserable and, frankly, a bit insufferable. However, since I changed my automatic thoughts about other people to consistently kind, I’ve been much happier dealing with other people and people treat me better as well.”


They simply don’t

February 25, 2019

By Travis Bradberry via theladders.com  Article

The 10 things confident people won’t ever do

They don’t make excuses If there’s one trait confident people have in spades, it’s self-efficacy — the belief that they can make things happen. …

They don’t quit Confident people don’t give up the first time something goes wrong. … One of the first things confident people do when something goes wrong is to figure out why it went wrong and how they can prevent it the next time.

They don’t wait for permission to act Confident people don’t need somebody to tell them what to do or when to do it. … They see what needs to be done, and they do it.

They don’t seek attention … When they’re receiving attention for an accomplishment, they quickly shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help get them there. …

They don’t put things off … Confident people don’t put things off. Because they believe in themselves and expect that their actions will lead them closer to their goals, they don’t sit around waiting for the right time or the perfect circumstances. …

They don’t pass judgment 

Confident people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves. …

They don’t avoid conflict Confident people don’t see conflict as something to be avoided at all costs; they see it as something to manage effectively. …

They don’t let a lack of resources get in their way Confident people don’t get thrown off course just because they don’t have the right title, the right staff, or the money to make things happen. …

They don’t get too comfortable … When they start feeling comfortable, they take that as a big red flag and start pushing their boundaries again so that they can continue to grow as both a person and a professional”


Netflix’s culture of fear

February 18, 2019

By Reed Hastings via theweek.com  Article

“At Netflix, the workplace culture can be ‘ruthless’ and ‘demoralizing,’ said Shalini Ramachandran and Joe Flint at The Wall Street Journal. The Silicon Valley-based streaming giant counts ‘radical candor and transparency’ among its highest corporate values. ‘Virtually every employee can access sensitive information,’ such as viewer numbers for Netflix’s shows; about 500 executives can see the salaries of every staffer. The same transparency applies to evaluating performance. The company encourages team dinners ‘where everyone goes around and gives feedback and criticism about others at the table.’ Managers are encouraged to regularly apply a ‘keeper test’ to their staff, asking themselves whether they would fight to keep a given employee’ and firing those for whom the answer is ‘no.’ Netflix CEO Reed Hastings uses the keeper test himself, and last year fired one of the company’s first employees, a close friend for decades. Some employees, though, see the test as a cover for ‘ordinary workplace politics,’ and the firings as callous. …

Sure, working at Netflix is tough, ‘but the grown-ups it hires can handle it,’ said Joe Nocera at Bloomberg. Back in 2004, Patty McCord, Netflix’s human resources chief, created a legendary 120-slide PowerPoint deck explaining Netflix’s culture of ‘freedom and responsibility.’ She pushed her boss to ‘keep only our highly effective people.’ It was McCord who devised the keeper test. ‘Can you guess how the story ends?’ In 2011, Hastings used the keeper test — and fired her. McCord was a grown-up, so she understood. The plight of Netflix’s employees would be more sympathetic if they were Rust Belt factory workers whose jobs were being shipped to Mexico. ‘But they’re elites — highly paid Silicon Valley elites who have probably been through three or four jobs and are working at a place where they know that someday they’ll be fired, at which point they’ll be handed a big severance and find another job within days. …

Few employees seem irked by the policy of letting go those who aren’t stars. If they were, would Hastings keep his 87 percent approval rating from Netflix workers on the company ratings site Glassdoor? Netflix also took the No. 1 spot on a survey in which tech workers were asked which company they most wanted to join.”


Work sucks

February 18, 2019

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blog  Article

How To Tap Into Enthusiasm Even When Work Sucks

“Attitude is a decision about the way you show up. You might not be able to control your environment, but attitude is a choice.

Attitude:

I’ll never forget the guy with his hat pulled down over his eyes. He was forced to attend a workshop I gave and he hated being there. During a break I asked him what he did at work. He grumbled, ‘I don’t want to talk about work,’ and walked away. He polluted everyone he touched. Others avoided him. A bad attitude ruins your life and results in mediocre work.

Enthusiasm:

Originally enthusiasm meant possessed by god. Bring your whole self to work, even when you’re doing things you don’t enjoy. Do your work like you’re possessed. 

Enthusiasm:

  1. Expresses your passion for success.
  2. Enables you to act creatively in situations that drain others.
  3. Indicates the work is important, even if it isn’t your favorite thing to do.
  4. Demonstrates that you bring your best self to every situation and task. Half-hearted performance is fully dissatisfying.
  5. Signals that you like to get things done. If it’s not your favorite thing, why drag it out. Get it done so you can do things you enjoy.
  6. Earns you the right to ask others to do things that they don’t love to do.
  7. Shows that you’re willing to serve, even when it isn’t fun.

There’s nothing useful or beneficial about bringing half yourself to work. You’ll never earn the right to do the fun work, if you always bitch when you do the sucky work.”


The dark side of performance bonuses

February 18, 2019

By Sean Silverthorne via hbswk.hbs.edu  Article

To motivate workers, employers often turn to incentives such as money or recognition. What’s become clear is that these programs can also result in unintended consequences—like a financial crisis.

Companies continually test ways to incent employees to perform more effectively, often turning to worker-motivation tools such as bonuses, ‘up or out’ employee ranking tournaments, and employee of the month rewards. Behavioral scientists warn that these programs, if not constructed carefully, can open a box full of unintended consequences that ultimately harm rather than help the organization. …

Employers seek to change the behavior of workers in all manner of ways: to make more ethical decisions, to get flu shots, to lose weight, to be wiser about personal financial planning. …

Here is a sample of research from HBS into the dark side of employee motivation programs:

When Good Incentives Lead to Bad Decisions Leading up to the financial crisis, bank loan officers were often incentivized to approve sketchy applications. But researchers discovered the incentives did more than motivate underwriting of bad loans; they changed how those loan officers perceived reality.

The Most Powerful Workplace Motivator Money isn’t always the most powerful work motivator. In this field experiment participants were willing to pay money to be ranked higher. Why?

How to Demotivate Your Best Employees Do awards such as ’employee of the month’ motivate higher performance? Not really—and they may turn off your best employees altogether. …

Is Group Loyalty a Force for Good or Evil? Many organizations try to foster employee loyalty, but at a risk. Researchers discover when group loyalty fosters ethical behavior—and when it fosters corruption.

The Importance of ‘Don’t’ in Inducing Ethical Employee Behavior Let’s say your company’s reputation depends upon the ethical behavior of your staff. To encourage that value in employees, is it better to promote good deeds or prevent bad deeds? It turns out that employees tend to act more ethically when focused on what not to do.

Should Pay-for-Performance Compensation Be Replaced? In spite of its naysayers, pay-for-performance compensation still makes sense to most of us. But there is a difference of opinion about when and how it works and how it should be structured.”