It is far more likely that …

May 27, 2019

By via  Article

Decisions, Information and the Perfect Organisation

“The perfect organisation might have existed when we were tribes of hunter gatherers. Everybody knew everybody else and the world was simple. But as our organisations grow in size and complexity, it is far more likely that:

  1. The leader is no wiser or more intelligent than his staff. He is just more driven, works longer hours and spends less time with his children.
  2. Clear accountability has created divisions, issue ducking and finger pointing.
  3. The messages that flow upward are managed, massaged and on occasion mutilated.
  4. We have stamped out dissent and created cultures where yes-men thrive.

The information that percolates to the top is sugar coated to the point of banality. The decisions that flow back down can’t help but be flawed.

That may sound a bit bleak, but do you want to go to the pub with your wise and charismatic CEO? You could tell him how your part of the business is faring.

So what could you do instead?

No one person can hope to understand how our huge, complicated organisations work. Even without the truncated messages that get passed up the chain. There is simply too much for one man to understand.

So instead of managing the information flow upward, force the decision making downward. Those who are closest to the action have the most complete knowledge. Let them make decisions.

Of course that will only work if managers stop telling their staff what to do and start respecting what they have to say. Maybe then the staff will stop sugar coating the information that they pass upstairs.”

Winners do quit

May 27, 2019

By Steve Keating via  Article

Actually, Winners Do Quit

“I saw one of those motivational posters the other day that said ‘Winners Never Quit.’ I’ve heard that for years. I‘ve seen similar posters forever. The premise of the posters seems to be that if you quit you’re a loser.

Funny thing is, it’s not true. Winners actually quit all the time.

In fact, I’d submit that the fastest way to lose is to never quit. Not quitting is one of the biggest mistakes that less successful consistently make. They may try news things but they never completely quit the old things that hold them back.

The most successful people know that much of their success in the coming year will come from what they quit doing. They know that in many cases they will need to quit something old in order to try something new.

If you don’t believe that then invest one day, just one day, to exam your actions.  After every time you do something stop for a few seconds and ask yourself if that ‘thing’ you just did got you closer to a goal or not. Ask yourself if that ‘thing’ you just did was productive or whether it was just something you have always done. Ask yourself exactly why you did it.

If you’re like me, and most other people, you won’t be able to say with any level of specificity why you do many of the things you do. You’ll be able to explain the big things you do but likely not many of the little things that chew up most of the minutes in your day.

Not being able to explain why you do what you do is what kills your productivity. Doing things simply because you have always done them destroys the discipline you need to reach your potential.

I guarantee, no matter how successful you are, that there is something you frequently do that if you quit you would be more successful. There is likely something in your life that needs to change in order for you to be more successful. If that’s the case then you should know that nothing will change in your life until you quit doing something that you do everyday.

Here’s an idea…quit reading motivational posters that say winners never quit. Start looking hard at all the things you do that pay zero dividends to you. Then win by quitting those things. When you quit unproductive activities you have to opportunity to start new more productive ones.

You see, winners do quit but only so they can begin anew!”

That’s baloney

May 27, 2019

By Dan Rockwell via  Article

96% Believe They Are Good Listeners And That’s Baloney

“Chances are you’re a lousy listener – even though you think you’re good at it. The problem is, 96% believe they are good listeners according to Accenture.  But a Scientific American article states, ‘… studies show that people wildly overestimate how good they are at listening.’ You can emphasize ‘wildly’, if you ask me.

Why listen:

Speak before listening and you’ll spew nonsense. But a reputation for listening – before you speak – earns respect. You earn respect with your ears and lose it with your mouth. You tell people they matter when you listen. People who feel they matter courageously do things that matter.

Being listened-to feels like:

  1. Respect.
  2. Appreciation.
  3. Affirmation.
  4. Permission to think. If you want people to think, listen to what they say.

3 stopping-tips you can implement today:

Sometimes success is about what you stop doing.

  1. Stop interrupting.
  2. Stop droning on and on. People go to sleep when you’re boring, irrelevant, or self-absorbed.
  3. Stop listening to reply. Listen to ask a question.

Skillful leaders show up to listen. But blabber-mouths spew nonsense. ‘Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.’ (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)”

Work and nonwork

May 27, 2019

“We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes non-work”

Milton Friedman



The three-second trick

May 20, 2019

By Danny Rubin via  Article

The three-second trick to impress on phone calls

“Too often, I hear people do the following: ‘Hi, is ____ there?’ To which the person is forced to say: ‘Can I ask who’s calling?’ Of course, the person needs to ask who’s on the line. We never said our name — how would he/she ever know?

That’s why, in only three seconds, you can impress people on the phone with a simple strategy: Introduce yourself right away. …

Adele, start us off: ‘Hello?’ ‘Hi, my name is Jane Doe from Acme Industries. Is John there?’ ‘Sure, let me get John for you.’ ‘Great. Thanks.’

See the difference? Plus, we sound much more confident if we lead with our first and last name and then ask for the person. Yes, it’s a subtle move and takes up one percent of the phone call. Still, a proper introduction sets the tone.

Remember, in the business world you need to impress everyone at every turn. Let’s say you call a company for a pre-arranged phone interview. The boss has five phone interviews that day. Each time, the receptionist answers and the applicant says, ‘Hi, is Ron [the boss] there?’ Then, the secretary needs to say, ‘Can I ask who’s calling?’

But you…you know better. You dial the number, sit up straight, clear your throat and… ‘Hello?’ ‘Hi, my name is Jane Doe, and I’m calling to speak with Ron Gandry about the assistant director position.’ ‘Oh, hi Jane. Yes, let me put you through to Ron.’

A proper introduction is a small detail, but maybe you score points with the secretary and the other four candidates don’t. Maybe the boss asks the secretary which person had the best phone etiquette. Maybe you gain extra credit. Maybe it helps land the job. Ya never know.”

So hard … so easy

May 20, 2019

Zachary Crockett / The Hustle

Via email newsletter Sunday 3/17/2019

“When people look back on their lives and think about why they were successful, they more readily remember all the hard work — not the chance events. [This is calledhindsight bias.]

The best metaphor for this is headwind and tailwind. If you’re battling an obstacle, you’re conscious of it; you have to work hard to overcome it. But if something is pushing you along, you don’t notice it as much and you’re less likely to credit it in the narrative of your success.

Can good things come out of admitting that part of your success was due to dumb luck?

People tend to like you better when you attribute part of your success to luck instead of saying you’re self-made. [In an experiment, subjects were presented with multiple versions of a CEO bio: One credited luck and skill, the other just skill. Subjects who read the luck version responded more favorably to the CEO.]

Those who acknowledge luck in success are also more generous. [One study showed that people prompted to recall instances in which luck led to a positive outcome were 25% more likely to donate money to charity than those who were asked to recall an instance where their own actions led to a positive outcome].

If people could just learn to recognize they were fortunate, they’d be happier. It’s a missed opportunity.”

Resilience and tolerances

May 20, 2019

By Seth Godin via  Article

“Resilience is what happens when we’re able to move forward even when things don’t fit together the way we expect.

And tolerances are an engineer’s measurement of how well the parts meet spec. (The word ‘precision’ comes to mind). A 2018 Lexus is better than 1968 Camaro because every single part in the car fits together dramatically better. The tolerances are more narrow now.

One way to ensure that things work out the way you hope is to spend the time and money to ensure that every part, every form, every worker meets spec. Tighten your spec, increase precision and you’ll discover that systems become more reliable.

The other alternative is to embrace the fact that nothing is ever exactly on spec, and to build resilient systems.

You’ll probably find that while precision feels like the way forward, resilience, the ability to thrive when things go wrong, is a much safer bet.

The trap? Hoping for one, the other or both but not doing the work to make it likely. What will you do when it doesn’t work?

Neither resilience nor tolerances get better on their own.”