Authentic or obsequious?

August 12, 2013

By Anthony K. Tjan  via blog.hbr.org   Article

Becoming a Better Judge of People

1. What is the talk-to-listen ratio? … if the talk-to-listen ratio is anything north of 60%, you want to ask why. …

2. Is this an energy-giver or -taker? …

3. Is this person likely to “act” or “react” to a task? Some people immediately go into defensive, critical mode when given a new task. Others jump right into action and problem-solving mode. …

4. Does this person feel authentic or obsequious? … Really good people don’t feel the need to “suck up.” …

5. What’s the spouse like? … a great tip for interviewing … — go out with their spouse, partner, or closest friend. …

6. How does this person treat someone she doesn’t know? … Does the person … have a real conversation with a waiter at a restaurant or the driver of a taxi? …

7 Is there an element of struggle in the person’s history? … two-thirds of people … [who] had the desire to initiate and the ability to persevere so crucial in entrepreneurial ventures — had some financial hardship or other challenges in their formative years. …

8. What has this person been reading? Reading gives depth, helps one understand one’s history, frames ideas, sparks new thoughts and nuances to existing perspectives, and keeps you apprised of current events. …

9. Would you ever want to go on a long car ride with this person? …

10. Do you believe that this person is self-aware? … the most important pre-requisite to great leadership is self-awareness.”

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Your habits

July 22, 2013

By Shane Parrish via farnamstreetblog.com   Article

The Single Most Important Change You Can Make In Your Working Habits

It’s time to take responsibility.

It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility. While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal. Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it. Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen.

Does this sound like you?

At the beginning of the day, faced with an overflowing inbox, an array of voice mail messages, and the list of next steps from your last meeting, it’s tempting to “clear the decks” before starting your own work. When you’re up-to-date, you tell yourself, it will be easier to focus. The trouble with this approach is it means spending the best part of the day on other people’s priorities.

By the time everything is done it could easily be mid-afternoon. You tell yourself tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow is the same.

So what can you do? Pay yourself first.”


Tours of duty

July 1, 2013

By Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh via hbr.org   Executive Summary

Tours of Duty: The New Employer-Employee Compact

“For most of the 20th century, the relationship between employers and employees in the developed world was all about stability and lifetime loyalty. That has recently changed, giving way to a transactional, laissez-faire approach that serves neither party well.

A new arrangement is needed, the authors argue—one built on alliance (usually temporary) and reciprocity. The high-tech start-up community of Silicon Valley is pointing the way—and companies that wish to be similarly agile and entrepreneurial can learn valuable lessons from its example.

Under the new compact, both employer and employee seek to add value to each other. Employees invest in the company’s adaptability; the company invests in employees’ employability. Hoffman (a cofounder of LinkedIn), Casnocha (a technology entrepreneur), and Yeh (an entrepreneur and angel investor) outline three simple, straightforward ways in which companies can make the new compact tangible and workable. These are (1) hiring employees for explicit “tours of duty,” (2) encouraging, even subsidizing, employees’ efforts to build networks outside the organization, and (3) establishing active alumni networks that will enable career-long relationships with employees after they’ve moved on.

In the war for talent, such a compact can be a secret weapon that helps you fill your ranks with the creative, adaptive superstars who fuel entrepreneurial success.”


Sure fire

July 1, 2013

By Don Peppers via linkedin.com   Article

You Can’t Make a Living Just by Solving Problems

“… the data shows that by 2020 more people in the United States will be working for themselves than are drawing salaries, with most of the salaried employees being older, and most of the self-employed younger.

And then there are all the changes brought on by computerization. … by the time you young graduates reach retirement age you’ll be roughly a million times more interconnected and computerized. And what is it that computers do? They solve problems, that’s what. … In fact, if you can state something as a technical problem that has a solution – a task to be completed – then eventually this problem can and will be solved by computer …

There are only two ways to ‘beat the clock’ against the kind of galloping automation …. One way is to become very good at dealing with interpersonal issues – people skills. … resolving the people-to-people issues that plague organizations and groups of cooperating people is a skill that is likely never to go out of style, and it’s obviously beyond the capabilities of any conceivable computer.

The other way to beat the clock is not to focus on solving problems but on discovering them. Discovering new problems is something that computers can’t really do, and are unlikely to be able to do in your lifetime. Discovering new problems is otherwise known as ‘creativity.’ … one of the most important keys to generating economic value. …

What a marvelous time it is to be alive, and to be joining an economic system that prizes originality over conformity, and relationships over transactions. …

There is only one sure-fire way to prepare for such a changing world, and it is one of the most time-tested, old-fashioned ideas known: Always be trustworthy to others.”


Molehills

June 3, 2013

By Seth Godin via Seth’s Blog   Article

The simple power of one a day

“… just one of these once a day would change things for you:

  • Send a handwritten and personal thank you note to a customer
  • Write a blog post about how someone is using your product or service
  • Research and post a short article about how something in your industry works
  • Introduce one colleague to another in a significant way that benefits both of them
  • Read the first three chapters of a business or other how-to book
  • Record a video that teaches your customers how to do something
  • Teach at least one of your employees a new skill
  • Go for a ten minute walk and come back with at least five written ideas on how to improve what you offer the world
  • Change something on your website and record how it changes interactions
  • Help a non-profit in a signficant way (make a fundraising call, do outreach)
  • Write or substiantially edit a Wikipedia article
  • Find out something you didn’t know about one of your employees or customers or co-workers

Enough molehills is all you need to have a mountain.”


Takers, Matchers, Givers

May 13, 2013

By  via tint.com   Article

The Three Things It Takes to Be Wildly Successful

” … research shows … our relationships play an even more important part in an individual’s success. We need to operate in a much more interdependent manner. …

  • Project-based work is on the rise. … Having strong interpersonal skills has a huge impact on the results the team is able to achieve.
  • Shift to a knowledge and service economy. Having a “service mentality” to meet client/customer needs … You have to understand and CARE about their needs.
  • The rise of online social networks. You and your reputation is out there for the world to see. …

those who put the interests of the team (others) first are the ones who will achieve long-term success.

“Takers” strive to get as much as possible from others and “Matchers” aim to trade evenly. “Givers” are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. … behave more like a Giver …

  1. Be willing to give more than you receive. It could be something as simple as sharing an article …
  2. Find your “helping” speciality. … a networking master? Invite people to join you at an event or make introductions.
  3. make an unpopular task … more fun, interesting or meaningful. How about playing music while filing or putting together binders? …

… Helping others does ultimately serve you best and sets you up for a wildly successful life. Amen to that sista!”


Grinders Vs. Dreamers

April 29, 2013

By Mark Wilson via fastcodesign.com   Article

Infographic: The Grinders Vs. The Dreamers. Who Wins?

“‘This poster is inspired by my developing realization that the most valuable tool anyone has is their grind–represented in the poster as steps carved into an incline,” Roth explains. “I’m not talking about the daily grind: doing work you don’t like or care about. By grind I mean a combination of work ethic and improvised strategy that becomes a daily ritual and ensures progression or improvement over time, regardless of an individual day or even week’s outcome.’ …

‘Dreaming about reaching the same goal is easier and faster in the beginning, but doesn’t provide the same ritualized framework. The more a dream is exposed to reality, the more it needs this framework–grind,” Roth explains. “On the poster, the “dream” ramp becomes progressively steeper the closer it gets to the goal, like Sisyphus rolling his stone.'”