Experience teaches nothing

August 5, 2013

By John Hunter via Curious Cat Blog   Article

Experience Teaches Nothing Without Theory

“‘Experience teaches nothing. In fact there is no experience to record without theory… Without theory there is no learning… And that is their downfall. People copy examples and then they wonder what is the trouble. They look at examples and without theory they learn nothing.’

W. Edwards Deming in The Deming of America

Our brains are good at creating theories, from our experiences, so that our brain can learn. However when this is done only subconsciously we can be led astray. And in complex situations where it is not easy to see the causal relationships (managing human systems for example) it easier for us to be led astray when we are not consciously thinking about the theory driving our thoughts and decisions.

When we are learning (as little kids) we don’t understand that are brain is creating theories to help us learn. But our brain is creating theories and testing them out. What happens when we push the spoon off our high chair? Lets try it 500 times and see. …

Our brains are great at creating theories and testing them even without us understanding that is what is going on. But managers need to push past this subconscious learning to understand the theories behind their actions or they willspend lots of time on activities that are wasteful, similar to the bird in this webcast: Seagull Tap Dancing …

Too often managers are applying behaviors without understanding the theory (or without evidence showing that the practice based on the theory is effective – failing topractice evidence based management). And so the managers don’t understand that the behavior will not be successful given the conditions they find themselves in.”


Authentic confidence

August 5, 2013

Note: Thanks to Dr. Ray Littlejohn for bringing this article to my attention.  … Wayne

By Dharmesh Shah via linkedin.com   Article

9 Qualities Of Truly Confident People

“1. They take a stand not because they think they are always right… but because they are not afraid to be wrong. …

2. They listen ten times more than they speak. …

3. They duck the spotlight so it shines on others. …

4. They freely ask for help. …

5. They think, “Why not me?” …

6. They don’t put down other people. …

7. They aren’t afraid to look silly…

8. … And they own their mistakes. …

9. They only seek approval from the people who really matter. …”

Body language skills

July 29, 2013

By Maureen Mackey via theweek.com   Article

7 ways to fix your biggest management mistakes

“While circumstances will vary, here are seven smart tips for managers (and the rank-and-file, for that matter) to succeed in today’s open-plan environment:

1. If you want other people to speak up, listen closely and use eye contact when they’re talking. “Face them — with your shoulders, your feet, knees, hips ….”

2. Remove barriers between yourself and others. That means laptops, briefcases, papers, books, purses — and smartphones.

3. Expand your presence, rather than compress yourself. “Women in particular tend to hold their arms tightly to their bodies.” Instead, take your place at the table, as it were. Demonstrate your involvement to those around you.

4. Dress as a member of the team …

5. Try sitting in the middle of the table, rather than instinctively grabbing the lead spot.

6. Know how you come across to others … Allow yourself to be videotaped and examine the results …

7. Show empathy toward others. Younger employees in particular, … who are so adept at technology, may not always have the body language skills that can help them succeed in a collaborative environment.”


“Respect for people is horse shit”

July 22, 2013

By Lawrence Miller via lmmiller.com/blog   Article

“Respect for People” and “The Design of the System”

Michel Baudin, a fellow blogger and author, posted a video link of a panel discussion that included Jeffrey Liker (The Toyota Way, Toyota Leadership) in which British consultant John Seddon makes the comment that “This respect for people stuff is horse shit.” Seddon argues that what leads to improvement is the system and not an intervention to respect or deal better with the people. …

Respect for people is the result, not only of personal patterns of communication, but also the result of the nature of the system. In democratic societies, in which you elect the government and there is freedom of speech, religion and press, that system is inherently more respectful of people than a system that is autocratic and guarantees no freedoms. …

How Do You Design In Respect for People?

As a manager or leader you are a “systems engineer.” You are responsible for the design of the technical and social systems of your organization. Here are just a few ways you can design respect for people into your organization’s system.

  • On-Boarding Respect: How you bring people into your organization, particularly managers,  can set the pattern for the rest of their career with your company. Is a new manager brought into the company, given a corner office, a conference room in which to hold meetings, and provided an organization chart that defines his role in the world? I hope not. At Honda a new manager or professional, on their first day at work is handed their uniform, the Honda baseball cap, and assigned to work on the line for six weeks. Why? To learn “respect” for the “world’s greatest experts who are on-the-spot.” This practice is designed into the system and it does a great deal to instill an attitude of respect for those who do the value adding work.”

If you think

July 8, 2013

“If you think running a business is tough, try bringing up a baby.”

— Richard Branson, writing at Entrepreneur online.


Beg for bad news

July 8, 2013

By Shane Parrish via farnamstreetblog.com   Article

The Unwritten Rules of Management

“William Swanson’s unwritten rules of management is full of pithy advice. Swanson is the Chairman and CEO of Raytheon. …

  • Learn to say, “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be often.
  • It is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it.
  • If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
  • Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what’s there, but few can see what isn’t there. …
  • Persistence or tenacity is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or indifference. Don’t be known as a good starter but a poor finisher. …
  • Don’t overlook the fact that you are working for a boss. Keep him or her informed. Whatever the boss wants, within the bounds of integrity, takes top priority. …
  • Never direct a complaint to the top. A serious offense is to “cc” a person’s boss on a copy of a complaint before the person has a chance to respond to the complaint. …
  • When making decisions, the “pros” are much easier to deal with than the “cons.” Your boss wants to see them both.
  • Don’t ever lose your sense of humor. …
  • Beg for the bad news.
  • You remember 1/3 of what you read, 1/2 of what people tell you, but 100% of what you feel. …
  • When faced with decisions, try to look at them as if you were one level up in the organization. Your perspective will change quickly.
  • A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter — or to others — is not a nice person. (This rule never fails.)”

“Touchy feely” or “tough“

June 24, 2013

By Terry Starbucker via TerryStarbucker.com   Article

The Full Spectrum of Leadership (and The Danger of the Comfortable Middle)

“‘Touchy Feelyness’. … doling out praise, encouragement, and ultimately compensation – providing a LOT of it to the people who really were outperforming their peers and over delivering on all their promises. …

Full Accountability’. … see and acknowledge that someone is under performing their responsibilities, and taking appropriate and decisive action to either change that behavior or let that person go altogether. …

‘Comfortable Middle’ – … nobody gets overpraised or overcompensated, or conversely, “written up” … or let go. … nobody gets jealous or envious because some individuals are singled out with extravagant praise or a fantastic raise or bonus, and nobody works with much anxiety because its rare when somebody gets coached or let go, or doesn’t get a raise. …

What really happens when we live only in the comfortable middle is a bunch of resentment – resentment by those who excel for a lack of real and tangible recognition, and resentment by those who do their job well every day for those who don’t, and … get the same raises they do.

The best objective indicator of how much a company lives in the comfortable middle is to look at the range of the annual raises … I need to get out of the middle when all the raises are bunched together, without much deviation from the highest to the lowest.

we must really practice “Full Spectrum” management to truly be effective. Which means a manager must have the ability to be both ‘touchy feely’ and ‘tough’.”