This 150 year-old letter

February 12, 2018

By Jeff Haden via inc.com  Article

This 150 year-old Letter Shows Exactly How Exceptional Bosses Make Their Employees Feel

“In late 1864 Union General William T. Sherman marched into Atlanta, crippling the southern war economy. The practical effect was massive but so was the psychological impact, and not just on southerners: Abraham Lincoln would ride the resulting wave of public confidence into his second term as President.

As Ron Chernow describes in the excellent biography Grant, this is how General Grant congratulated Sherman:

‘You have accomplished the most gigantic undertaking given to any General in this War and with a skill and ability that will be acknowledged in history as unsurpassed if not un-equalled. It gives me as much pleasure to record this in your favor as it would in favor of any living man, myself included.’

Keep in mind Grant could have hogged at least some of the credit. After all, he was Sherman’s boss, he developed the overall blueprint for Sherman’s campaign — and he kept the Army of Northern Virginia pinned down in Richmond and Petersburg, making it impossible for Lee to send reinforcements to Georgia.

But he didn’t — because great leaders always shine the spotlight on others.

In response, Sherman said:

‘I have always felt that you personally take more pleasure in my success than in your own, and I appreciate the feeling to its fullest extent.’

That’s what great leaders do. They make the people they lead feel like they, not the boss, are the most important people. Great leaders aren’t served; great leaders serve.”

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How are you perceived – find out

February 5, 2018

By Kristi Hedges via hbr.org  Article

How Are You Perceived at Work? Here’s an Exercise to Find Out

“In The Power of Presence, I outline a straightforward presence audit to determine how others perceive you. It only takes a couple well-worded questions to a few key people to get the information you need. (If you’ve ever conducted a 360 evaluation, you’ve seen how quickly impressions start repeating.)

While this exercise won’t take a lot of time, it may be psychically intensive. So keep in mind that there’s never a comfortable time to do this and assume now is the exact right time.

Use this process as a guide:

  • Select five people. Choose colleagues who see you repeatedly in relevant work situations: bosses, executives, direct reports, peers, or even former colleagues. Influential co-workers who have their ears to the ground make great sources. … While it’s important that you have trusted people in your group, make sure to choose people who will tell it to you straight.
  • Ask for a face-to-face meeting. Be clear that you’ll keep whatever the person tells you confidential, which will encourage honesty, and that you’ll be collecting feedback from several people to find themes, which lessens the burden for any one individual. …
  • Ask two questions. In the meeting, ask these two simple questions designed to tap into the collective wisdom:
  1. What’s the general perception of me?
  2. What could I do differently that would have the greatest impact on my success?

Depending on the person, you’ll hear responses ranging from eye-opening and helpful to vague and confusing. If the person is uncomfortable, they may rely on job- or project-specific feedback. In that case, clarify:

I appreciate that feedback. May I go up a level now and ask about the general perception of me as a leader/colleague/person?

  • Manage your reaction. Resist the temptation to explain yourself, defend your actions, or reveal disappointment. Your interviewees will be looking to see what effect their feedback has on you in real time. The quality of your feedback will only be as good as your ability to remain comfortable while receiving it. Ask for details or examples if you need them. And end with a sincere thank you.

When you’ve finished the interviews, look for themes and repetitive points (it’s OK to shed outliers as long as you’re sure they don’t contain valuable information). If the perceptions of you are in line with what you intend, great. If not, it’s time to change your behaviors and begin to shift perception.”


The 1 thing you’re forgetting to mention

February 5, 2018

By Nicolas Cole via inc.com   Article

Your Resume Should Be More Than A List Of Skills. Here’s The 1 Thing You’re Forgetting To Mention

When I interview people, I don’t even look at their resume.It means nothing to me. …

What I care about is what type of person you are.

I want to know if you have an ‘owner mentality,’ or a ‘follower mentality.’ I want to know if you’re confident in your abilities, but also open and humble enough to learn. I want to know how you handle conflicts, how big your ego is, and whether or not I can trust you to make good, genuine decisions. I want to know who you are as a person. And most of all, whether or not you’re teachable.

This is the 1 thing nobody puts on their resume–and it doesn’t make any sense to me.

I was recently reading The Road To Character by David Brooks, and in the book he breaks down what it means to separate your ‘achieving self’ from the part of you that holds much deeper values.

He explains that in our society, we all spend a great deal of time nurturing our ‘achieving selves.’ That we prefer to present the part of us that can perform tasks well, climb the ladder and reach some level of success. In the working world, especially, this is the part of ourselves we highlight. Our resumes are filled with concrete skills on which we can place a numerical value.

As Brooks puts it, which perfectly encapsulates my own belief, we do not reveal the most important part of who we are, which is our emotional place of judgment–and whether we are kind, open, genuine (or critical, negative, and egotistical).

The modern day resume doesn’t give an employer any idea as to what sort of person you are.

Which is precisely why, as a founder, I don’t look at them.  … my decision to hire you is always rooted in how I feel when I talk to you, and whether you are someone with a solid core and a good heart–or if you’re someone obsessed with external success and willing to cut moral corners in order to get there.

Skills, in themselves, are not valuable. 

Skills are only valuable when they are used by people who have the emotional competency to use them effectively. A resume is nothing but a list of skills. But what the modern day resume is missing is information on the person behind those skills–who you are, what you believe in, and what drives you forward in life. Those are the things I want to know as a founder. And I’m sure I’m not alone.”


Hero

February 5, 2018

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Perserverance

February 5, 2018

By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me   Article

The Importance of Perseverance

“Some successful people start strong, some successful people finish strong but the most successful people finish what they start….pretty much always.

I wonder if by chance anyone reading this knows who won the 1968 Olympic Marathon in Mexico. I suppose not but you could always look it up. I have no idea who won either but I do know who came in last….way last.

His name was John Stephen Akhwari, from Tanzania. Not long into the race John Stephen Akhwari got tangled up with some other runners and took a massive fall. He was pretty banged up and no one would have blamed him for quitting on the spot. But he made the decision to continue on.

Long after the first place runner had finished, long after pretty much everyone had left the Olympic Stadium one solitary runner entered the stadium. He was limping badly from a seriously injured leg. He was bleeding from cuts to his arms and head and he was clearly exhausted and in severe distress.

The few hundred people left in the stadium realized what was happening and began to cheer this runner on. To the shouts and cheers of those straggler spectators John Steven Akhwari crossed the finish line more than an hour after the race had been won.

He was quite the spectacle as the few remaining media in the stadium surrounded him to find out what had happened to him. Most were bewildered as to why he persisted when the race was clearly over.

His answer to their questions speaks volumes about the heart and attitude of true champions. He simply said that his country had sent him 5000 miles to the Olympic Marathon not to start the race but had sent him 5000 miles to finish it.  And finish it he did!

Do you have what it takes to finish what you started? When faced with unforeseen obstacles can you remember why you started and re-dream the dream of success that motivated you to begin?

Can you muster the strength to continue when no one would blame you for quitting? Do you have the courage to overcome your fear of failure and the heart to persist when the voices of doubt whisper quietly ‘you can’t?’ …

Success in any meaningful area of life requires that you overcome obstacles, many of which you may not have anticipated. That’s why all successful people have at one time or another demonstrated the character trait of perseverance. … people with an attitude of success know that quitting is a choice, they also know it’s a choice that can quickly become habit forming.”


Headed for an ethics scandal

January 29, 2018

By Alison Taylor via hbr.org   Article

5 Signs Your Organization Might Be Headed for an Ethics Scandal

“… five traits of organizational culture that correlate with ethical scandals:

  • Urgency and fear: Following corruption scandals, leaders tend to describe events in terms of pressure, necessity, and what the company needed to do to ‘survive.’ This perception of existential competitive threats can be used to justify the creation and maintenance of toxic incentives, and it will undermine any efforts to raise concerns.
  • Isolation: Groups and teams that are far from headquarters—either in geography, access to information, or both—are vulnerable. When a team that is isolated (by accident or design) comes under the direction of an authoritarian, competitive leader, an enterprise has created the baseline conditions for corruption. People are far more influenced by their immediate surroundings than by a code of conduct set at the top.
  • Fragmentation and plausible deniability: When a corporate scandal occurs, it is common for leaders to deny personal knowledge. Sometimes these hollow-sounding explanations are literally true, if disingenuous. A leader does not need to personally sign off on a bribe payment to hold responsibility for how employees have been socialized into an organization and what behavior is sanctioned or rewarded. But organizational complexity, matrixed responsibility, and a lack of clarity as to roles can help feed and justify conditions in which each decision is judged in isolation, and no one is held broadly accountable.
  • Success and impunity: We have a tendency not to question success. When a team markedly outperforms its peers, it develops a mystique that serves to block scrutiny of the basis of that success. The reputations of other teams suffer as they appear to underachieve in comparison. If the high-achieving team’s success has been achieved by unethical means, a company has created a slippery slope by which conditions in one subculture spread to others.
  • In-group language: Humans need both to hide and rationalize unethical behavior, leading to the widespread use of in-group jokes and euphemisms. A rich terminology springs forth to describe bribes, from ‘gifts’ and ‘commissions’ to SNC Lavalin’s ‘project consultancy costs,’ TSKJ’s ‘cultural arrangements,’ and the funds Enron put aside to ‘educate Indians.’ Metaphors of war and sport, common in this context, help to shift the frame away from that of individual choice.

When one (or more) of these conditions is present, a team is susceptible to ethical violations. Although leaders often complain that company culture is hard to measure, it is far easier to seek employees’ input on team culture and norms than to ask them to report fraudulent practices or call out powerful wrongdoers.”


Giving owners a bigger share of profits

January 29, 2018

By Noah Buhayar and Katherine Chiglinsky via bloomberg.com   Article

Buffett Says Stock Ownership Became More Attractive With Tax Cut

“Warren Buffett said the U.S. tax cut will make companies more valuable by giving owners a bigger share of profits.

‘People who own the businesses, they now own 20 percent more of the domestic earnings,’ Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview on CNBC Wednesday.

Describing the change as a ‘big deal,’ he gave as an example Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF Railway.

‘The government doesn’t own the assets of the business,’ Buffett said. ‘We own 100 percent of the assets of BNSF, but we don’t own 100 percent of the profits. And we went from 65 to 79 percent of the profits of BNSF and that is a more than 20 percent increase.'”