July 25, 2014

Leadership, Culture and the Situation of Marissa Mayer

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Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, sent a shock wave across the internet and the blogosphere last weekend when she announced that Yahoo’s policy of allowing people to work remotely would be ended, and that remote-working employees would need to begin reporting to the office by June 2013.

The debate has raged over the wisdom of the move, with a heaping ton of criticism coming from culture-change advocates who point to research indicating that remote work programs are beneficial, while the other side of the coin points to lost engagement and productivity.

Mayer is attempting to benchmark against other organizations and believes that worked over there will also work at Yahoo. That’s a bit short-sighted, however, it’s also the exact same dynamic being offered by her critics – finding the best case example of a situation just like your preferred alternative, and then using that as evidence that the alternative is the right one. [Read more]

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Netflix culture and the Core of Operational Excellence

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A presentation from Netflix describes the core concepts that define the culture at the company. First released in 2009, it provides insight into what co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings calls the “Freedom and Responsibility Culture”

There are several elements of the document that sound just like the ROWE movement that I discussed quite a bit on this blog last year. Just as I found with ROWE, however, the Netflix culture manifesto fails to deliver a significant “Wow!” factor. Why? Because Lean and Operational Excellence provide a much deeper management philosophy that takes into account every aspect of either the ROWE or Netflix schools of thought, and then some. [Read more]

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Follow up: Why Lunch & Learn is not for everyone

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Last time out, my post on why I dislike the practice of Lunch & Learns drew quite a few visitors to the site, and a small handful of comments on reddit.

One comment, in particular, stuck out in my mind. Reddit user: “CivilDiscussions” wrote:

You sound like quite the slacker. In the real world, we have lunch meetings all the time. Lunch isn’t guaranteed to be “your time”

Now THAT is a fascinating take [Read more]

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A few comments on the language of texting

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I stumbled into a short conversation recently on the value of text-speak or, perhaps more accurately, I was told how text-speak was utterly lacking in value and rotting the minds of the teenage population.

Texting is, indeed, an odd form of communication. You do have to marvel in curiosity at the chronic need for immediate information exchanged, not to mention the superficiality and triviality of the messages being sent. Nonetheless, I retorted, you do have to appreciate the enormous creativity involved in the phrases that kids are developing, as well as the implementation of problem solving skills in order to fit as much information as possible into as few characters as necessary. Given my affinity for efficiency, I like the trend. [Read more]

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What to do when you don’t know the way to go

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My 3-year-old is following in his 7-year-old brother’s footsteps and taking an intense interest in Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer. After a couple years of not having to listen to the theme song ad nauseum, we’re back into the thick of things.

For those who are not familiar with the show, Dora frequently goes on adventures and isn’t certain which way to go. In those situation, she calls upon her trusty map, which shows her the way.

If only we were all so well prepared. [Read more]

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Broken glass, broke and hungry, Broken hearts and broken bones

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Last Saturday, my older son fell off the swing in the backyard and broke both his wrists.

I spent each day at home with him, logging in to work on my laptop just a few times when I could, in between administering doses of medicine, running him to the doctors, feeding him, dressing him, helping him go to the bathroom or even simply shift positions in his chair.

The most important lesson over the past week has been this: We should all lose ourselves in something completely and totally selfless from time to time. Parenting, as depicted above, can be one of those things. There’s great value in doing something that has little or no rationality behind it. No personal benefit, no altruistic higher purpose for which we believe we can gain good Karma points, just plain old long, dreary, difficult work for the benefit of someone else, even if they never thank us or show any outward signs of appreciation. [Read more]

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Respect for People is not Respect for Person, just ask Clint Eastwood

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On my mind lately is the concept of “Respect for People” that is at the core of Lean and one of the fundamental building blocks of the Shingo Model.

I remember just about 3 years ago, as I was first introduced to Lean via the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, there was a video in which Bruce Hamilton mentioned that, sometimes, leaders need to tell the late adopters to get with the program. “Wait a minute…” I thought. “Doesn’t that contradict the need for management to show concern for each of their charges, and guide them to accepting new ways of thinking & doing?” [Read more]

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Evolving Excellence reviews My Flexible Pencil

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Kevin Meyer included my blog in his 2011 review as part of the Curious Cat Annual Management Improvement Blog Carnival.
Stop by the Evolving Excellence blog and check it out, along with reviews of blogs by Jame Flinchbaugh, Matthew May, and Dan Markowitz’ Timeback.

[Read more]

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Zuckerberg in Boston and the death of old attitudes

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Mark Zuckerberg was in Boston on Monday, looking to recruit MIT and Harvard students for gainful employment with Facebook.

Zuck’s appearance prompted commentator Jon Keller to consider the Facebook founder “foolish” and “callow.”

What Generation Y and the millenials seem to “get” intuitively, and what anyone from the upper reaches of Gen X and beyond seem to struggle with, is that work is not just supposed to be something that allows you to do fulfilling, enjoyable things with your life. Rather, work can and should be something that provides that enjoyment all the time, and that living is something that doesn’t take place outside of 8-5, Monday through Friday. [Read more]

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Tuesday’s Tune: How do you like me now?

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TweetIf you’ve ever been misjudged, underestimated, turned down, told you couldn’t do something or just plain been wronged by someone, you know that you’re first fantasy is to imagine yourself coming back and showing that person just what they were missing. While this song from Toby Keith is about a romance that never was, I’ll focus [...]

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