July 23, 2014

Things I hate: “Too Busy to be Bored”

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TweetI hate when people say, “i am too busy to be bored.”  Just because I have something to do doesn’t mean that it is the cure for boredom.  In fact, many of the things I have to do are the cause of boredom, much less the antidote. What is even worse is when someone with [...]

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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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“Discipline, effort, patience and courage”

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Thanks to StumbleUpon, I came across on article on Psychology Today entitled “What to Tell Kids After Failures and Mistakes.” The Author, Salmansohn, describes some recent research conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck, who advocates an “Incremental theory” of learning.

Incremental Theorists believe that success is achieved through putting in the necessary hard work. According to Dr. Dweck, a big key to a successful life is to embrace being an “Incremental Theorist” – so when failure or disappointments occur, you are ready to overcome them.

This quote from the article is powerful: “Discipline, effort, patience and courage are hugely important core values for kids to grow up embracing.”

They are also hugely important core values for adults to maintain, too. [Read more]

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So long, Ray Lewis, and a tale of two retirements

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If any of you watched the Ravens – Colts football game this past weekend, you were treated to the final home game played by one of the NFL’s all-time greats. Ray Lewis, an iconic figure for over a decade in the NFL, has announced he will retire at the end of this season.

I knew someone who, after spending over 30 years with a company, decided to retire. After a long but unspectacular career, it was time to leave the rat race as just about every single one of us who is not a legendary NFL icon will do. Unfortunately, also unlike those legendary NFL icons, leaving the job with an iota of respect wasn’t in the cards. [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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I don’t recommend lunch & learns

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I’ll probably incur the wrath of quite a few consultants and HR organizers out there, but I have to state my case. I simply hate the practice of “Lunch and Learn” sessions.

My objection is simple: Lunch time is my time. When it is lunch time, I like to read, surf the web, play games on my smart phone, take a walk, run an errand, or shoot the bull with my friends. I even like to eat while doing these things, too.

What I absolutely don’t want to do during lunch is talk about work. [Read more]

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Be honest with yourself (a call to conscience)

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I am often surprised, when presenting someone with new ideas for how work can & should be done at the reaction I receive. What strikes me as completely strange is the number of people who are certain they are acting in acccord with the best possible practices and that anything other than their own well-developed habits is, clearly, not the way to get things done.

[Read more]

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Do you envision the ideal?

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If, as you encounter problems, you are simply responding to each one in turn without much sense of how to learn and grow from it, you will only find yourself meandering from problem to problem forever. In fact, you will likely find the same problems keep popping up – to be countered with the same solutions. Consequently, a boring, mindless do-loop results. In the end, this dynamic leads only to activity for the sake of activity – and not for purposes of driving towards some goal.

Activity for its own sake will, inevitably, be revealed as a waste [Read more]

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Great ideas are often found in quiet places.

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Being a participant can be hard for introverts, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t keenly aware of what’s going on around them. In fact, they may have quietly contemplated the perfect solution. Unfortunately, since they tend to shy away from the spotlight or simply don’t enjoy working in groups, or perhaps aren’t the sort to step into the leadership role, their good ideas never get heard, or are ignored in favor of lesser ideas expressed by more outgoing & charismatic people.

Insightful introverts, however, have a remarkable characteristic that many extroverts don’t always show – they quietly do what they believe is the right thing to do, without prompting, and without an expectation of reward. [Read more]

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