links for 2011-09-21

21 Sep
  • Most organizations assume that growing complexity is the problem. It’s actually just a symptom.
    Growing complexity only becomes an issue when it surpasses the ability of your people to handle it… Simply trying to confine the chaos with rules is just treating the symptom. Instead focus on maintaining a high talent to complexity ratio.
    As long as you can attract and retain enough quality people to off-balance your growing complexity, you’ll remain an agile and innovative organization—regardless of your size. A few ideas on managing that ratio:
    1. Develop your Talent. Offer competitive salaries. Treat your top performers well. Offer them the freedom and tools to make a huge difference. Stick to your values and concentrate on your culture.
    2. Prune your Bureaucracy. Choose simplicity over complexity. Review your system regularly for “policy creep” and get rid of it. Where you can, consider a values-based approach versus a policy-driven approach to aligning everyone’s behavior.
  • I read someplace that the brain needs some boredom during the day to process thoughts and generate creativity. That sounds right. My best ideas always bubble up when I'm bored. And my period of greatest creative output was during my corporate years when every meeting felt like a play date for coma patients.
    So what would happen if everyone in the world stopped being bored? You might be there already. I know I am…
    it's worth keeping an eye on the link between our vanishing boredom and innovation. It's the sort of thing that could literally destroy the world without anyone realizing what the hell is going wrong. If it reaches critical proportions, we probably won't recognize the root cause of the problem. A lack of creativity always looks like some other problem.
  • What should you do to help your child pursue her dreams of becoming a writer?
    Let her fail. Let her write pages and pages of painful poetry and terrible prose. Let her write painfully bad fan fiction…Never take her writing personally or assume it has anything to do with you, even if she only writes stories about dead mothers and orphans.
    Let her write poetry on her jeans and her shoes and her backpack, even if you just bought them brand new.
    Keep her safe but not too safe, comfortable but not too comfortable, happy but not too happy.
    Above all else, love and support her. Love her and believe in her. Love her, and let her go. In the end, your love is all that matters, and it will be enough. The rest will come from her.
    Fact: writers write. Fact: In order to be a writer you have to write a lot. A LOT. Fact: there’s no shortcut.
    Mick Jagger is reported as saying, “You have to sing every day so you can build up to being, you know, Amazingly Brilliant.”
  • All leaders are problem solvers. Problem solving is mistake making with a goal.
    Smart mistake-making:
    Watch for paralyzing frustration.
    Is there progress?
    Enjoy their new self-confidence and enthusiasm. Complaining that it took too long saps their enthusiasm. Brag that they kept with it for a long time. If it’s taking too long, step in. If it isn’t, stop complaining and start encouraging.
    Spend more time learning from mistakes and less time preventing them. What are we learning?
    Correct foolish mistake-making caused by neglect or misplaced urgency.
    Risk mistake-making on repeated activities
    When possible, make mistakes on low profile activities.
    Repeated mistakes are unacceptable.
  • creating a culture where people feel secure in dealing with others is a long-term recipe for success — whether in geopolitics or your own company. The key is building a shared expectation that deadlines and agreements will be kept, and having a central authority (at the city level, it's government or law enforcement; in companies, it's the boss) that backs those guarantees.
    What does your company do to foster — or hinder — a culture of trust? And how does that impact your bottom line?
  • If you want to improve engagement in your company there are two big things you can work on…
    Top management should make sure that salaries and benefits and policies are fair and human friendly.
    The other thing to work on is the quality of supervision. You don't have to take my word for this. Visit a company that's a "best place to work" and you'll find pockets of awful morale and low productivity. Visit others that are virtual slave ships and you'll find pockets of high morale and productivity. The difference is the supervisor or manager or team leader or whatever you want to call him or her.
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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


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