- chatGPT and Chomsky,
- identifying core principles,
- defining success,
- growing as a manager,
- managers doing culture,
- jerks winning and losing, and
- responsibility and delegation.
From the raw signal group:
Authors observe that a consequence of the great resignation is that people are walking into new jobs with a different attitude.
They didn’t come asking for meaning, or flavour, or for work to delight them. They came with boundaries and a list of expectations. And, listen: that’s a good thing. It’s extremely healthy for workers to want things like limits on working hours, competitive pay regardless of geography, and an ability to shut off work when they aren’t at work. We should hope that those gains, as uneven as they’ve been, outlast any pandemic or economic cycle.
Those changes are necessary. But they aren’t sufficient. Like a shopping mall food court, we’re surrounded by companies shouting about what a good deal they’re offering. Globally competitive salaries! 4 day work weeks in summer! Free dipping sauce! And in the midst of it, it feels like more people than ever before are finding their work really… bland. Like in the fight to compete for attention, employers have forgotten to build a culture worth fighting for.
So, insisting that we return to the office, to the same-old, just won’t cut it. And assuming that we’re all set because we are already remote or distributed won’t do it either. It’s not so much about the mode of work as it is the moment.
It’s time to tell the story again, bosses. Get your house in order on compensation and workload and expectations, for sure. But once you’ve done that, it’s time to remind yourself why anyone should care.
You may find this surprisingly hard at first. Why does your work matter? What impact does it have on the world around you, and why should someone who doesn’t care about the details of your industry give a shit? We don’t mean some sanitized corporate mission statement. We mean your own, real, authentically felt, dare-we-say-it-spicy sense of purpose.
Connect with that story. Tell that story. A modern one, with fresh spices. You want your people to feel it, to put the fire back in your organization. And you’re not gonna get there with the version that’s been sitting at the bottom of the drawer since 2019.
It’s not the overused and abused “Storytelling”. It’s creating clarity for yourself first.
We are a few days into the invasion of a sovereign country by another sovereign country… and the senseless deaths that ensue. I’m not one for pronouncements but if we can learn anything from history it is this: if we don’t discuss our differences, if we don’t talk, then the only alternative is violence. This is as true internationally as it is domestically. Technology has only exacerbated this fundamental human tendency. The only way to prevent violence is to learn to express one’s differences and learn to hear and understand the differences of others.
“Communication” is not about how eloquent or smart or well-spoken one is. It’s not about the clever tricks of rhetoric or the slick slide deck. My work as a consultant and a coach is to invite people (I work mostly with managers) to approach communication as
a process by which all parties make themselves co-responsible for the creation of a shared understanding.
I am responsible not only to express my ideas clearly (which requires that they be clear ideas to start with). I am also responsible to ensure that the other party has understood what I was trying to say. Conversely, it is also my responsibility to ensure that I have understood what the other party is trying to say.
This is impossible without dialogue: not only my telling you something and you telling me something, but also my asking you if I got you right and your asking me if you got me right… with the purpose of creating a shared understanding. The outcome is that we have both understood the meaning that each other is trying to convey.
People or parties talking without the express work of creating a shared understanding are at best engaging in turn-taking monologues. They are talking at each other. They are not necessarily talking to each other. There is no dialogue.
And while listening is important and one can learn to do that better, nothing replaces the premise of effective listening: a genuine interest in what the other person has to say.
If you know it all, if you’re the most experienced person in the room, if you’re the most senior person in the room, the smartest person in the room, if you think you have forgotten more about this topic than the other person will ever know then you might be far removed from having a genuine interest in what the other person has to say.
photo by Tina Hartung on Unsplash
Members of the House of Beautiful Business community shared ideas on how to improve meetings. Before you join your next meeting, have a read-through of what they came up with. See what the repetition is saying (or not saying).
Even better: before you schedule your next, ask yourself: does this really require a meeting?
Highlighting content from my September 2021 newsletter.
Building a successful organization is a mix of doing new/novel things, old things, and very old things. I think we usually spend too much time talking about the new and novel as if it’s a silver bullet. Doing the old and very old things consistently and well is overlooked.
I would add an additional distinction: there’s the new/novel and there’s the timeless. There is also the timely: doing things at the right time.
Highlighting content from my September 2021 newsletter.
From the CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual, here is an 8-point plan for disrupting meetings and conferences. You will probably recognize some of these from your own circumstances:
(1) Insist on doing everything through ‘channels’. Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
(2) Make ‘speeches’. Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your ‘points’ by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.
(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for ‘further study and consideration’. Attempt to make committees as large as possible—never less than five.
(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
(7) Advocate ‘caution’. Be ‘reasonable’ and urge your fellow-conferees to be ‘reasonable’ and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
“(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision. . . . It might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.”
Highlighting content from my September 2021 newsletter
This was the first of a series of experiments for a VW brand campaign.
“Lockdown provided an opportunity to reflect – and help me realise what I want from work. I want a job that suits my life and means I’m not tied to a desk all day, every day. And if I don’t feel happy, I can just quit. There are more than enough jobs out there.”
“Workers are drafting up resignation emails, handing in their notices and heading for the exit door in their droves. The trend is worldwide.
In the UK, job vacancies soared to an all-time high in July, with available posts surpassing one million for the first time.
In the US, four million people quit their jobs in April – a 20-year high – followed by a record ten million jobs being available by the end of June.
A Microsoft study has found that 41 per cent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year.”
They call it the Great Resignation.
source – https://www.wired.co.uk/article/great-resignation-quit-job
(in Jeopardy fashion) Why do we work so damn much?
Keynes predicted that, assuming no catastrophic events, the standard of living in advanced economies would be so much higher in 100 years that “for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure.” Most people would then be working a 15-hour week, which would satisfy their need to work in order to feel useful and contended.
As we approach 2030, how did Keynes do? Keynes’ predictions about capital growth, technology advancement and productivity were clearly wrong. “He massively underestimated the speed of advances in those areas,” said Suzman. We passed the thresholds of capital growth and productivity that he said would be necessary to usher a 15-hour week economic utopia in the 1980s. “Yet, here we are. And we’re working pretty much as long hours as people did in the 1930s when Keynes wrote the essay in the first place.”
Why is that? According to Suzman work is no longer driven by what we need. Instead, it’s driven by what we want and how society regulates or encourages these wants. We’ve long been able to satisfy our needs and wants with a 15-hour workweek. “But as we’ve gotten richer and built more technology, we’ve developed a machine not for ending our wants, not for fulfilling them, but for generating new ones, new needs, new desires, new forms of status competition.”
From a podcast with anthropologist James Suzman.
Suzman has devoted almost thirty years to studying and writing about the Ju’hoansi and other bushmen from the Kalahari Basin, who are among the world’s few remaining hunter-gatherer societies. He recently published Work: A Deep History from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots, a book about his research.
source – https://blog.irvingwb.com/blog/2021/09/why-do-we-work-so-dam-much.html
You don’t. You never do.
Leading by example is based on a faulty assumption: that people will see only the behavior you want them to see and follow only the behavior you want them to follow.
News flash: the people who work with you see everything.
They see not only what you want them to see but they also see what you don’t want them to see.
They see not only what you do but they also see what you don’t do and what you choose not to do.
They see what you choose to do or not to do and to whom.
They see what you choose to do or not to do and for whom.
As a matter of fact, the more time they spend with you, the more clearly you reveal yourself to them. The longer they observe you, the less what you say matters. What matters more are your actions – and specifically how consistent they are over time.
They see when and how often you tell them what to do.
They see when and how often you ask for their opinion.
They see when and how often you admit not knowing something.
They see when and how often you admit you made a mistake.
They see when and how often you apologize… and when and how often you apologize in public when you offended in public.
They see when, how often, and how well you listen.
They see when and how often you praise in public. And how specific your praise is: not the anemic “good job!” but rather a vigorous acknowledgment of what exactly a team member does well and how that contributes to the good of the team.
In addition to being based on a faulty assumption, “leading by example” might also be caused by attribution bias (you believe that your behavior has caused theirs, that your “leading” has caused their “following”) or by buying into the narrative of the “heroic manager” (what I call the “Gandhi complex”). But that will have to wait for another post.
These are thoughts on the book I am writing. They were first delivered to readers of my free, monthly newsletter. It’s easy to subscribe… and unsubscribe.