December 2022 – Year 4 in review

I hope it has been a good year for you… and as we often say in my workshops, whichever way you define “good”.

The first issue of the newsletter went out in February 2019. So this is the end of year four. I played around with the format again this year, but I pretty much kept the content to ten-ish entries every time.

The most popular entries of the year were the following:

  1. This study introduces the concept of pre-quitting behaviors, which employees in the process of leaving an organization may unknowingly “leak” and others can observe and use to identify those at risk of turnover. It suggests that the psychological and behavioral processes that activate and facilitate voluntary turnover are manifest in 58 observable behaviors.
  2. The First Round community asked their members (working managers and leaders) to identify: What questions managers should ask themselves on a regular basis.
  3. The feeling of being respected at work is 17.9 times more powerful a predictor of culture score than the typical topics.
  4. Mind your metaphors: We’re a team, not a family – in a family you never can fire somebody like your Uncle Joe. In a team, everybody’s got a role to play.
  5. Rebecca Hinds carried out an experiment to improve meeting productivity. A simple and practical method she calls “Meeting Doomsday”.
  6. For all the talk about authenticity, it’s still not always a good idea to say the first thing that comes to mind. For the sake of civility or politeness, and the fact that you have to work with people every day, it is often worth pausing to think about ““What you might feel like saying v. What you can prefer to say instead.

    This site offers some suggestions. You might not agree with all of them (I certainly don’t). And some are tongue-in-cheek. But they all serve as a reminder that we should think before we speak.

  7. This paper finds that 60% of meaningfulness at work comes from three non-economic factors:
    1. Autonomy (that one has choices & authority over tasks),
    2. Competence (a feeling of mastery), and
    3. Relatedness (connection to others).
  8. The research is clear: long hours backfire for both people and companies. The story of overwork is literally a story of diminishing returns: keep overworking, and you’ll progressively work more stupidly on tasks that are increasingly meaningless.
  9. The idea that you are successful because you are hardworking is pernicious… and wrong
  10. And then there was Misha: He is three years old and he plays chess. Anatoly Karpov was the 12th world champion, from 1975 to 1985, and is considered to be one of the greatest players of all time. He was the highest-rated player in the world for over 100 months. In this video they play a timed game. I marvel at Karpov’s comments on Misha’s play. Skip a minute or so after the game with Karpov and Misha finishes a few games on a board. Remember: Misha is three years old.

So we come to the end of the year, as W. S. Mervin says:

where we have come with our age

our knowledge such as it is

and our hopes such as they are

invisible before us

untouched and still possible


Thanks for reading! And thank you for your comments and suggestions as well as the conversations that have ensued.

As long as the newsletter serves its original purpose and leads to enlightening conversations, I will continue to publish it… in 2023 and beyond.

My best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!