February 2019 – on Meritocracy, Millennials, Machines, and Rock&Roll

Welcome to this first edition ! I’m happy that you are here.

Enjoy the read and I’ll see you again down below. In about 2 minutes.

  1. Stop mulling over millennials. They want the same things from their employers that Generation X and Baby Boomers do. And all three generations agree on the characteristics of an ideal leader
  2. Rock groups face the same challenges as any business: how to make a group of talented people add up to more than the sum of its parts, and how to keep the band together. There are four different models: The Beatles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, R.E.M., and the Rolling Stones
  3. A list of best practices will not make you a great company, any more than finding a recipe will make you a great cook. Instead, favor of a culture of discovery.
  4. A meta-analysis of the existing research on work flexibility identified three fundamental components: where we work, when we work, and how predetermined our schedule is. These component parts lead to six distinct types of flexibility.
  5. Hey boss, no one knows your strategy. An analysis of 124 organizations revealed that only 28% of executives and middle managers responsible for executing strategy could only list three of their company’s strategic priorities.
  6. Meritocracy is overrated. The research shows that, while it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, the most talented people hardly ever reach the highest peaks of success. Those are often overtaken by sensibly luckier individuals.
  7. Is your job killing you? There are 120,000 excess deaths per year attributed to ten workplace conditions and they cause approximately $190 billion in incremental health care costs. That makes the workplace the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. — higher than Alzheimer’s, higher than kidney disease.
  8. Every time you switch your attention from one target to another and then back again, there’s a cost. This switching creates an effect called attention residue, which reduces your cognitive capacity for a non-trivial amount of time before it clears. If you constantly make “quick checks” of various devices and inboxes, you essentially keep yourself in a state of persistent attention residue. There’s a way out of this.
  9. Your boss wants machines to replace you. As soon as possible
  10. Finally, a mathematical feat… and a wink to participants of one of the leadership development programs that I facilitate. The 15-puzzle consists of a four-by-four grid in which you slide fifteen numbered tiles around, trying to put the numbers in sequence. It is of interest again, this time not as a distraction, but as a way to understand a seemingly unrelated and much more complex puzzle: how magnets work.

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