July 2021 – on management domains, Agile (yeah, I know), premortems, and the silent pause

  1. Management can at times seem like staring down a large block of marble. And most management advice tends to focus on tackling the biggest chunks — but sculpting a magnificent piece of art also relies on the finer chiseling work that tend to be overlooked. First Round asked its community for “the small things a great manager has done that have stood out to you across your career”. They retained 25 tactics and organized them around 8 topics.
  2. Some companies are better suited to Agile than others. Those who aren’t a good fit and yet shoehorn themselves into the model risk burning money as well as upending organizational culture with little to show for their effort. Some questions to ponder.
  3. Performance evaluation does not tell the whole story. Nor does personality. Managers operate in four domains. Each domain has its own set of demands. They should be revisited periodically.
  4. Doing nothing and being bored can be invaluable to the creative process. Doing nothing is a great way to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination. Unconscious thought processes can generate novel ideas and solutions more effectively than a conscious focus on problem solving. Suggestions on how to slack off.
  5. It works in negotiations. And it works in conversations: the silent pause.
  6. Research identified five different profiles on the continuum between Burnout (the most negative experience) to Engagement (the most positive). The three intermediate profiles were DisengagedOverextended, and Ineffective. Each profile has distinct relationships with various worklife factors.
  7. The above factors point to the need for not only personal wellness but also organization-level interventions.
  8. The organizational impact of the pandemic will be profoundly disruptive for companies, but not in the way you’d expect. Many of them have been agreeably surprised by the way technology has enabled them not only to keep functioning, but in many cases to thrive. The penny that hasn’t yet dropped is that surviving the lockdowns by using technology indicates that their pre-pandemic ways of doing things need comprehensive re-examination.
  9. Premortems and backcasting can help you look into the future and understand why you may or may not achieve a goal.
  10. Here is something you can do at the office when you get back. Let’s call it the Curiosity Activity. It’s simple: just create a sign like the one you’re seeing below and place it in the most conspicuous in the office. The other tools required for this activity to work will become apparent once you watch it. And, yes, you will have to “lead by example” 😉


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