May 31, 2011
May 30, 2011
A friend sent this to me and I wanted to share it with others who can benefit.
Hope you enjoy!
I asked G-d to make my handicapped child whole.
G-d said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.
I asked G-d to grant me patience.
G-d said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.
I asked G-d to give me happiness.
G-d said, No.
I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.
I asked G-d to spare me pain.
G-d said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.
I asked G-d to make my spirit grow.
G-d said, No.
You must grow on your own!
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked G-d for all things that I might enjoy life.
G-d said, No.
I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.
I asked G-d to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
G-d said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
May 28, 2011
May 26, 2011
- And more
May 25, 2011
An very good article in Harvard Business Review (June 2011) called "Before You Make That Big Decision" identifies a dozen of these biases that can throw leaders off course.
What I liked about this article is how it organized the subject into a schema for interrogating an issue to get to better decision-making.
Here are some of the major biases that leaders need to be aware of and inquire about when they are presented with an investment proposal:
1) Motivation Errors--do the people presenting a proposal have a self-interest in the outcome?
2) Groupthink--are dissenting opinions being actively solicited and fairly evaluated?
3) Salient Analogies--are analogies and examples being used really comparable?
4) Confirmation Bias--has other viable alternatives been duly considered?
5) Availability Bias--has all relevant information been considered?
6) Anchoring Bias--can the numbers be substantiated (i.e. where did they come from)?
7) Halo Effect--is success from one area automatically being translated to another?
8) Planning Fallacy--is the business case overly optimistic?
9) Disaster Neglect--is the worst-case scenario imagined really the worst?
10) Loss Aversion--is the team being overly cautious, conservative, and unimaginative?
11) Affect Heuristic--are we exaggerating or emphasizing the benefits and minimizing the risks?
12) Sunk-Cost Fallacy--are we basing future decision-making on past costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered?
To counter these biases, here are my top 10 questions for getting past the b.s. (applying enterprise architecture and governance):
1) What is the business requirement--justification--and use cases for the proposal being presented?
2) How does the proposal align to the strategic plan and enterprise architecture?
3) What is return on investment and what is the basis for the projections?
4) What alternatives were considered and what are the pros and cons of each?
5) What are the best practices and fundamental research in this area?
6) What are the critical success factors?
7) What are the primary risks and planned mitigations for each?
8) What assumptions have been made?
9) What dissenting opinions were there?
10) Who else has been successful implementing this type of investment and what were the lessons learned?
While no one can remove every personal or organizational bias that exists from the decision-making equation, it is critical for leaders to do get beyond the superficial to the "meat and potatoes" of the issues.
This can be accomplished by leaders interrogating the issues themselves and as well as by establishing appropriate functional governance boards with diverse personnel to fully vet the issues, solve problems, and move the organizations toward a decision and execution.
Whether the decision is apples or oranges, the wise leader gets beyond the peel.
May 22, 2011
May 21, 2011
May 20, 2011
May 17, 2011
And at one point, he says straight-out, integrity takes two things:
1) Know what's right
2) Do what's right
And I'm loving it!
Straight-forward and simple--know and do what's right.
Then he tells me about Gus Lee, a nationally recognized ethicist (and Chair of Character Development at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point) who wrote this book Courage: The Backbone of Leadership.
I was inspired by what I heard and since went back to learn more about his philosophy on the subject.
Lee believes that "leadership is grounded in high character" and that "we think we are looking for managers, but in fact, we need principled leaders."
To drive our "moral courage", Lee says we have 3 powerful resources:
1) Conscience--"that moral, inner voice."
2) Discernment--this is where you work to discern "the higher right" getting past "fear, feelings, and wishful thinking" and of course, our own self interests.
3) Discerning Advisors--we seek the counsel of "the most courageous, high integrity, high character, and principled person or people" you know.
And I would add a fourth important resource, which is religious teachings that can be a steadfast guidepost (especially when coupled with the others as a personal litmus test of whether you are applying them correctly).
Finally, I like Lee's observation that there are three type of individuals when it comes to issues of integrity:
1) Egotists--those who are self-serving.
2) Pragmatists--those who "serve results" or what I would call serving a specified cause.
3) People of Courage--those who "act in the right regardless."
Doing the right thing is not easy (it means putting aside your own interests)!
That's why it takes tremendous courage to be the type of moral person that we all ultimately admire and respect.
Those leaders who act with moral rectitude, these to me are the few and the amazing!
May 15, 2011
Already in 1964, Frederick Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory differentiated work satisfiers (aka motivators) such as challenging work, achievement, and responsibility, from dis-satisfiers (aka hygiene factors) such as the absence of status, job security, adequate salary/benefits, and pleasant work conditions.
In other words, motivation is driven primarily by the underlying meaningful and the productive work, not by the context of the work such as the money and fringe benefits.
In that vein, Harvard Business Review in "A Spotlight on Productivity" in May 2011 describes how poor managers "unwittingly drain work of its meaning"--in essence destroying their employees motivation and their productivity.
1) Trivializing Your Workers Input--"managers may dismiss the importance of employees work or ideas." In a sense, this one is about marginalizing employees, their creativity, and their contributions and is extremely destructive to the employees and the organization.
2) Decoupling Employee Ownership From Their Work--"Frequent and abrupt reassignments often have this affect." Also, not assigning clear roles and responsibilities to projects can have this affect. Either way, if employees don't have ownership of their projects, then the productivity will suffer amidst the workplace chaos and lack of ultimate accountability for "your work."
3) The Big Black Hole--"Managers may send the message that the work employees are doing will never see the light of day." In other words, employees are just being forced to "spin their wheels" and their is truly no purpose to the "shelfware" they are producing.
4) Communication, Not--Managers "may neglect to inform employees about unexpected changes in a customers priorities" or a shift in organizational strategy due to changes in internal or external market drivers. When employees don't know that the landscape has shifted and moreover are not involved in the decision process, they may not know what has changed, why, or feel invested in it. Without adequate communication, you will actually be leaving your employees blind and your organization behind.
So while it is tempting to think that we can drive a great work force through pay, benefits and titles alone, the lesson is clear...these are not what ultimately attracts and retains a talented and productive work force.
The magic sauce is clear--help your work force to know and feel two things:
1) Their work--is ultimately useful and usable.
2) That they--are important and have a future of growth and challenge.
When they and their work mean something, they will get behind it and truly own it.
In short: mean something, do something.
To get this outcome, I believe managers have to:
1) Make the meaning explicit--Identify your customers, the services you are providing, and articulate why it is important to provide these.
2) Determine strengths and weaknesses of each employee and capitalize on their strengths, while at the same time coach, mentor, and train to the weaknesses.
3) When workers go "off track," be able to give them constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement without demeaning and demoralizing them.
4) Find the inner strength and self confidence not to be threatened by your employees actually doing a good job and being productive--that's ultimately what you've hired them for!
5) Recognize the importance of everyone's contributions--It is not a one-person show, and it takes a bigger boss to recognize that other people's contributions don't take away from their own.
6) Be a team and communicate, honestly and openly--information hoarding and being the smartest one in the room is an ego thing; the best leaders (such as Jack Welch) surround themselves with people that are smarter than them and information is something to be leveraged for the team's benefit, not weaponized by the individual.
There are more, but this is just a blog and not a book...so hopefully more to come on this topic.
May 13, 2011
We've all be to "those" kinds of meeting. You know the ones I'm talking about: The cast of characters has swelled to standing-room only and you're beginning to wonder if maybe there's a breakfast buffet in the back of the room.
It seems to me that not only are there more people than ever at todays meetings, but meetings are also more frequent and taking up significantly more hours of the day.
I'm beginning to wonder whether all these meeting are helping us get more work done, or perhaps helping us avoid confronting the fact that in many ways we're stymied in our efforts.
Read the rest of the article at Government Technology.
May 11, 2011
May 8, 2011
May 7, 2011
May 6, 2011
May 4, 2011
Ok, so the only topic that can compete with the killing of Osama Bin Laden (OBL) this week is an an article about sex--what???
May 1, 2011
It's a touch screen, networked machine that aside from enabling the purchase of soft drinks and the provision of nutrition information online, it also enables users to "gift" a drink to a friend by entering the recipient's name, mobile number, and a personalized text message (and even has an option to personalize it with a short recorded video).
The recipient of the Pepsi gift simply enters the redeem code at a pepsi social vending machine to get their soda. They can also return a thank you gift to the sender or "pay it forward" and give a gift to someone else.
In addition, the machine makes use of advanced telemetry to remotely measure and report on inventory, manage delivery scheduling, and update content on the machines. This machine is alive with changeable content and interactive communication between users.
As the Chief Innovation Officer of PepsiCo Foodservice states: "Social vending extends our consumers' social networks beyond the confines of their own devices and transforms a static, transaction-oriented experience into something fun and exciting they'll want to return to, again and again."
Additionally, Mashable reports that in phase 2, Pepsi is planning to integrate their Social Vending concept with other social media such as Facebook, extending the reach of product placement and gifting even further through cyberspace and social networking.
While many companies continue to struggle to figure out how to integrate social networking into a companies operations and make it profitable, PepsiCo has a simple formula for how it engages it's customers, promotes sales, and makes it all seem completely natural to the whole transaction--like it belonged there all along.
Great job PepsiCo!