Sunday, April 20, 2014

8 Reasons Small Teams Work Better
In all industries and fields, small teams are beating out their unwieldy counterparts because they work, even at the very highest levels. For example, FedEx—a giant, incredibly complex company—has streamlined its core leadership team to CEO Fred Smith and 10 direct reports. This fosters high performance and helps the company to present a single face to customers and shareholders. CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos uses the “Two-Pizza Rule” to determine team sizes. If a group can’t be fed by two pizzas, it’s too big.
1. Small teams are more entrepreneurial.
2. They also move faster.
3. People in small teams trust each other.
4. Sometimes, they’ll even sacrifice themselves for their teammates.
5. Small teams can become more specialized.
6. They don’t waste your human resources.
7. Small teams foster mentoring.
8. Small teams weaken the glass ceiling.
 
Lessons on Mission and Purpose From the NHL Playoffs
The National Hockey League playoffs kicked off this week, and they have me thinking about the way talent and culture is managed in hockey, and, what both employees and employers can learn from it.
In good hockey organizations, talent and culture are a shared responsibility across all layers of the org chart. General manager’s fill locker-rooms with the right talent at the right price against the salary cap.
Coaches set the right environment for the talent to flourish, make sure players are in the right roles and on the right paths, help the players develop their game, and prepare the team for their opponents and to gel as a group.
Players own their growth and mastery over their role and path, own their daily preparation, and own their own energy level and commitment to their team and teammates. When GMs, coaches, and players are all owning their role effectively, teams become really hard to compete against. However, there is a lot of complexity that makes this easier said than done.
 
Doing Well by Doing Good
Sustainability reporting, carbon metrics, ethical supply chains… just about every organisation has embraced the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in one form or another. Hence the popular saying – “doing well, by doing good”. But, while the widespread interest in CSR may be good for society, is it really good for shareholders?
In their Management Science paper, ‘The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Firm Value: The Role of Customer Awareness’, Dr Henri Servaes, from London Business School, and Dr Ane Tamayo, from the London School of Economics, look at the relationship between CSR activities and firm value. In particular, they examine the connection between enhancing value and awareness of an organisation’s CSR activities. “The commitment of a business to contribute to sustainable economic development, working with employees, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life.”
 
6 Habits of Great Connectors
The second part of the 1936 Dale Carnegie classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is called "Six Ways to Make People Like You." All these years later, connecting with new people remains a vital skill for any entrepreneur hoping to grow her network. But that doesn't mean it's easy, especially for introverts. Not long ago entrepreneur Scott Dinsmore formed a list of the habits he's observed in skillful connectors. In the spirit of Carnegie's "Six Ways," here are six habits from Dinsmore's list, supplemented with timeless tidbits from How to Win Friends.
<![if !supportLists]>1.       <![endif]>Smile.
<![if !supportLists]>2.       <![endif]>Make friends.
<![if !supportLists]>3.       <![endif]>Pay attention.
<![if !supportLists]>4.       <![endif]>See friends, not strangers.
<![if !supportLists]>5.       <![endif]>Contribute.
<![if !supportLists]>6.       <![endif]>Be open to conversation.
 
What's Going To Make A Company Grow? Being A Purpose-Driven Business
Employees and executives feel more confident about the future of their companies when the business model involves more than just the bottom line.
Work for an organization with a strong sense of purpose? Your company is probably more confident in its prospects for future growth, and as a result, invests heavily in initiatives that lead to long-term growth. That's the takeaway from this year's annual Deloitte Core Beliefs & Culture survey, an annual report designed to examine workplace culture.
The report--based on a survey of 1,053 executives and employees with full-time jobs in organizations with over 100 employees--found that 82% of respondents working at an organization with a strong sense of purpose believe that their organization will grow over the next year. In comparison, just 48% of respondents working for companies without a sense of purpose are hopeful about growth prospects.
 
Why Likeability Matters at Work
Likeability is becoming a bigger factor for success at work as social networks and videoconferencing grow.
 
High-Tech Stress Ball Keeps Procrastination At Bay
In the freelance economy today, many workers are out on their own with no supervision and no bosses breathing down their necks. Developing positive work habits can be challenging for even the most motivated. Modeled after the retro stress ball, Bossy has a squishy touch and a small screen, and is designed to help independent workers divvy up and manage their time.
Bossy relies on gamification to keep its users continually engaged. While Bossy is sensitive to the bodily and emotional needs of its owner and presents small ideas for breaks, it also makes a game out of working time to help people establish a goal-oriented mindset. The cycle between cue, action and reward is central to how it works. And because it’s a physical device and not an app, it makes for a better constant companion.
Important for our distraction-saturated world, Bossy also connects to the APIs of various popular apps and social media websites, from Evernote to YouTube. It can then shut down various distracting feeds, such as Facebook messages, at crucial times, and synthesize calendar and reminder information. This, and the physical presence of Bossy, was important to Neumann because he realized that distraction itself can get in the way of spending time on self-care and organization. “When I was doing research, I started installing all of these organization apps in my phone and on my Mac,” he said “But I realized that after time we stop engaging with particular apps because we’re dealing with too much stuff.”
 
Infographic – The Workplace of the Future
If asked to envision an office of the future, some people might channel space-age options like “The Jetsons,” including robots and moving walkways. But when we really think about how offices have progressed over the past century, what’s changed the most? Workspaces, communication and technology. Let’s take a look at how these three integral parts of the office will evolve in the not-so-distant future.
 
Bob Mankoff: Management Is A Laughing Matter
Life is easy; it’s comedy that’s hard.
That adage came to mind as I finished Bob Mankoff’s wonderful and warm memoir, How about Never–Is never good for you? My Life in Cartoons. Mankoff is the cartoon editor of The New Yorker as well as a long time contributor to the magazine as a working cartoonist. Now turning 70 Mankoff looks back at his career not only with wry wit but with the soul of successful cartoonist, one blessed with a sense of irony as well as a work ethic that shapes his approach to his craft as well as his management style.
The lesson for managers looking to groom the next generation is this: don’t expect perfection. What you can expect, as Mankoff does, is hard work. He expects working cartoonists to contribute 10 cartoons a week. (Yes, humor is hard work.) Same for managers. Next generation leaders need to hone their craft by putting in the time.
 
100 Questions Every Great Business Leader Should Ask
There’s no Superman versus Iron Man face-off between questions and answers over which is the better tool for innovation. But if there were, questions would be winning.Questions ignite imaginations, avert catastrophes and reveal unexpected paths to brighter destinations. Jim Collins, Marshall Goldsmith and other thinkers have compiled their own stocks of questions, which they urge leaders to pose to themselves and theirteams. The right questions don’t allow people to remain passive. They require reflection, followed by action.
Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question, praises inquiry’s ability to trigger divergent thinking, in which the mind seeks multiple, sometimes non-obvious paths to a solution. Asking good questions and doing so often “opens people to new ideas and possibilities,” says Berger.
To compile this list of provocative questions for business owners, we reached out to entrepreneurs and management thinkers, scanned blogs and revisited our favorite business books. (Though we tried to identify the origin of each question, some had competing claims of authorship. In those cases, we made our best call.) Have you got a great question that you use at your company? We welcome you to add your own to the list via the comment box below the story.