Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lead Well: How to Avoid Making Your Best People Care Less

Huffington Post

Whether you lead a team of two or 2,000, it's likely you've noticed the value of hiring and retaining capable, self-motivated people. Yet it's all too common--and completely avoidable--that you inadvertently do little things that may de-motivate your "go to" people in big ways.

Here are ten life-tested watch list items to make sure that as a leader, you're not making your best people care less:

1. Be candid, direct and timely with constructive feedback.  

3. Tap in to (and take seriously) your people's experience, knowledge, and ideas. Be respectful and appreciative of their ideas, even when you may disagree or feel you have better ones. Hear them out, ask clarifying questions, and seek first to understand them.

7. Don't ask or tell your people to do things you wouldn't be perfectly willing to do yourself.

10. Ensure the impact of your leadership on your people, and that of your organization on the world overall are both positive, and therefore sustainable.


Clayton Christensen: How Management Can Advance


The best had become the enemy of the good. So, Christensen suggests, that is the challenge facing management today. Will the thought leaders in management continue to pursue their remarkably similar ideas in a fragmented fashion with different language and terminology? Or will they respond to his call, learn from the experience of education and software development, and come together and agree on common language and terminology? If Christensen is right, the future of management depends on it.


Cultivating the Next Generation of Web Professionals

A List Apart

I’ve spent most of my career at institutions of higher education, and during that time, I have had the good fortune to work with several incredible students. Former interns are now LinkedIn connections working for television shows, book publishers, major websites, ad agencies, and PR firms, and the list of job titles and employers makes me proud. Along the way, I tried to give them interesting projects (when available), enthusiastic references (when merited), and helpful career advice (when requested).


The Puzzle Of Persistent Praise

Overcoming Bias

We often praise and criticize people for the things they do. And while we have many kinds of praise, one very common type (which I focus on in this post) seems to send the message “what you did was good, and it would be good if more of that sort of thing were done.” (Substitute “bad” for “good” to get the matching critical message.) Now if it would be good to have more of some act, then that act is a good candidate for something to subsidize more. And if most people agreed that this sort of act deserved more subsidy, then politicians should be tempted to run for office on the platform that they will increase the actual subsidy given to that kind of act. After all, if we want more of some kind of acts, why don’t we try to better reward those acts?   


Building Multicultural Curiosity

Chief Learning Officer

The likelihood of millennials limiting their job search to their hometown or even their country is diminishing. According to the Boston Consulting Group, 59 percent of American millennials are open to working abroad. With this increased willingness to be employed in different countries, there comes a higher responsibility of ensuring that next generation workers are prepared to be multiculturally sensitive global leaders. Furthermore, globalization and the diversification of corporations should prompt all companies to encourage employees, managers and CEOs to become multiculturally sensitive.

Let's examine five steps to becoming a multiculturally curious global leader.


1.     A global leader should be aware of his or her own cultural values and biases.

2.     Learn about other cultures.

3.     Recognize that learning never ends.

4.     Create a safe work environment in which everyone's culture is valued and included.

5.     Be patient.


An Almost Foolproof Way to Achieve Every Goal You Set

We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives--building a successful business, getting into better shape, raising a wonderful family. For most of us, the path to achieving those things starts with setting a specific and actionable goal. Until recently, that's how I approached my life. I would set goals for clients I wanted to land, for classes I took, and for weights that I wanted to lift in the gym.

What I'm starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things.

It all comes down to the difference between goals and systems.


1. Goals reduce your current happiness.

Solution: Commit to a process, not a goal.


2. Goals are strangely at odds with long-term progress.

Solution: Give up the need for immediate results.


3. Goals suggest that you can control things that you have no control over.

Solution: Build smart feedback loops.


Top 10 eCommerce Gamification Examples that will Revolutionize Shopping

Shopping has evolved so much from traditional market exchanges. It completely transformed from acquiring of needed goods into a rich experience that integrates deeply into every single culture of civilizations that can afford to power such an activity. People shop for fun, and for many (ahem, me not included), shopping could still be an epic win after spending 3 hours in a mall without buying a single item. (In the rulebook for my game, if I am shopping for over an hour and I bought nothing, I felt that I have failed. No Win-State for me…)+

As shopping went online, a lot of the fun, interactive, and social experiences of shopping disappeared. However, it opened up a whole new world of other fun and exciting activities that could make shopping even more addicting than ever – except this time within the comforts of my home, and I can achieve my win-states much more often.+

There is where eCommerce Gamification comes in place. Awesomely, many eCommerce gamification examples out there have actively improved sales and conversions by double or even triple digits towards the right direction, and some helped eCommerce sites become $Billion businesses!+

Below I present to you 10 stellar eCommerce Gamification examples that will revolutionize shopping.


Why great ideas are opposed? How do we learn? And why the Cloud will change every aspect of how we live bringing about more computing intelligence than ever perceived

Leadership Theories

As humans, we’re seeking to formulate an understanding of the world around us and build a structure which allows us to feel a certain level of comfort and security – we want to feel that we know something. We also despise changing this complex mental model and the more elaborate the model is, the harder it is to modify or break down. Consider why cultures norms are so ingrained into our thoughts and habits. We learn by taking in new information, but we first check against our schema (i.e. experiences) to understand where this new knowledge might fit. It helps us make sense of the world around us.

Most situations do not require complex thought when using schema. It’s a simple input-output scenario; we simply do a fast computation and retrieve from existing structures (the sub-conscience) whether the information already exists or if there is something similar to it. In the cases when the information is new, we try to classify it somehow into existing structures. We run into trouble a bit when the new knowledge contradicts our internal structures/beliefs. It confuses us as we get faced with the fact that it doesn't fit anywhere and may require us having to re-structure. This is time consuming, requires energy and requires lowering our self-esteem in order to accept it. Thus, new and contradictory concepts are hard to accept. Consider why new paradigms and ideas are initially ridiculed if not violently opposed at first. “The earth is not flat!!!?” – The list is infinite.


How to Lead with Compassion but Not Be a Pushover

Leadership Freak

Compassion goes wrong when it goes too far. Too much compassion prolongs helplessness, failure, and mediocrity. Compassion done well fuels confidence, excellence, and success.

Organizations without compassion are fear-filled, ugly places to work.

Don’t extend compassion to those who won’t acknowledge need. They’ll despise you for it.

Extend compassion to those who acknowledge failure, struggle, turmoil, or uncertainty. Otherwise, stay available, but let them struggle.  Warning:  Compassion is weak and irrelevant in organizations that punish honesty, frailty, transparency, and candor.

Where imperfections are punished, compassion is liability.

Who on your team needs compassion today?


Sometimes the Best Ideas Come from Outside Your Industry


Bringing in ideas from analogous fields turns out to be a potential source of radical innovation. When you’re working on a problem and you pool insights from analogous areas, you’re likely to get significantly greater novelty in the proposed solutions, for two reasons: People versed in analogous fields can draw on different pools of knowledge, and they’re not mentally constrained by existing, “known” solutions to the problem in the target field. The greater the distance between the problem and the analogous field, the greater the novelty of the solutions.

This is a finding that applies across a variety of contexts, and we’ve found that it has wide applicability in businesses.

To get a sense of the value of accessing and implementing knowledge from analogous fields, consider our recent study in which we recruited hundreds of roofers, carpenters, and inline skaters to contribute their insights to the problem of workers’ reluctance to use safety gear because of discomfort. We won’t go into the details about how we found all these people — suffice it to say that we now know a lot about the roofing and carpentry trades and about inline-skating clubs and competitions.


Build Leadership Credibility

Leadership Done Right

When you are a leader it is really important that you have leadership credibility. When you have leadership credibility, those you lead will follow you to the ends of the earth because they trust you, your decisions and your ability to lead.

This credibility is very hard to gain. Leaders constantly face the challenge of gaining leadership credibility from their followers. Additionally, their followers try to test their leader’s leadership credibility. Followers want to know if their leaders are really qualified to be their leader. They also want to be sure that the leader knows what they are talking about.