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About this blog

Posts about leadership. Inspirational quotes and other neat stuff. 

Entries in this blog

A company in New Zealand experimented with a 4-day week

Happy, committed and productive. That is how most companies would like their staff to be. But few companies would go so far as giving their workers one day off a week in order to achieve it.  That, however, was the approach of the New Zealand will writing company Perpetual Guardian. The firm has just completed an eight week trial, giving their 200 or so employees an extra day off every week, while all pay and employment conditions remained unchanged. The results speak for themselves. Despite the reduced hours, workers were 20% more productive and much happier. Chief Executive Andrew Barnes called the experiment an "unmitigated success". The experiment was measured by Jarrod Haar, Professor of Human Resource Management at Auckland University of Technology. He found job and life satisfaction increased on all levels, both at home and at work, with employees performing better and enjoying their jobs more than before the experiment began.  The findings were exactly as the firm’s Chief Executive Andrew Barnes had predicted. Indeed he says the decision to test the new way of working was “the right thing to do”, after looking at several global productivity reports.  The experiment has many implications, reigniting questions about productivity and a culture of long working hours, as well as the way in which part-time workers are valued and rewarded. All hours aren’t equal One thing that is already clear is that longer hours do not necessarily mean greater productivity. South Korea, for example, ranks near to the bottom of OECD countries for labour productivity despite having a culture of working very long hours. Similarly, within Europe, Greece has one of the longest working weeks, but comes out bottom in the OECD’s measure of GDP per hour worked.      Japan is another example of a country where a culture of long working hours does not tally with increased productivity. Japan is now deliberately cutting down on overtime, and using tactics such as turning the lights out at the end of the working day, in order to reverse this trend.  A long day’s work There have also been a number of trials which look at increasing productivity by shortening the working day rather than the working week.  In Sweden, for example, the government has trialled allowing workers at a retirement home to work six hour days. Although the employees reported an improved quality of life, with less stress and more time to spend with their families, it was also an expensive experiment for the local council who had to hire extra workers to make up for the shortfall in hours.  Iceland conducted a similar trial, allowing some Reykjavik city workers to reduce their working week by four or five hours. In that experiment, productivity continued at the same level, meaning costs remained the same as well. The employees also had greater work satisfaction and fewer days off sick.  These two studies suggest that it may be the nature of the work which is critical in deciding whether reducing the length of the working day is cost-effective. For shift workers such as nurses, security guards or careworkers a continual presence is needed, meaning the employer will need to find somebody else to cover the jobs.  But for office workers it may be a case of Parkinson’s law which states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Or to put that a slightly different way, workers will become more efficient if there is less time to complete a task.  Ironically, of course, part-time workers are often paid less than their full-time colleagues, even though many working parents will also recognize the truth that they achieve in four days what others do in five. Part-time work can also help increase the diversity of the workforce, and is reported to be one of the reasons behind online retailer Amazon’s experiment with shorter days.  The quest for work-life balance Helen Delaney, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School says the success of the Perpetual Guardian trial in New Zealand was down to the involvement of staff in planning the experiment.  “Employees designed a number of innovations and initiatives to work in a more productive and efficient manner, from automating manual processes to reducing or eliminating non-work-related internet usage,” she told the Guardiannewspaper.  The company’s chief executive is now going to discuss with his board whether the four-day week should be introduced permanently.  Meanwhile government policy-makers would also do well to consider the results when they are looking at how to both increase productivity and improve the nation’s work-life balance. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/working-fewer-hours-makes-you-productive-new-zealand-trial?utm_source=Facebook Videos&utm_medium=Facebook Videos&utm_campaign=Facebook Video Blogs

TheWorldNewsOrg

TheWorldNewsOrg

 

Five Rude E-mails You Send Without Realizing It

By Travis Bradberry, Jan 4, 2018 Even the most likeable and well-mannered among us can still look like jerks in an email. Writing an email that comes across just like you do in person is a fine art. During a conversation, you adjust your tone, facial expression, gestures and posture in order to fit the mood of what you’re conveying. You do this because people tend to be much more responsive to how you say things than to what you actually say. Email strips a conversation bare. It’s efficient, but it turns otherwise easy interactions into messy misinterpretations. Without facial expressions and body posture to guide your message, people look at each word you type as an indicator of tone and mood. Most of the mistakes people make in their emails are completely avoidable. The following list digs into these subtle mistakes and hidden blunders. The compulsive CC And Reply All CCing people all the time is one of the most annoying things you can do via email. I’d say it’s the most annoying, but this honor is bestowed upon the excessive “reply all.” If someone sends an email to you and a bunch of other people, do you really think every recipient needs to get another email from you saying “thanks”? They don’t, and when you do this, it sends people climbing up a wall. The trick for knowing when to CC someone is to treat your email as if it’s an in-person meeting. The question then becomes this: “Would it be necessary or helpful to have this person come to the meeting?” If the answer is no, then don’t waste his or her time with an email. As for reply all, just don’t do it. Even if someone else in the thread replies all, you’re still annoying everyone to death when you join the fray. If you have something to say, it’s better to send this directly (and privately) to the original sender and let him or her decide if the group should know about it too. The way-too-brief All too often, the cause of email conflict is an imbalance between the effort in the initial email and the effort in the response to that email. When someone types up a detailed paragraph outlining important issues, they expect you to respond carefully. Sending back “Got it” or “Noted” just doesn’t do the trick. Without knowledge of your intent and tone, brief responses come across as apathetic and even sarcastic to the receiver. This is unfortunate because this is rarely the sender’s intent. The best way to avoid being misinterpreted in a brief response is to share your intent. Even responding with “I’m a little busy but should be able to read it later this week” comes across much better than “Got it,” which a lot of people will interpret as indifference. The “URGENT” subject line Subject lines that say “URGENT” or “ASAP” show complete disregard for the recipient. If your email is that urgent, pick up the phone and give the person a call. Even in the rare instance when an email actually is urgent, labeling it as such in the subject line is unnecessary and sets a strong, negative tone. The key to avoiding “URGENT” subject lines is twofold. First, if the issue is best dealt with in any form other than email, then that’s how you should be dealing with it. Second, if this is not the case, then the issue lies in your ability to create a strong subject line. After all, people check their email frequently, so as long as your subject line catches their eye, it will get the job done. Instead of labeling the email as urgent, ask yourself why the email is urgent. The answer to this question is your new subject line. If a client needs an answer today, then simply make your subject line “Client Needs Response Today.” This maintains the sense of urgency without setting a rude, desperate tone. The Debbie downer Sending emails that consistently tell people what they do wrong and what they shouldn’t be doing really takes a toll. Even if you are trying to offer constructive criticism, you need to avoid negativity in your emails at all costs. Since people are unable to hear your tone directly, they read into the connotations of words and create a tone in their head as they go along. Negatives become especially negative in email form. Whenever you find yourself using negative words like “don’t,” “can’t,” “won’t” or “couldn’t,” turn them into positives. Making this change transforms the entire tone of the message. For example, instead of saying, “You can’t complete reports like this in the future,” say, “Next time you complete a report, please…” When you must deliver negative feedback, don’t do it in an email. Just hop on the telephone or walk down the hall. The robot It’s easy to think of email as a way to get something done quickly, but when you do this to the extreme, you come across as inhuman. You wouldn’t walk into someone’s office and hand them a report to do without acknowledging them somehow. Jumping straight into the nitty-gritty might seem like the most effective thing to do, but it leaves a lasting negative impression. Fixing this one is simple. Just take an extra second to greet the person you’re writing to. You don’t have to ask your recipient about his or her weekend. Just a simple acknowledgment of the individual as a human being is all it takes. This keeps the tone much more respectful than it would be if you were to simply send assignments. Bringing it all together The trickiest thing about emailing is making certain that people perceive your message the way you intend them to. You must be socially aware to pull this off. That is, be willing to take the time to consider how things look from your recipient’s perspective before you hit “send.”

TheWorldNewsOrg

TheWorldNewsOrg

 

Find a vision

It's just as inspiring to follow a vision that resonates with us as it is to have our own. Because it’s the followers, not the visionary, who bring the vision to life. It's our responsibility to find a leader, find a company, find a vision, that we believe in and work to help build.

TheWorldNewsOrg

TheWorldNewsOrg

 

How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers -- and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling. - Thank to Courtney W. for bringing this video to my attention

TheWorldNewsOrg

TheWorldNewsOrg

 

Steve Jobs Knew Tim Cook Would Kill Apple’s Innovation By Focusing on Sales and Marketing

When we lose a great innovator or leader, there’s a big void that forms in all of us. This longing for what we lost causes us to become infatuated with finding “the next so and so” to fill their shoes--like the numerous players that have been called the next Michael Jordan, but haven’t lived up to the legacy. Unfortunately, no matter how well that person can emulate their predecessor, it will never be the same. Innovation has to come from a place of hungry desire to change the world in your own way; not the way someone before you had laid out. For this reason, innovation very often comes from the “little-guy” or “a nobody”--the person or team working out of their garage with the vision to change their industry and and the high aptitude for risk. As companies form, take on capital, and begin growing into a large corporation, there are a lot of barriers which prevent them from taking those same risks. Whether it is a strict board of directors, poor company culture, or the fear of losing it all, established companies lack the ability to make risky, innovative moves. In 2011, Apple lost more than Steve Jobs. They lost their unique, rebellious nature. With Steve in charge, they had a win-at-all-costs attitude, that went against business norms and the expectations of their investors and board. Similar to the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys in the late 80s, who were notorious for getting in fights during games but winning championships, Steve was set on changing the world and he didn’t care how it would get done. One particular case is the time Steve gave Carly Fiorina and HP their own branded iPod, so that HP/Compaq computers would allow iTunes Music store to be the go to for media instead of Windows Media Player. Shortly thereafter, Apple upgraded to the next version of iPod, thus making HP’s version outdated. With Tim Cook at the helm, we’ve seen Apple transform into a luxurious IoT jewelry store, essentially offering the world nice jewelry that connects to the internet. Tim is an operations and execution type guy. Obviously, he isn’t running Apple into the ground any time soon, being that they are the most profitable company in the US, but he doesn’t have the same rebellious attitude as Steve. By letting systems for optimization and heavy focus on profits lead the company, a lot of the creativity dies. Instead, they are more focused on incremental improvements to their existing devices--adding a diamond here or there. Since 2011, the iPhone’s design has changed once, the transition between 5 and 6. Yes, they’ve made it waterproof, eliminated the headphone jack, and upgraded the camera for the tenth time, but there is really no big innovation in that--just incremental improvements. Motorola took the biggest risk, something we would’ve seen out of Jobs, with their creation of the modular phone: Moto Z. Motorola clearly beat Apple in phone innovation. Although the Touch Bar in MacBook Pro looks promising, the entire device is far from innovative. By taking away the USB port and the SD card reader, we lose the fundamental capabilities we need to succeed. How can Apple transition back to being the innovators? Quite frankly, Apple’s time as the world’s foremost innovator may be over. Steve Blank mentions in an article that as an operations-focused CEO, Tim Cook got rid of a lot of the chaos and turbulence in Apple and replaced it with process and structure. This is great for predictability (for the investors), but gives rise to the creative death spiral. Steve Jobs knew this would happen when he appointed Tim Cook as CEO. In this video, Jobs talks about sales and marketing people taking over companies and pushing the creative, product oriented people out of the decision-making forums. He goes on to say, “As a result, the companies forget what it means to make great products.” Realistically, they are missing the top-down mindset of creative chaos. The idea that you shouldn’t attack any problem with the same process you attacked the last problem. It’s about letting that chaos of ideas overwhelm your thoughts. Making connections between seemingly random things. And when you hit those roadblocks, controlling the situation by taking a break, trusting the chaotic approach, and not falling back into an old process. Jobs loved to have walking meetings to hash out ideas and reclaim that creative flow. You have a better chance at two balls colliding, by throwing a hundred of them down the stairs than you do by tossing one in the air and throwing another one at it. Innovation comes from making connections that don’t seem possible; by doubting the way something is currently done and replacing it with a new way. These connections aren’t made through systematic processes. Innovation stems from controlled chaos. Einstein was famous for his messy desk covered in idea-filled papers...not an orderly notebook of theories. The chaotic part of creativity can come from the influx of inspiration. Realizing the importance of external inspiration, I created Quick Theories--a brief, weekly newsletter of creative insights. So, if you feel like you can handle another stream of creative inspiration, you can sign up here: quicktheories.com by QuHarrison Terry

TheWorldNewsOrg

TheWorldNewsOrg

 

Leonardo da Vinci's Hand-Written Resume

"Before he was famous... Leonardo da Vinci was an artificer, an armorer, a maker of things that go 'boom'," writes Marc Cenedella, on his blog devoted to job searching and recruiting advice. "And, like you, he had to put together a resume to get his next gig. So in 1482, at the age of 30, he wrote out a letter and a list of his capabilities and sent it off to [Ludovico Sforza, regent, and later Duke,] of Milan." (The letter, it seems, made a lasting impression; Ludovico would become a longtime patron of da Vinci's, and is remembered especially for commissioning The Last Supper.) Included with daVinci's letter was a silver lyre of his own creation, sculpted in the shape of a horse's head. He references the lyre in item eleven of his missive, the translation of which appears below (a digitized copy of the original letter, at the end of the post:   Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below. 1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy. 2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions. 3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc. 4. Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion. 5. And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes. 6. I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river. 7. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance. 8. In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type. 9. Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense. 10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another. 11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may. Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza. And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency – to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc. Humble, indeed. No, really. As Cenedella notes: You'll notice [da Vinci] doesn't recite past achievements. He doesn't mention the painting of the altarpiece for the Chapel of St Bernard; he doesn't provide a laundry list of past bombs he's built; he doesn't cite his prior employment in artist Andrea di Cione's studio. No, he does none of these things, because those are about his achievements, and not about the Duke's needs.

TheWorldNewsOrg

TheWorldNewsOrg

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