Leadership Qualities vs. Competence, The 16 best ways to sabotage your organization’s productivity, from a CIA manual published in 1944, and A Refresher on Regression Analysis + more

This week’s collection of articles is a bit more diverse as we head into the holidays – I spent some time in the air last week and had a chance to catch up on a number of articles that I had saved for offline consumption through Pocket – if’ you’ve never heard of this app, it’s a great one for doing precisely that, and as a bonus, as the app starts to recognize your interests through the articles you save, it makes recommendations for you for other articles.

Let’s start at the beginning – in this article from Medium, they posit the eight things people should do every day before 8 am.  I realize we’re all early risers, but this is a good reminder for all of us of what we can knock out to get our days off to a great start.  Number nine on the list for me is to never, ever check email before 8 am.  I’m still working on that one.  Some of you might balk at the idea of meditation/prayer/quiet in the morning, but if you recall there was another article I shared that discussed how the one commonality of successful CEOs is that they take time every morning to meditate.

A recent article from HBR addresses which matters more: leadership qualities or competence based on an article from an upcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.  The two main takeaways from the article are that we have to select leaders based on competence, not because of who they are or know and that we need to be wary of the dangers of formal hierarchy.  This last week there was a great podcast on disruptive leadership from the TED Radio Hour that I’d recommend as a follow up.  If you listen to that podcast, one of the things noted is that often we end up putting people in positions of leadership because of their extroversion.  This article goes deeper into the seven subtle conversation habits of powerful people.  One of those seven?  Not dominating a conversation.

It seems to pair well with the HBR article, so I thought I’d share a recent article from Business Insider about the 16 best ways to sabotage your organization’s productivity, from a CIA manual published in 1944.  As the title indicates, there are some great tips on how to make sure your organization or project are going to be unsuccessful, from haggling over the wording of a communication or making sure the most important work assignments are handed out last and to the most inefficient workers.  It’s a great list of what not to do, but I’m sure many of us have worked for organizations in our professional lives where this is exactly what was done.

A random one to throw in there is this Refresher on Regression Analysis also from HBR.  Mark Twain noted that there are lies, damn lies, and statistics and having had Managerial Statistics myself in grad school (we spent one class period looking at Stem and Leaf images the professor pulled up on Google), I tend to agree that you can shape data to get the answer you want more often than not.  However, that course also made me realize how much I don’t know about statistics and this article is takes you from what regression analysis is to the need to let your intuition inform what the data might show.  How to Lie with Statistics is a good follow on if this article piques your curiosity, as is Keeping Up with the Quants.

Finally, a follow up to the seemingly altruistic wage increases at Gravity – while the concept may still be sound, the motivation behind it is suspect.  Not to burst the bubble of good cheer during the Holidays, but I felt it important to share this as a follow up to the article previously posted.

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