This week is more of a digest approach versus a specific theme as there’s been a variety of topic in my queue to catch up on and share out. First off, to follow up on my recommendation that you listen to some thought leader with consistency as a part of your personal board of directors, here’s a handy list of 100 vetted podcasts from Inc. Start by finding one or two that strike your interest and build from there once you consistently listen, or explore the feeds of several and focus on specific topics that may be covered from varying viewpoints. On a different track but in line with last weeks’ topic of mentoring, Fortune has a great article this week on how some entrepreneurs in the Bay area are using algorithms to “empower women to break the glass ceiling, together.” They’ve created a service that pairs mentors with mentees based on online matchmaking. What’s curious to me is to see how it correlates to the concept of having more of a board of directors versus a senior/junior relationship from a mentoring standpoint. It does, again, broach the topic of how much algorithms know about us and how much we want them to know.
Next is assessing your curiosity profile from HBR. It’s pretty obvious which questions lean towards whether you are curious, but still an interesting few minutes spent finding how you fit on the spectrum from unconventional to traditional thinking. It ties into another article from HBR on learning agility. For those wondering, I’m an unconventional thinker who is intellectually hungry and seek new relationships and experiences. Where do you fall? If you are on the curious side, I’d bet you’ll like this next collection of articles from the NYC Media Lab focused on exploring future reality.
An interesting question I find out there when I’m reading or exploring the interwebs is around whether there really is any new thought when it comes to management thinking, and whether it even matters. This article digs into that question, talking about how context changes the question and how it is answered. Another fact we face is that often times we find ourselves meeting our colleagues for the first times in front of customers given how decentralized our workforce has become (no matter what Marissa Meyer’s desire may be). Sometimes, however, we can work in the same campus and never meet our “competitors” from our own firms. Strategy+Business digs into how we can address three major issues when trying to act as one company: streamlining work while maintaining brand identity and nurturing customer relationships, avoiding the bureaucracy that frequently goes hand in hand with complexity, and getting people to risk depending on one another.
We often talk about work-life balance and how much of a struggle that can be, and how grateful some of us are to work for firms that are vigorously passionate about that. Not that it’s meant to make us work MORE, however there was an incredible dive into Japan’s 105-hour work week that I felt compelled to share because of one thought: that good enough isn’t nearly good enough when it comes to getting the job done. It’s interesting to look at a culture where there is no “good enough” approach, how it impacts the family dynamic, how that country is stagnating possibly in part because of that ethos, and contemplating that perhaps, just maybe, in our own work we need to move the bar a little higher for what is “good enough.” That’s not to say we should work more, as more work doesn’t mean better results. It means we should always strive to improve and do better than we have before.
But what about the usual mix I share around leadership and management skills? Well, glad you asked: this article about radical candor proposes that precisely that is the key to being a good boss while HBR explores the two sides of employee engagement. Fun fact: each year, companies are spending nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in an effort to improve employee engagement. Follow on to that the “no duh” realization/article from Quartz that toxic coworkers are more expensive than superstar hires and we might be on to something here. Along with that is how we can get millennials to want to work with us and the reality is, these are all mantras with which we are very familiar.
Last, with the debut of the new Star Wars movie this week, I wanted to leave you with an article from Vulture about whether Han Solo was legally justified in shooting Greedo first. It’s a bit of a read, but an attorney digs through all sorts of Imperial legal code to get to an answer. Yes, Imperial legal code has been written.