We’ve all heard that as leaders and managers, we have to focus on active listening when we interact with our people. In the past, that’s been defined as not talking as others speak while making empathetic noises that convey understanding and then synthesizing what was said and repeating it back. I’ve done this many times, and have always felt like that made me good at listening. Lately, though, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people about their personal mission statements, about what drives them and helping them connect that back to the core values and strategy of their company. I find myself coming out of these conversations invigorated, even inspired by the dialogue and while I did follow that pattern I laid out above, I also did a few things differently, naturally, that are emphasized in this article from HBR on what great listeners actually do. I found myself asking questions to promote discovery (these were, after all, self-discovery conversations), found myself naturally building the other individual’s confidence and self-esteem because the entire focus was to focus on things they loved to do and how it tied back to their job, I did find myself making suggestions and synthesizing our conversation to allow for a different understanding of the problem we were solving, and I made plenty of suggestions. Then I had another conversation where I just engaged in classis active listening this week and it seemed almost fake to me, too canned. Take a moment and read the article and then think about some of the most exciting conversations you’ve had of late. I think you’ll find that your best conversations have been the ones when you’ve challenged the speaker as you’ve listened.
Would a week have passed without Uber being in the news? This week, though, it’s for their autonomous car fleet that just debuted in Pittsburg. Now, they are “supervised” by humans, and they are just in test phase, but they are out there. Along with that is a great thought piece about we are shifting from a driver to a car culture and the impact of that on Uber and others.
Speaking of autonomous cars, Ford this week stated that they would have such cars ready to go to market in 2021 for automated ride-sharing companies. They’ll be shipped without steering wheels or pedals (an upgrade to the Johnny Cab in Total Recall) and in this interview, Forbes digs in to how the head of autonomous vehicles at Ford plans to get that done.
An odd thing has been happening on Wall Street – as I’ve noted before, there’s been a drive to hire data scientists, but at Goldman Sachs, their technology division is made up of over 11,000 people, or as they brag, more engineers than Facebook. It makes since, then, that Goldman would not just sponsor but also host All Star Code this summer on premise. While the leaders at Goldman haven’t done a whole lot to improve the company’s reputation in the past decade, the people of Goldman are passionate about their communities (part of GS’s core values) and that’s evident in programs they support like ASC.
We’ve all heard stories of the dark net and Silk Road and the various nefarious transactions going on there, but have you heard the story of the dirty cops who tried to take advantage of it themselves? Ars technica unpacks not just what they stole but also how they got caught.
Inc. this week has a great article on the history and evolution of Craigslist and how Craig Newmark, it’s founder, realized he sucked as a manager.
Strategy+business this week digs into the hidden curriculum of work – all those things that we have to learn/do in order to navigate our places of work that are outside of the job we were hired for, beyond the job description our people applied to. As leaders, it’s incumbent on us to help our people understand that aspect, from the social and political environment to understanding (sometimes blindly) what is expected for one to advance in the organization.
Gartner has an interesting article this week where they state that 70% of enterprise file synchronizing and sharing companies will be gone by 2018. Part of that makes sense as smaller companies who provide this service are absorbed by bigger firms. Part of it will be due to innovation in the space.
For those of you who’ve felt that the past few summer blockbusters you’ve seen was written either a cat on a computer keyboard or AI, you’ll be interested to know the cats are still writing their magnum opus, AI has written its first screenplay.
Scientific American asked some of our leading thinkers about the future of humanity. One of my favorite Q & As was Q: Will we ever figure out what dark matter is? A: Whether we can determine what dark matter is depends on what it turns out to be.
Last this week is another piece from Medium about the lost infrastructure of social media – it’s a good look at then versus now and how what happened back then could be brought back to bear in the here and now.
TED has a blog post that can describe much better than I the importance of the talk this week – read it here and then watch for yourself.