26 04, 2019

4 leadership lessons: pursue operational excellence, project humility, facilitate communication, streamline decisions

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Bill Cambell teaches executives:

  1. Pursue “operational excellence. Focus on the processes, prepare for all meetings: staff and one-on-one, hold people accountable and compensate well.”
  2. “Project humility. Show a selflessness, that projects that you care about the company and about the people.
  3. “Facilitate open honest communication. It is “better for arguments to be heated but honest so a best idea or solution can surface, than for conversation to simply be passive-aggressive and for people to talk past each other”
  4. “Streamline decisions. Help create the process and culture for doing so. The goal is to provide a safe environment to air ideas and to get the best one.”

From the article:
Leadership Lessons From A Football Coach Turned Silicon Valley Executive in ‘Trillion Dollar Coach’ – By Frances Bridges

24 04, 2019

How can user research inform innovation?

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3 points Lisa deBettencourt (@ldbett) shared in her review of the MITX panel she was on.

  1. When large organizations stay to use customer knowledge to inform innovation they “face new problems of managing access and distribution of insights at scale.”
  2. “discovery, synthesis, and decision making process itself and can be distributed in real-time.”
  3. The best way to leverage user researchers is to have them “perform research to inform business decisions, as well as teaching and coaching others”
23 04, 2019

What do winners say when they fail?

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I have been watching the interviews around professional sports. All teams have losses and some have streaks. This always frustrates fans and the media relishes the opportunity to ask about it.

What I find interesting is that the response of the best teams seems to be the same across football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. Whether talking to the coach, the star player or a rookie they all say a variation of the same thing.

“We need to do better.”

It is simple but so telling. “We” focuses on the team as a whole (not pointing anyone out). “Do” is the action (instead of try). “Better” acknowledges the opportunity to improve.

This is perfect thing to tell other people. Then leave the details and critique to the internal review as a team.

We can do better.

22 04, 2019

You know what your telling me when you say that your product needs the Wow factor?

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Your product is long in the tooth and you have no idea what your customer wants. So it always seems like a good idea to sprinkle a little UX dust on the product and wallah! Wow!

It is true that ensuring that the visuals of the product are current and modern will remove a barrier in the sales process. It is also true that a clean modern looking UI will go a long way for hiding basic usability issues. People will believe that the modern UI is better than others that look less modern.

That said, wow that is pretty, is not the sensation your users want to have configuring all the pages in the application. Nor are they looking for pretty while maintaining and troubleshooting their application.

Think about it. If you are the admin for an enterprise application is pretty the wow you are looking for? Or does this person want an application that makes his job easy and makes him look good.

Observe your users. Notice all the people and things they have to interact with. Make that simple and convenient.

What kind of time pressure are they under and how do their tools help or hinder them? What happens when they are late? What can you do to alleviate these pressures?

Observing your users will tell you more about their needs then any Wow facelift can ever solve.

21 04, 2019

Goodness and kindness at work

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Care, friendliness, goodwill, mercy, goodness and kindness are all attributes of ourselves. This week we need to take the opportunity to explore this at work. Recognize the people we work with and provide chesed (loving kindness).

Here are some questions that the Meaningful Life Center asks (with changes to fit the work environment):

  • What is my capacity to provide care and kindness another person?
  • Do I have problems with giving?
  • Am I stingy or selfish?
  • Am I afraid of my vulnerability, of opening up and getting hurt?

Counting the Omer – the Meaningful Life Center

20 04, 2019

Looking for talent

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The best leaders hire talent not experience.

When hiring make the distinction between traits and states.

  • Traits are fixed and are what define a person
  • States are changeable

Detail oriented and introvert are traits where as knowledge and skills are states. People can improve their knowledge and skills but not their traits.

Talent is a pattern of specific traits that a person has. So focusing on the person’s traits and identifying the talents your team needs is key to hiring. You want the best talent for your team.

Listen to this interview:

Episode #305: Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall – A Leader’s Guide To The Real World (Break All The Rules)

18 04, 2019

Working in your headspace

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Has anyone used the Headspace app. I read this article in Forbes: 3 Ways The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Uses Mindfulness To Be At The Top Of Their Game.

My daughter and I love watching the US women’s soccer team. These powerful women are great role models. This article talks about how just the physical side is not enough for performing well at sports. The mind is just as important.

“From improving resiliency and mental grit, to harnessing the ability to focus and let go …”

So even though the whole article was an advertisement it is still intriguing.

16 04, 2019

Context is everything

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How can you design a product for your customer if you do not know your customer, the business domain, and the technology you are building with? People do it all the time.

How many technologists have the coolest latest thing that they are searching for a market and a user?

How about the designer who had the most awesome solution that cannot be built within years or millions of dollars?

Or the product manager who knows better than his users what they need and will get development to build what he wants?

We all work with or know people who work with these situations. A solution needs to meet the users needs and desires, fit the market and be sellable, and be produceable with the technology and expertise at hand. Creating a solution with all three aspects provides the best start to delivering a profitable solution that people want.

14 04, 2019

Migraines … what I do

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Migraines can render me useless in a dark room with ice on my eyes.

At first the lightening bolts appear in my eyes. Sections of my sight disappear which makes looking at my computer impossible. Then arrives the headaches and nausea.

To reduce the effects and duration I do the following:

  • 1000mg ibuprofen
  • 1000mg acetaminophen
  • Pinch the stress out of the shoulders on both sides
  • Ice packs under the eyes
  • Get in a relaxing position with my eyes closed

This reduces the 4-6 hour episode to 30 min-1 hr.

Now the worst part is the anticipation that the migraine is not going to be short and will take up a third of the day. I would like never to get them again but I really do appreciate the idea that I can reduce the effects.

12 04, 2019

Employee engagement across distributed teams

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We have teams of people across several clients and location. Each team is embedded at the client site and fully focused on project work. Typically each person is engaged at the client level but may or may not feel connected to our company.

There are several articles for telecommuting workers and only a handful around distributed teams and engagement that I have found. The articles talk about:

  • Virtual gatherings on a regular basis
  • Open ended questions allowing employees to discuss around work
  • Social communication channels for “water cooler” talk
  • Connecting with the company mission and goals
  • Ensure that employees feel that they are appreciated
  • Reciprocate the time and effort people put in for the company with demonstrated results, actions, and changes as issues are discussed
  • Provide a place to share stories and learnings between teams