Having trouble receiving good feedback? Try this

Remember the raison d’etre, the reason your project is.

Ask for feedback related to either the vision or user goals. For instance, if working on a website, instead of a completely open-ended question like “What do you think?”, try a more focused question like “How well does this design help users find volunteer opportunites based on their desire?”

Lao Tzu

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

Thomas Huxley

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.

Books recommended by Global Business Leaders

Of the 16 books recommended in this article, I would like to read at least these few:

Woo, Wow, and Win

Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight

Authors: Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell

One Sentence Summary: This book promotes the concept of designing your company around service and offers strategies based on the idea that the design of services is different from manufacturing.

Recommended by: Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick


Technology as a Service Playbook

How to Grow a Profitable Subscription Business

Authors: Thomas Lah and J.B. Wood

One Sentence Summary: A guide to decision making and execution around the “as-a-service” model, with the intent of putting a company on a path to profitable growth by changing how “offers” are designed, built, marketed, sold, and serviced.

Recommended by: Stephanie Newby, CEO of Crimson Hexagon


Delivering Happiness

A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Author: Tony Hsieh

One Sentence Summary: The CEO of Zappos explains how he created a corporate culture based upon the concept that there is value to happiness, both for employees and customers.

Recommended by: Chris Nassetta, CEO of Hilton Worldwide


Freakonomics

A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Authors: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

One Sentence Summary: A set of amusing case studies illustrating that economics is the study of how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

Recommended by: Jeremiah Owyang, CEO of Crowd Companies

A gratitude journal to combat the worst f**king year

John Oliver called 2016 the worst f**king year. I feel like this outlook is very dramatic and shows the emotional intelligence of those who hold that view. 

In response to this, the author of this article kept a gratitude journal and was able to realise some incredible revelations about his life. 

https://apple.news/ATSjc5ee0Q8i5Ti3PWbmESg

What do you think? Regarding the photo: I’m so very grateful to have had an incredible opportunity to climb into the enchantments near Seattle for my friends’ 40th birthday. 

Simon Sinek on Millenials in the Workplace

I am researching Millenials in the Workplace and how to develop better employees. A friend of mine sent me this video last night and wanted my take.

He breaks down ‘4 pieces or characteristics that lead to happiness’ as:

  1. Parenting
  2. Technology
  3. Impatience
  4. Environment

The main point he tries to get across is that Millenials are entitled and lazy, and it’s not their fault, but the fault of the parents who were following terrible parenting advice.

Five Leadership Hacks

“To me, a hack is a clever or unexpectedly efficient means of getting something done. A good hack should feel like cheating because the value created by the hack feels completely disproportionate from the work done.

With this definition in mind, I present five leadership hacks I regularly use. These are not practices designed to redefine your leadership philosophy. They are hacks.”

  1. Two minutes early for everything.
  2. The clock faces you.
  3. Office Hours.
  4. Three questions before any meeting.
  5. Continually fix small broken things.

In reading this, I really appreciated the five hacks, but number four and five especially stood out to me. Three questions before any meeting or else it doesn’t happen: brilliant. He resolves to have three questions which need to be answered in order to prove the value of that meeting taking place.

The last hack is the easiest and it’s the best: fix small broken things. Always. It takes seconds to clean that whiteboard, to plug in the clock in the conference room, and to stop, lean down, and pick up a piece of trash. Seconds.

The value created isn’t just the small decrease in entropy, it’s that you are actively demonstrating being a leader. I understand the compounding awesomeness of continually fixing small broken things.

Read the whole article here

Ethics: Do you have enough?

It seems a lot of the shaking that is happening in 2016 has been bringing up some good things. Just this morning I’ve run into a great infographic laying out the hierarchy of profit and then I came upon Seth Godin’s recent thoughts on Ethics. His thoughts, the infographic, and other items I’m noticing in my news feed all seem to be pointing to a dissatisfaction in business for profit and more towards empathy.

Perhaps profit and market share and the rest could merely be tools in service of the ability to make things better, to treat people ever more fairly, to do work that we’re more proud of each day.

Read Seth Godin’s full post here

Wait and Hope

This quote seems a little depressing, but I wanted to post it because I think what he’s touching on is the fact that if you haven’t experienced exhilaration then you can’t empathize with grief or vise versa. Being in a current state of Waiting and Hoping, I feel I’m experiencing both pain and joy at the same moment. (In my attempt to practice becoming more self-aware, my introspection is becoming too philosophical at the moment).

“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.”

“Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope’.”

– Alexandre Dumas

Self-Awareness and Leadership

I had to write a quick response today to the question:

Why do you believe a leader needs to be reasonably self-aware if they are going to be a good leader?

What do you think of my response:

When I envision a leader who is not self-aware, I think of an individual dealing with insecurity then attempting to hide it with pride and arrogance. There are several reasons a leader must be self-aware, but I will discuss the one most important to me: If you are unable to read what’s going on with yourself, how will you read your subordinates and lead them well? A leader with no self-awareness would end up making choices on whims versus logic and would demoralize everyone who works for them. Beyond having a high employee turn over rate, this type of leader would end up costing the organization money and time due to them working on ego boosting projects while avoiding rather than delegating other projects. They would not be capable of delegating due to their lack of personal skills as well as not being able to recognize the skills of their subordinates. 

Further Reading:

Humility

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. – Jack Welch