Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

The real law of averages

If you want to raise the standards of any group, improving the top of the heap isn’t nearly as effective as focusing your effort on the base instead.

Simple example: Getting a Prius to go from 50 miles per gallon to 55 miles per gallon isn’t nearly as important as getting SUVs to go from 10 miles per gallon to 15. There are two reasons for this. The first is that there are a lot more SUVs than Priuses. The second is that they use far more gallons, so a percentage increase has far more yield. (You can’t average averages).

If you care about health and a culture of performance, it’s tempting to push Olympic athletes to go just a tenth of a second faster. It’s far more effective, though, if you can get 3,000,000 kids to each spend five more minutes a day walking instead of sitting.

Organizations pamper and challenge the few in the executive suite, imagining that one more good decision in the biz dev group could pay off. The thing is, if every one of the 10,000 customer-facing employees was more engaged and kind, it would have a far bigger impact on the company and those it serves.

I think the reason we focus on the few is that it feels more dramatic, seems more controllable and is ultimately easier. But the effective, just and important thing to do is to help the back of the line catch up.

Reblogged from: here

Advertisements
Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

Cheap symbolism

The engineering mindset tells us that all that matters is what’s under the surface, the measurable performance.

Designers know that perception is at least as valuable.

Symbolic acts are rarely cheap or wasted if they work. Because we’re story-telling creatures, and symbols are clues about which story we ought to tell ourselves.

Symbolism isn’t cheap. It’s priceless.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

Been done before

What percentage of the work you do each day is work where the process (the ‘right answer’) is known? Jobs where you replicate a process instead of inventing one…

The place where we can create the most value is when we do a job where exploration and a new solution is what’s needed. Not rote, but exploration. Which means we’re doing something that’s not been done before, something that might not work.

This isn’t something to avoid, it’s the work we need to seek out.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

Outsiders

You can’t have insiders unless you have outsiders.

And you can’t have winners unless you have losers.

That doesn’t mean that you’re required to create insiders and winners. All it means is that when people begin to measure themselves only in comparison to others (“How did I rank?”) then you need to accept the impact of those choices.

It’s entirely possible to be happy and engaged and productive without creating this dynamic. But in a culture based on scarcity, it’s often easier to award or deduct points and to keep a scoreboard instead.

reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

The confusion about competence

A friend was describing a clerk he had recently dealt with. “She was competent, of course, but she couldn’t engage very well with the customer who just came in.”

Then, of course, she wasn’t competent, was she?

It doesn’t take a genius to see that competence is no longer about our ability to press certain buttons in a certain sequence. Far more often, competence involves the humanity required to connect with other people, in real time.

It requires emotional labor, not merely compliance.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

The boss goes first

If you want to build a vibrant organizational culture, or govern with authority, or create a social dynamic that’s productive and fair, the simple rule is: the rules apply to people in power before they are applied to those without.

It’s easy to rationalize the alternative, to put yourself first. After all, you’ve somehow earned the authority to make an exception for yourself.

But when we avoid that temptation and expose ourselves to the rules first, obey the rules first and make the sacrifices first, our culture is more likely to stick.

The rules that matter the most are the ones about behavior, transparency and accountability.

People might hear what you say, but they always remember what you do.

Reblogged from: here