Some worthwhile reads…

Here are a few books I’ve read in the past year, which I enjoyed and thought you might too.

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor – an informative discussion on positive psychology

The Brain that Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge – a fascinating collection of anecdotes by this psychiatrist on the study of neuroplasticity.

Drive by Dan Pink – interesting and somewhat irreverent book about motivation.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson– as if you haven’t heard of this. Didn’t live up to the hype for me, but enjoyable regardless.

Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson – book about changing the work place to one where we manage the work and not the people.  Results Only!

The Art of the Sale by Philip Delves Broughton – analysis of several very different successful sales people, what drives them and why they are successful.

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson  – incredible true story of near death experience of two mountain climbers.

I hope you take the time to read a few and you enjoy them as much as I did!


Enjoy These Years!

Enjoy These Years!

Click the link to view my Dad’s Den column in Backpack Quinte Magazine – “Enjoy these years!”

“Business Decisions”

Too often, bad leaders looking for the easy way out, use the euphemism, “it’s a business decision” to attempt to rationalize their lack of leadership

Today I heard journalists explain why the NFL doesn’t want to take actions to reduce or eliminate concussions and other serious health issues in football because “it’s a business”.  Like protecting the health and safety of the players so they could play more, play better and have longer careers wouldn’t be good for business.  The NHL has the same problem.  As odd as it sounds, the easy decision for the leadership of both leagues is to maintain the status quo, hide behind history and tradition and “the will of our fans” and do nothing.  And yes that would indeed be a “business decision”.  But so would a decision to take extraordinary measures to protect their product (the players) as much as possible.  Does anyone believe it was good for business to have Sidney Crosby out of the lineup for a year?  Is it good for business to have former players’ suicides linked to brain damage which was possibly a result of concussions from playing.  I know the causal link hasn’t been established, but does it matter to the business? Isn’t the possibility enough to prompt action?

Every decision made by a business, technically, is a business decision.  The question is,  does the decision support the values and strategic priorities of the business.  The decisions made by the short-sighted leadership of  the NFL and NHL are no more or less “business decisions” than the decision made by Steve Jobs to enter the already saturated and extremely competitive smart phone market with the iPhone.  The difference is that one leader had the courage to look at how an existing, high demand product could be made better. He was willing to make a hard, risk-filled business decision because it was consistent with what he believed in, and he had the vision to see how success would benefit the business.  There were many experts saying it was a bad business decision.  Many of those experts are now chastising the competition for not being more like Apple.

It is time for business leaders to stop taking the low road and rationalizing it to their employees, their shareholders and the public as being “a business decision”.  Taking the high road, with it’s greater challenges, greater benefits and principled foundation is just as much a “business decision”. And it’s a better one.

Oh, and the NFL and NHL will eventually make the “business decision” to deal with the concussion problem, but not because of their vision or strong leadership.  It will be because of pressure from lawsuits and possibly government regulation.  And that truly, is a shame.

Defining the Work

If you manage people, I’d like you to consider the following.

1. What work are they paid to do? (Focus on the results you want, not the tasks they do)

2. At the end of the  week, month, quarter or year how do you know if the work is done?

3. At the end of the  week, month, quarter or year how do you measure how well it was done?

4. If you asked your staff these same questions, would they give you the same answers?

If your answer to number 4 is not a clear Yes, try this exercise.  Write out your answers to 1-3, then have your staff do the same thing.  Compare the answers.

Clarify as necessary until you agree upon exactly what results the company or organization is paying them for.  Now, start managing them by their success at getting the agreed upon results.

By defining and agreeing upon expected results, your performance reviews will be more about development needs for improved results and less about perceptions and personalities.