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Showing posts from March, 2015

I give this article a 4.5 out of 5

It's annual review time once again, that precious time of year when every manager gets to say to his underlings, "Remember when you really annoyed me last February?  I do!"  It's a time for cheers, tears, and annoyed grunts.  Much like Christmas or our wedding day, we enter with big expectations and some of us get lucky, while others end up with cake all over our faces, wondering who all these strangers are and who stole our pants.  Maybe that's just me.  Either way, that was one strange review process, and I'm glad I only worked there for four years.

Anyway, performance reviews can be extremely valuable if done correctly (and with minimal de-pantsings).  They offer an opportunity to step aside from the day-to-day, reflect on how other people are doing their jobs, and then tell them what you think of them.  Constructively, of course (or not, if you want them to quit).  This process is called "feedback," and like the screeching sound created by holdin…

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Star Wars

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Seeing Star Wars for the first time was a seminal moment in my young life.  Not only did it open my eyes to what a movie could be, but it taught important lessons that have served me well all the way into adulthood.  Here are a few of the things that I learned from watching Star Wars and its two sequels, because those are the only ones that were ever made.

(By the way, here's the appropriate soundtrack for reading this post)

Trust your feelings. It's easy to overthink things, especially if you're one of those "hard to reach" logical types like me.  But sometimes, you face a problem that can't be dissected, diagnosed, and solved.  Whether it's because the problem is too complex or because (gasp) people are involved, you might find your logic failing you.  Or it may be that the logical solution isn't exactly the right one.  At those times, you need to trust something other than your conscious thought processes.  Whether you call it your gut, your feelin…

A Refresher Course on Leadership

My last post on the shaping power of leaders made me think a little bit more about what leadership is.  Over the years, I've seen both good and bad examples of leadership, as well as quite a few people who seemed confused on the differences between good and bad leadership.  If you're one of those, then here's a handy reference to help you out:

Not leadership: 
"Rallying the troops" to work the weekend when you've done nothing all week to help them.Creating a false sense of urgency to trick people into working harder.Measuring success based upon who comes in earliest, stays latest, and complains the most about how hard they're working.Leadership: 
Giving your team the information that they need to understand the real deadlines that are driving their work, then giving them the tools to complete their work on time.Removing obstacles to your team's progress as soon as they appear.Driving timely decision-making so that work can be finished by Friday.Measuring…

The Clone Wars, Office Edition

I watched a show the other night about the power of conformity and how our brains reward us for going along with the crowd.  In this show, they performed an experiment: an unsuspecting woman came into a waiting room filled with actors.  Every few minutes, a beeping sound would play and all of the actors would stand up for a few seconds, then sit down again.  No one spoke or explained their actions.  Beep, stand, sit, wait.  Beep, stand, sit, wait.  After several repetitions, the confused woman hesitantly stood with everyone else.  After a few more times, she was quickly standing every time she heard a beep.

One by one, the actors left the room, but the beeps continued.  Beep, stand, sit, wait.  Soon, the woman was the only one left.  The beep sounded.  Without even looking around, she stood.  After a while, another innocent entered the waiting room and sat down.  A beep sounded.  To his puzzlement, the woman stood, then sat back down without saying a word.  After several repetitions, …