"Frank's skill in asking the right questions is un-mistakable, and is at the core of his leadership philosophy.

The power of these questions cannot be underestimated, especially if you want to lead and not manage."
—John Cave
Westhaven Worldwide Logistics

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Archive for the 'General' Category

Work Samples Don’t Fix Stupid

The request for work samples comes up every once in a while. And almost always they are useless.
Ever asked a police-office to give a work sample; your cab driver or your urologist?

But every once in a while, it gets way too ridiculous.
A request for generic work samples was used to decline a candidate because:
  • The generic samples weren’t specific enough
  • The reviewer complained that one sample was too detailed
  • It was whined that even the sample containing XYZ didn’t contain XYZ

When you are too stupid to express what you want or you can’t recognize it even when it hits you – please do us all a favor and get out of the way of those that work


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Customer Bill Charge


So—I am getting charged for being a customer?
Remember the fees for ensuring your privacy, Internet recovery fee, the unlimited “premium”?

If these companies would just be as creative with providing service as they are with inventing new fees!

Monopolies and pseudo monopolies lead to flexibility and innovation only when billing customers.

PS: I should add the negative interest rates.


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Life Work Balance

A recent meeting of the British Psychological Society enjoyed a talk from American-born British psychologist Sir Cary Cooper.

You won’t have needed to have read too many of my blog entries to know that Sir Cary’s subject—’Social media damaging our work-life balance’—and particular topic—’Mental capital and wellbeing at work’—are both close to my heart.
  • In his talk Sir Cary stressed the need for:
  • control or autonomy for employees in their jobs
  • management through praise and reward rather than fault-finding
  • manageable workloads and achievable deadlines
  • work life balance.*

*(funny how we all tend to put the word ‘work’ before the word ‘life’!)

Sir Cary highlighted the usual suspects. Long hours and their damaging effect on health, electronic mail overload and how the downside of email and social media now outweigh the benefits.

Finally, Sir Cary alluded to a John Ruskin (British social reformer) 1851 quote which I will reprise here:
In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it, they must not do too much of it, and they must have a sense of success in it.

Don’t just take my word on these issues … eminent workplace psychology specialists are making the same points!


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Merry Christmas!

Too early you think?

Neighborhoods with Christmas lights up; since days stores display the holidays merchandise—even was greeted by jingles at one…

TV plays holidays season themed advertisement.

There you have it: Merry Christmas!

Don’t you miss the old days where things didn’t start until after Thanksgiving?


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Distracted from Learning

Another student managed to get in the news after being suspended for highlights in her hair: “Other students are distracted from learning”

What really distracts from learning is the stupidity of “adult” bureaucrats running schools.

Any thoughts? Or are you too to distracted?


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Narcissistic Leadership

Narcissism is an unpleasant personality trait—yet one that seems particularly prevalent in our time.

I was thinking this as I reflected on a world of Facebook and other social media and their ‘look at me’ ethos. A world where people seem quite comfortable spending their time taking endless pictures of themselves… the so called ’selfie’.

The Encarta online dictionary defines narcissism as excessive self-admiration and self-centeredness. You have to extrapolate this a little bit further when considering narcissistic leaders. They will have only one priority in the way in which they run things.


I thought I might have invented the term ‘narcissistic leadership’ (which is a bit narcissistic of me!) but a quick look at Wikipedia proves me wrong. Apparently Linda L. Neider and Chester A. Schriesheim in their 2010 publication ‘The Dark Side of Management” already defined narcissistic leadership as being driven by ‘unyielding arrogance, self-absorption and a personal egotistic need for power and admiration.’

Other commentators on the phenomenon of narcissistic leadership include Neville Symington who writes in ‘Narcissism: A New Theory’ that ‘one of the ways of differentiating a good-enough organization from one that is pathological is through its ability to exclude narcissistic characters from key posts.’

Mr Symington is definitely on to something here. If I visit your company and find some narcissistic tendencies at senior management level then I know something fundamental will have to change if things are to improve.

So, are you a narcissistic leader, surrounding yourself with nodding cronies and focused on your own self-aggrandizement? Well… we all know what happened to the original Narcissus, don’t we.

Careful you don’t drown admiring your own reflection.


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An extract from a new book by award winning scientist, musician, author and record producer Daniel J Levitin caught my eye. His new book, ‘The Organized Mind’, talks among other things about a subject dear to my heart—the modern world’s increasing tendency to overload us with information and the impact this has on us, our physical and mental health and (of particular note to leaders), our efficiency.

Discussing information overload with Fortune 500 leaders, top scientists, writers, students, and small business owners formed an important part of Daniel Levitin’s research for ‘The Organized Mind’. Unsurprisingly, he says that email was repeatedly reported as a problem. People mistakenly think that their apparent multitasking… handling a huge volume of emails as well as the other modern technology associated stimuli we are constantly bombarded with… is a good thing.

Turns out it’s not. As Daniel Levitin says:
‘Even though we think we’re getting a lot done, ironically multitasking makes us demonstrably less efficient. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation.’

This is phenomenon that leaders really need to get a handle on if their leadership is to be effective. Show me a leader with hundreds of people unable to concentrate on key tasks and driven nuts by email volume, endless meetings, open plan office noise, countless new initiatives and the unending addition of other tasks previously done by now defunct functions like HR and Finance…

… and I’ll show you an inefficient organization unable to achieve its core objectives.

Daniel J. Levitin’s book is called ‘The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload’.


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When Too Big To Fail Is Too Small

HP made the news this week for selling cloud services to Deutsche Bank.

Anthem made the news for their involuntary sharing of SSN, income data and—one has to assume—health data.

Take a deep breath and read the first paragraph again.

Doesn’t it make you feel uncomfortable to read about those companies that insist on getting more and more personal data to perform even the smallest of service—yet can’t don’t protect anything?

How long until we hear about the even bigger cloud breach?

And if you are too big to fail—how much of your fucking shit is covered up—because those cover ups “leaders” don’t like to stink?


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