"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

If not otherwise stated—all postings © Frank D. Kanu. All rights reserved.

First Page Previous Page   You are on page 3 of 358   Next Page Last Page

12 3 456789

Posts

Overload

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’.


Tags:
 

This blog-entry is protected by a digital fingerprint:785273ed81985582c8a1be62f78c9459

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?


Tags:
 

This blog-entry is protected by a digital fingerprint:785273ed81985582c8a1be62f78c9459

Anti-Tech

The communications regulator in the UK is called Ofcom.

Ofcom produces an annual International Communications Market Report. Their 2014 report found that:
  • young adults are on their smartphones for 3 hours and 36 minutes on average each day
  • the vast majority of young adult communication is text-based rather than talking on the phone
  • the average UK adult now spends more time using media or communications than they do sleeping

Now Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, has said of the report’s findings that:

‘We’re now spending more time using media or communications than sleeping. The convenience and simplicity of smartphones and tablets are helping us cram more activities into our daily lives.’

Now… given all those other tablets people in the UK are now using (see previous blog entry) I think Ed’s apparent glee that we are all increasingly glued to our screens is mystifying.

What price are we all prepared to pay for the absence of traditional human inter-action, being constantly bombarded with information, the blurring of lines between work and home life and the health issues associated with so much inactivity?

All of which brings me to anti-tech.

Anti-tech will apparently be this year’s ‘big trend’.

This prediction comes from ‘Hotwire’, a London-based communications agency. They produce an annual ‘Digital Trends Report’ which in its latest edition suggests that we are about to enter the era of the neo-Luddite (a term used to describe those considered to be anti-technology).

They seem to base this on the fact that people (and not just the older amongst us) are increasingly preferring the paid for versions of ‘apps’ because these often avoid exposing the user to irritating advertisements.

Well… it’s a start!

I cling to the hope that at some point the devices we value so much are just tools to help us and not what life’s supposed to be about.


Tags:
 

This blog-entry is protected by a digital fingerprint:785273ed81985582c8a1be62f78c9459

Health

Many of the blog entries on this website relate to health. And when I say ‘health’ I am thinking of its broadest definition. The WHO (World Health Organization) is helpful here, defining health in 1948 as: ‘… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’

I think it’s fair to say that life is not as enjoyable if health is compromised. So it must also be fair to say that our health should be a priority for those who lead us.

However, a report out in the UK analyzing drug prescription patterns suggests that if health is among the ambitions of our political, corporate and other leaders, then they are failing miserably.

Researchers found that:
  • 50% of women and 43% of men in England had taken at least one prescribed medicine in the week before interview
  • 24% of women and 22% of men had taken at least three prescribed medicines in the week before interview
  • 18.7 prescription medicines were dispensed per head of population on average in 2013
  • Nearly 20% of women in economically deprived areas took antidepressants.

Some commentators have said that this isn’t necessarily all bad news. Some of the drugs taken reflect an aging population (people are living longer) and the fact that medicines are now available which tackle previously untreatable conditions or which do things like lower cholesterol (statins).

I accept that. But I am shocked that the UK’s healthcare system (the National Health Service) has a cost from its total £100bn budget of £15bn on prescribed drugs.

I am also shocked by the fact that the report found 11% of women on antidepressants. This surely reflects a society and culture where people do not have the education… or culture… or time and money… or incentives and motivation to fulfill their potential and - at a more basic level - to eat and exercise properly. A society which puts value on the wrong things, like material wealth rather than spiritual well-being.

This is something all leaders need to think about. Otherwise, what’s the point?


Tags:
 

This blog-entry is protected by a digital fingerprint:785273ed81985582c8a1be62f78c9459

The 7 Sins

Lust:An intense desire for money, fame and power.
Gluttony:Over-consumption of anything to the point of waste.
Greed:Excessive pursuit of material possessions.
Sloth:A failure to do the things you should be doing.
Wrath:Inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger.
Envy:Desire for the things others have.
Pride:Belief that you are better than others and a failure to acknowledge others’ accomplishments.

The seven deadly sins may date back to 14th century theological teachings and writings… but giving them modern definitions with the help of Wikipedia, I cite them here wondering how many business, religious and political leaders could claim that they were without sin(!).

Self-knowledge is, I believe, a wonderful thing. Any leader who can properly analyze themselves and determine what truly motivates them and informs the decisions they make can improve their leadership skills.

So… consider your current priorities… and audit them against the seven deadly sins. You might want to rethink any that you suspect may be driven by motives other than those in the best interests of your company, your staff and your customers.

Oh… and while on the subject, you might want to visit the seven deadly sins the next time you’re trying to understand the less helpful conduct exhibited by members of your staff or team.

And to try a different tack when trying to move them away from that behavior!


Tags:
 

This blog-entry is protected by a digital fingerprint:785273ed81985582c8a1be62f78c9459

Corruption.

The Encarta online dictionary defines this as ‘dishonest exploitation of power for personal gain’.

I looked it up because I wanted a precise concept in mind as I read of Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perceptions Index 2013′, which seeks to measure public sector corruption. To quote from Transparency International’s website:

“The Index scores 177 countries and territories on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). No country has a perfect score and two thirds of countries score below 50.”

They go on to say that:

“The world urgently needs a renewed effort to crack down on money laundering, clean up political finance, pursue the return of stolen assets and build more transparent public institutions.”

Transparency International’s report takes a global ‘macro’ look at the problem of corruption, of course. I find myself considering the issue on a more micro scale.

Consider the definition I began this blog entry with. How many of us have come across leaders or managers who have favored certain employees over others? Most of us I suspect.

Those leaders were/still are corrupt.

And how many of us have come across leaders with one rule for themselves and a different rule for everyone else in terms of expenses claims… or bonuses… or remuneration packages… or nepotism…

Those leaders were/still are corrupt.

It’s about a person’s values and about morality… and unless it’s dealt with at this micro level, then we have no chance at the macro level.

I will close this blog entry with another quote from the Transparency International website:
“Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone who depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.”

You can see Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perceptions Index 2013′ at http://www.transparency.org/cpi2013/results external.

Tags:
 

This blog-entry is protected by a digital fingerprint:785273ed81985582c8a1be62f78c9459

Money, Money, Money!

Here’s some statistics for you courtesy of the World Economic Forum which took place in Switzerland at the beginning of this year.
  • the wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
  • the bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
  • seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years
  • in the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

The Davos report says that wealth concentration on the few can lead to undue and undemocratic influence on government policy making.

In other words, the rich will make sure that statutes are contrived to ensure they remain wealthy.

Some way back on this blog I argued that world population growth was the biggest threat facing humanity. I have to say that income disparity is surely up there as a major issue.

Social and political unrest arise (Ferguson and its aftermath) in no small measure from income disparity… leading to repression, civil wars, international warfare, refugees… and dare I say it, acting as a recruitment sergeant for organizations that readily attract the disaffected.

The threat of Ebola also has its roots in economic unfairness. Companies that control the development of new drugs saw little profit in developing treatments for people in Africa who could not afford them. Now we have a big problem.

Leadership required please… and a massive change in global attitudes to wealth distribution.


Tags:
 

This blog-entry is protected by a digital fingerprint:785273ed81985582c8a1be62f78c9459

Poor Leadership

A new survey conducted by the international internet-based market research firm ‘YouGov’ has caught my eye.

2,000 respondents to the survey commissioned by online training company ‘Caffeine on Demand’ were asked for their views about business and entrepreneurship.

Interestingly:
  • over 50% of those asked described the world of business as ‘dog eat dog’
  • 29% said that the corporate world was full of jargon
  • 20% said that business was ‘corrupt and dishonest’
  • 16% said they believe business attracted unpleasant people.

Caffeine on Demand’s co-founder, David Kean, attributed this response to reality television shows like ‘The Apprentice’. He has expressed his concern that young people in particular were being put off from entering the corporate world by such shows (although 47% of all respondents said the business world is ‘dog eat dog’, that number rose to 52% when isolating the responses of 18 to 24 year olds and 54% when looking at the 25 to 34 age group).

My view?

Well, you have only to look through previous Genius One blog entries to find a world characterized by poor leadership… and I think that’s what respondents to this survey are really picking up on. Not so much a world of ‘dog eat dog’ but of sheep following sheep, with only a few brave enough to break out and follow their common sense instincts.

Unless more do the same… attracting good quality young people into business is going to get more and more tough. And that’s bad news for any business leader.


Tags:
 

This blog-entry is protected by a digital fingerprint:785273ed81985582c8a1be62f78c9459
First Page Previous Page   You are on page 3 of 358   Next Page Last Page

12 3 456789

This blog is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.