Carnival of HR
The ever-creative Rowan Manahan, assisted by some able cooks, provides a feast at the Carnival of HR.
Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
The ever-creative Rowan Manahan, assisted by some able cooks, provides a feast at the Carnival of HR.
I understand that many people nowadays do not wear wrist watches but instead get the time from their cell phones.
I found this Office Gift Guide from Fortune to have a certain Marie Antoinette quality.
Mark Steyn on the enemy:
It’s missing the point to get into debates about whether this is the “Deccan Mujahideen” or the ISI or al-Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba. That’s a reductive argument. It could be all or none of them. The ideology has been so successfully seeded around the world that nobody needs a memo from corporate HQ to act: There are so many of these subgroups and individuals that they intersect across the planet in a million different ways. It’s not the Cold War, with a small network of deep sleepers being directly controlled by Moscow. There are no membership cards, only an ideology. That’s what has radicalized hitherto moderate Muslim communities from Indonesia to the Central Asian stans to Yorkshire, and coopted what started out as more or less conventional nationalist struggles in the Caucasus and the Balkans into mere tentacles of the global jihad.
Jim Stroup at Managing Leadership has some good thoughts for this Thanksgiving weekend and far, far beyond.
Foreign Policy blog notes the contradictory accounts of the Mumbai attacks. An excerpt:
This story from Britain does, as Mark Steyn has noted, sound like an article from The Onion:
When it comes to problems in organizations, there are more detectives than consultants.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Dale Buss looks at the settlement in the eHarmony case. An excerpt:
CSO has an interview on a Symantec report about the rise in cybercrime. An excerpt:
Business Week examines some cars that may save the automobile industry.
Not all of these novels take place during the American Civil War. Some are mainly in the aftermath or in the years preceding the war. All are excellent. Please feel free to add those I've missed.
Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories - those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost.
How to make an entrance: Jimmy Durante and Monty Woolley in The Man Who Came to Dinner.
Max Boot is impressed by the Obama national security team.
Feast, n. A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness. In the Roman Catholic Church feasts are "movable" and "immovable," but the celebrants are uniformly immovable until they are full. In their earliest development these entertainments took the form of feasts for the dead; such were held by the Greeks, under the name Nemeseia, by the Aztecs and Peruvians, as in modern times they are popular with the Chinese; though it is believed that the ancient dead, like the modern, were light eaters. Among the many feasts of the Romans was the Novemdiale, which was held, according to Livy, whenever stones fell from heaven.
Why do people see faces in nature, interpret window stains as human figures, hear voices in random sounds generated by electronic devices or find conspiracies in the daily news? A proximate cause is the priming effect, in which our brain and senses are prepared to interpret stimuli according to an expected model. UFOlogists see a face on Mars. Religionists see the Virgin Mary on the side of a building. Paranormalists hear dead people speaking to them through a radio receiver. Conspiracy theorists think 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration. Is there a deeper ultimate cause for why people believe such weird things? There is. I call it “patternicity,” or the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise.
Thoughts and prayers should go to the people of India and the victims of terrorism.
The story of Ashokan Farewell. [Note: The spelling should be Jay Ungar.]
You have a problem that is not easily resolved. You can:
Notice which one comes last.
Back from last year in time for full distribution so your cherished family get-together can be saved from pointless political arguments, brawls, and gunplay:
There is one thing that you need to accomplish today and if you do not do so you will feel guilty and perhaps a little depressed.
Writing in Business Week, Stephen H. Wildstrom looks at the BlackBerry Storm versus the iPhone.
Zachary Karabell sees two winners in the new economy: China and cash. An excerpt:
A challenge for any executive or manager is being able to identify the unbelievers.
In between martinis, Dave Barry nails it:
There's a hell of a distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply callisthenics with words.
Dan McCarthy looks at some new research on the causes of executive failure.
1. Paces himself/herself by building in regular breaks from work.
2. Spends less time using his/her functional skills and more time encouraging team members to use theirs.
3. Manages workload so that he/she has time for unexpected problems or issues.
4. Focuses less on day to day issues and more on taking advantage of strategic opportunities.
5. Regularly takes time to step back and define or redefine what needs to be done.
One possible pitfall raised by an employer recently involves this scenario: Most employees want to take vacation or paid time off (PTO) around the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. HR can spend a lot of time every year trying to sort out these requests. Single employees may come out holding the short end of the stick when there’s sort of an unwritten policy that married employees, particularly those with children, are given preference on these holiday-related vacation or PTO requests.
Fortune has an interesting review of what happened when some star CEOs departed.
William Kristol on the importance of admitting we don't know. An excerpt:
"Frankly, I think we've gotten so concerned with adding frills like GPS navigational systems, seat belts, and exhaust pipes that we've forgotten what really matters: open-air bench seating," Mulally said. "We promise that each Model T that comes off the line will last much, much longer than today's cars. Face it, we just don't make them like we used to."
I once holed up in Yuma to finish writing a book.
It worked.Rob Long, being more creative, has grabbed a spot on the Hanjin Miami, a container ship going from Seattle to Shanghai.
Let's hear it for Nordstrom.
A great part of project completion is the avoidance of large tasks. The key is creating small bites that can be swallowed without huge effort and which eventually result in the completion of the entire project.
Four years of high-school Latin would dramatically arrest the decline in American education. In particular, such instruction would do more for minority youths than all the 'role model' diversity sermons on Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Montezuma, and Caesar Chavez put together. Nothing so enriches the vocabulary, so instructs about English grammar and syntax, so creates a discipline of the mind, an elegance of expression, and serves as a gateway to the thinking and values of Western civilization as mastery of a page of Virgil or Livy (except perhaps Sophocles's Antigone in Greek or Thucydides' dialogue at Melos). After some 20 years of teaching mostly minority youth Greek, Latin, and ancient history and literature in translation (1984-2004), I came to the unfortunate conclusion that ethnic studies, women studies--indeed, anything "studies"-- were perhaps the fruits of some evil plot dreamed up by illiberal white separatists to ensure that poor minority students in the public schools and universities were offered only a third-rate education.
A man gazing at the stars is proverbially at the mercy of the puddles in the road.
Michael at 2Blowhards has the story of a Civil War re-enactor. An excerpt:
In between writing e-mail messages to clients and napping, my snail-like recovery has involved a lot of reading. Among the books are:
A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.
Argument A: Are those guys crazy? Do they know how that appears? They're asking for a bail-out and they fly in on corporate jets! What's wrong with flying coach or even first class? Where are their PR advisors?
The late and missed Tim Russert talking about the caliber of political discourse in a speech at Notre Dame.
My post on mission creep is up at U.S. News & World Report.
Jean: “We are stuck in the elevator.”
Voice: “Where are you?”
Jean: “In the elevator behind home plate.”
(Pause). Voice: “Where?”
Jean: “In the elevator behind home plate, the one that goes up to the box suites.”
(Pause). Voice: “Where are you exactly?”
Jean (a little irritated): “We’re in an elevator behind home plate at the stadium.”
Jean (a little more irritated): “The baseball stadium. In Phoenix.”
Voice: “Uh, where?”
Jean: (sharply): “The stadium. In Phoenix, Arizona.”
Jean (exasperated): “Excuse me, where are you?”
Voice: “I am in India, madam, and if you give me more specifics, I will be glad to assist you. Where are you?”
Wally Bock looks at the business guru lists and notes some omissions.
Jim Stroup at Managing Leadership gives solid advice on exploiting success. An excerpt:
You may believe that certain bedrock principles are so well-established that they do not need to be revisited.
He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas, of any man I ever met.
Martha Lagace talks to Todd Rogers about being able to spot artful dodges. An excerpt:
This is funny stuff. A sample:
When we were young, the countercultural people had long hair, no socks, and didn't trust anyone over 30. Now, we are the countercultural people.
When Derek Johnson was interviewing candidates for a marketing job at his tech company, one applicant arrived in a business suit. "It put us on edge," says Mr. Johnson, founder and CEO of Tatango.com. Mr. Johnson believed the job candidate was presenting a false image of himself. The suit, he felt, was tantamount to a lie.
Writing in The New Yorker, Calvin Trillin looks at the complexities of naming the best Texas BBQ place in the world. An excerpt:
This Wall Street Journal editorial on the importance of confronting piracy almost seems like a voice from the past.
They're very bright boys and they went to the right schools and they can haul out the decision trees and the research and their buddies in think tanks but when you peel away the veneer it is not unusual to find that their opinions on overall strategy are not as wise as the quick take of the cashier at the grocery store or the character in the barber chair and indeed are often far worse.
[Modern man] struggles with the paradox that total immersion in matter unfits him how to deal with the problems of matter.
V.S. Naipaul is not a very nice man. Of course, if you've read his novels you may have suspected that, but this recent authorized biography shows that he wants us to know it.
Agree with him or not, Clotaire Rapaille is one of the most interesting thinkers out there.
Earlier this year, I published an article in City Journal called “Child-Man in the Promised Land.” The piece elicited a roaring flood of mailed and blogged responses, mostly from young men who didn’t much care for its title (a reference to Claude Brown’s 1965 novel Manchild in the Promised Land) or its thesis: that too many single young males (SYMs) were lingering in a hormonal limbo between adolescence and adulthood, shunning marriage and children, and whiling away their leisure hours with South Park reruns, marathon sessions of World of Warcraft, and Maxim lists of the ten best movie fart scenes.
Donald at 2Blowhards looks at the Airflow automobile styles of the thirties and forties.
How often have you found yourself using this technique?
I've seen several community projects over the past year that were seriously damaged by a lack of style.
What is your aim in philosophy? To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.
We shun micromanagement and then are tripped up by minor problems that remind us why such attention to detail must be addressed.
It is not unusual to find top executives who enjoy reading biographies of extraordinary people. Much can be gleaned from them if the author isn't a sycophant. Decent autobiographies are equally helpful.
Work. Sleep. Exercise a bit. Talk with people.
We're all of us just guinea pigs in the laboratory of God. Humanity is just a work in progress.
Once an optimist, Joel Kotkin takes a rather negative view of California's future. An excerpt:
If you would like to read fiction by a master, the sort of prose that makes you savor individual sentences, check out Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres.
Some not-so-obvious questions to avoid disaster:
I don't trust anyone who wants to save the world, unless they're the people who want to save the world from the people who want to save the world.
My post on the need for courtesy in the workplace is up at U.S. News & World Report.
I recently finished Police Chief William Bratton's account of his extraordinary work in turning around the crime rate in New York City. It is a fascinating tale containing a lot of worthy tips for managers. Bratton's practical approach to placing resources on needs and his adoption of the "broken windows" theory's technique of going after small offenders in order to establish order and catch larger offenders are reminders of the power of thorough analysis. [It's also a reminder of common sense, as in not letting your narcotics squads take weekends off.]
Forced to choose, Gerry Spence thinks we'd be better off without any doctors than without any trial lawyers.
Perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse.
For some reason, I kept recalling scenes from The Madness of King George. Marvelous film.
My sincere thanks for all of the kind notes.
To all of Execupundit’s loyal readers,
Michael remains hospitalized for observation and is expecting to be released on Friday. We are anticipating his return to the Blog as soon as possible thereafter. Please check back this weekend for new posts.
Again, thank you so much for all of your well wishes.
To all of Execupundit's loyal readers,
Every sales rep should read this post from Cultural Offering.
Karl Rove analyzes the election. An excerpt:
Do you ever sense that you may have been born in the wrong century?
A friend of mine spent twenty years looking for the perfect woman; unfortunately, when he found her, he discovered that she was looking for the perfect man.
I feel like I have a mild version of the Ebola virus.
One of the undeniable benefits of Barack Obama's election is the statement it makes regarding race relations.
Do all the good you can,
This is a good time to examine the 1930s, even in novels.
A classic post from Michael at 2Blowhards on the way government buildings used to look versus the architecture of the modern ones.
James Lileks reports that you can get free stuff for voting:
The Onion has already called the results: our first non-organic president.
John Steele Gordon, writing in Commentary, on what was behind the financial crisis. An excerpt:
As I read the polls - and they've been all over the place - by the end of the day we could be looking at a Barack Obama landslide, a comfortable Obama win or a history-making upset victory by John McCain.
One of the paradoxes of an increasingly specialized, bureaucratized society is that the qualities required in the rise to eminence are less and less the qualities required once eminence is reached.
A timely post: Jim Stroup on creative collisions.
ABA Journal: Was there a trigger to your move to shun excess and pursue a simpler life?
Jack: After years of working 12-hour days, giving up countless weekends and canceling vacations at the last minute, I just had enough. I eventually realized that I was slowly losing my life, one billable hour at a time. In the end, it makes no sense to trade 90 percent of your waking hours for a chance to buy expensive clothes, be seen at fancy restaurants, and indulge in all sorts of excess. More recently, a friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer. There is nothing like being made aware of your own mortality to help you focus on what truly matters: family, love and friendship.
Read the rest of the ABA Journal interview with the Harvard Law grad who burned his diploma.
At one board meeting, Ellis writes, “a long presentation was being made that was overloaded with dull, detailed statistics. Number after number was read off. When the droning presenter finally paused for breath, Weinberg jumped up, waving his papers in mock triumph, to call out ‘Bingo!’ ” The immigrant’s best strategy, in the famous adage, is to think Yiddish and dress British. Weinberg thought British and dressed Yiddish.
Why did that strategy work? This is the great mystery of Weinberg’s career, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Carnegie was on to something: there are times when being an outsider is precisely what makes you a good insider. It’s not difficult to imagine, for example, that the head of Continental Can liked the fact that Weinberg was from nothing, in the same way that New York City employers preferred country boys to city boys. That C.E.O. dwelled in a world with lots of people who went to Yale and then to Wall Street; he knew that some of them were good at what they did and some of them were just well connected, and separating the able from the incompetent wasn’t always easy. Weinberg made it out of Brooklyn; how could he not be good?
Read the rest of Malcolm Gladwell's article from The New Yorker on the uses of adversity.
All of the emailing, instant messaging, faxing, and teleconferencing does not replace the effectiveness of communicating face to face.
I once attended a workshop by a campaign consultant who said that telephoning voters in Las Vegas was counterproductive because the local workforce's strange work schedules made it likely that you'd wake up a sizable chunk of voters.
Which management scholar/thinker has most influenced your own philosophy of management?