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Write Down Your Team’s Unwritten Rules

For this week, we have a purposefully eclectic and un-themed set of reading and listening. I have and continue to curate a range of material, and this will be one of several roundups that offers interesting insights not necessarily anchored to a specific topic. The first three articles and the entire suite of blog posts within this week’s compilation are all worth your time and consideration.

As always, happy reading and listening!

Articles

Persuading the Unpersuadable. “We live in an age of polarization. Many of us may be asking ourselves how, when people disagree with or discount us, we can persuade them to rethink their positions…Here are some approaches that can help you encourage a know-it-all to recognize when there’s something to be learned, a stubborn colleague to make a U-turn, a narcissist to show humility, and a disagreeable boss to agree with you.”

Stop Overengineering People Management. The trend toward optimization is disempowering employees. “For decades, the business world has embraced worker empowerment. But recently a countermovement—workforce optimization—has been on the rise. It treats labor as a commodity and seeks to cut it to a minimum by using automation and artificial intelligence, tightly controlling how people do their jobs, and replacing employees with contractors…Though many processes can still be improved by optimization, managers shouldn’t choose it over empowerment. The key is to find the right mix of the two approaches.”

Write Down Your Team’s Unwritten Rules. “Are your employees aware of your company’s or team’s unwritten rules?… During stressful times, it can be helpful to everyone to know exactly what the unstated cultural and emotional norms are…The authors call these “it’s okay to…” lists and suggest including unspoken rules related to digital communication norms, emotional support, psychological safety, and work styles. This simple exercise can have a big impact on easing employee anxiety and helping every person on your team feel secure and supported.”

Stop Doing Low-Value Work. “It’s actually a matter of professional life or death to get rid of your low-value work—tasks that mean little or nothing to customers or colleagues.”

6 career coaches share the best career advice they ever got. “When it comes to career advice, these coaches have heard it all. Here, they share the best advice they ever received.”

Four Pragmatic Business Tips From Harvard Business School Professor Frances Frei. “Frei is uncommonly good at building a bridge between research and actions that actually matter. Here are four indispensable points gleaned from her work and an interview.”

Six keys to unlocking upskilling at scale. “Research suggests that with the right mind-set, technological literacy, and community engagement, you can shepherd your entire workforce into the digital future.”

Podcasts/TEDTalks

Freakonomics Radio’s No Stupid Questions: “Which Gets You Further: Talent or Effort‪?”

Graduate Speaker Pete Davis | Harvard Commencement 2018. “Have you ever found yourself scrolling mindlessly through Netflix unsure of what to watch? While infinitely browsing, you stumble upon half-watched TV shows you were peer-pressured into trying and leftover documentaries you never got around to…This is what Harvard law student Pete Davis calls ‘the defining characteristic of our generation’. This inspiring speech will change the way you view life.”

Blog Posts

Paul Graham: Early Work. “One of the biggest things holding people back from doing great work is the fear of making something lame. And this fear is not an irrational one. Many great projects go through a stage early on where they don’t seem very impressive, even to their creators. You have to push through this stage to reach the great work that lies beyond. But many people don’t. Most people don’t even reach the stage of making something they’re embarrassed by, let alone continue past it. They’re too frightened even to start. Imagine if we could turn off the fear of making something lame. Imagine how much more we’d do.”

Rich Litvin: Portals and Serpents. “As humans we tend to mark our lives by the years that pass. It’s why we celebrate birthdays. What if—instead of counting years—we marked our lives by the impact we make?”

Avinash Kaushik’s Occam’s Razor: How To: Be A Good Employee, Be A Great Boss | #winningcareers. “Every human is a work in progress. I am good at some of the things above, great at a couple, and still struggling with some. The important thing is to be aware of the patterns, create goals, and keep working on being better.”

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

Il Maestro. “Federico Fellini and the lost magic of cinema.”

Tim Ferriss Is No Longer Living the Tim Ferriss Lifestyle. “Neither should you because success isn’t always about efficiency and output.”

Microsoft’s Creepy New ‘Productivity Score’ Gamifies Workplace Surveillance. “Microsoft rolled out its new ‘Productivity Score’ feature…which lets bosses track how their employees use Microsoft’s suite of tools. If that sounds like an Orwellian nightmare in the making to you, you’re not alone—privacy experts are criticizing the company for essentially gamifying workplace surveillance.”

Reflection

The Present
by Billy Collins


“Much has been said about being in the present.
It’s the place to be, according to the gurus,
like the latest club on the downtown scene,
but no one, it seems, is able to give you directions.
It doesn’t seem desirable or even possible
to wake up every morning and begin
leaping from one second into the next
until you fall exhausted back into bed.
Plus, there’d be no past
with so many scenes to savor and regret,
and no future, the place you will die
but not before flying around with a jet-pack.
The trouble with the present is
that it’s always in a state of vanishing.
Take the second it takes to end
this sentence with a period––already gone.
What about the moment that exists
between banging your thumb
with a hammer and realizing
you are in a whole lot of pain?
What about the one that occurs
after you hear the punch line
but before you get the joke?
Is that where the wise men want us to live
in that intervening tick, the tiny slot
that occurs after you have spent hours
searching downtown for that new club
and just before you give up and head back home?

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan a senior advisor for Consultants Collective. He is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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