Archive for March, 2008
Today I have the too-rare pleasure of spending the day with my business partner, Jeff. Generally speaking, the fact that we’re almost always in two different places (he lives in Minneapolis, I live in the Hudson Valley and New York City; when we’re with clients, it’s rarely with the same one at the same time) isn’t a problem: we communicate well and frequently, and we share a clear sense of where we’re trying to take the company and how to get there.
However, when we do get the chance to be in the same room, I really appreciate it. Wonderful, serendipitous things happen that only arise out of the cadences of face-to-face conversation. For instance, this morning we were talking about my new book, and we surfaced and began to develop what I think might be a great idea about creating a quick “Are you a 10?” self-test that people could take to determine how strategically they’re approaching their work and their life before reading the book. That ad hoc creative session almost certainly wouldn’t have happened on the phone or via email.
It reminds me: even though technology makes it possible for people to work together without ever seeing each other…it doesn’t mean we don’t need to see each other. There’s so much that happens when you’re sitting in the same room, looking into each others’ eyes; you get so much more nuance about the other person, and how he or she is processing the conversation; the silences carry weight and meaning and become a part of the dialogue in a way that just doesn’t happen when you’re on the phone; you can build an idea together in a way that’s virtually impossible when you can’t see the other person’s subtle facial responses.
What do you think about this…have you found it to be true?
Link: Buffett’s Plan for Successful Succession.
Faithful readers, you know I’m a big fan of Warren Buffet. And I’m also, generally speaking, a big fan of Peter Drucker. In this article, writer Rick Wartzman talks about how Buffet’s recent focus on succession planning fulfills Drucker’s core premises about how such things should happen.
I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’ve run into a couple of long-time CEOs who are around Buffet’s age, and who – I was shocked to learn – don’t have any kind of a viable succession plan in place. In both cases, it’s going to be a huge shock to the organization when the top guy leaves, and – from my observation – there’s no really appropriate candidate currently in a senior position in either company.
Both these CEOs are the founder of their company. Do they actually not care if the organization continues past their tenure? That seems unlikely. Or perhaps focusing on succession planning seems too much like admitting their own mortality. Or maybe they just can’t imagine someone else doing what they do, as well as they do it.
What do you think: why do CEOs or companies not do succession planning, or why do they do it badly?
Link: MANAGEMENT MATTERS: Managers should be coaches too – Waltham, MA – The Daily News Tribune.
Just for fun, I Googled “management” in the news category tonight, and got this. I really like this article: it’s a good, solid, thoughtful reflection on why skillful people management implies coaching – and why that’s important. I especially like and agree with this line:
My grandfather knew this when he wrote in the 1930s: “People like to progress. They like to feel that each day, week, month or year they are taking a step ahead. If you can make someone feel that you can show them the way or help them, you can influence them.”
I really think that’s right – most people DO like to progress. They may talk themselves out of it, through fear of failure or a need for security and control, but still — that urge to grow and improve, I think, is hardwired in. And as Stuart Danforth, the writer of the article, says – when people feel you truly support them in their efforts to grow, they’ll support you in return.
That’s certainly true of most of the people I deal with…how about you?
Link: Independent Publisher Online Magazine: Promoting Books, Authors and the Independent Movement.
A lovely way to end the week: just found out that Growing Great Employees won the silver medal in the HR/Employee Training category of the 2008 Axiom Business Book awards.
Hope you had something happen for you this week that made you feel proud of your efforts, your results, or your relationships with other people…
Have a wonderful weekend.
Link: Author Blog.
Really, I just love these guys. When my first book was published just over a year ago, I felt as though I had been set loose in the wilderness with a book of matches, a peanut butter sandwich, and a poncho. So little information about what it meant to be a published author: what was expected of me; what my publisher would do; why (or why not) to engage an outside publicist; what does it take to get “good numbers” on Amazon – what ARE good numbers on Amazon…etc., etc., etc.
I figured out a lot of it as I went, and almost from the very beginning, the folks at 8CR were just enormously helpful – good friends and very senior boy (and girl) scouts. They’d been there, done that – out in that wilderness a million times, and were unwaveringly generous with their knowledge and support.
And now – yet another support system from these wonderful folks. If you’re reading this and you’re an author, hope to be an author, are considering writing a book, or are simply interested in the whole realm….check out 800CEOREAD‘s new blog for authors, above. It’s fun, literate, chock-full of good info and usefully irreverent.
Link: Predictably / Irrational .
Here’s a very cool and thought-provoking new book that my agent, Jim, just introduced me to the other day (he’s Dan Ariely’s agent, as well) — I read the first 30 pages sitting in Jim’s reception area, and was so clearly enthralled that Jim gave my a copy to take home.
It’s about the irrational basis of many of the decisions we make, which we think are completely rational — and that, though we’re not deciding logically, there is a pattern to our illogical (thus, “predictably irrational.”)
Great fun, and provides real insight into the human condition.