March 2011
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Month March 2011

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

I’ve reached the point that when someone asks, “What are you reading?” I sometimes have the good fortune to say, “Dan Pink.” Whatever this man writes, I want to read. He is a thinker who is at least 1.5 standard deviations beyond the bell curve. And he knows how to blend storytelling and research in ways that produce remarkably engaging and insightful writings.

In Drive, he “exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life.” He takes on some of our most sacred workplace cows: the “carrot-and-stick” mentality of getting others to do what we want, the blind reliance on external motivators, the whole premise of management.

The Happiness Project By Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen hooked me with her opening line: “I’d always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations. One day I’d stop twisting my hair,” she said, “and wearing running shoes all the time, and eating exactly the same food every day.” Her list, like mine, was long and distinguished.

Then, one April day she realized “I was in danger of wasting my life.” Thus began her quest to discover what made her happy and to pass on to us the small but significant changes she made in her life.

I rarely succumb to self-help advice. But Gretchen’s stories grabbed me.

Can gaming make the world better?

 

 

If you have a spouse or kid who loves the world of electronic gaming, and you just don’t get it, watch this video. It’s Jane McGonigal’s 18-minute TED talk to an audience of people involved in technology, entertainment, and design [hence ted…]. I think she’s onto something BIG.

What if…?

I coach executives.  The ones whose organizations are doing well are the ones who are leading, not the ones trying to hang on by managing.  The distinction is critical.

Managing focuses on organizing and controlling the complexity of work.  It involves planning and expanding what we want, and fixing or getting rid of what we don’t want.  Managers are experts at preserving the status quo.  Their work bounces from fix it to restore it to maintain it and back to fix it.

But organizing, fixing, and controlling are not sufficient for creating new direction and helping people discover strategies to get there.

That’s what leading is about: defining a new future. 

Everything’s comin’ up green

This little guy knows … the vernal equinox is just around the corner. Hooray!

Who stole my quick response?

One of my clients was lamenting that she wasn’t what she calls a “fast thinker.”  “People who think quickly, like my boss,” she said, “generally get the better of me in any argument because I can’t think quickly enough to counter when I need to.”  She heaved a deep sigh and added, “Got a pill for that?  Or a book I can read?”