“Curiosity, creativity, discovery and wonder; they aren’t traits of youth, they’re traits of learning. If you want to feel younger and you want to replicate the conditions of youth, do that.”
- Bejamin Salka”—swissmiss | Curiosity & Creativity
“All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”— George Orwell (via aamir-javed)
“I’ve been noticing an increasing amount of what I consider to be noise in the system – lots of drama that has nothing to do with innovation, creating great companies, or doing things that matter. I expect this noise will increase for a while as it always does whenever enthusiasm for startups and entrepreneurship increases. When that happens, I’ve learned that I need to go even deeper into the things I care about.”—What I’m Obsessed About At Work
“In its current form, [consensus-based decision making] originated in the feminist movement of the 1970s, while among the Quakers, similar practices go back to the 17th century. And these roots prompt a couple of thoughts, for me, about the gap which I have experienced between the promise and the reality of the process. It is not my intention to attack consensus: it represents a desire for a more human, hospitable and inclusive approach to the exercise of power, and I share that desire. However, I do want to question the faith which I see people putting in it, and invite others to engage thoughtfully in such questioning. Because I remain unconvinced that this is truly a living, generative mode for handling the dangers and possibilities of power, adequate to the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and capable of leading us towards better ways of living and working together.”—Despatch #3: In the future, everyone will be powerful for 15 minutes! (via matthewhayles)
“why would P&G cannibalize Gillette’s core business? The stomach to do so requires accepting a hard truth: that Gillette will someday be disrupted — and there’s a good chance that the disruptor will be an off-the-radar competitor from an emerging market, playing by completely different rules. Only by pre-empting those eventual rivals and reversing its own innovation process can P&G’s Gillette hope to secure another century of market leadership.”—P&G Innovates on Razor-Thin Margins - Vijay Govindarajan - Harvard Business Review
Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” For a team to come together, its members must share a common goal. This is often the main value a leader provides: being able to articulate a clear vision and principles for how the team will reach it. Our team has a motto: “Reward Lives in the House of Risk.” It reminds us that, as more teams compete on the competitive barbecue circuit, the level of competition only increases and those who play it safe often find themselves at the bottom of the standings. As entrepreneurs, too, we have to remember that calculated risks must be taken to improve our overall results, but that unproductive risk should be avoided where it can through preparation and planning.
Staying together is a matter of recognizing the different strengths people bring to the table, and how they complement each other to make up a whole capability. This really shows up in the most critical period in a competition, the short window of time at the end when a barbecue team must turn its finished products (chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket) over to the judges. At its best, it looks like chaos, but in the best teams, each member is carrying out his or her assigned role while also carefully calibrating with the others. It’s not just a matter of who’s watching the brisket and who’s minding the chicken. The right person also has to act as the team’s “closer.” The seemingly simple task of conveying a warm box of meat to the judges’ table is also a prime example of where preparation can allow a team to avoid unnecessary risk. Our closer walks from our cook site to the judging tent several dozen times prior to turn-in, strategizing the best way to navigate to the table through the crowd, timing the trip to the second, deciding just when to deliver our entry, and visualizing how she’ll present it.
Finally, a team has to get good at working together. After its members understand their roles and how best to exploit their strengths, they need to become very practiced at working in unison.
“I really think that coaching now is like being a business leader; you’ve got to create an environment where people feel they have a voice. It’s not the old days, where it was ‘my way or the highway.’ Players are owners in the clubs now … and my job is to get these 23 or 24 individual businesses to work together.”—The rules of Predators coach Barry Trotz - The Globe and Mail
“But what if the firm was driven, not by the goal of short-term profitability, but by the goal of continuous innovation in service of finding new ways of delighting customers? The new bottom line of this kind of organization becomes whether the customer is delighted. Conventional financial measures such as maximizing shareholder value are subordinated to the new bottom line. Profit is a result, not a goal.”—Is UX the Key to a Long-Lasting Business?
Should a leader, not wishing to have a team feel disenfranchised, create ironclad decision processes that genuinely empower the group to make at least some types of important decisions? Probably not. First, the reality of how important decisions take place is unlikely to change. Nor should it. Individuals, not teams, bear ultimate accountability for decisions. Second, the fundamental relationship in organizations remains unchanged. Despite decades of innovation by organization theorists, most executives continue to work in a hierarchy consisting of bosses and subordinates.
The wise boss will recognize that individuals, not groups, own decisions and will make this clear to subordinates. Some may be concerned that team members will feel disempowered. But the truth is not nearly as disempowering as fostering an illusion.
“What’s happening in Waterloo is fantastic. If you look at the history of Silicon Valley, you’ll see that startup hubs grow because of the success and ultimate demise of tech companies. In a forest, the trees start as saplings and grow, and then a fire happens, and the forest is blighted, and from the ashes the forest grows even bigger and brighter.”—
i don’t normally tumbl my own quotes but i think this point is not well enough understood. so i’m doing it with this one.