Pixar Fosters Creative Community

    I believe that community matters. … Pixar is a community in the true sense of the word. We think that lasting relationships matter, and we share some basic beliefs: Talent is rare. Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the capability to recover when failures occur….we don’t second-guess or micromanage. It must be safe to tell the truth. …get honest feedback from everyone. We must constantly challenge all of our assumptions and search for the flaws that could destroy our culture. …Nobody pulls any punches to be polite.  Pixar’s Operating Principles 1. Everyone must have the freedom to communicate with anyone. 2. It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas. 3. We must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community. … if we aren’t always at least a little scared, we’re not doing our job.     –How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativityby Ed Catmull, PresidentHarvard Business Review    ...

Marriott: Happy Employees = Happy Customers

It’s always been the major belief of our company, take good care of your people, they’ll take good care of the customer and the customer will come back. And we celebrate them. We train them. We teach them. We provide opportunity for them. You’ve got to make your employees happy. If the employees are happy, they are going to make the customers happy. –J. W. Marriott, Jr.  speaking of his father, the founder of Marriott Hotels How Bill Marriott’s Putting Employees First Transformed A Family Root Beer Stand Into $14B Hotel Giant by Steve Forbes in Forbes Magazine January 8,...

“Time may change me; But I can’t trace time …”

    Some of the most concise and useful personal productivity advice I have seen comes not from David Bowie, but from Peter Drucker. I have often rejected time management with the observation that time seems immune to my attempts at controlling or directing it; time just goes. Personal management is work, but it works.   Effective executives, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start by finding out where their time actually goes. Then they attempt to manage their time and to cut back unproductive demands on their time. Finally they consolidate their “discretionary” time into the largest possible continuing units. –Peter F. Drucker From The Effective Executive Reminds me of the “Handle the big rocks first” metaphor in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.    ...

You Don’t Need to be Crazy to be an Entrepreneur…

    …but being hypomanic seems to help, according to John D. Gartner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of The Hypomanic Edge In his article for The American Enterprise Institute, America’s Manic Entrepreneurs Dr. Gartner writes, “Successful entrepreneurs are … are highly creative people who quickly generate a tremendous number of ideas—some clever, others ridiculous. Their “flight of ideas,” jumping from topic to topic in a rapid energized way, is a sign of hypomania. … It is a temperament characterized by an elevated mood state that feels “highly intoxicating, powerful, productive, and desirable” to the hypomanic, according to Frederick Goodwin and Kay Jamison, authors of the definitive book Manic-Depressive Illness. “ –John D. Gartner, Ph.D. American Enterprise Jul2005, Vol. 16 Issue 5, p18 I highly recommend the article to anyone who is or works with high-energy business leaders.  ...

Another Good Reason to Meditate

  Dr. Peter Suedfeld, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and an expert in human cognition. …told us that creativity is a “very mysterious thing” that “exists in pretty much everyone” — but that there are indeed ways to improve it. One method he has studied extensively is what he calls the Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) — putting people into places with no light or outside stimuli. “What I’ve found,” he said, “is that far from making people crazy, moderate deprivation lowers blood pressure, improves mood, and makes people more creative.” From: “Outside the Box”: The Inside Story By Martin Kihn, Fast Company, June 2005 Found in: IDEAS IN THE NEWS A biweekly publication of MeansBusiness Vol. VI No. 8 — June 29, 2005        See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.    ...

How to Increase Employee Cooperation and Collaboration

    Would you like to more than triple the chances that your employees will volunteer to help a colleague or a customer? In just two months. For free. Easy. Encourage your staff  to meditate for 20 minutes per day. That is the conclusion from a recent study. The results were striking. Although only 16 percent of the nonmeditators gave up their seats — an admittedly disheartening fact — the proportion rose to 50 percent among those who had meditated. This increase is impressive not solely because it occurred after only eight weeks of meditation, but also because it did so within the context of a situation known to inhibit considerate behavior: witnessing others ignoring a person in distress — what psychologists call the bystander effect — reduces the odds that any single individual will help. From Grey Matter: The Morality of Meditation by David DeSteno, Ph. D. in The New York Times describing research by Paul Condon, Ph. D., Northeastern University published in Psychological Science     See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.  ...

A conversation with executive coaching client Ron Dimon. Part 7

    This latest podcast is part seven of a funny and useful conversation between top executive coach Tony Mayo and his longtime client Ron Dimon. Ron is an expert on the use of information by executives of large organizations. Listen as two experienced business people play with useful ideas in this episode including: Put something “at stake” Power of a public promise Integrity under uncertainty Stop grasping, start gaining The power of “giving up” “Hero Managers” attract unreliable employees Don’t be sorry, be successful Recovering from failure Choose your thoughts Just click here and either listen through your computer or subscribe through iTunes to have this and all new episodes placed on your device as they become available. You may also set up an automatic “feed” to non-Apple devices by using this link: click here for other devices.  ...

Google Research Confirms Basics of Management

    The New York Times recently ran a nice article about how Google–in its usual highly-analytic, data-driven way–measured the results of different management behaviors amongst its own workforce. The recommendations that emerged from this research will be familiar to readers of this blog. I wish these were practiced as often as I preach them!       Google’s Project Oxygen Eight Good Behaviors Be a good coach Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive. Have regular one-to-ones, presenting solutions to the problems tailored to your employees’ specific strengths. Empower your team and don’t micromanage Balance giving freedom to your employees, while being available for advice. Make stretch assignments to help the team members tackle big problems. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being Get to know your employees as people, with lives outside of work. Make new members of your team feel welcome and help ease their transition. Don’t be a sissy: be productive and results-oriented Focus on what the employees want the team to achieve and how they can help achieve it. Help the team prioritize work and use seniority to remove roadblocks. Be a good communicator and listen to your team Communication is two-way because you both listen and share information. Hold all-hands meetings and be straightforward about the messages and goals of the team. Help the team members to connect the dots. Encourage open dialogue and listen to the issues and concerns of your employees. Help your employees with career development. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team Even in the midst of turmoil, keep the team focused...

Fundamental Management is Fundamental Psychology

    People have three basic wants that make them susceptible to social influence. First, people have a hedonic motive, or a desire to experience pleasure and avoid pain. Second, people have an approval motive, or a desire to be accepted and to avoid being rejected. Third, people have an accuracy motive, or a desire to believe what is true and to avoid believing what is false. As we shall see, most forms of social influence appeal to one or more of these motives. —Psychology Page 16-22 By Schacter, Gilbert, & Wegner     See also, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, on this blog.  ...

Prompt, Precise Performance Reviews

    Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions Excerpted, by Art Kleiner in Strategy+Business, from chapter 2 Here’s how the process works. The day before meeting, your coworker brings you a list of five or six key objectives, detailing her progress on each. During the review on the following day, you simply assess the data and discuss how performance compares with objectives. Depending on the employee, this can be a short thirty-minute process, or take as long as two hours. [If you do this weekly or every day, as you might on a tight deadline or vital project, the meeting might last ten minutes. –Tony] When an employee comes into your office, she should always bring a pen and paper and be required to take detailed minutes of the meeting. Once the meeting is over, the employee should make a photocopy of the minutes for your file. [This is a bit dated! Have the employee email a summary. For high value employees, use a dictation service right after or a scribe during the meeting.–Tony] The reason for this is twofold: first, the notes allow you to verify the individual’s understanding of the review; second, the notes increase consistency from one review to the next. Ask: How well did you meet the objectives we mutually agreed on? Choose one of the following: If you’re ahead, how did you get ahead? If you’re behind, how did you get behind? If you’re on target, is there anything I need to know? If yes, discuss further. If no, extol the virtues of coming in on target. If you’re...