Category Archives: How to

How to Win When You’re Under Attack in a Meeting


Just Listen, Author: Mark Goulston.

By Art Petty – For high-stakes topics involving strategy and investments, you’re in competition with others for attention and resources, and not everyone wants you to win. When faced with a direct or passive-aggressive attack on your ideas and character, your response speaks volumes about your maturity and leadership to everyone involved.

Learn to navigate meeting room confrontations with diplomacy, grace, and a good bit of psychology, and you will go far.

For all sorts of good reasons, we’re wired as humans to quickly recognize dangerous situations and respond accordingly. Our brains shift precious resources away from the slower, smaller processing center and trigger a flood of chemicals preparing us for fight or flight. Drunk with adrenaline, we’re apt to either lash out or look for the first exit, including shrinking and withdrawing.

Dr. Goulston suggests we run through a simple mantra that allows us to derail the amygdala hijack and maintain our presence of mind.

Your goal is to gain a few precious seconds and work your reboot process. more>


How To Improve Results With The Right Frequency Of Monitoring

By George Bradt – Most understand the need to follow up and monitor progress on a theoretical level. Yet there are few guidelines to how frequently you should do that. Let me suggest that varies by the nature of what you’re monitoring, ranging from daily or even more frequently for tasks to annually for strategic plans.

Ben Harkin discussed the value of monitoring and reporting in the Psychological Journal. His headline is “Frequently Monitoring Progress Toward Goals Increases Chance of Success” – especially if you make the results public. While he was more focused on personal habits and goals, the findings are applicable to organizational behavior as well.

Here’s my current best thinking on the right frequency of monitoring. The main discriminant is the nature of the work and level of people doing the work with tighter, more frequent monitoring of tactical efforts and looser, less frequent monitoring of more strategic efforts.

  • Daily or more frequently – Tasks
  • Weekly – Projects
  • Monthly – Programs
  • Quarterly – Business Reviews, adjustments
  • Annually – Strategic/Organizational/Operational processes



Updates from Adobe

Head for the Hills with Kopernikk

By Charles Purdy – A love of the outdoors is plainly evident in Kopernikk’s photography, and he comes by it naturally, having grown up on a farm near the Czech city of Pardubice, which he still calls home—that is, when he’s not on the road for a photography expedition. In fact, it was a 2014 trip to the Czech Republic’s Giant Mountains that set Kopernikk firmly on a path to making his living as a photographer.

He remembers, “In November 2014, my friend Jirka invited me to Špindlerův Mlýn in our Giant Mountains. The weather was so magical—I was like Alice in Wonderland, and I made hundreds and hundreds of photos on my mobile phone…. This day changed everything, and I knew then what I wanted to do with my life. It’s also the reason I have Sitka, my Czechoslovakian Wolfdog—I’ve always loved wolves, and when I started traveling I decided I wanted to have my own ‘wolf’ as a travel buddy.” more>



Think Like a Gambler: Innovation Is About Making Bets


Thinking in Bets, Author: Annie Duke.

By Alan Pentz – As humans we are often overconfident in our decision-making and even if we are unsure, we become more confident after a decision has been made. Studies of confirmation bias show that we seek information confirming our views and filter out evidence to the contrary. That’s a great strategy to feel good in the short term but isn’t going to lead to the best outcomes for your organization in the long term.

Thinking in bets (or thinking probabilistically) forces us out of that framework. Duke points out that people who are asked probabilistic questions are less sure and tend to hedge. It’s easy to say, “I’m 100 percent sure about this,” when nothing is really on the line, but if I ask you how much would you bet that you are right, suddenly the calculus changes.

So how does this impact government innovation? more>


Updates from Siemens

PLM ALM Integration using Teamcenter Linked Data Framework

By Jatish Mathew – Reports from the field indicate that the power window system in a particular car model has a defect. The anti-pinch feature does not work all the time. Customer service files a high priority incident report.

Representatives from different engineering teams meet and try to find the root cause of the problem.

The problem may be due to hardware failure such as a stuck button, it can be in the embedded software, or it can be a combination of hardware-software. Each team analyzes the problem using their tools and processes but when these teams need to coordinate what do they do?

The biggest worry for engineers, when they work with different teams, is that the practices, processes, and tools they use are diverse. How do they ensure that teams effectively collaborate without losing the processes and systems that work well for them?

In this post, we will explore how hardware (PLM domain) and software (ALM domain) teams work together to solve the power window problem. The automotive company in our example uses Linked Data Framework (Customer Only Access) to integrate and collaborate across domains. It is an integration framework to integrate different enterprise information systems such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) systems.

PLM ALM integration using Linked Data Framework helps with the following business problems:

  • How do you implement a process such as change management across different domains such as PLM and ALM?
  • How do you avoid creating new applications, and avoid user training?
  • How do you enable ALM users to access PLM data without learning PLM concepts or new tools?




How to Build an Autocracy


How To Build An Autocracy, Author: The Atlantic.

By David Frum – Fortunately for him, he did not need to campaign hard for reelection. His has been a popular presidency: Big tax cuts, big spending, and big deficits have worked their familiar expansive magic. Wages have grown strongly in the Trump years, especially for men without a college degree, even if rising inflation is beginning to bite into the gains. The president’s supporters credit his restrictive immigration policies and his TrumpWorks infrastructure program.

Allegations of fraud and self-dealing in the TrumpWorks program, and elsewhere, have likewise been shrugged off. The president regularly tweets out news of factory openings and big hiring announcements: “I’m bringing back your jobs,” he has said over and over. Voters seem to have believed him—and are grateful.

Most Americans intuit that their president and his relatives have become vastly wealthier over the past four years. But rumors of graft are easy to dismiss. Because Trump has never released his tax returns, no one really knows.

Anyway, doesn’t everybody do it? On the eve of the 2018 congressional elections, WikiLeaks released years of investment statements by prominent congressional Democrats indicating that they had long earned above-market returns. As the air filled with allegations of insider trading and crony capitalism, the public subsided into weary cynicism. The Republicans held both houses of Congress that November, and Trump loyalists shouldered aside the pre-Trump leadership.

The business community learned its lesson early. “You work for me, you don’t criticize me,” the president was reported to have told one major federal contractor, after knocking billions off his company’s stock-market valuation with an angry tweet.

In an 1888 lecture, James Russell Lowell, a founder of this magazine, challenged the happy assumption that the Constitution was a “machine that would go of itself.” Lowell was right. Checks and balances is a metaphor, not a mechanism.

The American system is also perforated by vulnerabilities no less dangerous for being so familiar. Supreme among those vulnerabilities is reliance on the personal qualities of the man or woman who wields the awesome powers of the presidency. A British prime minister can lose power in minutes if he or she forfeits the confidence of the majority in Parliament. The president of the United States, on the other hand, is restrained first and foremost by his own ethics and public spirit.

What happens if somebody comes to the high office lacking those qualities? more>


Ten Keys To Launching An Agile Transformation In A Large Firm

By Steve Denning – The successful Agile transformations that I have seen in large organizations have typically begun without authority or budget resources. That’s because at the outset the organization usually doesn’t understand what Agile is or what it is getting into. This can lead some despair among Agile coaches as to whether Agile transformation is even possible in large organizations.

In fact, a comprehensive survey of successful organizational change in large organizations by Larry Prusak and Tom Davenport back in 2003 concluded that deep change rarely begins at the very top of a large organization. In part, that’s because the CEO is usually too busy to understand what’s involved or give it the commitment that it needs. It’s also because, if the change is led from the top, it risks being perceived as “just another command-and-control brainwave.”

In theory, the change could also be led by someone at the lowest level of the organization, though it can be hard for people at that level to see what’s going on beyond their own unit, or to acquire the organizational knowledge or the social capital to mobilize broader support.

So typically, the change begins at the middle, or upper-middle, of the organization and follows a certain pattern.

The pattern is similar to what I saw in a large and very change-resistant organization— the World Bank— where I was working in the late 1990s and where I—quixotically—set out to effect a change its strategy, without any budget resources or authority to do so. The organizational transformation in question wasn’t Agile, but it was a big, deep change involving a shift in organizational culture.

The dynamic that I experienced in the World Bank—the whips, the scorns, the opposition, the skullduggery—is something that I’ve seen play out in many organizations implementing Agile. If your challenge is an Agile transformation in a large organization, here are ten fundamental characteristics that you are likely to encounter, more>


Five Skills Everybody Will Need For The Jobs of The Future

By Amy X. Wang – The Institute for the Future, a California-based think tank, paired up with the talent-management software company Cornerstone OnDemand to identify certain core traits and attitudes that workers will need in order to prepare for the next wave of “work,” whatever it means and however it comes. Five skills recommended in their Feb. 22 report—broad, but helpful as launching points for further thought and consideration.

  1. Make yourself known
  2. Make sense of loopy, complex systems
  3. Befriend the machines
  4. Build your tribe
  5. Keep it going by building resilience



Leadership is about Hard Decisions

By Alan Pentz – I’ve become increasingly convinced that good organizational leadership is relatively simple but not easy. In other words, unless you work at NASA, good leadership and management isn’t rocket science. You can argue around the edges but most gurus preach that leaders should:

  1. Know their customer and mission.
  2. Set a clear direction.
  3. Focus resources on the most important initiatives that will get you there.
  4. Build a great team to implement.
  5. Ensure accountability.
  6. Communicate the story and progress of the organization.
  7. Learn and adapt as you go and never forget about No. 1.

Warren Buffett famously urged investors with an IQ of 150 to sell 30 points. He wrote:

“To invest successfully does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What’s needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding the framework.”

Replace “invest” with “lead” and the statement is equally as true. more>


Leaders Focus on the Trends, Not the Data Points

By Scott Eblin – One of the reasons annual performance reviews suck so much is that they too often deal in data points, not trends. Too many managers don’t provide meaningful performance feedback on a real-time basis so when performance review time rolls around (as it always and predictably does), they find themselves scrambling for points to make in the review conversation. That’s where the data points come in.

In the absence of any meaningful thought or preparation, whatever happened recently suddenly becomes a trend. That meeting you nailed? Good job on that—you had a great year! That presentation you muffed? You know, I’m not sure you’re really a good fit for us.

A data point does not a trend make. It’s a cognitive bias. Don’t fall for it. Great leaders assess on the trends, not the data points. more>