The Relationship Between Vision and Productivity

A great podcast by Michael Hyatt on how better productivity practices don’t help unless you are headed in the right direction in the first place.

Here’s his summary:

In this podcast episode I talk about the relationship between vision and productivity. I share the story of becoming a divisional leader at Thomas Nelson. Better productivity would not have improved our operating results. We needed a better vision.

And here’s his outline:

I discuss how any leader can develop vision by following these seven steps:

  1. Get alone with a journal and a pen.
  2. Make sure you won’t be interrupted.
  3. Close your eyes and pray.
  4. Jot down your current reality.
  5. Now write down what you want to see happen.
  6. Share your vision with those who have a stake in the outcome.
  7. Commit to reading your vision daily.
March 16, 2012 | Filed Under Leadership | 3 Comments 

Leadership Lessons from Star Wars

This was funny, and insightful. It discusses five leadership mistakes embodied by the Galactic Empire in Star Wars.

Here’s a key part:

Mistake #2: Depriving people of the chance to have a stake in the organization.

By consolidating his power, the Emperor didn’t just ensure that his organization wouldn’t survive his death. He also deprived a key motivation for both his employees and the public-at-large: a feeling of having a stake in the success of the organization. The Emperor disbanded the Galactic Senate, removing the idea of any democratic stake in the government. He wiped out all references to the Force, so there was no longer any guiding ideology. His sole idea for maintaining control of the Empire was building the Death Star, on the theory that, in the words of Grand Moff Tarkin, “Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.” Similarly, while in the first Star Wars film, there was a scene showing officers in the Imperial Navy discussing strategy, byReturn of the Jedi, it was clear that no feedback was being solicited anymore. The Emperor or Vader gave orders and that was it. No further discussion.

But as was ably demonstrated in this exchange in the movie Office Space, this is the worst possible way to get the best work out of your employees. Fear, combined with a sense of powerlessness, only inspires the bare minimum amount of work:

Peter Gibbons: You see, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.
Bob Porter: Don’t- don’t care?
Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s another thing, I have eight different bosses right now.
Bob Porter: Eight?
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

Key Takeaway: In order to get the best work out of people in your organization, you need to solicit their feedback, engage them in the decision-making process, and ensure that they have a stake in the success of the organization.

Is your organization led like the Galactic Empire?

March 16, 2012 | Filed Under Leadership | 3 Comments 

Stop Stealing Dreams

Stop Stealing Dreams is Seth Godin’s new free e-book on the world of education. Here’s the description:

The economy has changed, probably forever.

School hasn’t.

School was invented to create a constant stream of compliant factory workers to the growing businesses of the 1900s. It continues to do an excellent job at achieving this goal, but it’s not a goal we need to achieve any longer.

In this 30,000 word manifesto, I imagine a different set of goals and start (I hope) a discussion about how we can reach them. One thing is certain: if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’ve been getting.

Our kids are too important to sacrifice to the status quo.

You can read it at the link above, or access four other versions that Godin lists on the Squidoo page for the book.

March 16, 2012 | Filed Under Education | Leave a Comment