Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

My “Best Of…” Album

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

As 2012 comes to an end I thought I’d look back on some of my blog posts from the past few years and create a list of my best ones. Hey, it’s possible that I have some that qualify for a Best Of album. They don’t need to be great… just my best!

In no particular order or for no apparent reason (other than these being that ones that I’ve gotten the most feedback on), here are the ones I like the most:

Okay, I didn’t say it was a short list. And it may have to be a double-album, since I’ve been writing these since February of 2008. But these are the blog posts that have generated the most comments, questions, emails and phones calls from people. So if you’re sitting around with nothing to do and need something to help you sleep, click through and read a few these. 🙂

Enjoy! And Happy New Year!

What Matters in 2010

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Welcome to 2010, and my new website. Time to think about What Matters Now.

Seth Godin, the writer, blogger, marketer and guy-that-makes-people-think-differently is helping us think about what matters now. He started a project where he asked what he calls “big thinkers” to suggest just one word to think about going into the new year. He then had each of them write no more than one page about their word. The result, a free ebook, is fascinating, inspiring, challenging and fun.

Download it here, read it, share it, think about it, share it some more, re-read it, and then share it with even more people.

More than seventy interesting people participated in this project, each submitting one word and their thoughts about why. Some of my favorites are:

  • Meaning. Hugh McLeod, author, provides some simple sentences relating to meaning, such as “Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside,” and, ”You are responsible for your own experience.”
  • Vision. “When times are tough, vision is the first casualty. Before conditions can improve, it is the first thing we must recover,” says Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  • Enrichment. Rajesh Setty says, “Through choosing to enrich other people’s lives, you add meaning to both their life and your own.”
  • Excellence. The management guru and author, Tom Peters provides 19 words beginning with the letter “E” that leads to excellence in one’s life.
  • Ripple. John Wood Founder & Executive Chairman of Room to Read, urges us to help children learn to read, for that child will help others, and they will help others, and…

Oops. I had meant to skim through What Matters Now and pick out just a few of my favorites. The five that I just mentioned were in the first third of the book. Instead, I got caught up in reading the whole thing again. Not that it takes long to read – that’s the cool thing about it. You can read the entire ebook in no time – unless you think about what’s being said. And that’s the fun part.

Download it, read it, think about it, share it. What Matters Now. It’ll impact your performance.

Feedback Sucks!

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Get your attention? Then listen up. Your employees are begging for feedback. They’re craving it. They’re practically screaming for it.

Give it to them.

Just take a look at the numbers in Mark Murphy’s blog, Employees Are Desperate For Feedback. According to a study by Leadership IQ, “Fifty-one percent of employees do not know whether their performance is where it should be.”

That’s half of the employees surveyed in the study (3,611 employees) admitting to not knowing where they stand. Only 21 percent said they knew where they stood, with the balance being in the middle.

Why? Why are managers so determined to not provide feedback? Is it that they think that’s too “touchy-feely”? Too personal? Is it that they think employees should just get on with the job and forget about what others think? Do they think employees can read their mind?

Here’s what I think is a big part of the reason: It’s a generational thing.

If you’re a Baby Boomer, you’re more likely to come from the world of “just get on with,” and “I hate all that personal stuff.” It’s certainly how our parents worked, and the trickle down effect of their parenting lead to many of us being the same. Our parents got little feedback, so they gave us little feedback. You need to be tough, you know.

digital game based learningBut, if you’re a Gen-Xer or Gen-Yer, or as Marc Prensky coined, a “Digital Native” (someone who grew up with computers and playing computer-based games) in his book Digital Game-Based Learning, you’re used to feedback. A lot of it. Immediate. Now. More of it. Feedback. That’s what computer games do. That’s what they’re based on. You do something, and you get immediate feedback. Confirming feedback (that worked, so do more of that), or corrective feedback (that didn’t work, so do something different).

My guess is that there are many Baby Boomers managing Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers. And half the Gen-X/Yers are crying out for feedback. In fact, according to the study, two out of every three employees say they have too little interaction with their computer game… I mean, with their boss. See, they are used to having immediate interaction with their games, with their computer. But with their bosses… well, they don’t get enough interaction, enough feedback.

I once had a boss that I wouldn’t even see for over a week at a time. And when I did see him, I would not get any feedback. No, feedback was reserved for that one meeting each year – the annual performance review. That lasted no more than 20 minutes, and consisted of him telling me, “Keep up the good work.” I didn’t even know what it was that was “good,” so I didn’t know what I should keep doing. So, I just did what I thought was the right thing to do and hoped that was it. Hope. A pretty good strategy, right?

My bet is this: If you talked to the bosses of the employees that said they didn’t get enough interaction and asked them if they interacted enough with their employees, most would say yes. Their perception is they interact enough. Their employees say they don’t. Makes you wonder what your employees think.

If there are any Gen-Xers or Gen-Yers reporting to you, I suggest you think more like a computer game and give plenty of feedback, immediately. That is if you care about how they perform. Because, for some reason, when most people do not get the feedback they want, they assume the worst.

Oh, by the way… I wouldn’t mind some feedback, too. I’ve been thinking about stopping this blog since I get so little feedback. I mean, what’s the point? Based on the lack of feedback, the only conclusion I can come to is that I’m doing a terrible job or no one cares whether I continue or not.

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Blogging About Blogs

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

I don’t know about you, but there are days… no, make that weeks when it seems I can’t keep up with all the reading I want and/or need to do. I suppose “want” is the most accurate word here, as no one is forcing me to do all the reading I do. But, on second thought, “need” really is the word that describes how I feel about what I read. It’s kinda like an addiction, this reading, this thirst for more knowledge that I have.

The other day I was trying to update my reading list on my LinkedIn account – http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewProfile=&key=17909489&trk=tab_pro – and realized that I’d probably shut the entire internet down if I listed every book I’d like to recommend! I ended up listing a couple more of my favorites, but I’m about a year behind from when I read them to when I list them on LinkedIn. Oh well…

Then there are blogs.

I have a few favorites that I like to read on a regular basis – that is, if you can call not reading them for a month, then reading every post all in one day regular. That seems to be my pattern: Ignore them all for a couple of weeks, then find some time to sit and read them all in one evening. I wish I could be a bit more regular with my blog-reading pattern. Oh well…

I love Peter Zaballos’ Open Ambition blog (http://openambition.com/). In addition to his insights from a side of the business world that many don’t get to see – as a venture capitalist – lately Peter has shared some of his experiences about a three-week hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. What I love about his blog is how it gets me thinking about business in different ways, and these latest posts get me thinking about a hiking adventure next summer. Hmmm…

Although much different, I also enjoy time at Zen Habits at http://zenhabits.net/. How different is it from Open Ambition? Compare the venture capital world to an blogger living on Guam, and you begin to see the difference (although, I’m sure Peter’s hike led to some Zen-like habit-forming thoughts).

As a writer, Write to Done at http://writetodone.com/ is another of my favorite blogs. Interestingly, it’s written by the same person who writes Zen Habits (well, most of the time – he does have many guest bloggers).

Which brings me to my blog’s focus, performance and learning, and my favorite blogs that inspire me, that I learn from, that make me think. They are:

And from there I just go surfing through a variety of others, sometimes killing an entire evening just looking for more interesting blogs. But I always come back to the ones above. Sure, some of them have a commercial bent to them, but that’s okay as long as they inspire, teach and make me think.

Have I missed any? If you know of a blog that I should be reading, please let me know – send me a link. And then help me find more time in my day to read it.