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Monday, June 29, 2015

Fully Charged: Post #1--Overview

 Overview. Take care of yourself and others,  and you’ll see your life unfold into a life
worth living. In essence, this is the core of Tom Rath’s new book Fully Charged. His formula for being fully charged in life is as simple as it is powerful. 1. Meaning: Find meaning and purpose in your life by doing something for another person—reach beyond self to others; 2. Interactions: When you interact with others, focus on positive encounters; 3. Energy: Make good choices (eat, move, sleep) to improve your mental and physical state. With an elegant blend of research, personal stories, and examples, Tom Rath hits another home run.
Are You Fully Charged? The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life by Tom Rath (Silicon Guild, 2015), reviewed by Steve Gladis, June 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Work Rules: FINAL--Performance

Performance—Bock provides an in-depth look into the struggle that Google had with
performance assessment and why they separate it from development discussions. Pay: he suggests paying people “unfairly,” meaning that high performers deserve much more money than average workers; Bias: We’re all biased in one form or another, so remove it from the selection process. Check out the summary in the appendix of the book—in the “Work Rules” section.

New Kind of HR. In the “Afterword for HR Geeks Only,” the author provides a blueprint for this new kind of HR. This section will be critical to anyone trying to build a great company with great people. This book is a very worthy read as is this particular section.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Work Rules:Post #4--Empowerment

Empowerment. Get rid of status. Google only has 4 employment levels: individual contributor, manager, director, and vice president. Making decisions needs to rely more on data than emotion or opinion. Does not mean emotion doesn’t factor in—just means it’s not the key driver. My favorite chapter title: “Let the Inmates Run the Asylum—Take power from your managers and trust your people to run things.” Clearly at a company the size of Google, rules are required; however, Googlers are encouraged to break the rules when it makes more sense. By taking power away from managers, they become more like coaches and less like referees.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Work Rules: Post #3--Recruitment and Hiring

Recruiting and Hiring. Google only hires 0.25% of applicants. Harvard

takes about 6.1% of its applicants. Thus, it’s about 25 times harder to get into Google than Harvard! Referrals from Googlers are the best source of recruits, but even that yields only 5%.  Treat hiring as the highest priority. Take time, hire the best and make recruiting part of everyone’s job. Note: The hiring manager does not make the final decision! People are being hired into the company, not just a particular division. Also, pressure can make a hiring manager rush, give in, and settle. Write-ups from the manager, peers, and others go to a hiring committee that keeps selection more objective. What they look for in new hires: 1. Cognitive ability—ability to learn; 2. Emergent Leadership—willing to step in and step out; 3. Cultural Fit—comfortable with ambiguity and conscientious humility; 4. Expertise—need to be very good at their work.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Work Rules: Post #2--Google's Culture

Cornerstones of Google’s Culture. The philosophy at Google
is that people are fundamentally good [often called “Theory Y”]. Thus, Google is a high-freedom culture—allowing people rather than restricting them, saying yes much more often than no. Three fundamental drivers of Google’s culture:

Meaning--A mission that matters—Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Companies with strong cultures—Google, IBM, Wegmans—all have a kind of moral imperative rather than a strictly business or financial goal. Great people “…want an aspiration that’s inspiring.” And they want to be able to directly connect their job to the company’s mission. There’s a very good research illustration about how fundraisers who talked with scholarship recipients quadrupled their results.  Getting employees to think like owners and see their work as a calling, not just a job, is a clear focus at Google and other high-freedom, mission-focused cultures.

Transparency--If you think people are basically good, then you should want to share corporate info with them—treat them like owners.  Google’s philosophy is “Default to open,” a model of transparency. For example, new engineers get to see Google’s source code on their first day! Google hosts TGIF every Thursday. Larry Page and Sergey Brin host an all-employee 30-minute meeting both in person and streaming video that gets broadcast around the world to Googlers. Anyone can ask any question. Transparency improves performance. Bridgewater Associates records every meeting and posts it for employees—call it “radical transparency.”

 Voice--Give people a say in how to run the company if you believe in the theory that people are fundamentally good. Through good corporate internal surveys, Google launched “Bureaucracy Busters”—an annual program targeted at reducing bureaucracy to get more done with less interference. Research at UT Austin has shown that giving  employees a voice is key to organizational effectiveness.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Work Rules: Post #1--Overview

Overview What do Google and Wegmans have in common? They both are high-freedom companies that believe employees really matter; they should have a worthy mission; they should get lots of corporate information (from a transparent organization); and, they should have a say—a “voice” in what happens.  Some great ideas emerge in this book, like not allowing hiring managers to make the final hiring decision, which eliminates any bias; hosting TGIF meetings where the CEO answers any questions in an open forum; and, treating HR as People Operations and conducting regular people experiments. Written by Google’s Chief of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, this book opens up Google’s people process to us and provides a worthy roadmap for any progressive company, big or small.

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock (Kindle Edition Hachette Book Group, 2015), reviewed by Steve Gladis, June 2015.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mindful Work: FINAL Post--Mindful Recap

Mindfulness Recap: Meditation is neither a religious exercise nor a fad. There’s 30 years of solid clinical science demonstrating its effectiveness. It’s becoming very mainstream, and the author warns against pop-mindful hucksters and argues for certification in the field. Finally, he encourages mindful consumption in our society to have an impact on the environment and on our own health.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mindful Work: Post #7--Impact on Learning

Learning: We’re hard-wired to have a wandering mind—it’s evolutionary and protective;
however, “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind” (Killingsworth and Gilbert). Experiments with high school and college kids showed improved memory and test results. SAT scores went from 460 to 520. Also lowered anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue, and produced better immune-reactivity.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mindful Work: Post #6--Impact on Sports

Sports: Phil Jackson used meditation to help both the Chicago Bulls and the LA Lakers win 11 NBA Championships between them! He taught mindfulness to Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal. Letting go of bad shots or botched plays helped athletes bounce back. Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks is also using mindfulness with his team.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mindful Work: Post #5--Corporate Impact

Corporate Impact: Adding to the quadruple bottom line—profits, society, environment, and now employees’ emotional and spiritual well-being. Companies like Google, General Mills, Aetna, Linkedin, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, Genentech, Ford, Cisco and many others have adopted meditation-based programs to calm executive minds, contributing to better leadership. 

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