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I see a lot of CIOs spending a lot of time — which is very important to do — on major business initiatives. But I often see an inadequate amount of time spent where the day-to-day, most frequent touchpoints are, which is with all the other ways the people in the company are their users. One of the big changes that has come with the mass consumerization of technology is that IT needs to flip that around a little and spend more time focusing on the overall employee experience.

from Google’s CIO on How to Make Your IT Department Great .
So happy to see that I’m not alone: before asking to sit at the ‘business table’ , dear CIOs, be sure to know how to do your homework first!
Incidentally this means you should have an IT background 😉
PierG

Very interesting talk by Prof. Elena Malaguti during TEDxReggioEmilia .. in Italian

“A lezione di resilienza: Come recuperare dopo un trauma”

PierG

Today I read this tweet from @JerryWeinberg

When managers don’t understand the work, they tend to reward the appearance of work (long hours, piles of paper, …)

This reminds me of the risk of setting (wrong) goals.

  • if you are (VERY) lucky, you can just achieve them. No matter how they mach with the overall goals of the company (assuming the goal of the company is clear). No matter how you do it (the more you push on incentives on these goals, the more people will ‘act’ to achieve them .. no matter the consequences);
  • when you set the goal, you alter the ‘system’ in an unpredictable way as people start behaving differently: what if the goals of different people start colliding? And this is even more visible when there are incentives related to these goals.

OK you might say that all these ‘unexpected consequences’ are because ‘they’ are not able to set goals properly: well, as my experience says that setting right goals is impossible, I think that MBOs, SLAs, KPIs tend to ruin organizations more than helping them … and give manager great excuses.

[new] What’s even worst with SLAs is that managers tend not to read contracts properly, and who read them (lawyers?) are not the ones who understand the content.

So this is a system that in theory might work but in reality it doesn’t … because we are humans and not predictable machines controlled in closed-loop.

Amen!

PierG

hiding by Lance Neilson, on Flickr – Some Rights Reserved

Procrastination is evil .. almost always. When you think it’s probably the time in which procrastination is ok, double check: you are not that smart, you are probably cheating yourself 😉 (fear?)

And there is an area in which procrastination is even more evil: when you deal with people so procrastination and people management (can be your direct, your son, a friend …).

Procrastinate a negative feedback? You enforce a wrong behavior.

Procrastinate a positive feedback? You have chances that a good behavior is changed in search of a (potentially) bad one.

PierG

A friend of mine, Managing Director of an european firm, called me a couple of years ago. He used to have a problem with his team: no one was taking care of responsibilities. The team was pretty focused but everyone was working his own “‘piece’ and putting the pieces together was not giving a good result.

So he called a senior manager and put him in charge of the product: no questions, he was responsible of the good and the bad of everything on that product.

Things were going better … till after some months he started suffering the same problem that his Managing Director used to have. And so he applied the same solution: took a couple of his top managers, splitted the product in two, and gave them full responsibility.

Things were going better … till after some more months they started suffering the problem the Senior Manager and the Managing Director used to have. And so the two Top managers applied the same strategy splitting the product and giving each of them some well defined responsibilities to some of their directs.

And so on through several layers of the organization.

My friend the Managing Director called my few weeks ago: he is happy the company is still open 🙂 but he has the same problem. Everybody is now responsible … so nobody is responsible.

He need a new recipe: any suggestion?

PierG

There are the micromanagers. The ones who believe they can do better than anyone in their team and for this reason they use people in their teams as their arms …. just because they don’t have time enough and so are obliged to ‘use’ other people.

Then there are those who see themselves as managers who delegate. When they have something they cannot do, or don’t want to do or … they throw it to someone in their team. Almost no direction given, just thrown the activity / problem like a ball and above all no reporting / feedback model in place. When something goes wrong they start running and shouting …. and thinking ‘next time I’ll do it myself’.

Then there are those who choose what to delegate to whom, who provide proper context, proper guidance, proper empowerment, who agree in the reporting / feedback model. Those who are in touch with the activities because they are reported with the proper cadence and the proper content.

PierG

A wise friend of mine asked me:

“if a strict control is useful, why don’t we have traffic lights at every single crossroad?”

I smiled and said:

“do you want a coffee?”

What’s your answer? 🙂

PierG

Dealing with change. I believe this will be one of the most essential skills as our kids grow up, as the world is always changing and being able to accept the change, to deal with the change, to navigate the flow of change, will be a competitive advantage

via » 9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn :zenhabits.

A very tough and very important task for us as fathers … teach to deal with change: any recipe?

PierG

Nice post from Seth Godin author of some books like Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Or Poke the box called Isolate yourself.

I paste here the post …

Insulate yourself from anonymous angry people
Expose yourself to art you don’t yet understand
Precisely measure the results that are important to you
Stay blind to the metrics that don’t matter
Fail often
Ship
Lead, don’t manage so much
Seek out uncomfortable situations
Make an impact on the people who matter to you
Be better at your baseline skills than anyone else
Copyedit less, invent more
Give more speeches
Ignore unsolicited advice

… and my personal translation in Italian.

Isolati dalle persone inutili che sono sempre incavolate
Esponiti all’arte che non capisci e non conosci
Misura in modo preciso solo i risultati che sono importanti per TE
Ignora le metriche che non ti interessano
Fallisci spesso
Rilascia, consegna qualcosa
Ispira, non gestire troppo
Fai la differenza per le persone a cui tieni
Sii il migliore di tutti nelle tue competenze fondamentali
Pensa meno ai dettagli, crea più cose nuove
Parla di più davanti ad un pubblico
Ignora i consigli non richiesti

Inspiring?
PierG

We are strange animals: part for ‘nature’ part for culture we learn through an action-reaction mechanism.

It’s all about feedback, it’s all about consequences: we do something, something happens due to what we do (or don’t do), we see these consequences and decide what to do.

Do you want to mess up a team, or your son, or a person you have a relationship with? Start not giving feedback or better giving random one: the consequence are certain … #fail

PierG

p.s. Please note that sometimes not giving feedback deliberately is a feedback itself (remember: you cannot not communicate)

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