Sunday, May 28, 2017

The 50-Year-Old Business Book You Need to Read (or Reread) Right Now

Inc., May 26, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

There aren't a lot of business books from a half-century ago that have stood the test of time, but Peter Drucker's The Effective Executive (Harper Business), now available in a spiffy new 50th Anniversary edition, is one of the select few. In 1967, back before Millennials were a gleam in their parents' eyes, Drucker declared, "The executive is, first of all, expected to get the right things done. And this is simply saying that he is expected to be effective."

Drucker is as relevant today as he was in the latter half of the last century because he approached the study of business like a surgeon. His clarity of thought and language was like a scalpel, which he used to dissect every aspect of management until he had revealed its essence. In The Effective Executive, Drucker applied that scalpel to leadership.

Drucker was convinced that leaders are made, not born. He described five practices that can make you a more effective leader: read the rest here

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cracking the Code of Economic Development

strategy+business, May 24, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

Jobs are the burning issue of the day. But while politicians are busy erecting physical, economic, and rhetorical walls to corral and preserve jobs, a larger and more fundamental question looms. As advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning permeate every industry, will there be any jobs left to protect?

Philip E. Auerswald, associate professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, calls this question “The Great Man–Machine Debate.” In his engaging and wide-ranging book, The Code Economy: A Forty-Thousand-Year History, he seeks to answer it by reframing how we think about economic dynamics and progress. “The microeconomics you learned in college was generally limited to the ‘what’ of production: what goes in and what comes out,” Auerswald writes. “This book is about the ‘how’: how inputs are combined to yield outputs.”

Auerswald has a more expansive definition of the word code than the typical computer scientist. For him, code encapsulates the how of production — that is, the technology and the instruction sets that guide production. The processes Paleolithic peoples used to create stone tools, the punch cards that Joseph Marie Jacquard used to direct looms in France in the early 1800s, Henry Ford’s assembly lines, and the blockchains first described by the person (or persons) named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008: All these are, in Auerswald’s view, examples of code. Read the rest here.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The 3 Most Dangerous Work Personalities and How to Deal With Them

Inc., May 20, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

Since I don't have real job, I take special pleasure in reading about how bad having a real job can be. So, of course, I found it impossible to resist Jody Foster's The Schmuck in My Office: How to Deal Effectively with Difficult People at Work (with Michelle Joy, St. Martin's Press, April 2017). No, not that Jody Foster--Dr. Jody J. Foster, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at UPenn.

None of us are perfect, but Foster directs our attention to those select employees who really are schmucks--10 types of people whose personalities are so difficult and disruptive that they create chaos on the job, upset their coworkers, and drive their managers to distraction. Unfortunately, you'll recognize many of them. There's the Bean Counter, whose obsessive demands for the most minute details ensure that nothing meaningful ever gets done, and the Robotic, whose inability to connect with others on anything near a human level leaves people frostbitten and demotivated.

But even these knuckleheads are tolerable compared with the worst schmucks that Foster calls out in her book: Narcissus, The Venus Flytrap, and The Swindler. Here's how to recognize these three types and minimize the damage they can do to you and your company. Read the rest here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

An Antidote for Health Care Reform Failure

Insights by Stanford Business, May 16, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

Vaccines on a tray at the hospital
Want real health care reform? Focus on fixing health care delivery, says one Stanford lecturer. | Reuters/Nicky Loh
Health care reform has been the bane of U.S. presidential politics for over a century. Teddy Roosevelt included universal coverage in his run for president in 1912 and lost. Since then, almost every U.S. president has been stymied by health care reform in one way or another.
It’s no different this time around. This past March, President Trump and the Republican-led Congress couldn’t muster the votes for their own American Health Care Act, and discussions to reprise it have fallen flat.
Robert Pearl, a doctor and the CEO of the $11 billion Permanente Medical Group and a strategy lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, says that might not be much of a loss. In Pearl’s opinion, neither President Obama’s Affordable Care Act nor President Trump’s AHCA adequately addresses the essential conundrum of American health care — the fact that the U.S. as a whole spends 50% more on health care that any other nation, yet ranks 70th globally in health and wellness.
Pearl, whose new book, Mistreated: Why We Think We’re Getting Good Health Care — and Why We’re Usually Wrong, hits shelves this month, shares his vision of a better health the rest here

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to Order Wine Without Making a Fool of Yourself

Inc., May 16, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

CREDIT: Getty Images
Americans drink more wine than people of any other nationality--we chugged 913 million gallons of the nectar of the gods in 2015.

Yet, sit most of us down at a fancy restaurant with a multipage wine list and a sommelier breathing down our necks, and we start to think a beer sounds really good. Make it an important business dinner with a prospective employer or a big customer and a shot of bourbon with that beer sounds even better.

It doesn't have to be this stressful. In fact, wine can help you seal the deal, according to Bianca Bosker, author of Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste (Penguin, March 2017).

Bosker is a journalist by training who "generally preferred wines from a bottle, but certainly wouldn't have turned up [her] nose at something boxed" before she became fascinated by the highly competitive, sensory world of sommeliers. She dove into that world for a year and emerged as a Court of Master Sommeliers' Certified Sommelier (she's one of the mere five percent of applicants who passed that exam on their first attempt).

In the following interview, Bosker offers us some savvy advice on how to order wine in a business it here

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Train Your Brain To Focus. It'll Make You a Better Leader

Inc., May 11, 2017

You've probably seen the famous experiment that Harvard University psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons conducted in 1999. They filmed two teams of students--one in white t-shirts; one in black t-shirts--weaving around and through each other. Each team was passing a basketball back and forth. Then the psychologists showed the film to a group of subjects, who were asked to count the number of passes by the white-shirted team. Simple, right?

Not so much. When they made the film, Chabris and Simons had a student in a gorilla suit walk into the middle of the two teams, stop and beat her chest, and walk out the other side of the picture. After they showed the film to their subjects, the duo asked the subjects if they had noticed anything unusual. Almost half of the subjects never saw the gorilla.

The "Invisible Gorilla" experiment is often cited as one more lesson in the many facets of cognitive failure. But Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann of Munich Leadership Group argue that a sharp, strong focus is an essential trait and strength of leaders.

"The truth is that what is often perceived as distracted behavior by outsiders is actually an indication of the exact opposite! It's a sign of intensely focused behavior," they write in their new book, The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-Based Strategies for Achieving Peak Performance (TarcherPerigee, Feburary 2017). "Your brain has allocated nearly all of its resources toward solving one specific problem and has deliberately and efficiently shut out any stimuli that are considered irrelevant to the task at hand."

The problem with which leaders must contend isn't too much focus, but too little. We live in an era of distraction, when the ability to multitask is often celebrated as a virtue. Instead, say the authors, "multitasking is the arch enemy of focus." To beat this enemy and sharpen your leadership focus, Fabritius and Hagemann recommend these seven the rest here

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Here's How Steve Jobs Drove Apple's Phenomenal Growth

Inc., May 6, 2017

By Theodore Kinni

"Innovate or die," declared management philosopher Peter Drucker. But innovation is easier said than done. Established players like Procter & Gamble have departments full of people devoted to continuously launching "new-and-improved" products, while investor-funded newcomers like Airbnb can afford to burn through billions of dollars annually in the quest to disrupt their markets. How are you supposed to beat fierce, deep-pocketed competitors like them at the innovation game?

David Robertson, a Wharton professor who studies and teaches innovation and product development, thinks there is another way to innovate that is different from the incremental innovation of a P&G and the big-bang disruption of an Airbnb. In his new book, The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation (with Kent Lineback, Harvard Business Review Press, May 2017), he describes this 'Third Way' as complementary innovation and explains how you can use it to gain a competitive advantage for your the rest here

Monday, May 1, 2017

To Fire or Not to Fire: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Let Someone Go

Inc., May 1, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

Reruns of The Celebrity Apprentice notwithstanding, firing people is not much fun. It's costly, too: studies show that firing and replacing an employee costs anywhere from thousands of dollars to two times the employee's annual salary. That's why you want to be sure you are making smart firing decisions.

But aside from the obvious cases (I'm thinking of you, Bill O'Reilly), how do you know if and when you should fire an employee? Kim Scott offers some savvy advice on that very topic in her new book, Radical Candor: Be A Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity (St. Martin's Press, March 2017). Scott, an entrepreneur who did stints at Google and Apple before founding training consultancy Candor, Inc., says that before you fire someone, you should ask yourself three the rest here