Weekly Newsletter: January 5

I collect articles from around the web for this weekly newsletter. It includes all the interesting things that I’ve seen over the week in management, leadership and strategy (plus any blog posts).

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This week in Leadership

Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy
“Hsieh told the crowd on that rainy November afternoon, ‘Darwin said that it’s not the fastest or strongest that survive. It’s the ones most adaptive to change.'”

The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence
“In some jobs, being in touch with emotions is essential. In others, it seems to be a detriment. And like any skill, being able to read people can be used for good or evil. “when a leader gave an inspiring speech filled with emotion, the audience was less likely to scrutinize the message and remembered less of the content. Ironically, audience members were so moved by the speech that they claimed to recall more of it.”

Setting Vague Goals Can Help You Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions
“Presenting information in a vague way – for instance using numerical ranges or qualitative descriptions – “allows you to sample from the information that’s in your favor,”

Too Many Choices Can Derail Success
“When people are close to achieving something, whether it’s as challenging as losing weight or as simple as earning enough points to get a free cup of coffee, having more than one possible path leading to success can actually derail it”

How The Scarcity Trap Affects Our Thinking And Behavior
“A Harvard economist finds there are psychological connections between the bad financial planning of many poor people and the poor time management of busy professionals. In both cases, he finds the experience of scarcity causes biases in the mind that exacerbate problems.”

How Language Seems To Shape One’s View Of The World
“Lera Boroditsky once did a simple experiment: She asked people to close their eyes and point southeast. A room of distinguished professors in the U.S. pointed in almost every possible direction, whereas 5-year-old Australian aboriginal girls always got it right. She says the difference lies in language… the Australian aboriginal language doesn’t use words like left or right. It uses compass points, so they say things like “that girl to the east of you is my sister.”

3 Things a Great Leader Would Never Say
“Great leadership is hard. Very occasionally, it’s pretty simple– like just not saying dumb things like
“Don’t bring me any surprises.”; “If you were an animal, what kind of an animal would you be?”; and “Don’t take it personally.”

This week in Management

Being Nice to New Hires Is Good for Business
“Bottom Line: The initial support given to new hires by co-workers and supervisors has a powerful effect on the newcomers’ attitudes and performance months down the line, laying the groundwork for employees’ success.”

5 Big Discoveries About Personal Effectiveness in 2013
“In 2013, we continued to push the boundaries of what we know about ourselves; going boldly into questions no researcher has gone before. Like, what should we do when we need a little lift – take a run, have a coffee, or grab a beer? Here are some of the year’s bigger findings about how we can be more effective at any kind of work.”

How hot-desking offices can wreck productivity
”Co-worker interruptions, auditory and visual distractions all combine to make focus work the modern office’s most compromised work mode,” she found. Who could have known?”

New Problems, New Approaches: The Rise of the Generalist
“The new Generalist is in fact a master of their trade. They bring expertise and experience in several areas, fueled by insatiable curiosity and the ability to “hyper-learn” new concepts and ideas.”

The Risky Business of Paternity Leave
“When men take time off to care for family members, their long-term earnings suffer—just as women’s do. Here’s why it’s worth it.”

Why Men Fear Small Babies
“New fathers are reluctant to take paternity leave for a lot of reasons. One might be sheer terror.”

This week in Strategy

How technology is destroying jobs
“Advanced digital technologies are also changing employment opportunities. Indeed, there is growing—albeit still controversial—evidence that automation, artificial intelligence, and advanced software could be destroying more jobs than they are creating. In “How Technology Is Destroying Jobs,” MIT Technology Review’s editor, David Rotman, explained how economists and technologists are thinking about the future of work.”

Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014
(Written by Isaac Asimov in 1964)

“Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica (shown in chill splendor as part of the ’64 General Motors exhibit).”

The Top 10 McKinsey Posts of 2013
Pretty self explanatory, really.

Top Ten Business Insights of 2013 from GSB Stanford
“From how to tell an engaging business story to how childhood inexperience with household chores can shape political views, here is our list of the most popular business insights we published in 2013.”

Can-Do vs. Can’t-Do Culture
“The trouble with innovation is that truly innovative ideas often look like bad ideas at the time. That’s why they are innovative — until now, nobody ever figured out that they were good ideas. Creative big companies like Amazon and Google tend to be run by their innovators. Larry Page will unilaterally fund a good idea that looks like a bad idea and dismiss the reasons why it can’t be done.”

The Three Most Innovative Companies of 2013
“If you want a fun ice-breaker at your next team meeting, ask people to guess which three companies made it to the top 50 on all four lists [of the most innovative companies in 2013] (only 29 made it on two or more, and only seven are on three or more). You can even give a hint – two of the three are technology companies from America’s West coast, and one is from Asia.”


Management.Disrupted is a blog about management beyond the production line. Thoughts on better management, leadership and strategy for knowledge work from Steve Pell.

Visit the website at www.managementdisrupted.com or follow me on Twitter @stevepell.

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