Leadership Secrets

Forbes had an article on leadership secrets that folks don’t talk about. It was pretty well written a spot on as far as I can see. The writer wants to distinguish that the manufacturing style command structure is going away and to be a great leader, you have to be a great follower as well. Here’s their list:

  • Great Followers Seize the Initiative
  • Great Followers Create their Own Job
  • Great Followers are Coachable
  • Great Followers Anticipate
  • Great Followers are Great Communicators
  • Great Followers are Goal Driven
  • Great Followers Show Don’t Tell
  • Great Followers Earn Trust
  • Great Followers Offer Solutions
  • Great Followers are Compassionate
  • Great Followers are Loyal

Decision Fatigue

Late last year, the New York times ran a long expose on how people wear down under repeated decision making. If you spend all day shopping for stuff (evil, evil stuff), looking for a new house, all day meetings at work, and so on, your ability to make critical decisions wears down. From the article:

Once you’re mentally depleted, you become reluctant to make trade-offs, which involve a particularly advanced and taxing form of decision making. In the rest of the animal kingdom, there aren’t a lot of protracted negotiations between predators and prey. To compromise is a complex human ability and therefore one of the first to decline when willpower is depleted. You become what researchers call a cognitive miser, hoarding your energy. If you’re shopping, you’re liable to look at only one dimension, like price: just give me the cheapest. Or you indulge yourself by looking at quality: I want the very best (an especially easy strategy if someone else is paying). Decision fatigue leaves you vulnerable to marketers who know how to time their sales, as Jonathan Levav, the Stanford professor, demonstrated in experiments involving tailored suits and new cars.

The biggest take away is that if you’re going to be making lots of decisions, bring some candy with you.

How To Change The World

Guy Kawasaki has posted his thoughts on Steve Jobs. He listed 12 principles that Steve followed to success

  1. Experts are clueless.
  2. Customers cannot tell you what they need.
  3. Jump to the next curve.
  4. The biggest challenges beget best work.
  5. Design counts.
  6. You can’t go wrong with big graphics and big fonts.
  7. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence.
  8. “Value” is different from “price.”
  9. A players hire A+ players.
  10. Real CEOs demo.
  11. Real CEOs ship.
  12. Marketing boils down to providing unique value.

No More E-mail Folders

An article flew by yesterday that highlights e-mail folders as a waste of time. This is the philosophy behind the GMail inbox.

Filing email in folders is a waste of timeIf you file your emails into folders in your email program you’re wasting your time, according to a study by IBM Research. The 345-user study found that people who used the search function in their email program could find relevant emails as easily as those who had categorised each email into folders.

Finding emails by searches took on average 17 seconds, versus 58 seconds finding the emails by folder. The likelihood of success – that is, finding the intended email – was no greater when it had been filed in a folder.

CEO Pay & Performance

More studies keep coming out that show a decoupling from CEO pay and performance. From this study:

The researchers studied how three levels of incentives affected performance of different tasks. Confirming their hypothesis, but likely confounding those compensation-setting boards, the academics found that while performance often improved from low-incentive to midlevel-incentive, it decreased across the board when incentives were at the highest level.

US Tax Levels vs GDP

Lane Kenworthy has posted an excellent write-up on whether high tax levels affect GDP. He walks through a comparison of the United Stats vs Denmark vs Sweden and observed that, despite higher tax levels in Denmark and Sweden, the countries have very similar metrics on economic growth.

Lane sums up with:

A challenge

At what point does the harmful impact of taxes on the economy kick in? And how large is it? The Danish and Swedish experiences over the past generation pose a challenge for those who believe the answers to these two questions are “somewhere below 50% of GDP” and “large.” It’s a challenge that in my view has yet to be met.

I take no position on tax policy other than there is absolutely zero data being injected into the conversations happening in Congress right now. Any battle being fought on dogmatic terms instead of with data is doomed from the get-go.

Hat tip to Economist’s View