Saturday, 19 July 2008

Interesting Links (July 2008)

Heads in the Sand on Succession Planning

This month provides an insightful report on succession planning recently undertaken by Novations

"A survey of more than 2,500 senior HR executives by consultancy Novations Group has found that, nominally, succession planning among North American firms seems to be in relatively good shape, with just seven per cent of firms admitting to having no succession planning in place at all.

But peel back the figures and a more worrying picture emerges, it reported. More than a fifth said that, even though they had succession planning in place, it was valueless because, as often as not, they ended up recruiting someone externally anyway."


Can Google Lengthen Our Attention Span?

Writing in the Harvard Business blog, Diane Coutu started an interesting discussion on the impact of Google on challenging the thinking of individuals

"Here are a few suggestions for increasing your curiosity quotient – and how Google can help:

Don’t be afraid to look dumb. Infants are born passionately curious. They instinctively explore, investigate, and test their environments. Tragically, many of us develop inhibitions as we get older and grow afraid of appearing ignorant. Yet we will never increase our level of curiosity unless we give ourselves permission to formulate and test new hypotheses — and to be productively stupid. The beauty of Google is that it allows us to be stupid in private. Are you not sure which countries make up the G8? Not to worry. Google it.
Never stop questioning. As a number of people have observed: “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.” Google helps us ask why. When I looked up the word curiosity in Wikipedia, for example, I read that curiosity is an “emotion.” That didn’t sound right, so I googled Freud and found that he described curiosity as a “derivative of the sexual instinct.” That seemed to me an oversimplification as well. In having me quickly place the two alternatives side by side, Google made me question the differences between emotions and instincts. It encouraged me to think critically.
Expose yourself to lots of different experiences.People, travel, play, and books can all introduce you to exciting new worlds. Google can, too. Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor’s memoirs, which relate her sometimes incomprehensible spirituality after suffering a stroke, reminded me of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s lectures on transcendentalism. I googled Emerson’s essay on “Nature,” where he wrote about becoming a “transparent eyeball.” Yikes. Emerson and Taylor’s experiences have quite a lot in common. So I googled mysticism, and the more I read on the subject, the more curious I became about the brain and the varieties of religious experience. That led to a whole new Google search."

To read the whole article & associated comments - click here


Let’s Hear It for B Players

Also from Harvard is this easy to digest article on managing so-called 'B' players.

The authors state "These supporting actors of the corporate world determine your company’s future performance far more than A players—volatile stars who may score the biggest revenues or clients, but who’re also the most likely to commit missteps. B players, by contrast, prize stability in their work and home lives. They seldom strive for advancement or attention—caring more about their companies’ well-being. Infrequent job changers, they accumulate deep knowledge about company processes and history. They thus provide ballast during transitions, steadily boosting organizational resilience and performance.

Yet many executives ignore B players, beguiled by stars’ brilliance. The danger? If neglected, these dependable contributors may leave, taking the firm’s backbone with them. How to keep your B players? Recognize their value—and nurture them. "


Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership

From Time magazine:

  • Courage is not the absence of fear - it's inspiring others to move beyond it
  • Lead from the front — but don't leave your base behind
  • Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front
  • Know your enemy — and learn about his favorite sport
  • Keep your friends close — and your rivals even closer
  • Appearances matter — and remember to smile
  • Nothing is black or white
  • Quitting is leading too