Here are a few posts from other bloggers that I think you will enjoy.
First up is a post called Life's Too Short to Do Business With People You Don't REALLY Want To from Crossroads Dispatches. It's a great post on the importance and VALUE of building genuine relationships. Evelyn also shares the benefits of blogging relative to this. Managers and marketers can benefit from this topic, too. Consider: 1. How easy and pleasant (or difficult and unpleasant) your employees, peers, and customers find it to work with you. 2. The extent that you openly relate to people you come in contact with (in person or virtually). 3. How evocative your messages are - can people see them selves in the conversation, do they get caught up in your product or service?
Creating Passionate Users offers this funny but tragic post on the uselessness of performance appraisals. My regular readers know that I was nodding affirmatively the whole time while reading this. Managers, please read this post a couple times. I know that many of you work for corporations that impose forced curves and restrictions on performance ratings. Fight them if you can. I have been a Director of HR and I know the reasons these practices get put in place. 1. The assumption that many managers will rate people higher than they deserve (this it true, BTW, but forced ratings is not the solution). 2. The belief in a behaviorially based model of work that reinforces that forced distributions are a good thing. 3. The belief that forced ranking weeds out poor performers and motivates those who do not make it into the top 10%. Whatever, it's all bunk. It's all just so stupid and the managers and employees subjected to this type of system know it (I am betting the HR folks know it too). So managers, do what you can to avoid this nonsense.
Point #2, which may sound like a contradiction but isn't: Managers, please do not be gutless when it comes to being honest with an employee about their weaknesses or ways in which their work is only average. I have seen many managers use the "I was told I could not give you an outstanding rating" excuse because they did not have the courage to say why the employee DESERVES a lower rating. You should assert yourself to change the system for the better, but then take ownership of making the appraisal conversation as productive as possible. The "my hands are tied" conversation does not portray you in the positive light you think it does (it basically says, my manager is powerless). Also it is never appropriate to discuss the ratings of others. I know, employees find out about them anyway, but they should not from you.
I live for the day when we can blow up the typical performance evaluation system for good!
I really like this post from Matt over at Ideas, Leadership, and Vision called, Priorities... Matt shares a recent leadership seminar learning take-away about the difference between what we know our priorities to be and how we spend our time. This is a topic I have written on a few times and I agree with Matt that these are important questions to ask often:
"What activity or activities could you do at the office that would produce the best, most desired results?"
"What is it that you spend most of your time doing?"
Often what we spend the most time doing is not what would make the greatest difference.
Don, over at Leadership. Now. shares and builds upon a great post by Bren at Slacker Manager about how to read business books. I was intending on sharing Bren's post anyway, and I like what Don has added to it. In partiucular, I like Don's suggestion that we need to read or get off the pot. In other words, instead of letting our "to read someday" pile get enormous and become clutter, we should pick what we are going to read and get rid of the stuff we will not likely ever get to. The piles (however well intended we are) will get in the way of our peace of mind and mental clarity. Bren offers a plethora of great tips for getting the most out of what you read - meaning that you can easily refer to the salient points later (something I am admittedly not very good at).
I wanted to point you to the last Business Blog Book Tour. The touring book was Category Killers by Robert Spector. I had the pleasure of meeting Robert recently - very interesting guy! Each stop on the tour explored the book in unique ways. Great reading. Here are all the links:
Most of the sites have multiple posts about Robert's book, so once you get to the site, click forward and backward a bit to get all the good stuff.
And last but not least, I'd like to share this great post from Writelife about how how flying generally stinks these days called, Come fly with me? No thanks. I can totally relate. I wonder if jobs with lots of required travel are harder to fill these days....I would think so. You'd have to pay me MUCH more to take a job that had lots of travel by plane, and even then I might not do it.
Perhaps we will see a resurgence of RV travel? Airstream anyone?