Check out this 7 minute podcast - I was Nick McCormick's guest for his management tip podcast series. My tip has to do with hassle - or getting rid of it. See all the tip and hear all the tipsters here.
Do you act with a true sense of urgency or a false one? Check out this podcast!
During this 22 minute podcast, I chat with Dr. John Kotter, author of A Sense of Urgency. This is a wonderful book (Dr. Kotter has written 17!) about the key factor that often determines whether change efforts are successful or a failure (70% fail, only 10% exceed expectations). Dr. Kotter graduated from MIT and Harvard and is Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School. I have been a fan of Dr. Kotter's work for a long time, so it was a real honor to chat with him on the podcast. Check it out! This is a podcast you will want to share with colleagues. I highly recommend the book for all managers and leaders.
I have been traveling over the last few days and three thoughts popped into my pea brain that I thought were worth sharing. Interestingly, they all can be organized under the title of this post - be careful what you ask for... The first is a question. Do you know when it is time to give in? As managers, we often SAY we want independent thinkers who will challenge us or who will ask lots of questions. That said, I know of many managers who seem unwilling to change their minds about things. They are unwilling to make accommodations to previous decisions or to say, "sure, I could accommodate that," or "that sounds like a better plan, thanks."
These managers get entrenched by their initial thoughts and decisions. And I think they believe that if they give in, it means that they were wrong about the situation and that being wrong is unacceptable. Is it better to be right and hated or to be wrong and respected? Managers who say they welcome questions and opinions but then fail to allow others to influence them are hypocrites and they are often the type of managers that make people want to leave. The second topic is an observation. Bloggers, of particularly professional blogs (ones that deal with topics, not a person's personal comings and goings), start their blogs with hopes of being read. We all want to share our 2 cents and hope that increasingly large numbers of people will find the words valuable and interesting.
At the same time we build audience, we become noticed by the PR machines for every book author, software developer, and professional who is seeking publicity. At first, the attention is very nice. We get free books and get links to press releases and such.
I do enjoy the direct links to top shelf authors as I can get some great guests for my podcast through these PR firms pitching the latest books. But I could do a podcast a day every day and still not cover all the book authors who are seeking exposure.
I am a bit weary of this attention (that I asked for by building the blog) for three reasons. First, it takes a lot of time to weed through it all. I get many emails every day from PR firms with pitches.
Second, although it may seem that by getting this attention I am in the know in some unique way, this is not the case. The same PR firms are pitching all the other blogs like Management Craft and if we all say "yes" then you, the readers, see similar posts appear on many blogs at once (pleasing only the PR firm). So there is nothing exclusive or special about this attention.
Third, the attention does not seem reciprocal. In other words, I have not seen that these PR firms have an interest in helping ME or my blog. Do they believe that they are giving me the "gift" of their pitch and perhaps a few free books and that this ought to be enough? If we are talking about great thinkers and a great books (like the Drucker book I covered for my last podcast or Marcus Buckingham or Marshall Goldsmith or John Kotter) they are right - I see this as a win-win.
But I will tell you, most of these pitches are not that interesting. Not that novel. And many cover topics that I don't cover on Management Craft. I say "no" to the vast majority of pitches.
The third topic is a reflection. Like most people, I was watching TV on the night of the election, flipping from channel to channel to see who had the most interesting things to say. I give the award of most intelligent, interesting and provocative comment to Tavis Smiley. I admit, and perhaps I should be ashamed of this, that I don't know much about Tavis Smiley (I now know he has a show on PBS and is a bit like a younger version of Charlie Rose in that he asks smart questions and is reflective). I don't even remember the channel, but Smiley was asked what was going through his mind upon hearing that Obama won the election and he commented on how this election was unique in the amount of energy and interest it created. And that more people seemed engaged. His comment was that this is a moment of truth and it will be interesting to see what Obama does with this energy (use it or let it evaporate).
We have the same challenge in business. Many of us don't use, or waste, the energy we great or enable. After a while, people learn that detachment is less painful.
When we seek something - whether it be engangement in the political process, independent team members or attention in the blogosphere - we should also think about what we will do if we get what we want. And how we respond will determine whether our citizens, employees, readers or colleagues stick with us or turn away.