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TWH#S11: What I Read This Week
The Sunday Edition #11
Welcome to another TWH Sunday Edition. 👋
There is a lot of writing out there, and it’s not an easy thing to sift through and find the best signal. But my recurring realization is: what a time to be alive.
Yes, there’s a lot of pain and a lot of challenges. The world is unstable. But a) it has always been the case (and many would argue it’s never been better, generally speaking), and b) it’ll feel less so if you simply reject reading the news.
With that in mind, here’s my top five reads of the past week. I hope you enjoy them. And if that’s the case, please consider hitting the ❤️ button and sharing this issue.
(Total reading time: 27 min)
(Molly Graham • 4 min read)
“(…) it’s less about copying someone else’s system and more about HAVING a system in the first place. Map out how you want your weeks to flow, try it out, and revisit every 3-6 months.”
A very tactical guide for being in control of your calendar with the right starting point: clear priorities. Then it’s about making the difficult choices that make your calendar reflect them. As simple as that, made a tiny bit easier with the practices Graham writes about here.
(Deborah Grayson Riegel • 4 min read)
“That being said, there is a difference between being inclined to help someone and knowing what kind of help that person wants or needs. As a leader, you play an important role in helping others in a way that doesn’t rob them of their autonomy and ownership (micromanaging) or leave them wondering what they’re supposed to do next (under-leading).”
I believe future leaders and managers will be more coach-like, simply because we’re waking up to the idea that in complex systems you can’t centralize control and remain successful. But it’s so easy to give the wrong kind of help despite really wanting to help. This article is a good read for those who want to have a more coaching approach and lend the right kind of help.
(Adam Grant • 5 min read)
“When a man says yes, he gets showered with praise and rewards. What a mensch! I never expected him to care about another human being. If a woman says yes, it’s taken for granted. She loves to help.
Meanwhile, if a man says no, he gets away with it. He’s busy. If she says no, she gets punished. What a bitch. As a result, women get stuck with far more than their share the office housework, the non-promotable tasks, and the invisible mentoring.”
Adam Grant’s Give and Take is one of my favorite books, and on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, Grant revisits it by describing 5 chapters he would’ve added to it today. The quote above is a non-obvious realization about gender equality that I really appreciated reading. He’s right.
(Nick Brown • 9 min read)
“In theory flow efficiency seems like a good idea, however when you look at all those reasons above that it is simply not practical for teams and organisations to actually implement and put to effective use (without at least being clear they are using flawed data). (…) A better metric/use of your time is looking at blocker data and going after those that occur the most frequently and/or are the most impactful.”
This was a thought-provoking piece for me. I noticed an immediate negative jolt in my body when I read the title. But then my prefrontal cortex took over while reading the article. Brown makes excellent points and, in my opinion, does get to the heart of what really matters. It’s also a pretty good illustration of the danger of promoting metrics to goals.
(Steve Denning • 5 min read)
“Thus an established firm tends to operate as a complex adaptive system that functions like the auto-immune system of the human body. It has established ways of doing things supported by multiple processes and systems. If the goal of the firm is to make money for shareholders, it develops and processes and systems that collectively lead to the achievement of that goal.”
In a previous Hagakure, I explored what I call a silent disconnect: “senior leadership needs predictability which drives a desire for control in order to achieve the required results. But that control is inevitably exerted over a complex system, which is not only not amenable to it but is also largely unpredictable.” In this article, Steve Denning explores essentially the same breakdown, but from the point of view of HR reform. I believe future winners in the marketplace will be the ones that, by and large, are able to cross this chasm through different, more humane ways of working.
That’s it for this week’s Sunday Edition. Thanks for reading! Until the next edition, I wish you a great week ahead. 🙌
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