Here is the music playlist for May – as usual, a bit of a mixed bag of stuff, perhaps I should apply a theme to give the lists more structure.
I wish I could get The Beatles on Spotify. I am a big Beatles fan, but also someone who gets frustrated with the patchiness of many of the Fab Four’s output. Look at “Abbey Road” – a great album, really managed to capture an atmosphere, especially from “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” onwards – but then they ruin it with “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and “Octopus’s Garden” – what a pity they didn’t take those off and fill in the gaps with a couple of tracks from “Let It Be” … continued below …
I used to work with companies that felt they needed to get online, but didn’t really know what to do or how to do it.
I don’t just mean technically, that’s really the easy bit. There are plenty of great providers who can ensure you get the technical platform and performance you need, the hard bit is how can an organisation that has succeeded offline for years, adapt itself to the new environment.
This might be a reaction to a threat: business is slipping away as customers increasingly turn to online alternatives. Bookstores are a great example of this, most failed to adapt to the new terrain, held out as long as they could, then withered away.
It might also be a proactive move to take advantage of an opportunity. The offline business might be doing fine, but the company wants to explore opportunities and doesn’t want to miss out on getting out ahead of the pack.
Often this means transformational change …
… but not always …
When I read through my “Motivating people, not dogs” post after having published it, I wondered if my tough approach was unintentionally letting the manager off the hook.
It was this line that made me jump up with concern:
… if we make their lack of motivation more about us as managers rather than about them, we turn their failure into our failure, and give them an easy way out.
If this is so, then surely it works the other way around too? Can we turn our failure into their failure by not accepting that we are the major influence in the motivation of our teams.
The assumption throughout my argument was that the manager was competent – not perfect, but solid enough to live up to the end part of the post where I stated that it was the manager’s responsibility:
… to remove the demotivating factors as far as possible, and to manage the team properly …
… but you know what they say about assuming things: it makes an ass out of whoever it is that tells you what they say about assuming things.
Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This central thesis of this book is summed up perfectly in its own conclusion:
[M]icroscopic changes in brain functioning, made in a hundredth of a second, can sometimes create massive change in people’s lives.
That is what is argues: understand how your brain works, pay attention to what it’s doing, and take control of it to improve your work life.
Not just work, people who master the skills set out in this book are (according to its author at least):
… less stressed, have more fun, have a better relationship with their kids and even appear to have a better sex life. People like this tend to be healthier, contribute more to their communities, and even have longer lives.
The risk you take when you host an event in an art gallery is that the theme of the exhibition might not fit neatly with the event you’re holding.
I was too caught up in the whole thing to really notice – but people more observant than I felt the pictures of miserable desperation were not quite right for an event about excellence and innovation in e-commerce.
Fortunately, not even the guy with the gun to his head could detract from what was a really successful event.