Management Improvement Carnival: 2012 Edition

This is the third consecutive year when I am hosting the Annual Management Improvement Carnival organized by John Hunter. Hosting this carnival is an opportunity for me to thank a few generous folks who extended significant learning and influenced me through their writing.

This year, I review three blogs that I have loved reading.

Seth Godin’s Blog

If there is one person on blogosphere who has influenced me the most (through his words and deeds), that person is Seth Godin. I reviewed Seth’s blog last year as well apart from doing “one-question interview and review” for his books “Linchpin” and “Poke the Box”. This time around, I will point you to 5 best posts and snippets written by Seth in 2012:

  1. Who Cares?: Caring, it turns out, is a competitive advantage, and one that takes effort, not money.”
  2. Can I see your body of work?: “Are you leaving behind an easily found trail of accomplishment? Few people are interested in your resume any more. Plenty are interested in what you’ve done.”
  3. Perfect and Impossible: “If you are in love with the perfect, prepare to see it swept away. If you are able to dream of the impossible, it just might happen.”
  4. If your happiness is based on always getting a little more than you’ve got…: “An alternative is to be happy wherever you are, with whatever you’ve got, but always hungry for the thrill of creating art, of being missed if you’re gone and most of all, doing important work.”
  5. Don’t expect applause: “If your work is filled with the hope and longing for applause, it’s no longer your work–the dependence on approval has corrupted it, turned it into a process where you are striving for ever more approval.”

Jamie Flinchbaugh

Jamie Flinchbaugh writes on lean, transformational leadership and entrepreneurial excellence. His blog offers very useful perspectives and insights on leading an effective enterprise. Here are 3 posts and snippets that I enjoyed reading so far, and you will too:

  1. Standard work is not a replacement for skill and knowledge: Standard work is not a replacement for skill and knowledge, it’s purpose to enable skill and knowledge to be applied consistently and effectively. Most work cannot be done by robots; it is done by people. And so standard work must be designed for our needs, as an aid, not a crutch nor a hindrance.”
  2. 4 myths about the principle of “Respect for People”: “Conflict leads to resolution. Conflict leads to new understanding. Conflict, when managed properly, brings people together.”
  3. The failure of “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions!”: “I believe one of the utmost hallmarks of a lean organization is that someone can talk very openly about the problems which they have no idea how to solve yet.”

Sharlyn Lauby’s HR Bartender

Sharlyn Lauby runs a very popular HR blog and loves to call herself “HR Bartender”. However, her blog focuses on topics that relate to the workplace, not just human resources. 3 posts and snippets from HR Bartender that I enjoyed reading the most are:

  1. Your Company’s Next Innovation Will Be the Result of Empathy: “Then comes the hard part. It’s tough to take the conversation and turn it into practice. We can talk about empathy but how many of us can really demonstrate it?”
  2. Projects Are the New Job Interview: The things we take on, the projects we agree to be a part of, define us. Because people are watching. They are paying attention to what we do. We may or may not even know it. And guess what? Maybe we’re being “interviewed” all along and don’t even realize it.”
  3. 5 Qualities of Professional People: “Part of gaining respect is being able to say “I don’t know.” Be the best you can at what you do and don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something.”

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Related Posts:

  1. People Focus – 2010 Management Improvement Carnival
  2. Annual Management Improvement Carnival: Edition 1 (2011)
  3. Annual Management Improvement Carnival: Edition 2 (2011)

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April 2012 Carnival of Leadership Development: Earth Day Edition

Namaste! Welcome to the April 1st 2012 Carnival of Leadership Development. I’d like to dedicate this edition of Carnival to Earth Day 2012, celebrated every year on 22nd April as a movement to protect the beautiful planet we all have inherited.

This month, we again have a great line up of posts on leadership, management and talent development. BIG Thanks to carnival leader Dan McCarthy from Great Leadership for allowing me to host this event. So here they go, in no particular order:

Dan McCarthy guides us on How to Discuss a Problem with Your Manager. Dan was recently reminded by a younger employee how intimidating it can be for an employee to bring up an issue with a manager. In this post, he explains why it’s important to be able to address a problem with your manager and how to do it.

Jesse Lyn Stoner outlines 5 Important Leadership Lessons You Learned in Kindergarten. Whether you are facing challenges as a result of changes in the economy, new opportunities because of advances in technology, or already have a good idea you want to implement, these five leadership lessons can make the difference between a successful outcome and a false start. The good news is: you already learned them in kindergarten. All you need to do is remember to use them.

Mary Jo Asmus tells us “Don’t Leave Your Heart at Home”. Many leaders feel they need to be serious and tough at work. This post is an argument for the importance of leading with your heart as well as your brain.

In her post titled “Of Money, Trust and ElephantsMiki Saxon points that focusing on profits doesn’t make a company more profitable, while focusing on customer service usually does. Great customer service rests solidly on a foundation of trust and its lack is the elephant many bosses choose to ignore.

Wally Bock has been training and coaching first-time bosses for more than a quarter century and has learned some things along the way. Wally shares this wisdom in his post “What I’ve learned from 25 years of working with first-time bosses

At Lead Change Group, Kate Nasser helps leaders question their values via her post “Leaders, Do Your Pet Peeves Disengage Employees?”. Pet peeves masquerade as values giving them hidden power over your leadership style.

Tim Milburn presents “Three Traits Of A Lifelong Leader

In his post “Leaders, Change What You Pay Attention To”, Blanchard’s culture guru S. Chris Edmonds outlines why leaders should apply time, attention, messaging, and reinforcement of BOTH performance expectations AND values demonstration.

David Burkus at LeaderLab presents “How Good Leaders Become Bad Bosses” outlining leadership burn out and entropy.

Bret Simmons takes a fresh look at leadership and management in his post “The Difference Between Management And Leadership

Leaders often think that enthusiasm alone will help them get their teams lined up behind a vision. Jennifer V. Miller, in her post “How To Gain Buy-In from Your Team” outlines why this isn’t true and describes two other key components needed to gain buy-in from team members.

Gwyn Teatro presents Leadership Lessons from Ernest Hemingway’s story “The Old Man and the Sea”.

Robyn McLeod at The Thoughtful Leaders Blog presents “Bucket filling as a leadership competency”. Bucket filling technique is used in schools to teach children the value of compassion, respect and kindness. This post looks at how leaders can be more effective by practicing “bucket filling” in the workplace.

Mary Ila Ward at Horizon Point Consulting presents a post titled “Queen Bee Syndrome” with an interesting take on women and leadership.

Flashing back to his days in the headquarters of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Michael Wade of outlines 10 key qualities of effective staff officers (equally applies to great leaders)

Art Petty at Management Excellence presents “At Least 10 More Things to Stop Doing if You’re the Boss

Jane Perdue presents “7 Ways to Maintain Momentum”. The next time you’re cruising down the highway and see the road sign that reads “keep moving, change lanes later” – smile and follow these seven tips!

It is easy to feel victimized when your ideas are rejected by your Boss. Soon, you will be in a leadership position and people that are following you will start feeling the same. Rajesh Setty offers a fresh look at the problem in his post “Is Your Boss Killing Your Ideas?

Laura Schroeder’s post “Think Moneyball” emphasizes on important fact that the war for talent is won from within.

Lynn Dessert at Elephants at Work blog presents How to introduce an assessment to the team.

In his post, Sustainable Means More Than Recycling, Mark Bennet nudges us to think what can happen when leadership is focused on how they manage talent and shape behaviors to the same extent it is focused on strategy and structure.

In his post “The Truth About Your Time”, Kevin Eikenberry dispels the myth that leaders don’t have enough time and challenges us to have a proper perspective of time.

Utpal Vaishnav states that if we learn to look beyond what’s normal, if we learn to be unreasonable, we can enter into realm of new possibilities and make a difference. Check out his post: Want to Make a Difference? Be Unreasonable.

Linda Fisher Thornton writes about “The Adaptability Paradox” – difficulty we have as leaders staying current and “learning through” change.

Many leaders are afraid of change rather than seeing it as an opportunity to move forward and build a stronger organization. Are You Ready for Change? by Guy Farmer provides some signs to assess “change readiness” of your organization.

Kurt Harden in his post “On Reaching Out” suggests that we speak clearly in business world rather than succumb to the urge to fall in the herds of business men and women who speak jargon.

That’s it for this month’s edition. Thank you to all the bloggers who submitted their posts this month and I hope you enjoy reading/learning from these brilliant posts!

Annual Management Improvement Carnival: Edition 1

It is always a great privilege to participate in Annual Management Improvement Carnival organized by John Hunter. I am thrilled to play the host at QAspire and I will be featuring my “four favorite” blogs in two editions. From time to time, these blogs educate me, stir up my thinking, change/challenge me and help me grow.

In this first edition, lets look at the first two blogs that I *love* reading.

Seth Godin’s Blog

Seth Godin needs no introduction – he is the most amazing thinker, doer, initiator, instigator and change agent. He inspires me (and the world) through his words and deeds. Finding a few posts that I really liked over last few years is just like showing a small tip of a huge iceberg, but I will still attempt! Here are the ones that really touched me:

  1. Self directed effort is the best kind: “The thing I care the most about: what do you do when no one is looking, what do you make when it’s not an immediate part of your job… how many push ups do you do, just because you can?
  2. You matter: “When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.”
  3. The paradox of expectations:it’s worth considering no expectations. Intense effort followed by an acceptance of what you get in return. It doesn’t make good TV, but it’s a discipline that can turn you into a professional.

Bonus Resources:

  1. Blogger J. D. Meier compiled one of the best posts titled “Lessons Learned From Seth Godin”. Some of the best insights, blog posts and ebooks from Seth Godin, all at one place.
  2. Fellow friend Ivana Sendecka compiled “15 Must Watch Videos Collection of Seth Godin’s Wisdom”. A wonderful mash-up of Seth Godin’s best videos.
  3. Reviews of Seth Godin’s books “Poke the Box” and “Linchpin” at QAspire (containing one question interview with Seth).

Work Matter (Bob Sutton’s Blog)

Robert Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. I have been a regular reader of Bob’s blog Work Matters where he writes about innovation, learning and leadership. His new book is Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best–and Learn from the Worst. Some of his best posts I like includes:

  1. New Research: We Are More Creative When We Help Others Than Ourselves:There is an interesting set of findings from psychological experiments that suggest we see others’ flaws and strengths more clearly than our own (I wrote about this in Good Boss, Bad Boss) and that, on average, human-beings make more rational decisions when make them for others rather than themselves.
  2. 17 Things I Believe: Updated and Expanded:Strive for simplicity and competence, but embrace the confusion and messiness along the way.
  3. 11 Signs You’re A Bad Boss: From AMEX OPEN Forum: One of them, “Implementation is for the little people. Your job is to develop and talk about big ideas, not to waste time thinking about all the little steps required to make them happen.”

Bonus Resources:

People Focus – 2010 Management Improvement Carnival

Samba Carnival at Helsinki 2009 - Photo by Tanmay Vora

Samba Carnival at Helsinki 2009 - Photo by Tanmay Vora

Some of my most significant learning in quality and continuous improvement have come from John Hunter’s Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog. This year, John invited me to participate in 2010 Annual Management Improvement Carnival, and I was thrilled to host it on this blog.

The prime focus of this carnival is people development – and I have the honor of reviewing three amazing HR and leadership development bloggers – all of whom I have learned something significant from in this year – and list some of their best posts in 2010.

Great Leadership by Dan McCarthy

Dan has built an amazing community of leadership thinkers, writers and practitioners through his blog titled “Great Leadership” and by initiating/hosting ‘Carnival of Leadership Development’. So, here are three posts from Great Leadership blog that I enjoyed the most in 2010:

  • The Best Career Advice You Will Ever Get” – I loved reading all parts and I think you should too. Some very valuable career advice there.
  • Great Employees Trump Perfect Processes – This post resonated with me so well because as an amateur practitioner, I thought processes were silver bullets. Many years later, now, I now believe that good people are at the core of any Quality Management System.
  • How to Discuss an Employee Performance Problem – This is one thing most leaders hate doing, and Dan offered some excellent tips to handle such situations. This post is a must read if you are a supervisor/manager at any level.

Renegade HR by Chris Ferdinandi

Chris writes short and thought provoking posts on HR, hiring great people and letting them do amazing job. I have been following the blog for last few months and this carnival enabled me to dig into the older posts written earlier this year. Here are my favorite three:

  • Renegade HR: Getting Started – This post offers four simple-yet-difficult-to-practice ideas that forms the core of Renegade HR. The fundamental belief? “A great organization starts with the people you bring into it.
  • 21 Random Ideas About HR – This is a great list that offers some radical ideas on HR. My favorite? “Curiosity and drive are more important than experience.
  • HR Should Put Itself Out of Business – Check this post out to know the new ways for HR to become even more awesome as a business function.

Glyn Lumley  – The HR Maverick

It is unfortunate that Glyn Lumley is not blogging anymore (a very recent announcement), but I am grateful to him for having shared some insights while implementing Deming’s system of management. Here are a few posts I particularly liked:

  • Down with staff suggestions! – This post takes a dig at the traditional staff suggestion systems and emphasizes on the fact that instead of people suggesting improvements, they should be an integral part of improvement process. I agree!
  • Questions about appraisal – An excellent post that suggests a continuous feedback system through effective coaching as a great alternative to meet performance goals.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your wisdom/insights to enlighten and educate me in 2010.