feedback-matters February 19

Leadership hack 019 – feedback

Anders Ericsson found that truly world class performers invested more time in deliberate practice (see his seminal paper) than their less successful peers.  Anders defined deliberate practice as: “repeated experiences in which the individual can attend to the critical aspects of the situation and incrementally improve her or his performance in response to knowledge of results, feedback, or both from a teacher.” The importance of feedback […]

designthinking February 17

What you could learn from ‘Design Thinking’ by Nigel Cross (2011, 148 pages)

Design thinking is now cool.  Pepsi CEO has credited ‘deign thinking’ with turning her company around (see HBR here), and Stamford has set even set up an institute of design DSchool. What is design thinking? “Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically […]

51am8-0hapl-_sx320_bo1204203200_ February 11

What you could learn from ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ by Clayton Christensen (1997, 228 pages)

Customers train companies to allocate resources.  Customers only buy products and services they value, based on functionality, reliability, convenience & price.  This encourages well-managed companies to develop sustaining technologies that improve their existing products in ways that matters to their existing customers.  This focus on existing products and incremental improvements prevents companies from creating disruptive technologies. Clayton […]

4180zdv6jcl-_sx337_bo1204203200_ January 29

What you could learn from “Scrum: a Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction” by Chris Sims and Hillary Johnson (2012, 46 pages)

This is the best introduction to Scrum and Agile that I have read.  At 46 pages, if covers all the basics, specifically: The roles of: Product Owner Scrum Master Team Member The key events: Sprint planning Daily stand-up Story generation Sprint review Retrospective Read this book if you want to know the basics, or give […]

10064_500 January 19

What you could learn from ‘HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2017’ (2016, 200 pages)

Each year HBR publishes its most popular articles in a single book.  The type of articles and the topics they cover are a bellwether for what academics and global business leaders find important.   In the latest edition, the articles focus on data analytics, design thinking and innovation.  Below, I have briefly summarised what I felt where the most […]

bestbooks-blog January 18

The best business books I read in 2016

For 2016, I committed to reading a book a week.  While I only managed to read forty-six books, just short of my goal, I learnt some great lessons along the way. My top book on leadership was ‘Superbosses’ by Sydney Finkelstein (2016, 220 pages).  In the book, Syndey does a great job highlighting the role amazing […]

51rxadcekll-_sx328_bo1204203200_ January 17

What you could learn from ‘Team Genius’ by Rich Kalgaard and Michael Malone (2015, 250 pages)

How did the team that designed and delivered the US’s first ever fighter jet (P-80 Shooting Star) do it in less 143 days? In their book ‘Team Genius’ Rich and Michael suggest that there are five things contribute to team effectiveness. Stay as small as possible, and stick to optimum group sizes.  That is 7±2, […]

33e3465900000578-0-image-a-24_1462524234815 January 15

Leadership hack 018 – direction is more important than speed

As a leader, you have limited resources.  Your time and energy are finite, and so you must put these scarce resources into what really matters.   It is very easy not to look up, not to step back and see the wider picture, or what Heifetz call’s ‘getting onto the balcony‘. ‘Getting onto the balcony’ […]

difficult-conversations January 07

What could you learn from ‘Difficult Conversations’ by Douglas Stone (2016, 234 pages)

There is no magic wand to get people to bend to your will.  While I have explored persuasion in previous books reviews (Pre-suasion) and in my blog (here), there are elements I missed. In ‘Difficult Conversations’ Douglas Stone presents a compelling framework and set of tools that can help you understand the perspective of others and use […]

2017 Calender on the red cubes January 07

Leadership hack 019 – The one thing you can do to make the most of 2017

2016 was a tough year for most of us.  How was it for you? More importantly, what can you learn from it? I try to take two weeks off at Christmas.  This time off allows me to decompress and remind my wife and daughter what I look like, and also see my wider family.  I also […]

book December 09

What could you learn from ‘Pre-suasion’ by Robert Cialdini (2016, 233 pages)?

To be successful, you need to sell.  You may not be in sales or even interact with customers, but you will need to sell yourself.  You will need to convince people that you are the person to hire, that you are the person to trust with work and that you are the person that can […]

51wc-selovl-_sx342_bo1204203200_ November 29

What you can learn from ‘Innovation’ by Richard Foster (1986, 267 pages)

‘Innovation – The Attacker’s Advantage‘ is an old book.  Written in 1986, the author talks about the rise of compact disks and the new science of biotechnology.  However, there is much to be learned from this book. One of the main points that this book makes, is that all technology has its natural limits and […]