Book Notes: For Managing, Motivating, and Designing Your Work Place

I was unsure if I wanted to do this book note category, but I felt more compelled to after I finished the series.

This section includes notes that caught my attention on hiring, managing, and interacting at work (as well as possibly a few other topics) that I thought could be very useful.

So to continue with the tradition of listing the books included;

  • Geoff Street & Andy Street, Who
  • Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto
  • Jane McGonigal, Realty is Broken
  • Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power
  • Steven Pressfield, War of Art
  • Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind (Jordan’s Review of The Righteous Mind)

Who: The A Method For Hiring

Geoff Street & Andy Street

Scorecard

What is this role all about?

Situations are replicable.

Be crystal clear on what you really hope them to accomplish

A scorecard is how you are going to judge the candidate based on predetermined characteristics. The next set of notes involve the recruiting, hiring, and interviewing process.

Who are the most talented people you know that I should hire?

  • Referrals from your professional and personal networks
  • Referrals from employees
  • Referrals from deputizing friends of the firm
  • Hiring recruiters, hiring researchers, and sourcing systems.

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Really find weaknesses. 5-8 or so things they don’t want to do professionally. No Cooke cutter strengths in disguise.

Follow up answers with what, how, tell me more questions

Spend first 20 minutes getting to know them then open up for questions

Reflect on how well they matched scorecard, are weaknesses manageable?

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Ask about highs and lows of educational background

Three p’s, previous, plan, peers.

You will have to interrupt person to dig into responses.

Do not hire someone who has been pushed out of 20 percent of their jobs.

Push vs Pull out of job

Being ‘pushed out’ can easily be inferred to probably be a bad thing. “Pulled-out” means they were recruited, or “pulled-up”, means they were recruited and advanced in their company.

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Ask what were weaknesses or things he was working on BACK THEN

If there is something that the candidate said might be brought up, frame the question like that so the person feels free to discuss it openly.

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You can see here there is a set of different interview guides that provide different ways of finding new hires. The important part is that your scorecard is rock solid, and that you don’t waiver—or rationalize—for a candidate later in the process.

Sell

Fit, family, freedom, fortune, fun

Have to be keep selling first 100 days to ward of buyers remorse.

Sell between the offer and then acceptance/denial period

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“A-Players” need to be sold on the job. This is because the person you want on your team is not only being recruited by your company, and they need to be sold on why your company was the right choice.

The Checklist Manifesto

Atul Gawande

The brain just can’t handle the memory or process perfectly every single time.

Boeing example from 1935 of B-17. Pilots required no further training just checklists for taking off, landing, etc.

An expert pilot died in the testing of a B-17 because he wasn’t able to follow all the instructions perfectly taking off and ascending. Once checklists were put into the cockpit to guide the pilot, the process could be done by non-experts. .

checklists provide a higher standard of baseline performance

“Man is fallible, but maybe men are less so.

. “…the real lesson is that under conditions of true complexity—where the knowledge required exceeds that of any individual and unpredictability reigns—efforts to dictate every step from the center will fail.”

The checklist provides that the dumb stuff gets done. But there is still discipline and responsibility and communication that need to take place around that to handle unpredictable situations.

It’s amazing how often “the dumb stuff” gets missed. Thinking you are too good for checklists can be a mistake.

5-9 items is good rule of thumb, but no need to be religious about it.

First drafts always fall apart in real world, they need to be tested and improved

READ-DO vs. DO-CONFIRM

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Here is a quick guide for creating and revising checklists. Checklists are used in the operating room, in the cockpit, and in constructing skyscrapers.

Think of the last mistake, the last easy-dumb mistake, that cost you or your company money. Could a checklist have prevented it?

Reality Is Broken

Jane McGonigal

Instrinsic rewards (things that make us happy) fall into four major categories

  • We crave satisfying work, immersion in clearly defined activities that allow us to see direct impact of efforts. Varies from person to person
  • the experience, or at least the hope, of being successful. Want to feel like we’re getting better over time, working towards a goal, show others that we’re good at something
  • social connection share experiences, build bonds, spend time with people you care about
  • meaning chance to be part of something larger than ourselves

Bestow on someone a specific goal, something to work towards and look forward to “The design of the work flow is key here: the game constantly challenging you to try something just a little bit more difficult than you’ve just accomplished.”

Important questions when looking at your current career, the position you are hiring for (or supervising). Lack of these items can be the cause of high turnover.

48 Laws of Power

Robert Greene

Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.

The higher your station the greater the need to remained attuned to the hearts and minds of those below you.

The two notes above have got to be the most important in a leadership position.

Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes

Know who you are replacing. What made them great, what made them not-so-great. You will absolutely be directly compared to them.

War of Art

Steven Pressfield

The amateur plays for fun. The professional plays for keeps. To the amateur the game is a avocation. To the pro it’s a vocation. The amateur plays part time, the professional full time. The amateur is a weekend warrior. Te professional is there seven days a week. The amateur comes from the Latin root meaning “to love” The conventional interpretation is that the amateur purses his calling out of love, while the pro does it for money. Not the way I see it. In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a sideline, distinct from his “real vocation. The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full time. That’s what I mean when I say turning pro. Resistance hates it when we turn pro.

The pro masters how, and leaves what and why to the gods.

The professional knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist

He is prepared each day to confront his own self sabotage.

All great motivations for putting in the work from Steven Pressfield.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

You will occasionally do more than your share but it is useful to know that you are likely to have that feeling even when each member of the team feels the same way.

The behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman brings some real perspective to how our minds work in teams. We are likely to overweight the work we have done, and underweight the work that someone else has done.

Many predictions can be inaccurate because causation is seen where there is correlation but the two are not truly correlated. It can be explained by regression to the mean.

Be wary of situations where one type of error (based on prediction) is much more costly than the other.

The probability of a rare event will often, by always be overestimated because of the confirmatory bias of memory. Thinking about that event, pu try to make it true in your mind. A rare event will be overweighted if it specifically attracts attention. Obsessive concerns, vivid images, concrete representations and explicit reminders all contribute to overweighting. And where there is not overweighting there will be neglect

Broader frames and inclusive accounts generally lead to more rational decisions

Sunk cost fallacy keeps people for too long in poor jobs, unhappy marriages, and unpromising research projects.

Decisions judged by how they are made. Not by how they turned out.

The underlined phrase is one of my favorite notes from the section. I think that should be the focus of every reflection or examination of result.

The above section of notes were grouped in decision making. Below is a great exercise that can be used during the decision making process.

Thwarting group think.. Gary Klein premortem: “Imagine that we are a year into the future. We implemented the plan as it now exists. The outcome was a disaster. Please take 5 to 10 minutes to write a brief history of that disaster.”

Israel army interviews: Pages 230 & 231: “Intuition adds value even in the justly derided selection interview, but only after a disciplined collection of objective information and disciplined scoring of separate traits.”

  1. select traits that are prerequisites for success in the position
  2. Don’t overdo it-6 is enough
  3. They should be as independent as possible from each other
  4. Should feel that you can assess them reliably by asking a few factual questions
  5. Make a list and think about how you will score those questions for each trait, on a 1-5
  6. Score each before you move on to the next
  7. Add up six scores
  8. “Close your eyes”
  9. Firmly resolve that you will hire the candidate whose final score is the highest

The “close your eyes” step is the one linked to the quote before the numbered process. The interviewer is supposed to see if they can actually picture this person in the position. Of course, there is a caveat.

Day Reconstruction Model: mood at work, for example, is largely unaffected by the factors that influence general job satisfaction, including benefits and status. More important are situational factors such as an opportunity to socialize with coworkers, exposure to loud noise, time pressure (a significant source negative affect) and the immediate presence of a boss.*

*important things to remember in work space

Organizations are better than individuals when it comes to avoiding errors

The Righteous Mind

Jonathan Haidt

According to Haidt, scholars Robert Hogan, Robert Kaiser, and Mark van Vugt argue that: leadership can only be understood as the complement of followership. Focusing on leadership alone is like trying to understand clapping by studying only the left hand. They point out that leadership is not even the more interesting hand; it’s no puzzle to understand why people want to lead. The real puzzle is why people are willing to follow. In order to create a transformational environment in the work place, Haidt offers three tips:

  • Increase similarity (values), not diversity (physical)
  • Exploit synchrony
  • Create healthy competition among teams, not individuals.
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