Silicon Valley engineers are notoriously difficult to manage. Google even went so far as to get rid of all management positions at one point, but soon realised the ensuing chaos was worse than having management. Still not happy with the old system, they embarked on numerous experiments to determine what makes a good manager. They tracked managers performance across projects, and found that the best had the following 8 characteristics:
Is a good coach
Empowers the team and does not micromanage
Expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
Is productive and results-oriented
Is a good communicator—listens and shares information
Helps with career development
Has a clear vision and strategy for the team.
Has key technical skills that help him or her advise the team
In economics, there has always been a big debate about what drives economic growth. In the end, economists have assumed that positive “shocks” to an economy just kind of happen. However, there have been some thinkers who looked inside the black-box and focused on entrepreneurship. Continue reading “The 3 Type Of Individuals That Transform Economies”
No lines, minimal instruction, then act – that’s the essence of improvisation. I attended an excellent taster session run by the City Academy earlier this week. We were told not to worry about failing and just have fun like a child. And, boy was it fun! By the end, we, ten strangers ,were falling over each other with laughter.
It’s better to be first than it is to be better.Gillette was the first safety razor, Heineken was the first imported beer in the US and Harvard the first college in the US. And who’s the best in each category? Most would conflate first with best. Moreover, how easy is it to remember the second? Who was the second person to the run the four minute mile after Roger Banister? Who was the second US president after George Washington?*
“We were promised flying cars and we got 140 characters” says Peter Thiel. He co-founded PayPal with Elon Musk, Palantir* and was the first outside investor in Facebook. Thiel is perhaps one of most original thinkers to come out of Silicon Valley. In his book “Zero to One”, he outlines his take on the world. Continue reading “Don’t Iterate, Be Bold”
I recently stumbled across a fascinating talk by the excellent Margaret Heffernan called “Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work”. She cited a study that showed that top-performing teams were those where each person spoke for an equal amount of time and were good at reading each other’s social cues. What did not matter was the individual intelligence of each team member. It was the quality of interactions, not the quality of the individuals that mattered. This turns the focus of companies on hiring and retaining stars on its head. Continue reading “Revolutionise Corporate Performance”
The above utterance of Dieter Rams best sums up his approach. He was the Chief Design Officer at Braun, the German consumer products group, from 1961 until 1995. His aesthetic and influence can be seen today in Apple products. As for his philosophy he outlined ten for good design, these included: Continue reading “Weniger Aber Besser. Less But Better.”