Handpicked: Speed Reading is not the goal, Inception levels, and Rule for Conflict

Handpicked: Speed Reading is not the goal, Inception levels, and Rule for Conflict

Plenty to share this week. I got through more podcasts and articles this week than I have in a while. Good ones too.

Enjoy.

Articles I Saved

A few themes emerged this week.

The first stemming from the end of The Obstacle is the Way, see below, where Tim Ferriss interviews Ryan Holiday about the book. That lead me to Ryan’s site, to his newsletter, and to the articles you see here.

The second I grouped as Workplace Culture. I don’t really know how to group these three articles, as there is so much in here I find interesting, about mindset and culture. They also stem from the article Forget Technical Debt. I subscribe to First Round’s newsletter, and every now and then a gem like this one appears. I have many saved links from this one article still to read.

And last, but not least, from Anecdotes monthly email newsletter a few articles on storytelling well worth a read.

Reading for Learning

Read to Lead: How to Digest Books Above Your “Level”

By Ryan Holiday

Reading to lead or learn requires that you treat your brain like the muscle that it is–lifting the subjects with the most tension and weight. For me, that means pushing ahead into subjects you’re not familiar with and wresting with them until you can–shying away from the “easy read”.

Great tips in here for anyone who reads to learn. I am definitely going to implement them.

The one I keep thinking about is the recommendation that you read the conclusion of the book first, or after the introduction. By knowing the ending, you can focus on the authors reasoning to get this.

You can focus on the why. You can concentrate on the proposition the author is putting forward, and why they have made the connections they have. Continue reading “Handpicked: Speed Reading is not the goal, Inception levels, and Rule for Conflict”

Handpicked: Interns Get Fired and A Fungus Network

Handpicked: Interns Get Fired and A Fungus Network

Articles I Saved

Building intentional networks that drive impact (part 1)

Intentional networks have shared purpose. They use network principles to design how they make decisions and coordinate projects. And they show up in the world in different ways than traditional, top-down authority structures

The role of structure in our lives, and in particular the workplace, is interesting.

Structure wins.

This article discusses intentionally creating structures that drive change.

I find the idea of decentralized networks interesting. This goes in hand with a theme discussed by Atul Gawande in The Checklist Manifesto. He talks about the increased difficulty controlling from the centre in a world that is more interconnected and complex.

This is one way of thinking about it.

The generation that can’t compete

I stumbled upon an interesting article this week, the cliff notes of which were a group of interns at a company did not like wearing formal clothes at work, so they (all but one of them) started a petition to change the company dress code. They were called into a meeting, which they assumed was to discuss the changes, and all of them were fired.

With an opening paragraph like that how can you not read on.

I recommend, as the author Barry Carter does, that you read the original post and comments. Continue reading “Handpicked: Interns Get Fired and A Fungus Network”

Handpicked: Hallelujah

Handpicked: Hallelujah

It has been a while since my last handpicked post as life got really busy for week or two.

Here is a collection of articles, podcasts, and even videos I have consumed over the last two weeks.

Articles I Saved

Mastering the Art of Observation with Dan Pink and Amy Herman

“You could be the best observer in the world but if you can’t communicate what it is that you see, it doesn’t do you any good.”

I want to do this course!

This conversation makes me think I could be Sherlock Holmes at work!

Seriously though, this is a skill worth cultivating. I have long held the idea of completing a drawing class so that I can learn to see how an artist sees.

All Models Are Wrong Some Are Useful

Even the best models of the world are imperfect. This insight is important to remember if we want to learn how to make decisions and take action on a daily basis.

I use models all the time at work. They are most often visual, as in a diagram of what I am seeing or hearing, but they can also exist in Excel and other forms.

This article is a great reminder that every model, or framework, is just one perspective. For as long as the perspective is useful, the model will be useful.

However the model is never the whole truth. Continue reading “Handpicked: Hallelujah”

Tell Me About A Time When … I Presented on Storytelling to the Brisbane BA Meetup

Tell Me About A Time When … I Presented on Storytelling to the Brisbane BA Meetup

Last night facilitated the monthly Brisbane Business Analysts Meetup on Storytelling.

Why? 

Well the more I learn about organisational story telling, the more I think it is a useful tool for a Business Analyst. I wanted to share this thought, and my experience learning about storytelling, with my peers.

Below is the script I wrote in preparation for the talk. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the talk was not recorded.

I veered off script immediately, as I knew I would. I embellished the talk with additional anecdotes and stories throughout. These are not captured here … as …. well … I can’t remember what they were … the impulse to tell a story welled up inside by and a story snuck out …

However, the structure of the talk below holds, and the key messages I wanted the audience to walk away are included.

Continue reading “Tell Me About A Time When … I Presented on Storytelling to the Brisbane BA Meetup”

What Does the Size of a Pizza Slice Teach Us?

What Does the Size of a Pizza Slice Teach Us?

Have you seen this video that went viral a few weeks ago?

If not have a look now before reading further.

It is tempting to judge harshly. It is obvious to the watching outsider, it makes no difference how many slices there are … it is still the same pizza.

Well, technically yes.

But that is not  how our minds work. That is not how we perceive what is going on around us.

Look at the following image. Continue reading “What Does the Size of a Pizza Slice Teach Us?”

Handpicked: Classifications, A Listening Politician, Grown Men Cry and Leceister City

Handpicked: Classifications, A Listening Politician, Grown Men Cry and Leceister City

Articles I Saved

Intertwingled Book Excerpt

Benchley’s Law – there are two kinds of people in the world, those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who don’t – points us in the right direction. To collaborate, we must admit ambiguity and complexity, and avoid premature classification.

41bj3omn05l-_sx332_bo1204203200_Intertwingled is in my top 10 non-fiction books. I enjoyed it enough to have read it twice within 12 months.

This article is one of a series of excerpt that Peter Morville, the author, has been writing from his books.

This article covers one of the core messages in the book, classification.

I am intrigued by the idea of how we classify things. It influences our conversation and the way we see the world. Many of the difficult topics are in some sense bounded by their classification; race, religion, equality, feminism etc. are all forms of grouping. We like to believe that there are clear boundaries, but the truth is never that binary. Things are never that clear.

The real world is grey. Everything is grey. We think it’s not. That is just an illusion.

It all depends on where you start from. If you can change the way a person classifies what they see, you change how they see, and therefore how they think about it.

I work with ambiguity all day. As a business analyst you have to be comfortable with ambiguity and complexity, because that is where the truth is. Continue reading “Handpicked: Classifications, A Listening Politician, Grown Men Cry and Leceister City”

Handpicked: Listening, Censorship, Thresholds, and Writing

Handpicked: Listening, Censorship, Thresholds, and Writing

A much shorter version this week. I was travelling with work and ended up reading and listening less than I thought.


Book am I reading (Non-Fiction)

People Skills by Robert Bolton.

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The chapter I have been slow to read this week is called ‘Improving Your Reflecting Skills’.

Put another way this is about improved listening.

I won’t comment much further but leave you with a few selected quotes.

Many times a person will discuss his problems with a spouse or friend and leave without any solution in sight. The speaker will often have greater insight into the problem and the alternatives facing him. He may need time to mull over these ideas and options before moving on to a firm decision.

Though it can be frustrating for the listener to get involved with another and not see the problem resolved immediately, that kind of tension is part of the cost of being a creative listener.

That last passage gets to a question that has been on my mind reading this book, and probably gets to something I need to work on; When do you do more than listen?

He goes on:

When people are not heard and responded to, time can be saved in the short run, but in the long run, the resulting misunderstanding and alienation will often require far more time or take an enormous toll on efficiency. Experience has demonstrated that when employers do not take time to listen to employees, when salespersons do not understand their customers’ needs, and when teachers do not hear the concerns of their students, they are far less efficient in accomplishing their tasks. Listening often seems to be inefficient, but when there are strong needs, deep feelings, or important concerns, the refusal to listen is very detrimental and can result in wasted time, effort, and money.

It is hard to take the step back and listen. I find it easy at times, at work in particular. In my job I know that listening and getting it right up front pays off later in a project.

* Emphasis on those quotes is mine.

Knowledge for Action: A Guide to Overcoming Barriers to Organizational Change by Chris Argyris

Continue reading “Handpicked: Listening, Censorship, Thresholds, and Writing”