Archive for the 'Motivation' Category

The Art Of Motivation

Keith April 23rd, 2007

“Employees, even hourly clock-punchers, will make an extraordinary effort if you reward them richly, treat them with respect and give them real power.”  This insight is from F. Kenneth Iverson, the “legendary” former leader of US steelmaker Nucor.  Read more in the article at Business Week Online.

Continual Learning

Keith April 5th, 2007

I spoke at CPA Australia’s National Public Sector Convention in Brisbane on 21 March.  Hard to believe that it was just over two weeks ago!

As I have written here before, I enjoy speaking at conferences.  Apart from learning lots from other speakers and the networking opportunities, it is a great chance to play tourist in between everything else.  I strongly believe in continual learning.  My personal development plan (agreed with my manager) is mostly based on attending conferences. 

I do sometimes think about going back to formal study again some day.  It is now 13 years since I graduated with an IT degree, and I have done no formal study since then.  I have dabbled though – First Aid, Teaching Migrants English, a little German language.  All very enjoyable.

However, it occurred to me a while ago that speaking at conferences fills a very similar niche.  In both roles, you need to do your research, and prepare your material for submission.  The conference is your final exam, and the session feedback provides your results.  (Perhaps a better indication of results is being invited back again…)

There was some discussion last year on actKM about conferences, and the best ways to run them.  An observation made about speaking (I think it was in the actKM discussion) that I have noticed myself is that about 50% of the response you get in your feedback comes from your expectations and how you feel about your session.

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Keith April 5th, 2007

“It is often believed that we are all born with certain gifts, abilities and limitations.  Successful people learn to use their innate capability to the full, but the true triumph of the human spirit is when we rise above our limitations, strengthen our abilities and perform beyond that which we are given.”

Reflections on family

Keith March 29th, 2007

“Everyone has a family – even if they are only fictional.”

- Renée

The Formula for Happiness

Keith March 28th, 2007

Just saw this on the Dilbert Blog.  Great idea – particularly in its simplicity.

A reader has acted on one of suggestions in this post – there is now also a Happiness Formula Wiki.  Go and add your thoughts!

Another reader noted that “current research shows that happiness causes success more than success causes happiness”.  Scott Adams responded, “given that happy people are typically optimistic, energetic and fun to work with, I can see how happiness would lead to success.” 

I think that there is also a correlation between happiness and luck.  (I could be wrong…)

Someone did some research a while ago into luck.  He interviewed a wide range of people who consider themselves to be lucky, and then analysed all the responses.  He found four basic principles that “lucky” people live by:

  • They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities.
  • They make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition.
  • They create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations.
  • They adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

So what’s your formula for happiness?

My Generation

Keith March 19th, 2007

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told a self-deprecating anecdote about himself at the Davos Economic Forum.  He had decided to overcome his own computer phobia and enrolled for an IT course in his constituency’s community centre.  At the final examination, he asked a nervous young man next to him if he was so tense because he was next to the PM.  “No,” replied the youth, “I’m tense because I can do this stuff and I’m unemployed; you can’t do it, and you are Prime Minister”.

What makes you digitally literate?  Is it just the generation you were born into?  I’m convinced that it is not that simple.  The quote above is from Patrick Lambe’s book The Blind Tour Guide: Surviving and Prospering in the New Economy. You can also read the relevant article on Patrick’s site.

In this article, Patrick provides a list of characteristics of the “Net generation” worker, and contrasts these with the pre-Net generation manager.  I find it intriguing to try to place myself on this table.  I am convinced that it is not as simple as physical age.  I can see parts of my world view on both sides.

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Zen and the art of Social Media

Keith March 1st, 2007

In 1994, Forester Research stated that “the Internet is too anarchistic for prime-time business and too complex for the average techno-peasant to master.” In discussions on actKM, Matt Moore has asked whether business is now ready for Social Media – blogs, wikis, RSS, etc.

We have a whole generation of tech-savvy people now entering the workforce that have no memory of a world without PCs and the Internet – and only bad memories of an Internet without broadband access. They live on MySpace and Instant Messenger. If they come into a corporate office today, they will probably feel like their arms have been cut off. (I remember that one of my first workplaces didn’t have STD on the phone system and I had to go through an operator to make long distance calls – it seemed so archaic then!)

Different social media tools may suit different business environments. RSS allows individuals to choose what they read, which may be a big benefit, but corporate communications managers may be somewhat scared by this prospect! (Funny, because they can do that now by deleting emails…). People will adapt to use the tools that suit their needs.

Is there a distinction between “personal” and “professional” use of Social Media? Should we restrict the use of these tools in the workplace to “business use only” – or restrict the use of some media for fear that they will be used (or abused) for “personal” use?

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Quote for today

Keith February 24th, 2007

To truly show respect to people means to listen to and
value their opinions, engage them in making decisions and
trust them to take risks.  People will only share their
knowledge when they feel that they are trusted and

Moving mountains

Keith February 15th, 2007

I just picked up a great Einstein quote at a workshop today: “We are boxed in by the boundary conditions of our thinking”.  The workshop was delivered by a team from “MoveMountains”.

We did an exercise in creative art.  An artist gave us instructions, and in less than two hours we each created our own pastel landscape.  Great fun!  And, along with the rest of the material delivered, very instructive in what you can actually achieve – in spite of the usually negative opinion we often have of our own ability in some areas.

Before I learnt anything about these principles, I used to think that I was not very creative.  Both my mother and my sister were good artists.  My mother, at 93 years of age, is still painting the occasional oil landscape.  My sister Pam, who passed away in 2000 at 55, was a very gifted artist.  I never had any such gift!  Even though I had a very positive upbringing, I nevertheless took on the idea that – because I couldn’t paint or draw – I was not very creative. 

Some years later, I realised that this was a very limiting statement.  In fact, I now believe that I am very creative – but mostly in other areas.  I have played guitar for about 38 years, and have found many other creative outlets.  Even the photo at the top of this blog site shows some creativity!

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How to make your people more creative

Keith February 9th, 2007

Mark Schenk at Anecdote posted an article a while ago on the impact of management style on individual creativity and innovation.  He included a quote from an article by Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School on the importance of team leader behaviour.

Teresa found that individual creativity is a critical element of productivity, efficiency and work quality in today’s complex work in organisations. This article gives five key leader behaviours that have a positive influence on people’s feelings – and thus on individual creativity.  My paraphrase is as follows:

  • Support people emotionally.
  • Monitor people’s work in a particularly positive way – give positive feedback on their work, or give them information that they need to do their work better.
  • Recognise people for good performance, particularly in public settings.
  • Consult with people on the team – ask for their views, respect their opinions, and act on their needs and their wishes to the extent that it’s possible.
  • Collaborate – actually spend time working with team members on specific tasks.

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