Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 17, 2022

Weekly Pulse is a content curation and highlights from readings, books, videos, podcasts, insights, ramblings and other interesting things I discovered and digested during the week.

So, let's go with some discoveries from the week!

#1 - What Is Strategy
#2 - Reviving the Art of Apprenticeship to Unlock Continuous Skill Development
#3 - How to Get at What You’re Good At
#4 - A Dynamic View of Strategy
#5 - Begin With Trust
#6 - The Impostor Syndrome
#7 - Book Notes: Changing Software Development - Allan Kelly


What Is Strategy?

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Michael E. Porter
Year: 1996
 
Summary: In his five-part article, Michael Porter explores how that shift has led to the rise of mutually destructive competitive battles that damage the profitability of many companies. As managers push to improve on all fronts, they move further away from viable competitive positions. Porter argues that operational effectiveness, although necessary to superior performance, is not sufficient, because its techniques are easy to imitate.

3 Highlights:

"... The productivity frontier is constantly shifting outward as new technologies and management approaches are developed and as new inputs become available..."

"... Choosing a unique position, however, is not enough to guarantee a sustainable advantage. A valuable position will attract imitation by incumbents, who are likely to copy it in one of two ways..."

"... Positioning is not only about carving out a niche. A position emerging from any of the sources can be broad or narrow..."



Reviving the Art of Apprenticeship to Unlock Continuous Skill Development

Source: McKinsey
Author: Lisa Christensen, Jake Gittleson, Matt Smith, and Heather Stefanski
Year: 2021

Summary: Postpandemic skill gaps need filling, and formal learning alone won’t do the trick. Scaling the lost art of one-on-one learning can make the difference. Apprenticeship may feel counterintuitive in the face of intense workplace time pressures, but—with some modernizing—it can efficiently unlock the rapid capability building that today’s knowledge-based workforce requires.

3 Highlights:

"... Breaking down these models begins with small changes. First, stop prescribing everything a learner should do. An organization should offer meaningful courses and learning journeys and may continue to require learning at specific career stages or for compliance, but it needn’t prescribe every action a learner should take..."

"...  Traditional apprenticeship is ideally suited for tasks and skills that can be observed visually and, ideally, practiced in person. A critical component of modernizing apprenticeship is considering how it can be applied to knowledge workers and workplaces where skills are largely cognitive and less visually observable..."

"... Today’s upskilling and reskilling needs to require organizations to respond with both speed and scale..."
 
Access here >>


How to Get at What You’re Good At

Source: Fast Company
Author: Daniel Pink
Year: 1995

Summary: Aptitude tests can’t tell you exactly where to go with your life, but they do offer a compass to indicate whether you’re heading in a sensible direction. And sometimes that’s not a bad idea. As any ideaphoric person would surely agree.

3 Highlights:

"... I’d been studying Spanish for a few years, and days before had started shopping for a new camera. Maybe this stuff wasn’t so bogus after all..."

"... I immediately manage to connect two pieces, but the other seven just won’t fit together. After five sweaty minutes I stumble onto the solution..."

"... These aptitudes, he says, could be satisfied by studying a foreign language or taking a photography course..."



A Dynamic View of Strategy

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
Author: Constantinos C. Markides
Year: 1999

Summary: Take advantage of your current market position while concurrently creating new opportunities or exploiting the innovations of others. New innovations are not adopted quickly because they are not recognized to be winners. If experimentation were to reveal the potential of a new innovation, a company would be more likely to adopt it. Experimentation is the process that Intel’s Andrew Grove terms “let chaos reign” — when people explore novel ideas until enough information is collected to allow the firm to make a decision.

3 Highlights:

"... Even (or perhaps, especially) successful companies must continuously question the basis of their business and the assumptions behind their successful formulas..."

"... Only the intrepid who abandon the safety of the familiar to venture into the unknown will have a future worth discussing..."

"... Of course, at any time during this dynamic process, a company could opt to jump into a new technology or industry. This could happen while the company is still competing in its first strategic position, later while the company is striving to balance the demands of two strategic positions, or at any time during the evolution of a firm’s strategy..."



Begin With Trust

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Frances Frei and Anne Morriss
Year: 2020

Summary: How do leaders build trust? By focusing on its core drivers: authenticity, logic, and empathy. People tend to trust you when they think they’re interacting with the real you, when they have faith in your judgment and competence, and when they believe you care about them.

3 Highlights:

"... To be a truly empowering leader, you need to take stock of where you wobble not only in your relationships with others but also in your relationship with yourself. Are you being honest with yourself about your ambitions, or are you ignoring what really excites and inspires you?"

"... The path to empowerment leadership doesn’t begin when other people start to trust you. It begins when you start to trust yourself..."

"... One of the lessons we’ve learned in our work with organizations is that creating spaces where authenticity can thrive is not as hard as it may seem. It is an urgent, achievable goal that requires far less audacity than disrupting industries or growing complex organizations—things leaders do every day with deep conviction in the outcomes..."



The Impostor Syndrome

Source: William Meller - New article

Summary: Impostor syndrome is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. The more you accomplish, the more you just feel like a fraud. It's as though you can't internalize your experiences of success.

3 Highlights:

"... A risk for happiness saying that the problem with impostor syndrome is that the experience of doing well at something does nothing to change your beliefs..."

"... Individuals with impostor syndrome often have corresponding mental health issues, which may be treated with psychological interventions, though the phenomenon is not a formal mental disorder..."

"... Impostor syndrome can stem from and result in strained personal relationships and can hinder individuals from achieving their full potential in their fields of interest..."



Book Notes: Changing Software Development - Allan Kelly

Source: William Meller - Book Notes

Changing Software Development explains why software development is an exercise in change management and organizational intelligence.  

This book is peppered with practical advice and case studies to explain how and why knowledge, learning and change are important in the development process. 




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