Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 23, 2022

Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 23, 2022
Weekly Pulse is content curation and highlights from readings, books, 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 - Taking The Stress Out of Stressful Conversations
#2 - There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives
#3 - The Socially Intelligent Leader
#4 - How to Combat Virtual Meeting Fatigue
#5 - Smart Leaders Focus on Execution First and Strategy Second
#6 - The Spotlight Effect And Social Anxiety
#7 - Book Notes: Agile And Iterative Development - Craig Larman


Taking The Stress Out of Stressful Conversations

Source: Harvard Business Review 
Author: Holly Weeks
Year: 2001

Summary: Sometimes—more often than we’d like—we have stressful conversations, those sensitive exchanges that can hurt or haunt us in ways no other kind of talking does. Stressful conversations are unavoidable in life, and in business, they can run the gamut from firing a subordinate to, curiously enough, receiving praise. But whatever the context, stressful conversations differ from other conversations because of the emotional loads they carry

3 Highlights:

"... Stressful conversations are never easy, but we can all fare better if, like Jacqueline, we prepare for them by developing greater awareness of our vulnerabilities and better techniques for handling ourselves..."

"... People think stressful conversations are inevitable. And they are. But that doesn’t mean they have to have bad resolutions..."

"... The advice and tools described in this article can be helpful in unilaterally reducing the strain of stressful conversations. All you have to do is try them. If one technique doesn’t work, try another. Find phrasing that feels natural. But keep practicing—you’ll find what works best for you..."



There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives

Source:  Management Review
Author:  George T. Doran
Year: 1981

Summary: A characteristic of management excellence is a climate in which company officers and managers talk in terms of objectives. Management must also realize that the writing of objectives represents a new world to many managers. A clear objective should be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related.

3 Highlights:

"... From a behavioral point of view, too many of these managers' objectives represent a threat to their position..."

"... Recognizing that objectives enable an organization to focus on problems, give the company a sense of direction, so why can't most managers write meaningful objectives?..."

"... Managers are confused by all the verbiage from seminars, books, magazines, consultants and so on..."



The Socially Intelligent Leader

Source: Educational Leadership
Author: Daniel Goleman
Year: 2006

Summary: New findings on the social nature of the brain reveal the need for principals to fashion a school culture of warmth and trust. Taking time to forge that human connection gave this leader more leverage than she had thought possible. The new field of social neuroscience suggests why a personable leadership style makes sense.

3 Highlights:

"... The person-to-person climate created by positive interactions can make principals more effective leaders—which in turn helps both teachers and students learn better..."

"... Effective leaders will extend the strengthening of a school community's social intelligence to the interactions of students themselves, using any of the well-validated programs in social-emotional learning..."

"... The best leaders can deploy four or more of these leadership styles as needed; the poorest leaders tend to overuse the last two. Each style can be useful in a specific situation..."



How to Combat Virtual Meeting Fatigue

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
Author: Katie Kavanagh, Nicole Voss, Liana Kreamer, and Steven G. Rogelberg
Year: 2021

Summary: Last year, the world of work experienced a huge shift practically overnight as meeting attendees switched from rushing between conference rooms to rushing to find the right Zoom link. What exactly makes virtual meetings so draining, and what can leaders do to improve them?

3 Highlights:

"... While the medium of meetings has shifted for many of us, our need to come together in groups to collaborate, discuss project progress, and tackle work challenges is unchanged and ever-present..."

"... The vast majority of those surveyed reported feeling fatigued and drained during and after their virtual meetings — more so than with in-person meetings..."

"... Cancel unnecessary meetings and make necessary meetings shorter..."



Smart Leaders Focus on Execution First and Strategy Second

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Year: 2017

Summary: What is the perfect strategy? In this piece, the author argues that what matters most is not having the best strategy, but rather, how you implement the strategy you’ve got. She goes on to suggest that leaders whose strategies succeed tend to focus on four implementation imperatives: 

3 Highlights:

"... They question everything, overhauling traditional organizational structures and processes if need be. They inform all their staff of the new strategy, but empower a few champions to lead it..."

"... They keep their relationships with frontline managers tight but the rules of execution lose..."

"... They quickly modify their strategies when things don’t go as planned (and things rarely go as planned)..."



The Spotlight Effect And Social Anxiety

Source: Article of the Week

You have just finished another day at work. To relax a few minutes and enjoy some time together, your colleagues invite you for 30 minutes of happy hour. In the course of this happy hour, you mentioned a project idea, and you made a comment that was incorrect. Suddenly, you start thinking, "now everyone is thinking about how stupid I am, and they will talk about me at home".

Our tendency to overestimate the likelihood that other people will notice or care about the things we do is related to the way we think about what other people think about us.

Being at the center of one's own universe, people tend to think they are being noticed far more than they actually are. This is the spotlight effect.



Book Notes: Agile And Iterative Development - Craig Larman

Source: Book Notes of the Week

This was considered, in 2004, the definitive guide for managers and students to agile and iterative development methods: what they are, how they work, how to implement them, and why you should.

Craig Larman provides evidence of the value of switching to agile and iterative methods. Research (examined and cited in detail within this book) shows that iterative methods reduce the risk of failure, compared to traditional models of development.

By studying this book, you will learn to apply the key ideas in agile and iterative development, the details and comparison of four influential iterative methods, the answers to frequently asked questions, and important related management skills. 




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