Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 45, 2022

Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 45, 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 - Why Should Anyone Be Led by You
#2 - When Does Intelligence Peak?
#3 - 15 tiny ideas that quickly drain stress from your life
#4 - How to Combat Virtual Meeting Fatigue
#5 - What Evolution Can Teach Us About Innovation
#6 - What is OKR - Objectives and Key Results
#7 - Book Notes: This is Lean - Niklas Modig, Pär Åhlström


Why Should Anyone Be Led by You

Source: Harvard Business Review 
Author: W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
Year: 2004

Summary: If you want silence in a room of executives, try this small trick. Ask them, “Why would anyone want to be led by you?”. We all know that leaders need vision and energy. But to be inspirational, leaders need four other qualities. Probably not what you’d expect, these qualities can be honed by almost anyone willing to dig deep into their true selves.

3 Highlights:

"... The first quality of exceptional leaders is that they selectively reveal their weaknesses (weaknesses, not fatal flaws). Doing so lets employees see that they are approachable. It builds an atmosphere of trust and helps galvanize commitment..."

"... Such leaders are good “situation sensors”–they can sense what’s going on without having things spelled out for them..."

"... Tough empathy means giving people what they need, not what they want. Leaders must empathize passionately and realistically with employees, care intensely about the work they do, and be straightforward with them. The fourth quality of top-notch leaders is that they capitalize on their differences. They use what’s unique about themselves to create a social distance and to signal separateness, which in turn motivates employees to perform better..."



When Does Intelligence Peak?

Source: Scientific American
Author: Scott Barry Kaufman
Year: 2019

Summary: When does cognitive functioning peak? As we get older, we certainly feel as though our intelligence is rapidly declining. (Well, at least I do!) However, the nitty gritty research on the topic suggests some really interesting nuance. As a recent paper notes, "Not only is there no age at which humans are performing at peak on all cognitive tasks, there may not be an age at which humans perform at peak on most cognitive tasks."

3 Highlights:

"... In the intelligence field, there is a distinction between "fluid" intelligence (indexed by tests of abstract reasoning and pattern detection) and "crystallized" intelligence (indexed by measures of vocabulary and general knowledge). But domain-specific expertise—the dark matter of intelligence—is not identical to either fluid or crystallized intelligence. Most IQ tests, which were only ever designed for testing schoolchildren, don't include the rich depth of knowledge we acquire only after extensive immersion in a field..."

"... They found that after adjusting for covariates, purpose in life acted as a protective factor against cognitive decline. The researchers argue that purpose in life could be used as a treatment technique for cognitive decline in clinical settings..."

"... The good news for older adults is that not only can we continue to acquire domain-specific knowledge into older age, but purpose in life is also modifiable. It seems that the question "When does intelligence peak?" is actually a rather meaningless question..."



15 tiny ideas that quickly drain stress from your life

Source: Untethered Mind by Alex Mathers
Author: Alex Mathers
Year: 2022

Summary: Rates of stress are seemingly going up for large numbers of people at an alarming rate. But what is ‘stress’ really? It’s a label. Beneath the label, what are we looking at? Is my stress the same as your stress? How would we know?

3 Highlights:

"... Short walks will solve 57% of your problems. Long walks will solve 86% of your problems..."

"... Stress is the feeling of tightness experienced in response to a stressful thought, not anything that happened ‘out there in your environment..."

"... Stress can absolutely be felt as a negative experience, and it can and does have physical and health implications..."



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..."



What Evolution Can Teach Us About Innovation

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Noubar Afeyan and Gary P. Pisano
Year: 2021

Summary: Many people believe that the process of achieving breakthrough innovations is chaotic, random, and unmanageable. Flagship Pioneering, the venture-creation firm behind ModernaTherapeutics, uses such an approach, which it calls emergent discovery. It involves prospecting for ideas in novel spaces; developing speculative conjectures; and relentlessly questioning hypotheses.

3 Highlights:

"... Breakthroughs can be systematically generated using a process modeled on the principles that drive evolution in nature: variance generation, which creates a variety of life forms; and selection pressure to select those that can best survive in a given environment..."

"... In nature, variation is just the first step in evolution. Selection pressure through competition for resources (say, food) shapes which genetic variations (longer beaks, for example) survive and which do not. Applying selection pressure in the realm of innovation results in relentlessly questioning and refining hypotheses. This can be done by a variety of means, including gathering and analyzing data, formal experimentation, and soliciting outside experts’ input and critiques. Flagship uses all those means.

"... There was no “aha” moment when the mRNA breakthrough happened. The Moderna platform was built on a constellation of technologies, methods, and know-how that evolved over time..."



What is OKR - Objectives and Key Results

Source: Article of the Week

Objectives and key results are goal-setting frameworks used by individuals, teams, and organizations to define measurable goals and track their outcomes.

Despite its simplicity, the idea is brilliant. In order to meet the Objective, the Key Results were designed to measure and facilitate that achievement. 

As a result, subjectivity is reduced and shortcuts are avoided. 

The OKRs ensured that the team was moving in the right direction and knew exactly what they needed to measure.



Book Notes: This is Lean - Niklas Modig, Pär Åhlström

Source: Book Notes of the Week

While lean management is the most widely used management philosophy in our time, it has yet to be properly defined and is widely misunderstood.

It is common for organizations to focus too much on trying to use resources efficiently - in the traditional and more common sense of efficiency. 

The result of the organizations is that we try to be efficient (to be busy) and they become less effective.

This book provides individuals, as well as internal organizations, with an understanding of what they read by using clear, concise language and insightful examples, introduces the paradoxical concept of efficiency, and argues that organizations lack an understanding of what efficiency means. 




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