Hard numbers on soft skills

Google is all about the numbers. Questioning the value of management, the Googlers founded Project Oxygen to investigate the characteristics of successful and less successful managers.

Employee surveys and performance reviews pinpointed eight key behaviors of the company’s most effective managers.

A good manager:

1. Is a good coach
2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage (See the sidebar “How Google Defines One Key Behavior”)
3. Expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
4. Is productive and results-oriented
5. Is a good communicator—listens and shares information
6. Helps with career development
7. Has a clear vision and strategy for the team
8. Has key technical skills that help him or her advise the team

Now each manager receives specific feedback on items such as:

“My manager has frequent 1:1’s.”

“My manager provides difficult feedback constructively.”

“My managers helps me understand how my work impacts the organization.”

Managers’ scores have been rising across the organization.

For more information, see David Garvin’s HBR article How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management

What’s hot in Working Smarter in October

HAROLD JARCHE

OCTOBER 29, 2013

PKM in 34 pieces

Much of my work on PKM has been inspired by others. have put these pieces together into a framework that I think makes sense and may be of some use.
ADAPTIVE PATH

OCTOBER 25, 2013

Five Ways People Adopt And Love Change

‘Oh dear Lord. The new experience. You’ve spent months redesigning it and now you’re in the homestretch. ” What a shocker. link].
JANE HART

OCTOBER 26, 2013

Connected Learning in the Workplace: the next generation of learning practices

‘A recent article in Wired Magazine, Collaboration and Conversation:
STEPHEN DOWNES: HALF AN HOUR

OCTOBER 23, 2013

A Few Words on ePortfolios

good example of such a system is the Desire2Learn ePortfolio system. On the one hand, the portfolio may focus predominately on learning and reflection.
48 Tweets 105 Tweets 132 Tweets 51 Tweets

Learning out loud

workscapeGo ahead. Peak into my brain. New thoughts are percolating but the outcomes are still fuzzy.

I’m soundly convinced that Learning Platforms are crowding out Learning Programs. This is an inevitable part of moving from Stocks to Flows, from Push to Pull, from institutional control to personal freedom, and from rigid industrialism to flexible, more human work environments. Focus on improving the learning ecology rather than tackle one event at a time.

“Learning in advance” doesn’t work in a realtime world, so learning and work have converged. Learning is simply an aspect of getting the job done. Learning new things — sometimes by inventing them — is an obligation of corporate citizens. Most of this learning takes place in the workplace. The learning platform is the organization itself, not some separate entity.

I call these learning aspects of an organization its Workscape. A Workscape is a metaphorical space. The Workscape can include the water cooler, the Friday beer bust, the conversation nook at the office, wi-fi in the cafeteria, the enterprise culture, in-house communications, access to information, cultural norms around sharing and disclosure, tolerance for nonconformity, risk aversion, organizational structure, worker autonomy, and virtually any aspect of the company that can be tweaked to enable people to Work Smarter.

This afternoon I’ve been trying to come up with next practices for Workscapes in general. What are the design principles for optimal workscapes? What aspects of good learning should migrate into the Workscape. A starter list:

  • All learning is self-directed. Give people the freedom to chart their own course. “I like to learn but I hate to be taught.” Set high expectations and people live up to them. Help people make sense of and prosper in the world and the workplace.
  • Conversations are the stem-cells of learning. Foster open, frequent, frank conversation both virtually and in person. 
  • Experiential learning is magic. People learn by doing. Encourage experimentation. Insure that managers and mentors understand the impact of “stretch assignments.” JDI. Broadcast opportunities and projects. 
  • Teach people the least they need know to tackle things on their own. 
  • Make it drop-dead simple to access people in the know, the lessons of experience, how-to information, and performance support.
  • Learning is social. Encourage participation in communities. Narrate your work and share with others. Communities and guilds create knowledge as well as consume it. 
  • We want what we want, no more. Whenever possible, provide choices. Give me the pieces to create personalized learning experiences. 
  • Learning is for everyone, not just novices and up-and-comers. You can’t expect to prosper without it. Make sure everyone’s covered.
  • Learning takes reinforcement in order to stick. Seek feedback. Blog, tweet, and otherwise share your reflections. Revisiting what you learn fixes it in memory.
  • Innovation is born of mashing up concepts from different disciplines. Encourage looking outside the box.
  • Provide feeds for what’s going on in the team, the department, the company, the industry, and technical disciplines.
  • People confuse learning with schooling. Build lessons on learning how to learn into the Workscape itself.

I’ll keep building the list but I’m hungry for more. I don’t want to get caught thinking small. What other aspects of sustaining the organization should be here?

Most of the value of organizations derives from Social Capital. (See my post Measure what’s important.) Were you able to deconstruct an organization into molecules of social capital, you’d have:

  • human capital – the know-how of the workforce
  • relationship captal – your reputation and ways of working with customers and partners
  • structural capital – processes, systems, and secret sauce

social capital

Thus far, my list deals with only human capital. Help me think through the role of the Workscape in leveraging relationship capital and structural capital as well.

 

Steve Hargadon + Jay Cross

Steve Hargadon interviewed me about informal learning yesterday. Steve does his homework and asks great questions.

If you listen to podcasts while exercising, perhaps you’ll enjoy the Audio of Steve letting me amble on for an hour.

A one-hour audio goes against my religion of brevity & less-is-more. However, if you want a painless way to peak into my thinking while hiking or peddling, this may be up your alley.

Informal learning and Stoos management in four slides (Netflix)

Harold Jarche posted this to the internal Internet Time Alliance network yesterday: “Check out slides 115-118″ http://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-2009. I did. I was blown away.

Here ’tis:

Culture (Original 2009 version) from Reed Hastings

I’m writing the sequel to Informal Learning. Yet here, the CEO of Netflix gave most of my message four years ago in four slides. Four freaking slides. In case you don’t have time for the whole presentation, here are slides Harold recommended:

Continue reading

Emotional Business

D R A F T

Some of you have inquired about my research into happiness and well-being. I paused the project for six weeks. Upon return, I realized there’s a lot more to it. Taking a broader perspective, I realized you can’t deal with happiness without addressing joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, love, sadness, anxiety, anger, motivation, and relationships, too.

Emotional business (which I will christen EB right here and now) concerns precisely the Continue reading