“Number Crunch: How Bosses try to turn you into code” – BRW

Fiona Smith from BRW published an article today entitled Number Crunch: How Bosses try to turn you into code, including an interview with yours truly.  You can read it here.

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Inattentional Bias and Environment Scanning

Even highly skilled and intelligent leaders aren’t good at detecting changes in their environment that might affect strategy. When you are focusing on all of the moving parts of your business, you can be blinded to these important changes.  In psychology, this is known as inattentional bias, which typically happens because we are all overloaded with stimuli, and it is impossible to pay attention to everything in one’s environment.

To be adaptive to change, you need to be attuned to these signals.  Not only that, you need to be able to determine which of those are transient and which are permanent; which of them are opportunities and which of them are threats. Continue reading

Career advice for the new economy

There’s plenty of advice out there about how to choose a career.  This list, on the Wall Street Journal Online, tries to magically distil what makes a “best” or “worst” career to just 5 criteria – physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook.

No mention of engagement, satisfaction, the psychological benefit of getting out of bed every morning excited to go to work, or any one of the many factors that really make a great career.  No mention of the opportunity cost and actual costs associated with the years of study required to enter some of these careers, and the life-long financial burden that can impose. No adjustment of salary by average hours worked in these professions to get a true hourly rate. No mention of how little that last point really matters if you love what you do.  It’s also very bad news for my sister, who loves working in the job that she had wanted since she was 10 years old. She shouldn’t love it though – according to the list, her career as a newspaper reporter is the worst possible career ever.  For everyone.  Turns out she, and everybody else, should have become an actuary.  Sadly, some of the young people who really need some good career advice will, after reading this list, write off their passions and spend years of their lives working in a career that’s not suited to them.

But the advice that made me truly sad, was this one advising people choosing a career to not follow their passions.   I’m a big fan of the author, and her Ask a Manager blog is fantastic – but in my opinion, that advice is terrible.  Most of the career advice out there is wrong, and there’s a very real chance that the advice I’m posting today will be too. Continue reading

People aren’t Paperclips (but you already knew that)

clippy by scampy

Over on Ragan’s HR Communication today is an article entitled 12 most dehumanizing buzzwords to ditch.  The first two? “Resource” and “Human Capital”.

Resource: …If the resource you’re referring to breathes air, talks and has a name, it is best not to use the word “resource.”

Really?  Organisations are not under the impression that their employees don’t have lives outside of work, or that they are any way less than “human”.  But let’s not kid ourselves – employees are resources for the organisations they work for.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be employed (or at least, not for long).  It’s not dehumanizing to state the obvious. Continue reading

The Office is Dying, According to Esselte

Tickler file

Tickler file (Photo credit: dahnielson)

To mark the 100-year anniversary of the company, Esselte Corporation teamed up with Futures House Europe, and has this week released a white paper examining the Future of Work.

I was going to put together a more detailed summary about the key points in the paper, but the “key points” ended up being pretty much a copy of the paper itself.  It’s not often that I (or anyone, I suspect) reads a whitepaper and gets excited by it, but truly this is a fantastic resource.  Do yourself a favour and take a read – a link to the press release is below.  In the meantime, here are some “tweet-worthy” sections: Continue reading