Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The bucket is running dry...

A few weeks ago the weather was bad so I went to the gym and was running on the treadmill. In order to pass the time I was watching a debate program on a Swedish television station. The program dealt with two issues. One was a debate about the fact that apparently Swedes eat more candy than any other people in the world. According to the program a whopping 17 kgs per person are consumed annually by Swedes. This part of the program didn't amount to much since it is hard for anyone to argue that eating that much candy is good for you.

The other debate was much more interesting. It was about how long oil is going to last. In this debate were people who argued that the oil supply would peak within 3 to 5 years and others representing the oil industry that said oil wouldn't peak until 40 years. What struck me in the debate is the realization that sometime between now and 40 years will be the peak! 40 years isn't a long time away! With a wee bit of luck I may still be kicking then and my children will be in the middle of their lives.

We have to crack this nut now because tomorrow we may have to work in the dark...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Teaching vs. Learning

No one can really teach another person anything, they can only inspire them to learn.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Harmony is the balance of tension not the absence of tension.

Have you noticed how more and more often job ads specify personality traits together with competencies required for the job. In fact it wouldn't be to harsh to say that it looks like many companies are trying to recruit the very same person or at least people with very similar personality traits. The truth is that many highly competent people just don't fit the perky, gung-ho image we often look for when recruiting new employees. This stereotyping can limit creativity and lower performance in your organization. A competent sour-puss or a difficult introvert might be just what the doctor ordered to lift us to a higher level of performance. When we say “he fits in”, “he’s a team player” or “we speak the same language” what we are really saying is we get along and there is no real tension. If you ever find yourself thinking like this when recruiting let it be a warning for you. The nice guy who fits in, the guy you would love to play a round of golf with is likely to be the wrong guy for the job.

Most of us have seen the research on how to create high performing teams and if we take a look at this research again we will be reminded that while we may not want to be throwing furniture at each other in management meetings we do want a high level of diversity and even tension. Harmony is the balance of tension not the absence of it.