I'm tickled to have the opportunity to share some of my favorite posts of 2010 for John Hunter's Management Improvement Carnival Annual Roundup. For my selections, I've strayed a bit from the core lean blogs that many of you read in lieu of posts that often embody the lean spirit, even if they don't whack you over the head with Japanese terms.
Bob Sutton is best known for his books The No Asshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss, but his Work Matters blog covers a wide range of management issues that are valuable reading for anyone. Here are three posts that I really enjoyed.
- In The Better By Design Summit: Cool Things I Heard in New Zealand, Bob lists some of his favorite quotes from leaders at a meeting he attended in New Zealand. The ideas aren't earth-shaking revelations, but they can give you a fresh way of explaining things to your team or your client. One of my favorites is "If you want to change things, make hard things easier. Or raise the cost the cost of the status quo. Or do both."
- Strategy Is For Amateurs, Logistics Are For Professionals is Bob's eloquent argument that far more than the daily work done by the collection of bosses and their followers in an organization isn't as sexy as "leadership," but it's probably most crucial to success.
- It Isn't Just a Myth: A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way presents evidence that saying "thank you" really does improve performance. John Hunter has written several times about misguided incentives; this post provides an alternative way to reward people.
The folks at Behance not only developed the very interesting "Action Method" approach to project and workflow management, they write thought-provoking articles and tips (though, honestly, I'm not entirely sure how they distinguish between the two categories) for achieving greatness in what you do. Here's what I liked best this year:
- RSS Creativity: Routines, Systems, Spontaneity: (Okay, technically this was from last year, but it came in December, and I loved it.) Mark McGuinness explains how routines -- mundane, boring, routines -- are an essential component of creativity. Can you say "standard work"?
- How Analog Rituals Can Amp Your Productivity is Scott Belsky's paean to the low-tech way of getting your work done. Don't rely too heavily on technology, because, as he says, "a task left undone SHOULD be a burden."
- What Should You Start/Stop/Continue Doing? Scott Belsky's easy approach to hansei once a project is done. You might want to tweak it, but it's as good a starting point as any, and it provides a valuable framework.
Peter Bregman writes weekly for the HBR blog on productivity, leadership, creativity, and -- for lack of a better word -- humanity. He has wide-ranging interests that make for a worthwhile read.
- An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day. You don't need to buy into Getting Things Done, the Action Method, the Pomodoro Technique, Inbox Zero, or Lifehacker's flavor of the week: just follow Peter's logical PDCA approach and you'll succeed.
- Why The Best Solutions Are Always Temporary Ones: Lean teaches us that there are no permanent solutions, only temporary countermeasures. But don't dismiss them just because they're not silver bullets. As Peter says, "For something to be a great success, it doesn't have to last forever."
- The Farm-to-Table Secret to Motivating People elegantly explains why involving people in the design (or redesign) of a process leads to better outcomes. Useful for both internal and external change initiatives.