Why did I start this blog?

17Aug09

This Blog represents a collection of ideas, links, and musings on things related to technology, education, and management.  They are based on my experiences in these spaces and on the many knowledgeable, passionate, and well-informed people I have met along the way.

Please feel free to send me ideas that may contribute to this blog at glicken@gmail.com

Innovation

This is one of the best videos on the process of innovation I’ve seen: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.  They total about 22 minutes long and shows the leading product design firm, IDEO, going through its user-centric research and design process.  Definitely worth a look.

Management

Management is like gasoline in a car.  High octane management can help you get the most out of your organization.  Bad management can leave your company sputtering and stalling.  It’s as important to identify the characteristics of bad managers and avoid them as it is to seek out great ones.  This article details some red flags to look out for.

Things I’ve learned along the way.

Hire “A” players. The extra productivity you gain will far outweigh the increased costs you’ll pay.  “A” players don’t need management.  In fact, your biggest challenge will be keeping their lives free of distraction so that they can continue to be productive. A+ innovators don’t need motivation or oversight.  They just need to be protected from meetings, politics, and anything else that gets in the way of productivity.  I work with someone who routinely gets up at 4 am just because he’s excited about an idea that he wants to work on. I don’t need to motivate him. I just need to keep him fed and protect him from The Borg.

Hire really smart, really nice people. Sounds simplistic.  Really smart people can adapt and learn new things quickly if you need to change course.  Nice people get along.  Have you ever been on a dysfunctional team?  It’s very costly.  Too much energy is spent on working around the dysfunction within the organization.  That is energy that could be spent on progress.

My job as a manager is to give my people what they need and get out of their way.  They’ll ask me if they need guidance.  Back to the automobile metaphor.  I’m like the oil in their engines.  If I can help them run smoothly, I’m doing my job.

Beware managers who sit in their offices all day.  That’s not management. That’s administration.

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