Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Through The Power of Why I found How great leaders inspire action by Simon Sinek. It’s a great presentation about the power of starting from “why”, to define your purpose and why you do what you do. Having a clear purpose, the “Why”, makes you stand out in the crowd and gives people a reason why they shall connect with you.

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers

At Presentation Zen is The importance of starting from Why about the presentation above. Garr Reynolds brings up questions like:

We rarely spend time thinking deeply about the why.
Why are we doing this?
Why does it matter?
Why is it important (or not)?
What is the meaning in the whole scheme of things?

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

Productivity in 11 Words

Today I was reminded about “Productivity in 11 Words” at Skelliewag through a post by Penelope Trunk who had seen it at Lifehacker.

Skellie summed it up in three lines and eleven words. It’s brilliant, short and to the point:

One thing at a time.

Most important thing first.

Start now.

It goes well with The only thing you can change:

You can’t change your entire life.
You can only change your next action.

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation

I started reading Drive – The surprising thruth about what motivates us by Daniel Pink today and that brought this TED-video to my mind: Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation.

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think.

There’s more to motivation than just carrots and sticks.

Video

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

Mentoring at Dartmouth

While searching for resources on mentoring I came across Dartmouth Mentor Exchange. Dartmouth is a college in New Hampshire but the mentoring resources are valid in most contexts.

Under Mentor are resources that aree useful for mentors and under Mentee are resources that are valuable for the person being mentored.

Mentoring is a form of development where the mentor shares knowledge, insight and experience with their mentee to assist the mentee in reaching their potential.

Mentees should proactively approach the mentoring relationship with specific development goals in mind and be receptive to feedback, coaching, learning and growth.

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

The Pomodoro Technique – manage your attention

I was reminded of The Pomodoro Technique™ when I attended Øredev 2009. It’s an interesting concept described like this:

The Pomodoro Technique™ is a way to get the most out of time management. Turn time into a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do and chart continuous improvement in the way we do it.

Time management is a misnomer since time cannot be managed, it’s all about managing your attention. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, it refers to the timer you use to keep track of time and the only tool you need. The basic unit of work in the Pomodoro Technique™ is as simple as these five steps:

1. Choose a task to be accomplished
2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

The Pomodoro Technique is great. Step three above is about working on one task and that task only – no distractions and no multitasking. Knowing that the timer will tell you when the time is out means you can focus completely on the task at hand. The Pomodoro Technique works great together with the 18 Minute Plan.

The timer sound gets a bit annoying hearing it that often. I’ll do some work on my timer to make it more quiet. An alternative, as long as you are by your computer, is Tomatoi.st which is a Pomodoro timer in your browser. Another option is focus booster which can be used online or as a desktop application.

To get a quick introduction to the Pomodoro Technique, get the Cheat Sheet in Pomodoro Resources. The Cheat Sheet is described as This one-page paper is a valuable tool for Pomodoro Technique™ beginners. It’s also the perfect way to show your friends and colleagues how the technique works. In the Pomodoro Resources are also Worksheets (To Do Today and Activity Inventory) and a 45 page PDF that explains the concept more in details.

WebWorkerDaily asks The Pomodoro Technique: A GTD Alternative? To me it’s not about one method or another, pick what works for you in the different methods and create your own mix.

You can follow @PomodoroTech on Twitter and join Pomodoro Technique on Facebook. Francesco Cirillo, the man behind the Pomodoro Technique, is on Twitter at @cirillof.

Update December 27, 2009
I found ClockSmith Lite and use the chime every half hour as my timer. At the chime I take a five minute break, then work for 25 minutes until the next chime. The chime sounds much nicer than my kitchen timer.

Update March 27, 2010
Today I came across Tick Tock Timer which is a very nice online timer. It’s now bookmarked for future use.

Update July 7, 2011
See a really nice Pomodoro Desktop Timer.

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

The Tao of Coaching

The Tao of Coaching by Max Landsberg is an excellent book about coaching as a leader. The tagline on the book says Boost your effectiveness at work by inspiring and developing those around you which sums up coaching from the leaders perspective.

The books is described like this:

This book offers information on how to unlock the potential of people by applying the techniques of coaching. Coaching is the key to realising the potential of your employees, your organisation and yourself.

This book provides the techniques and tools of coaching that are vital for those who want to develop a team of people who will perform effectively and who will relish working with them.

The techniques and tools of coaching are integrated in the story about Alex and his career as manager. That makes it easier since you see them used in context.

The book lists these reasons why a manager shall use coaching:
• Create more time for yourself
• Achieve better results
• Build your interpersonal skills

If you want a great introduction to coaching as a leader, and a book you later can use as manual, I suggest that you buy The Tao of Coaching.

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

Start Managing Your Attention

Over at ChangeThis is a great free e-book Quit Managing Your Time… and Start Managing Your Attention. Time can not be managed, time management is a misnomer and misleading. This little book is about what we can do – manage our attention and our priorities.

You can’t manufacture time, you can’t reproduce time, you can’t slow time down or turn it around and make it run in the other direction. You can’t trade bad hours for good ones, either. About all the time management you can do is to cram as much productive work as possible into each day. What you can manage, however, is your attention.

The e-book includes a simple question that helps us indentify what our top priority should be:

If I could accomplish only one thing right now, what would that one thing be?

The e-book also describes the Eisenhower method for sorting our tasks by importance and urgency, it’s simple yet powerful.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

Words Do Matter – Busting the Mehrabian Myth

On Twitter I got a link to a great video by CreativityWorks, Busting the Mehrabian Myth (video is below). So, what is the Mehrabian Myth then? Olivia Mitchell writes about in Why the stickiest idea in presenting is just plain wrong:

The stickiest idea in presenting and public speaking is that the meaning of your message is communicated by:
* Your words 7%
* Your tone of voice 38%
* Your body language 55%.
These figures are based on a formula first proposed by Albert Mehrabian in 1967.

I think we have all heard these numbers in connections with presentations, that How (tone, body) is more important than What (words, content). But Albert Mehrabian makes a reservation:

Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like-dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable

Max Atkinson’s Blog: Body language and non-verbal communication has a great cartoon strip and raises these questions:
1. How come it’s much easier to have a conversation with a blind person than with someone who’s completely deaf?
2. How come we can have perfectly good conversations in the dark?
3. How come telephones and radio have been such spectacular successes?
4. How come we have to work so hard to learn foreign languages?

I had taken the formula more or less for granted (heard it often) and I am pleased to see that I was wrong. Words do matter!

Busting the Mehrabian Myth – video

Read more:
Albert Mehrabian’s studies in nonverbal communication : Speaking about Presenting
Create Your Communications Experience: The Visual Dominates – Mehrabian Revisited
Six Minutes – Best Public Speaking Tips and Techniques: Weekend Review [2009-06-06]
Albert Mehrabian – Wikipedia
YouTube – Mehrabian Myth! WORDS DO MATTER!

This was originally posted at another blog of mine.

Why am I here?

Seth Godin posts about “Why am I here?” The title made me think of how to discover your life purpose or how to find your passion in life but it was more straight forward than that.

This is a simple mantra that is going to change the way you attend every meeting and every conference for the rest of your life.

You probably don’t have to be there. No gun held to your head, after all. So, why are you spending the time?

A simple but powerful question. Use your time wisely and if you go, make the best and most of your time there.

If there isn’t a good reason, go home. If there is, then do something. Loud, now and memorable. Productive too, please.

A side note.
I like Seth Godin’s blog and his style with fairly short posts, 200-300 words.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

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