« Back to home

Dear White Colonel

This is an interesting article shared as part of this leadership class I’m in right now: Dear White Colonel … we must address our blind spots around race What I liked about this article is that by describing instances where the topic got steered wrong, and the author’s feedback about what got missed when that happened, the article provides a roadmap to steer conversations back in the right direction. I feel like these examples really resonate with me - as if I’ve been a part of conversations like this.…

Read more »

Applying Personality Quiz Results

I’m finding this course pretty interesting. They asked us to reflect on some of our results from a personality quiz - the one at 16personalities.com. I got an INFJ, but normally I’m INTJ and think I probably still am, really. How will we apply what we know about our personalities to our interactions with our teams? I’ll try to be more conscious about how I react to “perceiving” teammates. They may wait a while and not set a plan - that can be ok.…

Read more »

Managing Culture

This video discusses organizational culture - I don’t love it because it’s too cheesy-motivational to me. https://youtu.be/neDFJlUCXR8 One think I do like about the video is that it provides some solid ways to change organizational culture. By providing a solid definition (even if it’s not the one I’d choose), the video is able to specify how to move the needle against that decision: clarify embody celebrate Determine what behaviors will be rewarded or corrected in your organization, and clarify that to the entire team.…

Read more »

Commander's Attention

I’m sitting in the Leader Development Course from Air University - distance learning. One of the stories I heard this morning has the crux - the commander needs to walk a line between being too involved and not being involved. The story involved the former commander trying to show he cared by being there when new members arrived, by sitting with folks as they did work, and by visiting them when they were out in the field.…

Read more »

Comparative Advantage

This morning I finished Planet Money’s Episode 963: 13,000 Economists. 1 Question.. These fine folks make one of my favorite podcasts - each week is a different look at something weird from a weird perspective. It sounds like it’s very market/economy focused, but it’s really focused on everything economics. In the past decades economics has branched out to look at nearly every field of human endeavor with a mathematical eye. It’s not always very successful, but the economist perspective does make me look at things differently.…

Read more »

Pitching Success - CO-STAR

Idaho National Labs has a program right now called “CO-STAR”. Their researchers do great work, but as with any research group they are constantly advocating for funding, and researchers are constantly advocating among themselves for time. Everybody spends time advocating for something. “Pitching” something. You want your boss to consider a smarter way of working, one that you’ve come up with? You pitch it to her. You want someone to use an open-source project you’ve created?…

Read more »

Meet Differently

A recent episode of the Freakonomics podcast covered meetings. Two or more people gathering to accomplish the business of business, as they defined it. It gave me some things I hope I remember the next time I’m organizing a recurring staff meeting… Organize an agenda around questions-to-answer Hold smaller meetings Keep track and time Meetings need agendas, just about every book I’ve read which touches on meetings agrees on this point.…

Read more »

Consider How Well-Defined a Problem is When Building Teams

To improve innovation on a team, consider building a team differently based on the problem you’re facing. There are many ways of categorizing a problem your team must solve, but one is along the axis of well-definedness. Well-defined problems – here, you know what you’re trying to solve, you know what end-state your audience will find acceptable, maybe you’ve seen similar problems solved elsewhere or you even know some current acceptable solutions.…

Read more »

Build on My Strengths and on My Peoples’ Strengths

Everybody has a strength. Probably more than one. We are better-employed when we use our strengths. When possible, improving your weaknesses can make you a more effective individual… But we already possess our strengths and can put them to work now. Build on My Strengths and on My Peoples’ Strengths Know your peoples’ strengths and put those strengths to work. Build teams with a diversity of strengths. When a task lines up with an individual’s strengths, put them on that task.…

Read more »

Mastermind Meetings

When I was flight commander, supervising a group of fellow nerds with nerd jobs, I spent almost all of my time on the administrative requirements. They needed me to do the boss stuff - that was my official position! I really wanted to do the nerd stuff though. It’s more fun, it’s my strength, and I’ve got more experience with it… I’ll admit that as the boss I had input into many nerdy problems, and having that was rewarding.…

Read more »