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Career

85 STASHED IDEAS

There are a million opportunities left, right, and center.

  • An individual contributor doesn't need to be stagnant in a cycle of repetitive tasks. Give them the opportunity to manage projects from start to finish. Or you can expose them to different areas of the business where they can contribute, while also expanding their knowledge and skillset.
  • Recognize their efforts. As they manage more projects and take on more responsibility, the pay and title should reflect that. Growth isn't only about leading people—it's about responsibilities, skills, pay, and title.
Aurora M. (@aurbm231) - Profile Photo

@aurbm231

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Career

You need to identify who your leaders are and who your individual contributors are early on in the process. 

Failing to do this is going to create a lot of frustration for you and your team. Sit down with them and ask what they enjoy, what gets them excited for work, and—this is important—what they aren't interested in.

Leaders And Individual Contributors

Success looks different for each person—as does fulfillment.

  • Organizations usually put so much weight and focus on the need to grow into a leader that they're failing to see that individual contributors often lack a unique plan to help them forge their path to success.
  • Making sure your individual contributors are heard and seen is vital. Leaders are great for seeing the big picture and creating a strategy, while your individual contributors are great at understanding the mechanics and nuances within the strategy.
Focusing on your skills

You will stand out in some specific skills and tasks. Those are the skills others pay for and where you add the most value.

But you probably don't spend that much time using your skills because you try to do everything else by yourself. You may know that you should delegate more, but it's just too difficult to do.

Allocation is giving other people work to do.

Delegation is giving other people some of your own work to do, where you give them the whole problem to solve, not just a task on its own.

  • Level 1: Do as I say - At this level, you give instructions. You already know exactly what you want and require the other person to stick to your specifications.
  • Level 2: Research and report back - When you need information to make a decision, you don't need to gather the information yourself. You can delegate the Research and ask for a Report.
  • Level 3: Research and make a recommendation - You are not looking for a regular report but actionable recommendations. This means researching, outlining options, and making the best recommendations possible with pros and cons.
  • Level 4: Decide and inform - At this level, the employee makes the decision by himself and then informs you.
  • Level 5: Act independently - At this level, there is total freedom. There's no need to report back. This is best for responsibilities that are not very important or that you are not best suited for.

Delegation means giving up control and trusting others with your work. Reasons that delegation feels hard:

  • You think someone else won't do the job the right way
  • You're afraid you'll be replaceable
  • You don't know how to assign work
  • It involves managing other people

But delegation is a skill. Like any other skill, it requires practice and resources to get good at it. It requires you to manage projects and people.

Staying organised while delegating can be difficult. To ensure you are on top of everything, follow this 3-step process.

  • Create your work environment around your goals. Then organise your tasks based on the goals. Lastly, organise your time for efficiency.
  • Organise your physical and digital files.
  • Follow up with team members regularly. Set up meetings and feedback sessions.

To delegate efficiently, ensure you choose the right person for the job with the necessary skills.

  • Identify the required skillsets for the role
  • Define an hour and money budget for the task
  • Identify prospective candidates for the job.
  • Interview the candidates if necessary

When you are hiring, make a practical test simulating the task you are delegating. If you need a video editor, ask for a quick video.

Both individuals and groups need mechanisms to review how their decisions are made.

  • Many businesses are averse to appointing someone to keep statistics on the decisions made and evaluate the biases, errors, the wrong forecasts, and the misjudged factors to make the process more rational.
  • Individuals do not even keep track of having made the decision or forecast. We're also unaware of changing our minds even when we do change our minds. Instead, people reconstruct their past opinion and believe they always thought that.

Decision making can be divided into three systems: Emotional, rational, and perceptual systems.

The rational model is one where the beliefs and desires are supposed to be determined, but decision analysis of the last thirty years has shown that it doesn't work. Even people who are explicitly trained to used System 2 thinking (reasoning) in problems don't do so, even when they know they should.

It doesn't mean you shouldn't take decision analysis, just that decision analysis are not effective if decision-makers do not want to relinquish the intelligence function to somebody else.

The perception of and reaction to risk is often dismissed as emotional. The first thing that happens is you're afraid, and from that fear, you feel risk. So the view of risk is becoming less cognitive while emotion becomes dominant.

Emotion is about what might happen, not so much the probability. The more emotional the event is, the less sensible people are.

Decision analysis is based on the idea that decision making is a choice between gambles. Managers think that they are fighting risk in a controlled way. The idea that you are gambling is an admission that you have lost control. It is detestable to decision managers, and the reason they reject decision analysis.

It is advisable for organizations to dedicate some effort to study their own decision processes and their own mistakes, and to keep track so they can learn from those mistakes.

The nature of the human judgment

People are not accustomed to thinking hard. They are often satisfied with a plausible answer that comes quickly to mind.

The prospect theory - the empirical exploration of risk assessment, loss aversion, and reference dependence, explains why people consistently behave in ways that traditional economic theory could not predict.

In statistical thinking, professional statisticians informally think the degree of the probability distribution in a small group will closely resemble the probability distribution in the overall population.

In other words, even people who should know better make these mistakes. When they're not computing seriously in System 2 mode (reasoning), they rely on their intuitions for simple problems.

There are two thinking systems, each with distinct characteristics.

  • System 1, or intuition. We think in this way most of the time. We respond to the world in ways that we're not conscious of and don't control. System 1 operations are fast, effortless, associative, and emotionally charged. They're governed by habit, so it's more difficult to modify or control.
  • System 2, or reasoning. It is a deliberate reasoning system. It's slower, serial, effortful, and controlled.
  • Groups are better equipped than individuals to recognize an answer as correct. But, when the whole group is susceptible to similar biases, groups are inferior to individuals.
  • Polarization can occur in groups. One major bias in risky decision making is optimism, while doubts are suppressed. If an individual in a group is thinking differently to the group, it is easy to understand how they would suppress themselves.
  • However, in groups of competing individuals, such as the corporate investment committee, the different dynamics can lead to better decision-making.
  • In an internal marketplace where groups come to a consensus about the risks and rewards associated with their decisions, internal incentives can shape how the group perceives risks and rewards that are different from the reality of the risks and rewards in the external marketplace. The incentives can distort risk perception.
Elon Musk's management rules
  • No large meetings unless they're of value to everyone.
  • Don't have frequent meetings unless the matter is truly urgent. 
  • If you are not adding value to a meeting, walk out.
  • Don't use acronyms and nonsense words for objects, software, or processes.
  • Avoid any terms that require an explanation - they inhibit communication.
  • Communicate directly with individuals rather than through a chain of command.
  • Don't follow any "company rule" that doesn't make common sense.
  • Ideas that increase productivity or happiness are always welcome.
  • Never do anything that would make a great Dilbert cartoon.
  1. Build positive relationships: Pat people on the back more than kicking them in the pants;
  2. Tell people they matter by being prepared when they show up
  3. Choose an effective location - a neutral space or take a walk.
  4. Stay open: Prepare, but don’t script everything you plan to say.
  5. Get to the point quickly.
  6. Turn to the future quickly: State the issue, give an example, declare your positive intention for them and ask, “How might you improve in this area?”

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