Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Thursday, July 28, 2016
There's no hiding it anymore.
You've heard the backlash; scratch that, you're living it.
People think you're spoiled. Entitled. More concerned with reality TV than actual reality.
You're no different than anyone else at your age. As a Gen-Xer myself, it wasn't too long ago that my generation was the proverbial punching bag. (Just check out this beauty from 1993. Nowadays, people have mostly just forgotten about us.)
But here's the thing: Regardless of how unfair or prejudiced others' views of "millennials" are, it's the reality we live in. Unfortunately, society doesn't work like the justice system: In the eyes of many, you're guilty until proven innocent.
Which may lead you to ask: How do you break down those barriers? How do you show your true colors?
To be clear, I'm a fan of your generation. I've worked closely with you. I've managed you.
The advice I'm about to give isn't just for you; it's actually applicable to anyone. (I'm still trying hard to live these lessons myself.) But I've been privileged to learn from very wise mentors through the years, so I'm hoping to pay it forward.
And since your generation is the future, I'm hoping these lessons prove as useful for you as they have for me.
So, here goes:
1. What you say is important. But even more important is how you say it.
Take that recent story about the interns that got fired, for example. (You can read the full story here.) Already chafing under the company's dress code, this group was incensed at what they perceived to be an injustice--but what was in reality a reasonable exception. The interns responded by drawing up a petition, signing it, and then submitting it to management.
The problem here wasn't questioning the dress code. Questions are good: They're how we learn. And challenging traditional ways of thinking can be beneficial--if done the right way.
But in this case, the communication was short-sighted and over-aggressive.
Look, you have great ideas. And you're already changing the way we work.
But remember: Respect begets respect. Show consideration and dignity in the way you approach others, and they'll be more willing to listen to what you have to say.
2. You're going to get criticism. Learn from it.
No one likes to get negative feedback. And unfortunately, as hard as you try to deliver your message the right way, not everyone will do the same for you. In these cases, it's easy to let our emotions take over the thinking process.
But here's the thing: We all need criticism. It feels great to be around people who always agree with us, but it's the disagreements that truly help us grow.
So try to focus on the message, not the messenger. And even if the message is conveyed in a way that's less than ideal, remember:
The ones who challenge us are the ones who make us better.
3. Actions build character.
You might think of it like building a bridge--between who you are, and who you want to be. First, you need to figure out where you want to go. Then, with every positive action, you add another brick.
It takes time, but eventually you reach the destination--a better you.
Then, it's time to start building the next bridge.
4. Learn first. Then teach.
For many years, I worked for an awesome organization that was known for its forward thinking and use of innovative technology. But I'll never forget what I was told on my first day:
"We may do things differently here than you're used to. You may see a way to improve, or want to contribute an idea for change.
That's great. All that we ask is that you learn the way we do things first, and give it a bit of time. If you still feel you have a way to improve, feel free to communicate your thoughts to your team lead, manager, or any department head."
In time, I saw firsthand the wisdom in this.
Not only did I learn loads from others' experience and a proven method, but it made those with more experience more willing to listen to my ideas when the time came. And once I became one of "the old guys," it kept me open to new, fresh ways of thinking.
Wherever your journey takes you, I hope these principles serve you well. Get out there and prove the naysayers wrong. Show us what you're made of.
Above all, take some time to learn from us.
Then, we'll be more than ready to learn from you.
from Inc.com http://ift.tt/2az8gFT
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Saturday, June 25, 2016
In a New Novel, a Secular Muslim American Rejects the Burden of Labels
Pauls Toutonghi in The New York Times:
Enter 2016 — the election year of our discontent — which threatens to topple the country into a social chaos unseen since the late 1960s. Nearly two-thirds of Republican voters approve of a temporary ban on Islamic immigration. A mainstream presidential candidate has made xenophobia a central tenet of his campaign. In the first three months after terrorists attacked Paris in November, the rate of hate crimes against Muslims tripled in the United States. This is not an America with a robust and nuanced public discourse. And so the question must be asked: How much is our cultural marketplace to blame — where the narratives that sell most widely are ones that, arguably, do little to advance understanding, or even dialogue, across difference?
Into this maelstrom comes Ali Eteraz’s debut novel, “Native Believer.” Eteraz is the author of a memoir, “Children of Dust” (2009), that chronicled his journey from boyhood in a small town in central Pakistan to sex-obsessed adolescence in the American South to pious Islamic young adulthood to the broadly humanist activism that has marked his past 10 years. “Children of Dust” is, essentially, a description of the birth of “Ali Eteraz” — a pen name that translates to “Noble Protest,” which the author adopted several years after Sept. 11. Eteraz’s publisher has taken an admirable risk with “Native Believer.” I found myself wondering — as I sped through its pages with alternating interest, awe and queasiness — whether Eteraz had set out purposefully to challenge his imagined readership, to engage in a kind of “noble protest” against the demands of literary commerce. I believe this novel will offend as many readers as it captivates. It is unflinching in its willingness to transgress taboos, whether those taboos are religious, sexual or both. And in the end, “Native Believer” stands as an important contribution to American literary culture: a book quite unlike any I’ve read in recent memory, which uses its characters to explore questions vital to our continuing national discourse around Islam. This is a novel that says (to borrow a line from Aimé Césaire’s “Discourse on Colonialism”), “Any civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization.”
Posted by Azra Raza at 08:11 AM | Permalink
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Thursday, February 25, 2016
Thursday, February 4, 2016
What surprised me was his empathic human-centered design approcah (also known as Design Thinking) to create memorable buildings.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Design Thinking mindset can define & should define all roles in any company to embed continuous innovation culture. This transformation should start the with leadership traits. Few companies live and practice this as part of their DNA (Google, Facebook, AirBnB).
|Analog Leadership||Digital Leadership|
|Failure is not an option||Fail often to succeed sooner|
|Consolidate influence||Distribute influence|
|Hierarchy and previous experience helps to decide who is the right person matters||Ideas matter (past experience is irrelevant) leadership can provide support|
|Communicate from one to a few, no matter where in the organization you are. Communication flows down the hierarchy||Communicate in real time many to many|
|Leadership is a role||Leadership is a commitment|
|All or nothing – one big bet||Prototype frequently – many small bets|
|Ideas from respected experts||Ideas from as many sources as possible; naïve expertise & novice ideas are welcome|
|Teach||Learn by doing and then teach others about your hacks|
|Benchmark our industry peers||Benchmark against your dreams, not your industry peers. Create something that is impossible for others to recreate!|
|Value Chain||Value Ecosystem|
|Arms-length value-chain involvement||We are as capable as our value chain!|
|Talent-hoarder||Talent promoter and talent builder|
|Organizer||Star-maker, mentor, explorer|
|I-shaped people who are domain experts with deep expertise, but little curiosity||T-shaped people with respected expertise, but with broad curiosity bandwidth|
|Traditional initiatives launches begin with pushing new ideas from the idea-originator into the marketplace||Steve Jobs taught us that digital success starts with a fixation on the customer experience|
|We rely on our competencies||Boundary-less (www of talent; whoever is right, whatever is needed to woo them to work because you love your craft)|
|Slow||Blinding speed. Scaling up is important. Design & user experience is used to gain competitive advantage|
|Study It||Try it: create working prototype|
|Incremental dreams - forecast||Exponential dreams -- backcast|
|All or nothing – one big bet||Prototype frequently – many small bets|
|Individuals||Teams that are diverse, multi-disciplinary and has experts. The leader is the glue. The integrator|
|Innovation focuses products (offerings)||Innovation focuses on business models and creating new habits with customers|
|Innovation is a noun (some dept. does it); brand is a clever slogan||Innovation is a Verb (everyone an innovator); brand is a verb and authentic|
|Switched-on episodically||Switched-on all the time|
|Episodic innovation||Continuous innovation|
|Incremental innovation VS. radical innovation||Incremental + Radical innovation|
Friday, January 22, 2016
A while ago at PayPal, using design thinking uncovered that immigrants from Mexico only cared about the exchange rate minute-by-minute because the net amount transfer was the most important thing for them and their loved ones.
Banks and other online remitters make money by setting their self-determined excessive exchange rates and predatory fees & this is how they milk the immigrants.
Why get ripped off by banks when you need to send money overseas?
Here is a company that guarantees upfront the exchange rate at the time of you sending money.
Their user interface is awesome and makes it very easy to understand what is going on with the intended transfer.
Customer support is proactive, responsive, and timely.
Oh! One more thing, www.tranferwise.com founders also created Skype.
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A tour de force work by creating, living, practicing and improvising a world class creative company culture at Pixar & Disney Animation group.
In particular, the practice has been honed for almost 25 years and additionally tested and successfully deployed inside iconic Disney Animation group. Not many people can claim this impressive repeat creative culture creation.
Any venture wishing to create a lasting creative culture must start with incredible constant self-awareness and absolute candor that begins with top leadership.
Creative culture practice is a marathon and not a sprint!
The most resonant theme expressed is candor at all time and all levels. One of the most misunderstood and ignored concept missing from many prior published works. Candor at all levels is the ability of all people at all levels of the organization having difficult and tough conversations to resolve hidden and unpredictable issues.
One memorable line is: if the hallway knows the truth and conference room does not then it reflects the lack of candor, where people are afraid to speak up without fear of retaliation.
In reading through Pixar quest to live a creative culture, it is very evident that Pixar practices the art of 'Design Thinking' in their particular way for every movie that Pixar has produced. For example, before any movie, the staff went to the actual location to do the 'research' which equates to Design Thinking's observe and empathize techniques.
One example given is, filmmakers of 'Nemo' went and visited dentists offices and then traversed the sewers to find out if fish can escape from dentists office sink to the ocean via sewers. Movies makers also became certified scuba divers to experience what it is like to navigate all the way from sewers to the ocean.
One of the surprises in the book is the last chapter about Steve Job's role at Pixar before its acquisition by Disney. It is the most touching and candid description of Steve Job's transformation to an excellent listener and his knack for giving constructive feedback during Pixar pre-release movie previews.
In fact, Steve's legendary product introductions were stories that people loved to buy iPod, iPhone, and iPad. I am sure he learned the art of storytelling from the master storytellers at Pixar.
This heart touching elucidation runs counter to all what his been written about Steve Jobs after his passing away. Ed Catmull's unique account comes from a close working relationship with Steve Jobs for over 20 years.
Finally, any company trying to navigate through the disruptive digital transformation should make this book a required reading for the entire organization, starting with top leadership.
View all my reviews
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A must read for any leader & corporate boards who are challenged with growth in current times and need to transform their companies into a constantly innovating organization.
Very profound insights as to why the lost art and desire of pursuing the unknown to uncover unmet user needs in this age.
The good news is: the solution is in plain sight!
But it requires deep thinking and calculated risk taking to grow. When companies like CocaCola starts to practice the art, the magic happens.
For corporate managers who are happy milking the current status quo, this book can provide a path forward to grow constantly.
In essence, it requires a transformation in the mind of leaders (leaders themselves must become constant learner's).
View all my reviews