Tag: work

15 Things that changed my perspective so far this year

 

Wiser – how group decisions can let us down
50 years since the term “groupthink” was first coined it is still alive and well in the corridors of power in government, business, finance and elsewhere. This readable book by Cass Sunstein & Reid Hastie systematically unpicks the aspects of human nature that can lead groups to fail, and offers strategies to help.
Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why has progress been so uneven and power so concentrated? Climate, rainfall, rivers, mountains, land, distance, harbors, disease are just some of the explanations that Tim Marshall systematically walks through in this fascinating book.
Its hard to realistically evaluate our own performance in real time when doing a double-back somersault, but where are the video replays in professional life? Real insight & wisdom from Adam Grant’s podcasts and interviews with others including Ray Dalio.
“Skill is overrated,” says Jeff Bezos. These four things are not. It all comes down to standards. Standards are contagious, don’t transfer from one domain to another, must be recognised and require realistic expectations
Most (if not all) stories can map back to one of seven basic plots. See how your brand narrative aligns with them and what you could be doing to tell more engaging stories.
“An engrossing tale that provides plenty of food for thought”, this playful, wise, and profoundly moving book tracks the beautifully complicated arc of a long-term romantic relationships and should be essential reading for anyone who has thought deeply and realistically about the nature of long term relationships.
The structure of modern successful marriages is revealed in this inspiring and useful new perspective on the most important relationship. Finkel digs deeper with a sweeping historic overview showing that the primary function of marriage from 1776 to 1850 was food, shelter, and protection from violence. From 1850 to 1965, the purpose revolved around love and companionship. Nowadays, marriage is all about self-discovery, self-esteem, and personal growth.
Most leaders need to get better at it.
Why “Happy to help?” is literally true A  meta-analysis of the effects of performing acts of kindness on the well-being of the actor
Do acts of kindness improve the well-being of the actor? Recent advances in the behavioural sciences have provided a number of explanations of human s…
You spend years trying to learn new stuff but then look back and realize that maybe like 10 big ideas truly changed how you think and drive most of what you believe. Brent Beshore recently listed the biggest ideas that changed his life. A few of mine: Everyone belongs to a tribe and underestimates…
The 40 elements of value sellers need to understand – they map to Maslow’s pyramid.
The new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that there are now more than 4 billion people…
This podcast isn’t easy listening, but the honest, searing look at relationships and human nature is moving, insightful and quite brilliant.
The late Hans Rosling’s book provides a perspective-shifting insight into the things we commonly get wrong about how the world is today
This author thinks that a “deep work” untouchable day is worth 10x the productivity multiplier of a an interrupted, fragmented day. I’d agree.
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Top 2017 Reads: Blogs, Articles, Books & Podcasts that changed my perspective in 2017

Why a Focus on Personality Matters 
Why a Focus on Personality Matters
Fascinating insights from Deloitte and Harvard Business Review helped me understand the role of personality in workplace interactions, and allowed me to re-interpret my relationships with colleagues and peers more productively
Ray Dalio`s Principles
Ray Dalio’s Principles
Embrace reality and deal with it. Fail well. Understand that tension is key to great relationships. Invest time getting in sync. Ring the Bell Provide constant feedback, feedback accurately not kindly. Brilliantly laid-out wisdom from Ray Dalio. But I found an unexpected and deeper truth in Dalio’s work beyond the expected focus on transparency, honesty and feedback.
Simplify podcast, 6 episodes with powerful and simple ways to change your life, brought to you by Blinkist
Simplify is for anybody who’s taken a close look at their habits, their happiness, their relationships, or their health and thought “There’s got to be a better way to do this.”
The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature
Humans spent >99% of our evolutionary history in natural environments. But in the modern world we can interact with nature surprisingly little, yet science shows some surprising benefits from simple things such as “grounding” (walking barefoot on ground).
The Surprising Cognitive Benefits Of Small Talk At Work
Building empathy and connection are key to engagement, satisfaction and can also improve functioning of teams (through increased feeling of “psychological safety”). Ring the bell and celebrate key milestones.
Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus
Research has shed light on the power of focus and its role as a hidden driver of success. Yet as helpful as focus can be, research also shows there’s a downside to it:…
The 5 Shared Traits of Successful Teams via Google
The 5 Shared Traits of Successful Teams via Google
Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions
What Facebook Did to American Democracy
And why it was so hard to see it coming In the media world, as in so many other realms, there is a sharp discontinuity in the timeline: before the 2016 election, and after.
6 Things You Need to Recover From Every Day - via Thrive Global
6 Things You Need to Recover From Every Day – via Thrive Global
Being busy and being productive are not the same thing. Most people try and do too much. True personal growth is sustainable – to do so means making an effort to recover from the following each day: work, people, fitness, technology food and being awake.
Why Deep Work Matters in a Distracted World
From the moment we wake in the morning, we’re tempted.Reach for the phone. Check texts. Read email. Scroll through social feeds. Even though mobile devices have increased our access to information and ability to communicate with others, they’ve also introduced barriers that could negatively impact our work. By understanding how to distance ourselves from distractions and improve time management, we have a better chance to dive deeper into our thinking and reach new heights of productivity.
Work Rules!: a new book of insights from Google`s Laszlo Bock that will transform how you live and lead
Laszlo Bock (ex-SVP of people management at Google) lifts the lid unexpectedly candidly on the real stories behind some of the people management innovations that have made google such a success. It’s a must for anyone who has ever thought hard about how to motivate high performing teams.
Four fundamentals of workplace automation
McKinsey believe that one should focus on activities not occupations when it comes to the impact of automation. They reckon that 45% of the activities in the US economy could be automated with currently proven technology …
Making Messages Stick
Why do some messages stick around for thousands of years (“The boy who cried wolf”) but others barely register? If we know how to make messages stick, can we make worthy messages “stickier”? Great insights here from the brothers Chip & Dan Heath.
To Motivate Your Employees, Draw from Your Own Experience
It’s not always easy to get the most from your employees. If you’re struggling to inspire the people on your team, look to your past. Think about your own experience and what motivated you…
The Overcommitted Organization
Multi-teaming (assigning people to a number of teams) has become ubiquitous, in response to the need to solve complex problems and manage resources efficiently. Particularly in knowledge work. But it has a dark side
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The Future Shape of Asset Management – 1 Year On

A year flies by. It’s been twelve months since I first put together No Ordinary Collision: The Forces that will Shape the Asset Management Industry, a thought piece bringing together many pieces of work and research on mega trends, and which identified particular intersections between emerging trends that could be meaningful for the asset management industry. The aim wasn’t to try and make concrete predictions, or envisage a particular world. But rather to identify and observe trends and themes that might be important – many of which have already been widely covered and researched – and envisage how these might interact to influence the world of finance.

A year can fly by but at the same time it’s fascinating to see how much these trends have developed and thinking has moved on. At the end of last year’s piece I concluded with a checklist of 6 key takeaways for those of us in the industry to best position for the changes on their way. A year later I asked myself the question whether these need updating, but I remain happy that these are still broadly the most relevant themes to focus on.

Download the full document here >>

NO ORDINARY COLLISION 1 YEAR ON

Key milestones over the last year in Digital / Customer Centricity:

update-redington-20175

Key takeaways for the future – 

Four Things I Learnt at Work in 2016

  1. Hack your own productivity, figure out what works for you 
As “knowledge workers” we all carry out a wide variety of different cognitive tasks each day: some are repetitive, some are simple but require a high degree of accuracy, some are creative while others involve problem solving or co-ordination of others. Some involve significant willpower while others may not.
Finding individual ways to maximise our own productivity can be hugely helpful – I firmly believe that the productivity of knowledge workers can easily vary by a factor of 4 or 5 times depending on various factors and circumstances, and some of these are quite simple to understand and change.
Things like choosing which tasks to take on at different points in the day, selecting the appropriate space to work in (working from home being great for some tasks, bad for others), harnessing and using your willpower most effectively and balancing requirements to meet and consult with others with working individually. Creating focus on what’s important (rather than simply urgent), and avoiding cognitive switching.

I was influenced in a lot of this thinking by Charles Duhigg‘s excellent book Smarter, Faster better which I discussed in more detail here. Mitesh Sheth also wrote up this excellent list of productivity hacks, which I contributed to.

2. Approach the world as it is, not as you’d like it to be

2016 was a year of surprises and shocks at a macro political level. Some of the events that took place challenged the world views of people – including myself. The result of the EU referendum left many people – myself included-  feeling more than a little frustrated and angry.

One positive I take from this is the opportunity it presents to acquire really valuable wisdom and experience – for those people open enough to be able to move past the frustration and approach the world as it is.
The reality is, disruptive events will create both opportunities and challenges. Spending time fighting the way the world is probably isn’t the best use of precious resources of mental energy and focus.

3. Understand the Building Blocks of Change

Changing habits at work is hard. Rolling out new systems and processes and changing old ones. It’s so vital to keep operating efficiently, but the extra burden to individuals of change in the short term will also be resisted.

This great blog by Mckinsey helped me greatly in my understanding of the 4 key requirements for workplace change:

  1. An understand of why change is necessary
  2. The capability to make the change
  3. The alignment of incentives and rewards
  4. Role modelling by senior and influential individuals
There is a lot of overlap here with takeaways of books such as Nudge and Inside the Nudge Unit. All fascinating and really powerful stuff if you can find ways to implement day to day. It feels like behavioural insights are rightly having more and more impact on policy & decisions across organisations as knowledge and appreciation of the field grows. Great to see this happening and I look forward to more insights in 2017.mckinsey
4. Beware the Narrative Fallacy
In his great book Black Box Thinking, Matthew Syed talks a lot about narrative fallacy and dissonance – and the effects these can have on decision making, as does Michael Lewis in the equally excellent The Undoing Project.
The hearing and telling of stories is fundamental to who we are as humans. It’s hard-wired into us. It’s part of how we understand and make sense of an uncertain world. It was the way our ancient ancestors explained things to each other and kept children away from danger. We are fundamentally inclined to believe convincing stories.
But there’s a problem, far too often in today’s world stories are constructed that ascribe too great a role to intrinsic characteristics such as talent and too little to luck. Stories dwell on the one thing that worked, ignoring the many that didn’t. Stories can easily make us fall prey to the availability or representative bias, skewing our decision making systematically in unhelpful ways.

Making effective decisions therefore, involves getting beyond stories into data, asking the right questions, and seeking evidence (where it can be found). Testing theories, rejecting hypotheses, trying to assess against a counterfactual and learning as much from the trials that didn’t work as those that did.

2016 was the fifth year-end that I’ve been a part of the team at Redington. As we close one year and start a new one it’s a great opportunity to say thankyou to all my fantastic colleagues who genuinely keep life interesting and make it worth getting up for work each morning – which is what really matters, isn’t it? Here’s to a great 2017 and beyond.