From Smashing: Set aside 60 minutes to clean up, sort out and back up your digital footprint, to ensure a good smooth start to 2017. So many little details tend to get forgotten or overlooked every single time, only to get fixed hastily later — but doesn’t it just feel right when everything is in the right place, neatly organized, even if you aren’t a compulsory cleaner or an obsessed perfectionist?
From strategy+business: Does the way your company manages its strategy influence the effectiveness of your teams? And does the way you manage teams affect your strategy? We believe the answer to both questions is yes, and in a new research study under way now, we’re testing that hypothesis.
You can see the evidence in companies with strategic coherence. These are companies with a distinctive identity. The few capabilities that make them unique all fit together, supporting a value proposition that few other companies can match. They choose to go in directions only where their capabilities give them a right to win. Great companies need great capabilities. And inside every company that does things exceptionally well are teams of people working across functional boundaries, year after year, doing things together they couldn’t do alone.
From NY Times: It’s the season for family travel and photos — and perhaps enlarging some of those images of snowy landscapes or tropical getaways to decorate your home.
From Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic: A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next
From NY Times: A look at the photographs that almost made Bill’s column this year, explained by his longtime collaborator.
From The New Yorker: In 1998, Lawrence Weschler, a transplant to the East Coast from Los Angeles, wrote for The New Yorker about an aspect of his home town that he missed so much that it could bring tears to his eyes: “That light: the late-afternoon light of Los Angeles—golden pink off the bay through the smog and onto the palm fronds. A light I’ve found myself pining for every day of the nearly two decades since I left Southern California.” The distinctive light of L.A.—the way it can cast the city in hyper-real relief or wrap it in a dreamy haze—is legendary. It’s one of the things that drew the movie studios there, it crops up in literature and art about the city, and it’s “a subject that Angelenos are endlessly voluble about,” Weschler wrote. And so he talked to a number of those Angelenos—from a scientist at Caltech, who described how L.A. pollution gives the air a particular shimmer, to the legendary sports announcer Vin Scully, who for decades wove descriptions of the skies over Dodger Stadium into his broadcasts of the games—gathering their readily poetic paeans about the way their city glows.
In this video, which first appeared on “The New Yorker Presents” (Amazon Originals), Weschler revisits his classic piece. The light has changed somewhat since he wrote about it, partially because pollution levels have dropped, but it is still “the defining character of the place—the soul of the place,” he says. Also appearing is the creator of one of the most iconic images of Los Angeles: Zoey Tur, the pilot of the news helicopter that followed O. J. Simpson’s white Bronco when he led the police on the famous low-speed chase through L.A. as the sun began to set, and the city lit up. “We shouldn’t show this to people back East,” Tur says as she takes the film crew up in a helicopter twenty years later, “because they’ll move out here.”
From strategy+business: An interesting phenomenon emerged in an executive education class I regularly teach. Participants from around the U.S., and sometimes the world, come to the Harvard campus for a week, form teams that work on a significant group project remotely for six months, and then return to Harvard for a concluding session where they present what they’ve accomplished. A couple of years back, one of the teams decided to meet in-person about halfway through. They were so enthusiastic about the meeting, and the project they delivered so impressive, that I have related their experience to subsequent cohorts. Now, more and more teams opt for a mid-project, in-person meeting — a day or two of their own time at their own expense. Those projects continue to be among the best.
From strategy+business: Breakthroughs in brain research explain how to make organizational transformation succeed.