From Eric McNulty at strategy+business: Knowing your story — understanding what makes you you — is essential, and part of who you are is your setbacks and failures. Acknowledging your own missteps, struggles, and pain is necessary to acquire the emotional intelligence central to leadership effectiveness. In particular, empathy for others comes from admitting mistakes. Receiving a promotion may be testament to your talent and hard work, but getting laid off presents a test of your character, adaptive capacity, and resilience. When life stops being easy, you have to dig deep to find your true passion. Executive coach Eddie Erlandson calls this discovering your genius zone, the work you’re so passionate about you’d do it for free — but which you figure out how to get paid for.
From strategy+business: It wouldn’t be December without a “best of” list frenzy. From the best albums to the best apps to the best ads, the end of each year draws us to revisit the things (and people) that struck a chord. The sheer number of these lists but can be a bit overwhelming, but they make sense. Given what is thrown at us every minute of every day, we undoubtedly miss all too much of the good stuff. The highlight reel lets us experience some (short-term) nostalgia, yes, but it’s also an opportunity to play catch up—and maybe even get a head start on the new year.
From strategy+business: In a recent New York Times column, “How to Get a Job at Google,” Thomas Friedman interviews Laszlo Bock, the company’s senior vice president for people operations (which seems to be Google-speak for talent management). Bock notes that because constant innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, people who succeed in the company “tend to be those with a lot of soft skills: leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability, and loving to learn and re-learn.”
From strategy+business: If innovation could be achieved simply through vision statements, press releases, or rally cries, we’d all be successful at it. But developing a strategy and mind-set that enables creative thinking to percolate takes much more work than that. At the core of every truly innovative organization is a leadership team that invests and actively participates in the process of coming up with new ideas. Instead of paying mere lip service to the concept, these leaders are role models who reflect the behaviors they want to see from their staff.
From Roger Schwarz: Most good people want to act compassionately at work. And recent research suggests that compassion also creates positive outcomes in organizations: People who experience compassion feel more committed to the organization and feel more positive emotions at work; when people receive bad news that is delivered with compassion, they remain more supportive of the organization; and acting with compassion can increase your own satisfaction and mitigate your own stress at work.
And yet even if you want to be compassionate with others at work, you may find it difficult. You may find yourself either judging others or making assumptions about what will happen if you are compassionate.
This can be especially challenging for leaders. As a leader, you get paid for your judgment. You are constantly evaluating situations and people. But that strength can become a liability when others need your compassion.
From FastCompany: Steve Blank is a popular dude: He came to Silicon Valley in 1978 and has been part of the entrepreneurial hustle since then, though he's now turned from running companies to teaching at Stanford and other techy schools. As you may imagine, he gets a lot of requests from young guns seeking sage wisdom, peppering the man with requests to "pick his brain" or "bounce an idea off" him.
His response to such canned what-can-you-do-for-me inquiries? Sigh.
From Jon Katzenbach and DeAnne Aguirre in strategy+business: CEOs are stepping up to a new role, as leaders of their company’s thinking and behavior.
From strategy+business: A.G. Lafley returns to Procter & Gamble as CEO and Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto describe the one skill that distinguishes an effective CEO: the ability to make disciplined and integrated choices. And it describes how to cultivate that skill.