Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 12, 2022

The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.
The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.

So, let’s go with some discoveries from the week!

#1 – The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why
#2 – Change Management: Lessons From Japan
#3 – Creating the Lean Startup
#4 – The Hard Truth About Business Model Innovation
#5 – How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace

The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Deborah Tannen

Summary: Communication isn’t as simple as saying what you mean. How you say what you mean is crucial, and differs from one person to the next, because using language is learned social behavior: How we talk and listen is deeply influenced by cultural experience. Although we might think that our ways of saying what we mean are natural, we can run into trouble if we interpret and evaluate others as if they necessarily felt the same way we’d feel if we spoke the way they did.

3 Highlights:

“… It may seem, for example, that running a meeting in an unstructured way gives equal opportunity to all. But awareness of the differences in conversational style makes it easy to see the potential for unequal access…

“… As the workplace becomes more culturally diverse and business becomes more global, managers will need to become even better at reading interactions and more flexible in adjusting their own styles to the people with whom they interact....”

“… All speakers are aware of the status of the person they are talking to and adjust accordingly. Everyone speaks differently when talking to a boss than when talking to a subordinate. But, surprisingly, the ways in which they adjust their talk may be different and thus may project different images of themselves…”

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Change Management: Lessons From Japan

Source: McKinsey
Author: André Andonian, Naoyuki Iwatani and Michele Raviscioni

Summary: It is with modernizing and changing operating models within organizations. This can often be met with resistance by employees and exasperated further by cultural influences. In Japan, consensus building is a strong part of the culture, and change management programs fail primarily from employee resistance at the second level beneath the CEO and teams.

3 Highlights:

“… While a western company would launch a transformation based on a vision and engage the broader organization to define it, leaders at consensus-oriented organizations need a detailed description of the new model on which to engage and establish a fresh consensus early on. “Building a plane as we fly” is never an easy mission, but it is a nonstarter in these organizations…

“… Do not assume that “immediate followers” in the second level of the organization will spontaneously follow the guidance from the top…”

“… Organizational network mapping, which analyzes the networks that employees rely on in their work, is used frequently to identify and empower change agents…”

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>

Creating the Lean Startup

Source: Inc.com
Author: Eric Ries

Summary: This article describes with some stories how Eric Ries developed a scientific method for launching profitable companies, realizing when a company was going to fail, and creating what was known as Lean Startup.

3 Highlights:

“… Many people have professional training that emphasizes one element of this three-step loop. For engineers like me, it’s learning to build things as efficiently as possible. Plenty of entrepreneurs obsess over data and metrics. …

“… The Lean Startup method builds capital-efficient companies because it allows start-ups to recognize that it’s time to pivot—or change direction—sooner, creating less waste of time and money…”

“… So what would organizations look like if everyone were armed with Lean Startup principles? For one thing, we would all insist that assumptions about what customers want to be stated explicitly and tested rigorously. We would look to eliminate waste, not build castles in the sky. We would respond to failures and setbacks with honesty and learning, not with recriminations and blame. Most of all, we would stop wasting people’s time.…”

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>

The Hard Truth About Business Model Innovation

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
Author: Clayton M. Christensen, Tomas Bartman, and Derek van Bever

Summary: Many attempts at business model innovation fail. To change that, executives need to understand how business models develop through predictable stages over time — and then apply that understanding to key decisions about new business models.

3 Highlights:

“… Once a new business is launched, it must remain independent throughout the duration of its journey, but maintaining autonomy requires ongoing leadership attention...

“… Another approach is to create incentives and channels for entrepreneurs to bring new and, in some cases, potentially disruptive business models to you, either as potential customers or as ecosystem partners…”

“… When executives start new businesses, they often look at them and wonder, “Where do I stick this in my organization?” They feel pressure to combine new businesses with existing structures to maximize efficiency and spread overhead costs over the widest base, but this can spell doom for the new business…”

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>

How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Robert Livingston

Summary: Intractable as it seems, the problem of racism in the workplace can be effectively addressed with the right information, incentives, and investment. Corporate leaders may not be able to change the world, but they can certainly change their world. Organizations are relatively small, autonomous entities that afford leaders a high level of control over cultural norms and procedural rules, making them ideal places to develop policies and practices that promote racial equity.

3 Highlights:

“… The big takeaway here is that “sacrifice” may actually involve giving up very little. If we look at people within a band of potential and choose the diverse candidate (for example, number eight) over the top scorer, we haven’t sacrificed quality at all—statistically speaking—even if people’s intuitions lead them to conclude otherwise….

“… There is no test, instrument, survey, or interviewing technique that will enable you to invariably predict who the “best candidate” will be. The NFL draft illustrates the difficulty in predicting future job performance: Despite large scouting departments, plentiful video of prior performance, and extensive tryouts, almost half of first-round picks turn out to be busted…”

“… Managers should abandon the notion that a “best candidate” must be found. That kind of search amounts to chasing unicorns…”

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>

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