Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 48, 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 – Cracking the Code of Change
#2 – Revisiting Agile Teams After an Abrupt Shift to Remote
#3 – What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
#4 – Incentives and the Two Types of Motivation
#5 – Drive Innovation with Better Decision-Making


Cracking the Code of Change

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria

Summary: The new economy has ushered in great business opportunities—and great turmoil. Not since the Industrial Revolution have the stakes of dealing with change been so high. Most traditional organizations have accepted, in theory at least, that they must either change or die. And even Internet companies such as eBay, Amazon.com, and America Online recognize that they need to manage the changes associated with rapid entrepreneurial growth. 

3 Highlights:

“… The goal in this case is to make a difference, not just to make money…..

“… To thrive and adapt in the new economy, companies must simultaneously build up their corporate cultures and enhance shareholder value; the O and E theories of business change must be in perfect step..

“… Scott Paper’s CEO trebled shareholder returns but failed to build the capabilities needed for sustained competitive advantage—commitment, coordination, communication, and creativity.…” 

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Revisiting Agile Teams After an Abrupt Shift to Remote

Source: McKinsey
Author: Santiago Comella-Dorda, Lavkesh Garg, Suman Thareja, and Belkis Vasquez-McCall

Summary: As organizations adapt to the pandemic, their agile teams can be a real source of competitive advantage. Agile teams are typically well suited to periods of disruption, given their ability to adapt to fast-changing priorities and digitization. But the abrupt shift to remote working in response to the coronavirus has challenged the typical approach to manage agile teams, right?

3 Highlights:

“… If the necessary technology is in place, a talented remote team can deliver just as much value as co-located teams…” 

“… Teams already operating remotely before the crisis are less likely to struggle, given their ability to handle ambiguity without losing focus and to concentrate on outcomes over processes…” 

“… Working in isolation is hard for any person, but particularly for agile teams accustomed to face-to-face communication and frequent interpersonal engagement. Multitasking and home-based distractions also take a toll, depending on how things are set up…” 

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What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team 

Source: The New York Times
Author: Charles Duhigg

Summary: After looking at over a hundred groups for more than a year, Project Aristotle researchers concluded that understanding and influencing group norms were the keys to improving Google’s teams. But Rozovsky, now a lead researcher, needed to figure out which norms mattered most. Google’s research had identified dozens of behaviors that seemed important, except that sometimes the norms of one effective team contrasted sharply with those of another equally successful group. 

3 Highlights:

“… The technology industry is not just one of the fastest-growing parts of our economy; it is also increasingly the world’s dominant commercial culture. And at the core of Silicon Valley are certain self-mythologies and dictums: Everything is different now, data reigns supreme, today’s winners deserve to triumph because they are cleareyed enough to discard yesterday’s conventional wisdom and search out the disruptive and the new…”

“… However, establishing psychological safety is, by its very nature, somewhat messy and difficult to implement. You can tell people to take turns during a conversation and to listen to one another more. You can instruct employees to be sensitive to how their colleagues feel and to notice when someone seems upset…”

“… We had lots of data, but there was nothing showing that a mix of specific personality types or skills or backgrounds made any difference. The ‘‘who’’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter…”

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Incentives and the Two Types of Motivation

Source: FS
Author: Daniel Pink

Summary: Motivation is a tricky multifaceted thing. How do we motivate people to become the best they can be? How do we motivate ourselves? Sometimes when we are running towards a goal, we suddenly lose steam and peter out before we cross the finish line. Why do we lose our motivation part way to achieving our goal?

3 Highlights:

“… There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Both are very different and lead to disparate outcomes…”

“… The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table…”

“… Rewards do not undermine people’s intrinsic motivation for dull tasks because there is little or no intrinsic motivation to be undermined…”

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Drive Innovation with Better Decision-Making 

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Linda A. Hill, Emily Tedards and Taran Swan

Summary: – Despite their embrace of agile and lean methodologies, many organizations looking to become more innovative are still struggling to move quickly on new ideas. That’s often because of their outdated, inefficient approach to decision-making. Over the past two decades, the authors have worked with innovative companies across the globe, most recently focusing on incumbent firms that were transforming themselves into nimbler businesses, to learn what key challenges they faced and how they addressed them.

3 Highlights:

“… To stay competitive, today’s business leaders are investing millions in digital tools, agile methodologies, and lean strategies…” 

“… Businesses need to strengthen and speed up their creative decision-making processes by including diverse perspectives, clarifying decision rights, matching the cadence of decisions to the pace of learning, and encouraging candid, robust conflict in service of a better experience for the end customer. Only then will all that rapid experimentation pay off…” 

“… Even the best-intentioned innovators can get mired in their companies’ dominant logic. Leaders of incumbent firms, especially ones that are still growing, albeit slowly, tend to reject bold ideas—ideas that present high risk as well as high reward, require new resources or capabilities or threaten to cannibalize the core business. An outside view can help organizations contemplate those moves more seriously…” 

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