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Archives ~ February 2013 Entries

Your search for "all posts in February 2013" returned 4 results.

The Power of Distraction

Dr. Foster Mobley // Business, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

In business, we treasure the stereotype of the grinder, the guy (or gal) who puts in the 14-hour days to get the job done. That's virtuous, we say. Sitting at your desk, mainlining coffee and not going home until the job is done is supposedly what makes millionaires and geniuses. People who can't stomach that sort of work style are labeled slackers or ADHD cases. But what if the slackers were actually the geniuses? New research from Florida State University reveals that people are actually at their most productive when they work in 90-minute intervals, take breaks, and typically work about four-and-a-half hours a day. That's heresy to your typical "push ?em until they break" CEO, but who cares if it gets results? Part of wisdom is embracing what produces the greatest sustainable performance, whether or not it feels like something they would teach at the Wharton School. Maybe it's time we started encouraging "creative distraction" instead of "creative destruction." Encouraging people to work in the way that best suits their mind and temperament appears to work wonders. What value are you putting on rest and restoration?

In business, we treasure the stereotype of the grinder, the guy (or gal) who puts in the 14-hour days to get the job done. That's virtuous, we say. Sitting at your desk, mainlining coffee and not going home until the job is done is supposedly what makes millionaires and geniuses. People who can't stomach that sort of work style are labeled slackers or ADHD cases.

But what if the slackers were actually the geniuses?

New research from Florida State University reveals that people are actually at their most productive when they work in 90-minute intervals, take breaks, and typically work about four-and-a-half hours a day. That's heresy to your typical "push ‘em until they break" CEO, but who cares if it gets results? Part of wisdom is embracing what produces the greatest sustainable performance, whether or not it feels like something they would teach at the Wharton School.

Maybe it's time we started encouraging "creative distraction" instead of "creative destruction." Encouraging people to work in the way that best suits their mind and temperament appears to work wonders.

What value are you putting on rest and restoration?

2.25.13 0
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Are We Rewarding Behavior That's Damaging Teams?

Dr. Foster Mobley // Business, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

In my next book, one of the things I'll be discussing is the idea that our traditional metrics of team success are outdated and even ignorant of the realities of how people function within the structure that we call a team. For example, in the team context we tend to reward extreme behavior: working endless hours, pushing people to meet near-impossible deadlines, and demanding that sales and productivity figures forever scale upward. More often than not, the people who get the bonuses and promotions are those drive teams to meet unsustainable performance goals, exhausting and alienating team members and denying an essential truth: The performance of our organizations, our teams and ourselves naturally rises and falls over time, no matter how hard we work to change that dynamic. If our goal is to create thriving organizations that operate according to principles of wisdom, we must redefine what we mean by sustainability. Is it the endless, punishing push to sell more and beat the other guy? Or is it a holistic process that rewards sustainable behaviors and values humor, rest, play and wisdom as much as drive, endurance and ruthlessness? Which behaviors are being rewarded by your organization?

In my next book, one of the things I'll be discussing is the idea that our traditional metrics of team success are outdated and even ignorant of the realities of how people function within the structure that we call a team.

For example, in the team context we tend to reward extreme behavior: working endless hours, pushing people to meet near-impossible deadlines, and demanding that sales and productivity figures forever scale upward. More often than not, the people who get the bonuses and promotions are those drive teams to meet unsustainable performance goals, exhausting and alienating team members and denying an essential truth:

The performance of our organizations, our teams and ourselves naturally rises
and falls over time, no matter how hard we work to change that dynamic.

If our goal is to create thriving organizations that operate according to principles of wisdom, we must redefine what we mean by sustainability. Is it the endless, punishing push to sell more and beat the other guy? Or is it a holistic process that rewards sustainable behaviors and values humor, rest, play and wisdom as much as drive, endurance and ruthlessness?

Which behaviors are being rewarded by your organization?

2.18.13 0
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We Hold These Things to be Self-Evident

Dr. Foster Mobley // Business, History, Quotables, Wisdom Leading

This week, the story dominating the news here in Southern California is a dreadful one: a rogue ex-LAPD officer on a deadly vendetta against his former law enforcement colleagues. His ongoing tale got me thinking about the unspoken assumptions we all make about one another. For example, in the case of the fraternity of peace officers to which this deranged, violent individual once belonged, the unspoken, self-evident truth has always been, "We have each other's backs." That's why it's so shocking and terrifying when a cop turns against his own: it makes that assumed, reassuring truth out to be a lie. That's also why I think creating an environment that nurtures wisdom includes creating a safe space where unspoken assumptions can be expressed and confirmed...or contradicted. There are unspoken assumptions running through all our lives. We assume that our spouses are faithful, our teachers noble, our doctors dedicated and our public servants ethical. Allowing such assumed truths to go unquestioned might seem like an act of trust, but in reality we can set ourselves up for brutal wake-up calls when people fail to uphold the standards we've set for them-as human beings often do. The result is a cynicism that corrodes trust. I believe that it is far better for an organization to encourage its people to examine the truths they hold dear, even if the result is that some of those assumptions are discarded. Uncomfortable truths are better than reassuring myths. What unspoken assumptions can be found in your organization?

This week, the story dominating the news here in Southern California is a dreadful one: a rogue ex-LAPD officer on a deadly vendetta against his former law enforcement colleagues. His ongoing tale got me thinking about the unspoken assumptions we all make about one another.

For example, in the case of the fraternity of peace officers to which this deranged, violent individual once belonged, the unspoken, self-evident truth has always been, "We have each other's backs." That's why it's so shocking and terrifying when a cop turns against his own: it makes that assumed, reassuring truth out to be a lie. That's also why I think creating an environment that nurtures wisdom includes creating a safe space where unspoken assumptions can be expressed and confirmed...or contradicted.

There are unspoken assumptions running through all our lives. We assume that our spouses are faithful, our teachers noble, our doctors dedicated and our public servants ethical. Allowing such assumed truths to go unquestioned might seem like an act of trust, but in reality we can set ourselves up for brutal wake-up calls when people fail to uphold the standards we've set for them-as human beings often do. The result is a cynicism that corrodes trust.

I believe that it is far better for an organization to encourage its people to examine the truths they hold dear, even if the result is that some of those assumptions are discarded. Uncomfortable truths are better than reassuring myths.

What unspoken assumptions can be found in your organization?

2.11.13 0
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Mud Bowl

Dr. Foster Mobley // Quotables, Sports, Wisdom Leading

Were you one of the 50 million Americans who watched the Super Bowl? It's a great spectacle, and has become an important American ritual where the hoopla often outshines the game. When I watch football today, I can't help thinking that the game is more fun when it's messier. Football is at its primal, grunting best when it's played either in the ice and snow of a place like Green Bay, or in the mud, not on perfectly lined fields of synthetic turf in a domed structure with larger-than-life bigscreens. Ever play in, or witness a Mud Bowl... maybe on a rainy weekend or in the afternoons before Thanksgiving dinner? A bunch of people, shivering like nitwits in the pouring rain, mucking through fields turned ankle-deep swamps, and diving for passes and belly-sliding ten yards. Everybody winds up filthy, soaked, starving and exhausted. It's awesome. In the wake of the Big Game, I can't help thinking that maybe in our everyday teams it should occasionally be more like the Mud Bowl and less like the neat and orderly San Francisco 49ers offense. Maybe sometimes the work we do, and the teams with whom we do it should be messier, more chaotic and celebratory. There are times to run a tight ship, but there are also times to do a cannonball into the water and invite everyone else to do the same. From no-rules brainstorming sessions to heartfelt check-ins to problem-solving games, it's the counterintuitive that keeps us fresh, energized and coming up with satisfying surprises. What are you doing to encourage your teammates to get messy?

Were you one of the 50 million Americans who watched the Super Bowl? It's a great spectacle, and has become an important American ritual where the hoopla often outshines the game.

When I watch football today, I can't help thinking that the game is more fun when it's messier. Football is at its primal, grunting best when it's played either in the ice and snow of a place like Green Bay, or in the mud, not on perfectly lined fields of synthetic turf in a domed structure with larger-than-life bigscreens.

Ever play in, or witness a Mud Bowl... maybe on a rainy weekend or in the afternoons before Thanksgiving dinner? A bunch of people, shivering like nitwits in the pouring rain, mucking through fields turned ankle-deep swamps, and diving for passes and belly-sliding ten yards. Everybody winds up filthy, soaked, starving and exhausted.

It's awesome.

In the wake of the Big Game, I can't help thinking that maybe in our everyday teams it should occasionally be more like the Mud Bowl and less like the neat and orderly San Francisco 49ers offense. Maybe sometimes the work we do, and the teams with whom we do it should be messier, more chaotic and celebratory. There are times to run a tight ship, but there are also times to do a cannonball into the water and invite everyone else to do the same. From no-rules brainstorming sessions to heartfelt check-ins to problem-solving games, it's the counterintuitive that keeps us fresh, energized and coming up with satisfying surprises.

What are you doing to encourage your teammates to get messy?

2.4.13 0
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Dr. Foster Mobley

Trusted advisor and coach to admired executives globally for 3 decades, Thought leader on wisdom-based approaches to breakthrough leading, "Lead Coach" for Deloitte's experienced and high potential leader development, Team performance advisor to two NCAA championship teams