The Daily Brainstorm

Let Brainstorm serve up some ideas, content, and links to fire up your synapses.

fastcompany:

Don’t check your email!

Remember when you used to have a period at the beginning of every day to think about your schedule, catch up with friends, maybe knock out a few tasks? It was called home room, and it went away after high school. But many successful people schedule themselves a kind of grown-up home room every day. You should too.
The first hour of the workday goes a bit differently for Craig Newmark of Craigslist, David Karp of Tumblr, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, career writer (and Fast Company blogger) Brian Tracy, and others, and they’ll tell you it makes a big difference. Here are the first items on their daily to-do list.

What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

fastcompany:

Don’t check your email!

Remember when you used to have a period at the beginning of every day to think about your schedule, catch up with friends, maybe knock out a few tasks? It was called home room, and it went away after high school. But many successful people schedule themselves a kind of grown-up home room every day. You should too.

The first hour of the workday goes a bit differently for Craig Newmark of Craigslist, David Karp of Tumblr, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, career writer (and Fast Company blogger) Brian Tracy, and others, and they’ll tell you it makes a big difference. Here are the first items on their daily to-do list.

What Successful People Do With The First Hour Of Their Work Day

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The myth is that charisma is not innate. What scientists have actually discovered—like many other myths they busted this one—is it’s actually a social skill, which like many others is learned. But this happens so early in life that by the time these charismatics get to adulthood, it all seems to be natural. And yet if, for example, you analyze the progression of Steve Jobs from 1984 to 2011 you’ll see he painstakingly learned it step by step.

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teneasysteps:

“This is what work looks like now. It’s been this way for so long that most American workers don’t realize that for most of the 20th century, the broad consensus among American business leaders was that working people more than 40 hours a week was stupid, wasteful, dangerous, and expensive — and the most telling sign of dangerously incompetent management to boot.
It’s a heresy now (good luck convincing your boss of what I’m about to say), but every hour you work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul.
And it may sound weird, but it’s true: the single easiest, fastest thing your company can do to boost its output and profits — starting right now, today — is to get everybody off the 55-hour-a-week treadmill, and back onto a 40-hour footing. Yes, this flies in the face of everything modern management thinks it knows about work. So we need to understand more. How did we get to the 40-hour week in the first place? How did we lose it? And are there compelling bottom-line business reasons that we should bring it back?”

This is an excerpt, you can read the full article here:

Why We Have to Go Back to a 40-Hour Work Week to Keep Our Sanity | Visions | AlterNet

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A high level of noise may cause a great deal of distraction, causing individuals to process information to a lesser extent and therefore to exhibit lower creativity. A moderate (vs. low) level of noise, however, is expected to distract people without significantly affecting the extent of processing. Further, we reason that such a moderate distraction, which induces processing difficulty, enhances creativity by prompting abstract thinking.

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fastcompany:

“When I speak to managers and executives, rotten apples provoke especially strong reactions.
At the gathering of high-tech CEOs mentioned above, there was an interesting 90-minute stretch where each described “what keeps me up at night.” One said it was a star executive who brought in a lot of business but was driving away good people.
There was consensus among his fellow CEOs that “we all have seen this movie before” and they all learned, after firing someone like that, “You always ask yourself, why did I wait so long? Things are so much better now!”

Robert I. Sutton, What Good Bosses Do With Bad Apples

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Even though the data around productivity has proved pretty remorseless, humans have found the message hard to accept. It seems so logical that two units of work will produce twice the output. Logical but wrong. The critical measure of work isn’t and never should be input but output. What matters isn’t how many hours your team puts in, but the quality and quantity of work they produce.

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What To Stop Doing

stoweboyd:

Jim Collins, Best New Year’s Resolution?

Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?

I had a subarachnoid aneurysm a few years ago, and at one point I was informed — erroneously — that my brain injury was inoperable. I had some time to reflect on that, and even after it was clear that surgery was, in fact, an option, the mortality stats on my condition were pretty harrowing, with at least 50% mortality, and given the severity of my situation, significantly higher.

[…]

I have changed a great deal since then. I started playing the guitar again, after about 20 years hiatus, for example. I’ve started writing music and poetry again. I drink a lot more champagne, too. Have to smell those roses.

But I still need to stop once in a while and ask: what should I stop doing?

This year, I intend to raise even greater barriers to long-distance travel, which is so costly in time and often so meager in payback.

I am involved in a foundational transition in my work, started last year. I am transitioning from a modality of acting as an advisor to companies (usually software start-ups), and investing more of my  my work-related efforts into various, well-defined research initiatives, often working cooperatively with other researchers. I will be saying more about these initiatives later this week, with more specific announcements.

The book that I have been talking about for the past few months (formerly called Liquid City) will be sewn into the new research agenda, and will be rolling out in pieces this year, in a slightly reconsidered form, and a new title (in process).

I have recommitted myself to connecting with the community here, in Beacon NY, my adopted home, and I am working to get a food cooperative off the ground. Most critically, my family is buying and moving into a new place here in the next week, and in the next few months we will be putting in a garden, fixing up the place, and settling in. Going to dedicate a lot to that.

I am working in NYC from the Grind coworking space, and I hope to be an active and involved member of that community, and the tech and innovation community of NYC, as well. This will all be keeping me relatively close to NYC, more local than I have been in decades.

I still plan to do 12-15 conferences in distant places, but I intend to keep to that number as a max, and the rewards — on some level or another — have to be pretty high to get me to go.

Say yes to some things, and no to most others. But I am open to discuss new ideas with people. I will be starting open office hours in February, after the move is over.

(via stoweboyd)

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smarterplanet:

Welcome to the future of work (by Grind)

Grind is a 22nd century platform that helps talent collaborate
in a new way: outside the system.

It’s a members-only workspace and community dedicated to taking all of the frustrations of working the old way and pulverizing them to a dust so fine it actually oils the wheels of the machine

(via futuramb)

Tagged: Future, Work, .
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BYOT (Bring Your Own Tech) keeps gaining ground in the workforce

Some companies have even surrendered to what is being called the consumerization of I.T. At Kraft Foods, the I.T. department’s involvement in choosing technology for employees is limited to handing out a stipend. Employees use the money to buy whatever laptop they want from Best Buy, Amazon.com or the local Apple store.

“We heard from people saying, ‘How come I have better equipment at home?’ ” said Mike Cunningham, chief technology officer for Kraft Foods. “We said, hey, we can address that.”

Encouraging employees to buy their own laptops, or bring their mobile phones and iPads from home, is gaining traction in the workplace. A survey published on Thursday by Forrester Research found that 48 percent of information workers buy smartphones for work without considering what their I.T. department supports. By being more flexible, companies are hoping that workers will be more comfortable with their devices and therefore more productive.

“Bring your own device” policies, as they are called, are also shifting the balance of power among electronics makers. Manufacturers good at selling to consumers are increasingly gaining the upper hand, while those focused on bulk corporate sales are slipping.

(Source: newcommbiz, via underpaidgenius)

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global-culture:

theatlantic:

A Jobs Plan for the Post-Cubicle Economy
 

About 150 years ago, American workers began a profound shift from farms to factories. After suffering through poor work conditions, low pay, and no workplace protections, the workers organized and successfully helped build the framework of laws that became known as FDR’s New Deal. This landmark legislation from the 1930s protected workers and supported labor unions by limiting the number of hours that could be worked and setting a baseline minimum pay. But from a larger perspective, the New Deal demonstrated that government had acknowledged the shift in the U.S. workforce, heard their voice, and created a new system in which they could thrive.
Now we find ourselves in the middle of an equally large transition: just as workers left the plow for the assembly line, they are now leaving the cubicle for the coffee shop. Welcome to the Gig Economy, where over 42 million Americans are working independently - as freelancers, part-timers, consultants, contractors, and the self-employed. They are simultaneously holding multiple jobs, working for different employers, and mastering diverse skills. They are accountants and fashion designers and website architects. And, they are completely left out of the New Deal, which protects the rest of the workforce.

Read more at The Atlantic

A fantastic and timely analysis from The Atlantic, at a time when most media obsesses with startups, investors and the crazy ecosystem that wants to hit homerun, this is clearly a much larger trend that defines what our new RESET economy will look like after the dust settles.

Can’t tell if this article is celebrating this shift or noting some cautionary overtones.  It should be the latter.  This is not the rise of Richard Florida’s “creative class”, it’s the rise of an ecosystem that put’s everyone in competition with each other.  This is societal union busting.  There is not social contract, it’s every man for himself.
Nevertheless, this is the environment your business or organization is working within.  How are you connecting with the surplus of time, energy, and skill radiating around your neighborhood, city, and the virtual communities?
This is a best of times and worst of times in America.  There’s more skill, savvy, and talent in any given square mile, but there’s also more unemployment, underemployment, and disenfranchisement.
The organizations who connect with these people and who connect people to a larger picture will be the big winners in this economy.  It does not matter if you run an insurance company, a church, or a food distribution company: you are not in the service or product business, you are in the connection business.  Products, new products, and are actually adding more alienation amongst users 
The organizations who can help users simplify and make forward-thinking decisions will rise above the rest.  And that means telling users what not to buy, even if that includes some of your product line.    

global-culture:

theatlantic:

A Jobs Plan for the Post-Cubicle Economy

About 150 years ago, American workers began a profound shift from farms to factories. After suffering through poor work conditions, low pay, and no workplace protections, the workers organized and successfully helped build the framework of laws that became known as FDR’s New Deal. This landmark legislation from the 1930s protected workers and supported labor unions by limiting the number of hours that could be worked and setting a baseline minimum pay. But from a larger perspective, the New Deal demonstrated that government had acknowledged the shift in the U.S. workforce, heard their voice, and created a new system in which they could thrive.

Now we find ourselves in the middle of an equally large transition: just as workers left the plow for the assembly line, they are now leaving the cubicle for the coffee shop. Welcome to the Gig Economy, where over 42 million Americans are working independently - as freelancers, part-timers, consultants, contractors, and the self-employed. They are simultaneously holding multiple jobs, working for different employers, and mastering diverse skills. They are accountants and fashion designers and website architects. And, they are completely left out of the New Deal, which protects the rest of the workforce.

Read more at The Atlantic

A fantastic and timely analysis from The Atlantic, at a time when most media obsesses with startups, investors and the crazy ecosystem that wants to hit homerun, this is clearly a much larger trend that defines what our new RESET economy will look like after the dust settles.

Can’t tell if this article is celebrating this shift or noting some cautionary overtones.  It should be the latter.  This is not the rise of Richard Florida’s “creative class”, it’s the rise of an ecosystem that put’s everyone in competition with each other.  This is societal union busting.  There is not social contract, it’s every man for himself.

Nevertheless, this is the environment your business or organization is working within.  How are you connecting with the surplus of time, energy, and skill radiating around your neighborhood, city, and the virtual communities?

This is a best of times and worst of times in America.  There’s more skill, savvy, and talent in any given square mile, but there’s also more unemployment, underemployment, and disenfranchisement.

The organizations who connect with these people and who connect people to a larger picture will be the big winners in this economy.  It does not matter if you run an insurance company, a church, or a food distribution company: you are not in the service or product business, you are in the connection business.  Products, new products, and are actually adding more alienation amongst users 

The organizations who can help users simplify and make forward-thinking decisions will rise above the rest.  And that means telling users what not to buy, even if that includes some of your product line.    

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