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Archive for the category “Work”

Hecklers in the stands

The joke is on someone else. Every status update. Every check in is an open invitation to show the world how smart you are. A gentle rib. Mild sarcasm. A joke whose ripples reverberate across the social sphere. You enjoy the digs and so do some of your friends. LOLs often, rarely ROTFL…

You soon forget the remark you made and move on.

The web doesn’t.

As it builds up its collective semantic intelligence, your digital diatribes are being tracked and silently backed up in a giant database of actions.

Now comes the interesting part.

You are out in the market looking for a job your prospective employer looks you up online. The new-age profiling database, it’s no Vault of third-part comments, it’s trolled through your handiwork. Your tweets, facebook updates, comments and such. And it throws up your online personality. You are extremely social, highly connected, your Klout ratings are impressive. But hey what’s with your personality types? The No Asshole Rule search engine has tipped your scales into the red.

You are no Edward Boches. Not as mature.

You have built your reputation for rudeness and negativity and have been found out in chunks of 140 character posts.

Search engine optimization is not going to help you hide.

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100 Year Working Lives

Picked up verbatim from Russel Davies’ blog where he writes under 5thing. I’ve just written something about this for Wired. Don’t think I thought of it as concisely as ‘100 Year Career’ though. Lifetimes are being extended, retirement’s being pushed back. Many of us will have working lives of 100 years +. How do you prepare for that? Or even think about it? I started thinking about it when I was wondering whether to take a new job. With a working life that could easily last another 40 years, probably longer than any of the industries I currently know anything about, what should I be doing next? My answer – learning – more learning about people and organisations. Because they, at least aren’t going away. All those people thinking about jobs now, I’m tempted to say, do what you need to do now, because you’ve got plenty of time. The complete post is about other things aswell

Get Paid In Card

For the 10 million or so unbanked in the US, there’s a new way to get paid. Instead of converting a paycheck into cash, prepaid cards let users pour it into a piece of branded plastic. One of the new players in the space is Prepaid Visa RushCard, the product is a partnership between Unifund (a company best known for buying up and collecting on bad debts) and Russell Simmons, a founder of Def Jam records and the Phat Farm apparel brand. Simmons devised the card because he “thinks everyone should be financially empowered. Ram Palaniappan, general manager of RushCard thinks that the cards are meant to offer the “dignity” of inclusion to consumers otherwise left at the margins of American money culture. While RushCard is not new, it’s been around since 2003, looks like a product that’s sure to do well in these downtimes. More in NY Times.

Empowering Others To Achieve The Extraordinary. The Method At Pixar.

Pixar cofounder and President Ed Catmull exemplifies the greatest form of leadership: empowering others to achieve the extraordinary.

Harvard Business Review in its October issue carries a story of Pixar in which they try to unravel the architecture of Pixar’s collective genius–a community where people at all levels support one another.

Managing by giving up power. Steve Prokesch, who writes the story discovers that Ed and his fellow executives give directors tremendous authority. Senior management sets budgetary and timeline boundaries for a production and then leave the director and his team alone.

The rule is that all opinions are only advice that the director of the movie in question can use as he or she sees fit. Catmull, chief creative officer John Lasseter, and executive vice president of production Jim Morris often attend these sessions but insist that their views be treated the same way and refuse to let directors turn them into decision-makers.

Even when a director runs into deep trouble, Ed and the other executives refrain from personally taking control of the creative process. Instead, they might add someone to the team whom they think might help the director out of his bind. If nothing works, they’ll change directors rather than fashion solutions themselves.

Fighting the formula. Success like the one that Pixar has actieved could make any other organization create a formula and stop it from trying to improve. Not here, though. Catmull is determined that Pixar will be different. Toward that end, he personally ensures that post mortems of productions are taken seriously. And he regularly reminds employees–especially young new hires–that Pixar has made plenty of mistakes in the past and still doesn’t have it all figured out.

Scroll down into the comments section. Ed Catmull chips in too. Link.

9 To 5 No More

An interesting post on Pick The Brain Blog talks of how the 9 to 5 office worker will soon be a relic of the past. It makes sense, the blog says, for physical labor and manufacturing work, but with information workers it doesn’t account for the mental energy cycle. In the case of the modern worker, nearly all tasks involve creative or strategic thinking. The way someone answers an email or interprets a piece of information can differ drastically depending on his or her energy level. Productivity levels, the article says, generally peak twice a day — first thing in the morning and shortly after lunch. The most productive period is the beginning of the day. People are capable of creative tasks like writing and solving complex technical problems. After a couple hours of intense work, energy levels drop and workers downgrade to less demanding tasks like responding to email and tinkering with existing creations. Towards the end of the cycle, the mind is so cluttered and drained that workers resort to “work related activities” that appear productive but don’t contribute to the bottom line. The afternoon cycle is similar but the productivity peak isn’t as high. The peaks and valleys will differ from person to person. Going forward, the obvious solution to this problem is planning around the highs and lows, by breaking the work day into multiple segments. One way to make this possible is to allow remote work arrangement that allows employees to adjust their work schedule to their personal mental energy cycle.

Spaces to Think

What’s work got to do with it? A lot if you have to go by what some of the most coolest companies are doing with their office spaces. HR experts now believe that it’s easier to be productive, creative and happy at work in a colourful, organic, playful environment than in a grey, linear, boring one. And just on the outside of the building. Here’s a peek into some of the world’s best work spaces. Pixar, Google Mindlab, Red Bull London, super cool agency Modernista, Volkswagen’s new transparent factory. For those intensely passionate about the subject here’s a scholarly study on how management can influence behaviour by work place design.

Fluid Staffing Strategy

If you thought Wal-Mart was using its 460 terabytes of customer information to better manage its inventory, think again. The data is being used to innovate its 1.3 million worker scheduling system. From predictable shits, the company’s new worker management systems will use information gleaned from customer footfall data to optimise the number of employees who will be in a store at any given moment. If you are gasping at the enormity of the idea, wait until you read this, the data is so rich it can predict weeks in advance, how many employees it will need in the future, and employees will know three weeks in advance, when and where and how many hours, they will have to put in to work. While Wal-Mart believes that such a system will help bring in efficiency in staffing and cut costs, critics think that it will give its already underpaid workforce unpredictable schedules and even lower wages.

Passion to Profit

Are passionate employees the ultimate competitive advantage? 1to1 marketing points to the new book from Gallup –12 Elements of Great Managing. Gallup surveyed over 10 million employees across 114 countries and identified 12 crucial qualities in managers that correlate to turnover, customer satisfaction, productivity, and profitability. For software company SAS, that consistently ranks at the top of Fortune’s best companies to work for, values like treating each employee as an individual person and a community-like feel for the company and its co-workers means higher profit and an employee churn rate of less than 5%.

Battle for Brainpower

The Economist surveys the global war for talented people, and where it is at its fiercest, in the technology business. Perhaps Google spending 1.6 billion buying YouTube was not as straightforward as what we all thought. Reminds you of that ten year old Bill Gates quote, where he spoke of Goldman Sachs as his competition.

The day revisited

A new study by Yahoo OMD shows that the power of multitasking is helping people cram more into an average day. By including time spent sleeping, working, commuting, emailing, using an MP3 player, text messaging, and watching TV, the study concluded that US respondents listed on an average up to 43 hours of activities. Elsewhere, Hugh Mcleod is commenting on the emergence of a new kind of work culture. One that goes back many centuries, and blurs the division between work and life.

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