Leonard Nelson » Productivity http://www.leonelson.com Personal blog of Leonard Nelson talking about technology, education, customer relationship management, customer service and Africa. Thu, 01 Oct 2015 03:22:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 Ask Better Questions http://www.leonelson.com/2015/08/25/ask-better-questions/ http://www.leonelson.com/2015/08/25/ask-better-questions/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:22:59 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=2466 Judith Ross on How to Ask Better Questions

Although providing employees with answers to their problems often may be the most efficient way to get things done, the short-term gain is overshadowed by long-term costs. By taking the expedient route, you impede direct reports’ development, cheat yourself of access to some potentially fresh and powerful ideas, and place an undue burden on your own shoulders. When faced with an employee’s problem, you can respond in a much more value-adding way: by asking the right questions, help her find the best solution herself. We aren’t talking about asking just any questions but, rather, employing questions that inspire people to think in new ways, expand their range of vision, and enable them to contribute more to the organization. Questions packing this kind of punch are usually open-ended — they’re not looking for a specific answer. Often beginning with “Why,” “How,” or “What do you think about…,” they are questions that set the stage for subordinates to discover their own solutions, increasing their competence, their confidence, and their ownership of results.

Personally, thanks to some excellent feedback over the years, I’ve subscribed to the 5WH line of questioning when trying to get information:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • How
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How to add a conference bridge and passcode to Contacts http://www.leonelson.com/2015/01/24/add-conference-bridge-passcode-contacts/ http://www.leonelson.com/2015/01/24/add-conference-bridge-passcode-contacts/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 12:42:21 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=2386 Recently, I’ve had the need to:

  1. Track multiple conference bridge lines and appropriate leader or participant passcodes in my Contacts and be able to dial them easily when necessary
  2. Send out meeting/calendar invites that include the conference bridge line and appropriate leader or participant passcode and make it easier for someone else to dial in

With both situations, save the number and passcode as a single phone line entry but use a comma (,) to add a 2 second pause or a semi colon (;) for a hard pause – implying the next sequence of numbers won’t be dialed unless a key is pressed on the phone.

For example, if the number 800-123-4567,,,1234567# is saved as a contact or used in a meeting invite, and you attempt to dial the number on an iPhone, here’s what you’ll observe:

  1. 800-123-4567 number is dialed
  2. 6 second pause to allow for the conference greeting. (Each comma is a 2 second pause)
  3. Passcode 1234567 is entered followed by the # key


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Sleep http://www.leonelson.com/2015/01/03/sleep/ http://www.leonelson.com/2015/01/03/sleep/#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2015 03:44:16 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=2340

So what this new research tells us, then, is that the one thing that all of you already knew about sleep, that even Galen understood about sleep, that it refreshes and clears the mind, may actually be a big part of what sleep is all about. See, you and I, we go to sleep every single night, but our brains, they never rest. While our body is still and our mind is off walking in dreams somewhere, the elegant machinery of the brain is quietly hard at work cleaning and maintaining this unimaginably complex machine. Like our housework, it’s a dirty and a thankless job, but it’s also important. In your house, if you stop cleaning your kitchen for a month, your home will become completely unlivable very quickly. But in the brain, the consequences of falling behind may be much greater than the embarrassment of dirty countertops, because when it comes to cleaning the brain, it is the very health and function of the mind and the body that’s at stake, which is why understanding these very basic housekeeping functions of the brain today may be critical for preventing and treating diseases of the mind tomorrow.

Source: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

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Hiring http://www.leonelson.com/2014/12/22/hiring/ http://www.leonelson.com/2014/12/22/hiring/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 02:54:10 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=2325

Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience. Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind. Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to good use by people with all the other qualities.

Source: Dee Hock on Management

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Retirement Savings Guidelines http://www.leonelson.com/2014/11/29/retirement-savings-guidelines/ http://www.leonelson.com/2014/11/29/retirement-savings-guidelines/#comments Sat, 29 Nov 2014 21:01:17 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=2251

Fidelity Investments has issued new savings guidelines suggesting that workers save at least eight times their final salary in order to meet basic income needs in retirement. In the set of age-based targets released Wednesday, Fidelity says employees should have the equivalent of their annual salary in savings by age 35 in order to reach the first benchmark en route to that goal.

Save the Equivalent Of By Age
1x your annual salary 35
2x your annual salary 40
4x your annual salary 50
5x your annual salary 55
8x your annual salary 67

Source: Fidelity issues new retirement savings guidelines and How much do you need to retire.

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The Science of Marginal Gains http://www.leonelson.com/2014/02/14/science-marginal-gains/ http://www.leonelson.com/2014/02/14/science-marginal-gains/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 14:13:06 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=2146

In 2010, Dave Brailsford faced a tough job. No British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France, but as the new General Manager and Performance Director for Team Sky (Great Britain’s professional cycling team), that’s what Brailsford was asked to do. His approach was simple. Brailsford believed in a concept that he referred to as the “aggregation of marginal gains.” He explained it as the “1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.” His belief was that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.

Good read on What Would Happen If You improved Everything by 1%: The Science of Marginal Gains.

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The Insourcing Boom http://www.leonelson.com/2012/12/01/the-insourcing-boom/ http://www.leonelson.com/2012/12/01/the-insourcing-boom/#comments Sat, 01 Dec 2012 22:42:37 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=1937 Great read on GE’s manufacturing returning to the US and GE’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, recent change in mind on manufacturing in the US.

Immelt made a startling assertion. Writing in Harvard Business Review in March, he declared that outsourcing is “quickly becoming mostly outdated as a business model for GE Appliances.” Just four years after he tried to sell Appliance Park, believing it to be a relic of an era GE had transcended, he’s spending some $800 million to bring the place back to life. “I don’t do that because I run a charity,” he said at a public event in September. “I do that because I think we can do it here and make more money.”

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Meeting Strategy http://www.leonelson.com/2012/04/27/meeting-strategy/ http://www.leonelson.com/2012/04/27/meeting-strategy/#comments Fri, 27 Apr 2012 11:26:13 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=1682

At Hunch, we don’t have meetings unless absolutely necessary. When I used to have meetings, though, this is how I would do it: There would be an agenda distributed before the meeting. Everybody would stand. At the beginning of the meeting, everyone would drink 16 ounces of water. We would discuss everything on the agenda, make all the decisions that needed to be made, and the meeting would be over when the first person had to go to the bathroom.

via The Free Thinker: Caterina Fake of Hunch.

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Leadership Checklist http://www.leonelson.com/2012/04/17/leadership-checklist/ http://www.leonelson.com/2012/04/17/leadership-checklist/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 21:24:42 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=1661 Michael Hyatt’s post on 12 ways to know if you are a leader should really be named the leadership checklist.

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Give it 5 Minutes http://www.leonelson.com/2012/03/05/give-it-5-minutes/ http://www.leonelson.com/2012/03/05/give-it-5-minutes/#comments Mon, 05 Mar 2012 22:15:51 +0000 http://www.leonelson.com/?p=1620

There are two things in this world that take no skill: 1. Spending other people’s money and 2. Dismissing an idea. Dismissing an idea is so easy because it doesn’t involve any work. You can scoff at it. You can ignore it. You can puff some smoke at it. That’s easy. The hard thing to do is protect it, think about it, let it marinate, explore it, riff on it, and try it. The right idea could start out life as the wrong idea. So next time you hear something, or someone, talk about an idea, pitch an idea, or suggest an idea, give it five minutes. Think about it a little bit before pushing back, before saying it’s too hard or it’s too much work. Those things may be true, but there may be another truth in there too: It may be worth it.

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