Only in a world where so many of us want to be ever more productive, can a simple formula just for getting things done become a Big Idea.
But a big idea it has become. Dave Allen’s branded approach to Getting Things Done (GTD) has attracted the attention (he claims) of over 2 million people.
So, we need to take a look at it. We’ll consider:
- Why do we need systems for managing our time?
- What is the Getting Things Done approach? and
- Who is it well suited to?
Continue reading Getting Things Done: Deliberate Time Management
The minute someone walks in the room, you can usually get a sense of how they are feeling. Not from what they say, but from what their posture, gesture, and expression tell you. That’s body language.
Human beings are wired to read one another’s body language. It’s only the exceptional few (towards one end of the autistic spectrum) who lack the capacity. The upshot of this is simple; if a little surprising:
We cannot not communicate.
Everything we do – or don’t do – says something to people around us. Body language is universal, powerful, and rarely lies.
Continue reading Body Language: Let me Hear Your Body Talk
Big data is a big idea.
It’s so big that big data is actually three big ideas in one.
Because when we use the term ‘big data’ we could be talking about the:
- scale of big data sets
- discipline of capturing, storing, and analysing them, or
- technology set that allows this
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and put our arms deep into some big numbers.
Continue reading Big Data: Analysing the World
Strengths are the things we are naturally good at. Everyone knows that. And it has become something of a commonplace that:
We should play to our strengths
In fact, that seeming truism has been underpinned by a lot of academic research over the last 20 years or so, since Martin Seligman formally kicked-off the discipline of Positive Psychology.
So it is in the Positive Psychology sense that we shall examine what strengths are, and why they matter to us.
Continue reading Strengths: Character Strengths and Signature Strengths
The lighting of bonfires in the long nights of autumn and winter is a tradition as old as mankind’s occupation of higher latitudes. But Bonfire Night – as the term is used in the UK – has a very specific origin. On 5 November 1605, a group fo Catholic conspirators sought to blow up the Houses of Parliament, while the Protestant king, James I of England and VI of Scotland, was to be there with his family. One conspirator, Guy Fawkes, was found in the cellars with 36 barrels of gunpowder.
From that year, the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, as it was known, has been celebrated in Britain – and also in many Commonwealth countries. Since the 1606 law, the ‘Observance of 5th November Act’, commonly called the ‘Thanksgiving Act’, Bonfire Night has been on 5th November. It’s also sometimes called Guy Fawkes’ Night, because it is also a tradition to burn an effigy of the hapless engineer on top of the bonfire; the ‘Guy’ as he is known.
That ‘Guy’ is something of an ‘evil everyman’. It’s now a tradition in some places to replace Fawkes with an effigy of a newsworthy figure of hate or ridicule. This can sometimes give offence. But in Britain, the right to give offence – particularly to politicians and public figures – has long been cherished. Bonfire Night is a good outlet for this spirit.
Continue reading Bonfire Night: Please to Remember the 5th of November
I’m sure Multi-Level Marketing has been around since ancient days. Send out street urchins to sell stuff and take a big chunk of their income. Get them to recruit other homeless kids and let them have a share of what their protegé earns.
But Multi-Level Marketing (or MLM) is big business now, with one estimate* putting it at around the US$200 billion per annum mark, worldwide.
So, we have to ask:
- What is Multi-Level Marketing?
- How does it work?
- Is it a good way to earn a living (here’s a spoiler: no)?
- And how do you spot an MLM scheme if offered one?
Continue reading Multi-Level Marketing (MLM): Pyramid Schemes?
We take it for granted when new products appear on the market. Perhaps they were made by elves! Well, they must have been made by someone, who followed a process. And that process was the New Product Development, or NPD, process.
The New Product Development process is now mature and well understood. There are many ways to articulate it, and none is that different from what mediaeval craftsmen would have used. But it’s still a big idea. And it’s an idea every manager should at least be familiar with.
Continue reading New Product Development – NPD: Something Shiny to Sell
Organisational life revolves around performance monitoring and measuring. Often it’s a single person who will assess your performance. But what if they had access to the observations of all sorts of people who work with you in different ways? That’s the big idea that 360 Degree Feedback represents.
The idea and practice of 360 degree feedback has been through rises and falls since it first appeared in the 1950s. And it really took off in the 1990s. But it is as important today as it’s ever been. So, let’s examine 360 degree feedback from a number of angles.
Continue reading 360 Degree Feedback: What Everyone Thinks of You
Servant Leadership is one of my personal favourite Big Ideas in the field of management and leadership. It’s been a discipline to push it this far back in our series of Big Ideas.
And we did cover Servant Leadership within our Management Thinkers series. The article on Robert Greenleaf describes the genesis of the idea.
So, in this article, I want to discuss the idea of Servant Leadership in the way I understand it, and introduce a second voice to Greenleaf’s: that of Max De Pree*.
Continue reading Servant Leadership: Lightning Rod
Sometimes a Big Idea gets inflated beyond its carrying capacity. People latch onto it without fully understanding it. It becomes over-used and, despite its validity, it becomes devalued. Such is the fate of Thomas Kuhn’s idea of the Paradigm Shift.
How many times in your life have you noticed that, somehow, there has been a substantial change in the way you – and others around you – think about something important? It seems to happen more and more often. Is this a real effect or what getting older feels like?
Or is it just because we have a label for these changes? We call them paradigm shifts. In the 1980s we might have called them quantum leaps, with even less justification. No, they are just changes.
So, what then is a paradigm shift, and how do they come about?
Continue reading Paradigm Shift: A Revolutionary Change in Thinking