Employer brands, benchmarking and writing
Issue No 17
You may notice that the headline gives the keywords that will let you search for a particular topic in the archives. The issue number is another way to search for the story.
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1. Why is it so hard to write a book?
Creativity and productivity:
Most people think writing a book is a creative process. Here is a secret - creativity is a very small percent of the skill of writing. 90 per cent of a book happens because you (yes, you guessed it) sit down and WRITE - without getting distracted.
Manage your attention filters: The game is not about managing your time. It is about managing your ‘attentional filters’.
Adam Grant who is an expert on productivity says, “The stumbling block is that productivity and creativity demand opposite attention management strategies. Productivity is fueled by raising attentional filters to keep unrelated or distracting thoughts out. But creativity is fuelled by lowering attentional filters to let those thoughts in.” Dig deeper
Choose the time of day: Author Dan Pink in his book When, suggests that you manage the tasks depending on your body clock. If you’re a morning person, you should do your analytical work early when you’re at peak alertness; your routine tasks around lunchtime in your trough; and your creative work in the late afternoon or evening when you’re more likely to do nonlinear thinking. The reverse holds true if you are a night owl.
Take a guess about the time of day when I made this cartoon. Leave your comment here
PS: My book Dreamers & Unicorns is scheduled for release on 15th Nov 2020. Maybe I should shift it by a day to coincide with my birthday on 16th Nov. Any Scorpio readers here? Let me know. Want to pitch your design for my book cover? You can share it on Twitter (see an option here) till Oct 15th 2020 and tag me @abhijitbhaduri.
2. Why you should have a blog
I met Alexandru Gotoi on Twitter. He is from Romania, and yes, he reads this newsletter (all smart people get this newsletter, I told you). He made a job board for HR remote jobs. I liked his blogpost about the company called Basecamp. It is called “Employer Branding Done Right”.
a) A great employer branding opportunity
A blog is a great marketing engine for commercial purposes but written in a personal and transparent way, it’s also a great magnet for employer branding. And they blog about everything from how they structure work and team, employee benefits to why and when they freeze the hiring or product updates.
b) Skill for the future
I believe writing is going to become an incredibly important skill very soon. Jeff Bezos banned PowerPoint presentations in Amazon and replaced them with 6 page memos. Everyone reads it for a few minutes before the meeting starts.
c) Teach people writing skills
To teach someone, it is important to know what good writing looks like. And have a reasonable idea of how long it takes to learn the skill. Don’t miss the example of learning to do a handstand <read it here>
There are lots of bloggers who would love to come and run workshops for your employees on how to blog. There are journalists looking for work. Hire them to teach the leaders how to write.
3. Watch out
Apple announced Apple Watch Series 6, which has a Blood Oxygen feature, sleep tracking, automatic hand washing detection (yes, it detects when you wash your hand and nags you until you washed it long enough) and new workout types. They are trying to position the watch as a healthcare accessory. Heart Rate and Blood Oxygen, could serve as early signs of respiratory conditions like influenza and COVID-19. Health and wellness are two sectors all gadget makers will go after because it plays into what everyone worries about throughout their life.
Chronophobia is the fear of time. It is the fear of time and of the passing of time. But chronomentrophobia, is the irrational fear of watches and clocks. Why am I telling you that? Read on…
‘Watch out’ is what I said when I read that Singapore Government and Apple are teaming up to track and reward user behavior through the Apple Watch and an iPhone app. Citizens can earn up to $280 for completing health and wellness goals like yoga, swimming or taking immunisation shots. Read more
I am of course paranoid about data privacy. I know I know … I use Google Maps and Search (so there goes my privacy) and I use Netflix, so they know my taste in movies. I just watched The Social Dilemma (and it made me more paranoid!). Kindle knows my reading habits. What if this data fell into the hand of someone evil. We may have a knife at home. But a murderer could use the knife to be evil. A benevolent government could use the health data of citizens to provide flu shots to a vulnerable population. But then, an evil dictator could target specific groups if they had your data - especially your health data.
Would you trust your employer more than the government (if you HAD to choose) when it comes to your health data.
4. Lead, Care, Win by Dan Pontefract
Dan Pontefract @danpontefract sent me an advance copy of his new book Lead, Care, Win. I want to say thanks to him. I tell him that my favourite chapter of the book is about curiosity. I asked Dan what being curious means to him.
He described it using the metaphor of a USB hub. The hub expands the number of ways in which your laptop can get inputs. A curious person expands the sources of information by creating many input options. I can never look at a USB hub without thinking of Dan’s metaphor.
He also went on to suggest that the laptop can then connect to a projector and a printer etc to create different kinds of outputs. This cheat sheet gives you a view of the 9 leadership lessons that are explained through stories from his life.
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5. Does benchmarking kill creativity
In this episode of Unabashed, the question being debated is, ‘Does Creativity Kill Creativity?’ Several Indian organisations have taken the key idea of a successful company in Silicon Valley and cloned it in India (and then improvised to suit Indian needs). Is that a good outcome to expect when we benchmark? Or does it come in the way of creative thinking? If you drawn this picture while in school, then you will know how in different schools and in different states, we have all been asked to draw the same picture…
But don’t miss listening to this conversation
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Until 9:00am IST next Monday, stay curious and stay connected.