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#34 One day at a time
Shower thoughts workers, influencing without authorities and more lessons
Jason (@JasonYoong) recently shared a snippet about how Kobe Bryant took tap dancing to improve his basketball game.
Source: Jason’s newsletter
You can hear Kobe's version in this video here. This world is filled with inspiration & learning. All it takes is an aware and curious mind and an infinite hunger to learn more. Jason says "Being inspired by different fields and identifying new applications is a superpower."
I read & share interesting lessons from different fields to build this superpower in us. Below are my finds for the day; over to you to grab what suits you and makes you interested.
In “Shower Thoughts” Sajith Pai writes about performance grades in knowledge workers. Here's a snapshot covering the core idea:
Source: Sajith’s post
I've seen journeys from single-digit size teams to those in hundreds. People who have inspired and created a larger impact show a lot of traits of a 'shower thoughts' worker. It's not easy to find, enable and keep them, though. Sajith has shared some relevant suggestions for this. Here's a summary in case you are looking for a quick takeaway.
Missionary cultures and high purpose orgs attract a lot more ‘shower thoughts’ workers. Your history & story have an important role to play in hiring such talent.
‘Shower thoughts’ manager can encourage & nurture many more 'shower thoughts' workers.
Build culture or processes enabling frequent, fair feedback.
Create a culture that enables ownership and initiative.
Ps: Sajith’s Twitter feed (@sajithpai) is an excellent mix of ideas and opinions on a diverse set of interests.
In a couple of short posts, he shared new perspectives around effort.
In “effort towards quality” he argues against the belief that quality is the result of effort. That if you simply tried harder, you’d come closer to meeting spec.
In “effort”, he suggests that more effort creates beauty and magic and remarkability. How much more? It's a little bit more than what most people think is enough. Have you seen any such magic already? You must have. They have many forms - this is attention to detail. Care in design. Follow through in customer service.
Simple ideas; but they can be very powerful when put to good use.
Atlassian's blog on “how to influence without authority” is a good read. While it targets product managers, its approach and suggestions are more universal.
To be effective in influencing, it suggests to start with understanding:
Understand the culture and context of the organization
Know the degrees of separation
Your understanding will help identify the right 'play' for you. They have identified 3 key 'plays' and have elaborated the when, how & try to be successful in them. Here's a quick summary of the three plays:
Psychologist: Understand the motivations and context of who you’re trying to influence & then working backwards to reach an outcome.
Pitcher: Constantly exploring and trying different ways of framing ideas that you want to influence.
Activist: Creating large movements by regularly sharing stories, perspectives and facts.
Such tools & playbooks are the outcomes of diligent efforts from many individuals and teams over years. They may not work as-is for others but can be good starting points for your own versions.
OSS (an earlier avatar of CIA) had published a Simple Sabotage Field Manual in 1944. This link lists the contents for sections 11 & 12 of this manual. I’m not going to steal any thunder from what is behind that link. You’ve to read it yourselves for the full experience.
If you’re an “Animal Farm” fan, then you’re going to find some uncanny resemblances. We, humans, are so predictable and resistant to change!
Some random goodness from the internet:
Newsletter: The Sample is an amazing newsletter for discovering interesting newsletters from across the world. It sends a daily recommendation based on your interests. You can do a one-click subscribe from the post itself. Plus, their algorithm keeps improving as you give more feedback.
Instagram: Giulia Bernardelli (@bernulia) creates beautiful artwork from some unusual means. From coffee stains to leaves - her arrangements are detailed and very refreshing.
Lists: Well, this is a list of lists technically. Pocket curated a post about the ‘best of 2021’ across a range of topics. If you’re looking for some good reads during the holiday season, this can be a good place to visit.
Before we sign off, here's a snapshot of a tweet worth coming back to every day.
That's all for this week, folks!
If you enjoyed this post, show your love by commenting and liking it. I write this newsletter to share what I learnt from others. If you learnt something from this today, why not share it with a couple of your friends to continue this chain?