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Collaboration and the Ballbuster

On the 29 October, a senior exec at Apple – Scott Forstall – leaves. Official line: “change to increase collaboration across hardware, software and services”. Media reports ascribe the departure to the failed attempt at replacing Google Maps in iOS and the significant rifts he was rumoured to have generated with other senior members of the team.

“Software engineers and designers who worked for Forstall were loyal to him and ranked among the hardest working at the company, the people said. Yet his management style also led a several senior executives to leave Apple because they found working with Forstall difficult, several former Apple employees said. The mapping missteps were a final straw, people said.”
(Bloomberg, 30 Oct)

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Work is a Game, Seriously

I love video games. In the not-so-distant past, I have lost countless midnight hours totally absorbed with particular games. From Tetris and Sid Meier’s creations in the early days, to Second Life and Minecraft more recently (I’m more of a strategy guy than an FPS junkie). So much so, that I forbid myself to start new games now for fear of losing chunks of my life.

It’s no wonder that research and opinion makers have latched onto the fact that a task, when treated like a game, becomes enjoyable and perhaps even addictive. If you can persuade someone that a task is to be ‘played’ as a game, the perceived time spent doing the task reduces and a more positive energy is created.

This is interesting: can gamification be a legitimate way to boost someone’s motivation in the workplace?

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In Support of Vacations

“I also learned about the importance of vacations from observing others on our team. The intensity of demand had begun to wear them down, too, and it showed up in a collective tendency to be more emotionally reactive — shorter and sharper — and more willing to settle for an easy solution rather than do the hard work necessary to get the best result.”


As we return from the summer vacations, a great article, “More Vacation is the Secret Sauce” from the HBR Blog from Tony Schwartz in support of maintaining one’s energy levels by using the time off wisely. And more to the point, what happens when you don’t. We’ve all felt it, and we’ve all recognized it in others. Mandatory 2 weeks vacation a year should be government policy.

A Letter to a New Leader

Found this flicking through some old books in my library. Ten years old but still works. Comes from a book “Execution, The discipline to get things done” (Bossidy and Charan, 2002)

Congratulations on your promotion!

We couldn’t be happier for you. We know you are excited about exercising your leadership at a higher level. And we’d like to share with you some information we think will help you with your new challenge.

Start by considering what skills this job requires and how they compare with the ones you have. We’re sure you’ve got the self-confidence to make this kind of candid assessment. If you’re short on experience in one area (most leaders are at some point in their careers), be sure you’ve got someone who’s strong in it. Overall, you’ll want to put together a team balanced with the different types of talent you need to improve your chances of success.

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