Listening: kids are really really good at it, and managers are mainly awful at it…

The first word of Miles Davis’ autobiography is LISTEN. He described jazz as being about “freedom and space to hear things”

I often declare that I will write a book called “Everything I Learnt About Management I Learnt From Playworking.” A bit like a preschool version of Mark McCormack’s  “Things they don’t teach you at Springfield Elementary”. (But I digress,and I’m also in danger of revealing my punchline.)

🎶 You can’t improvise if you don’t listen.

🏭 You can’t manage if you don’t listen. 

🗽You can’t lead if you don’t listen. 

Here are somebody else’s wise words about listening: please listen…

“They are always listening. Not just to the words we say to them, but those we say in their presence to others. That is their real learning environment. When we managers take that seriously, that’s when our people begin to make us better managers, the kind who think about the words they say and the tones we use with the people in our lives. They make us work to become the managers we’ve always wanted to be, if only because that’s the sort of person we want them to be.

“Our staff don’t learn anything from obedience other than how to command and control, a dubious education at best. They learn everything else by listening (and watching, of course). Real learning requires processing, repetition, time, and experience to fully comprehend. It takes place on their schedule, not yours, which is why it can seem as if they are not listening. But they are: know it, and strive to be the manager you want them to be. That’s the real work of management.”

Read more here:

https://goo.gl/bNNIOq

“FairCoop: Virus of Cooperation Infects a New economy”

In a world changing as rapidly as ours, where disruptive technologies are aggregating and creating an unprecedented multiplier effect, the way we can become as successful as possible is by also aggregating simultaneously, coming up with new and better ideas day by day, building our knowledge and experiences in our own FairCoop ecosystem.

“We do not destroy the system by attacking it with our wooden spears. We are creating a valid alternative, and have started developing it. FairCoop aims to provide new, free, collaborative economic, social and technological tools for everyone, and will try to make sure they are used in a cooperative way for the creation and expansion of the commons worldwide. An Earth cooperative to build the fair world of the future.

“We can all help to make this happen. You can learn about the different ways to get involved here.”
http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/faircoop-virus-of-cooperation-infects-a-new-economy/

Sho-shin: rediscover beginner’s mind

Given that most self improvement stuff is pompous bollocks, here’s some that isn’t (link at the bottom)

It’s mainly really readable and about as cliché-free as this stuff gets, apart from the bloody bamboo photo.
I would add, because my ego wants me to, that if you are really good at your job (which you are, obviously) then you need this all the more.

If you have the choice of attending a meeting and either:

  •  knowing stuff that would be useful, or
  • not knowing stuff that would be useful

 to the people at the meeting, I would go with the not-knowing one.

#shotmyselfinfoot

http://jamesclear.com/shoshin

___________ afterthought______

On the other hand, if you actually are a beginner, you need to work hard to get out of beginners mind as soon as you can, otherwise you’ll be really good at not actually doing anything.

Grisly truth about a system

 

“When I tried to sort this out by phone I was passed between offices, each denying it was its responsibility. Hours of hold music, occasionally being cut off – until eventually I was told there had been a computer error and I should visit my local Jobcentre Plus with evidence of my brother’s status.

“When I got there, I was told I needed to go to a different branch because of my postcode. When I pleaded with the staff member simply to stamp my letter rather than send me to the other office to get it stamped there, I was told: “If I do it for you I have to do it for everyone.”

“I looked around the empty office and said that there was no one else, but she refused. I repeated – calmly I might add – that this was for my brother, who was severely disabled. But then a security guard came over and shouted at me to remain behind the line. I asked: “What line?” – there was no line. He shouted that I wasn’t allowed to pass the edge of the desk that separated the staff member from me.

“If this had not been for my brother, at this point I would have been in tears. As I looked around, I thought how my university degrees, my 20 years working as a professional and my supposedly good people skills were all completely useless here. I felt humiliated. I wondered how this experience would make people feel who have to come to Jobcentre Plus and are vulnerable and in need: motivated, or to want to just give up?”

Read the full thing here:

https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/15/ken-loach-tells-the-grisly-truth-about-benefits

Read, and weep.

This is people behaving like machines. It may well be cheaper, especially given government’s track record with IT, to train humans to act like machines than to train machines to act human.

Nailing the managerialist lie: management is not generic

“In the 1960s, an interesting series of experiments was done on air-traffic controllers’ mental capacities. Researchers wanted to explore if they had a general enhanced ability to ‘keep track of a number of things at once’ and whether that skill could be applied to other situations. After observing them at their work, researchers gave the air-traffic controllers a set of generic memory-based tasks with shapes and colours. The extraordinary thing was that, when tested on these skills outside their own area of expertise, the air-traffic controllers did no better than anyone else. Their remarkably sophisticated cognitive abilities did not translate beyond their professional area.” 

 

 Alistair Crowley’s Organisational Pentacle

The notion that there are general thinking skills is closely allied to the managerialist notion of the the generic manager, moving effortlessly from managing a supermarket to managing an opera house or a hospital. From Barclays to the BBC.

I have an equation I like to share at this point:

P+A ≠ M+T

That is to say that the model of professionals supported by administrators is not replaceable by the model of managers directing technicians.

When was the last time you heard the term ‘managerial judgement’?

https://aeon.co/ideas/why-schools-should-not-teach-general-critical-thinking-skills

Computer says no? It’s not me! Wrong! Godin says: don’t blame the algorithm nor the company policy…

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/01/but-where-did-the-algorithm-come-from.html

I should say more but not just now, maybe later. Go read it.