November’s Nuggets of Knowledge brings you an autumnal smorgasbord of interesting reads (and listens and watches) on topics ranging from productivity to creativity, from mission to messaging. Also, there was something about a Buddhist priest and a hen.
No, seriously. See for yourself.
(If you’re still knowledge-hungry when you’re done with these, check out our NOKlist archive.)
by Wil Reynolds
I’ve always had an interest in productivity. I’ve also always been a go-getter. An overachiever. A hustler. Whatever you want to call it.
What I love about this talk from Wil Reynolds, is that he’s not just looking at getting things done, he encourages you to look at what you have to give up in order to get things done. Because not everything will be doable (something that’s becoming increasingly clear to me these days). And that’s okay.
He presents an interesting way of looking at priorities in your life, your business (be it personal or work), and how to handle and manage them. If you’re looking for a new way of thinking about work-life balance and boundaries, this is the talk for you.
It’s just shy of 20:00 and Wil is an incredibly engaging and entertaining speaker. Enjoy!
by Tom Redmond and Takako Taniguchi
Should a company kowtow to investors or should it invest in itself – namely, in its employees? The latter is the strategy taken by billionaire Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corp., and its proven successful.
KDDI (phone carrier) and Kyocera (electronics giant) have a combined market value of about $82 billion. In 2010, Inamori became chief executive of Japan Airlines, returned it to profit and out of bankruptcy in 2011, and re-listed it on the Tokyo stock exchange in 2012.
Inamori uses a fairly evocative metaphor to describe his focus on employees: “If you want eggs, take care of the hen,” Inamori said in an interview on Oct. 23. “If you bully or kill the hen, it’s not going to work.”
One of the ways he “takes care of the hen” is by conveying his philosophies to his employees, explaining the social significance of their work, and outlining Buddhist-inspired principles for how to live. Inamori says when employees are happy, materially and intellectually, they do more and better work, which results in a positive bottom line.
Though not all companies have shareholders (or nearly the revenue as Inamori’s), the concept of focusing on the employees is a strong one. We all have experienced a lack of motivation when we don’t understand the vision or mission we’re working toward. And we’ve all experienced a sense of pride and determination when we have a project or job in front of us that has a clear purpose and a leader pushing us for excellence.
by Sian Beilock, Ph.D.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that creative thinking does not happen on demand. (Wouldn’t it be lovely if it did?) It often seems that we happen upon bright ideas almost arbitrarily. We end up with a hearty understanding of the ancient peoples who decided that the arts happened at the fickle and flighty whim of the Muses and not according to any human timetable.
But timetable may in fact be the issue at hand, according to Dr. Sian Beilock, who breaks down the rhythm of creativity in this older but still interesting article. She dives into a study that reveals that your peak thinking hours are probably exactly the wrong time to try to be creative.
Boy, have I been ordering my days wrong.
By Greg Satell
Attention brands: it’s all about the experience! The numbers are in and they say that people want to feel a connection with a brand beyond the purchase. There is no longer a set path from first contact to checkout that you can shape and dictate. Instead, you need to look at every touchpoint a consumer can have with their brand and ensure it’s consistent and genuine. You need to assist them each step of the way.
Or as Greg Setall put it in this article, “We need to shift our mental models from that of crafting messages to creating experiences. Instead of carnival barkers, we must begin to think like concierges.”
Too often, consumers are left hanging during their experience with a brand. Don’t assume that you know what’s happening or what they want. Instead, look at and leverage your data – all the data, not just the averages – and then use it, in real time, for its true purpose: to better hold people’s attention.
Greg does a great job poking at the different ways to approach your data, the better ways to support the path-to-purchase, and the ways to ensure you’re focusing on mission over metrics.
by Guy Raz
NPR’s TED radio hour is almost a NOKlist inside of a NOKlist – bonus :)! This podcast features a handful of speakers and excerpts from their TED talks all pulled together with one common theme.
Margaret Heffernan speaks of social capital and how there is a more efficient approach to productivity: by considering a person’s emotional investment in why they are doing what they are doing for a living, you can discover the key to being productive. She says talking to people about something that makes a difference to them every day will help them to want them to do their best work. Making work more meaningful and fun for employees pays off big time in the long run.
Barry Schwartz then goes into the reason we work and how to make work fulfilling. Feeling that you are valued and actually doing something valuable gives purpose and meaning to the overall mission of the company or even the task. Money is not the most motivating factor; people care about the challenge and the satisfaction that comes from knowing what they’re doing has an impact. In a knowledge economy, meaning is more important than efficiency. (We talk about this a lot here at Mack Web – it’s all about the what we call ‘the meaning beyond money’.) We have to care about what we do and be connected to it every day in order to be successful and fulfilled.
Steve Shirley (my personal favorite speaker in this episode) picks up the thread from there, talking about the leaps forward that she has helped facilitate for women in the tech industry. She draws on the concepts of flexibility and the will to work hard doing what we love, producing something that we can be proud of. She reminds us to welcome and accept change but don’t ever be afraid to challenge it at the same time. Change should always have a purpose.
I feel incredibly proud to work for a company and with people that are on target with all of the values in this podcast. We apply these same principles to a traditional understanding of marketing and we’re coming up with some amazing results. It is a very exciting time to be in and around an industry where these things are becoming more and more significant with each day and each new start-up.