Roundup: Lessons from every quarter

Advice for effective management has been showing up in some of the most unlikely places over the past several weeks, or in unexpected guises. Let’s take a look at some of these, leavened with some real advice from some of the best management trainers around.

Clues to communication. The range begins at The Boston Globe, for an excellent piece on “cognitive fluency” and what it means for anyone – from managers to marketers and beyond – trying to make a message connect. It then moves on to Steve Roesler’s piece on getting your ideas heard – note point numbers one and two, in particular. Then we complete the journey to clarity with a classic memo, courtesy of John Phillips.

Obvious places. Start with this WSJ editorial on the dangers of believing your own PR. It’s a political piece, but the lesson is there to be had, whatever you may think of the choice of this particular object for the lesson. In the same vein, next view this by Steve Tobak at BNET, about key lies managers deceive themselves with.

Now, let’s return to the WSJ for this Fouad Ajami column; again, a political piece, same target. But leaving that aside, consider this sentence from it: “A charismatic leader had risen in a manner akin to the way politics plays out in distressed and Third World societies.” How does that insight, and what follows in the essay, translate to what we see in business? But to return to the subject of communication for a moment, please see this item from The Economist about how some politicians aren’t getting – don’t want to get – this increasingly strongly felt and urgently delivered message from the electorate.

Staying motivated. You will definitely want to see this terrific book review by Aubrey Daniels – and why it’s key message drives him crazy. And speaking of insufferably irritating, please see why forced fun can be much more damaging for a company than you might think, in this essay by Grant McCracken.

Unlikely places. Much has been made, of course, of the late-night host debacle of recent weeks in the US. One WSJ piece argues that it is a rich source of management lessons. Another insists that our very effort to find these in it is a condemnation of our individual and cultural common sense. What’s your view?

Here and there. Before leaving the WSJ, you will want to see this column about how the drive to diversity on boards can actually be quite destructive. Next, please be sure to see what management coach Katy Tynan has to say about handling conflict – well worth your time. Subscribe to her blog while you’re there.

You will surely want to see this from Miki Saxon about the real message in the failure of a football team. This is definitely a transferable lesson.

And finally, please do see this BBC piece about why you might want to be slimed – and what unexpected lessons you can learn even from that.

Enjoy your reading, and have a great weekend – see you soon!

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