31 March 2011

64 with 2 4s

Using only two 4’s how would you get 64? You can use standard mathematical functions found on a calculator – plus, minus, multiply, divide, to the power, log, square root, factorial…. Cannot use trigonometry or any other digit.

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13 March 2011

Giving Frequent Feedback

I have been always blessed with some of the strongest Advisory Boards for my business. The trick has been getting executives who are not potential customers but with great experience that my management team could be well served with. In one of those recent Advisory Board meetings a very interesting discussion came up. Which I thought is a great point of learning for me.

My management team started a discussion around how to create a very effective rewards and recognition system when you have very different kind of jobs (product development, services, sales etc).

Some of the advice we got was pretty insightful. First, most agreed that while we need to have programmatic methods, they tend to be fundamentally too broad to be effective.

Instead, the push was to understand that if employees are clamoring for more rewards and recognition from management/leadership, there is a larger message here. The organization is saying that the feedback mechanism is not often enough or strong enough.

In other words, if employees were to very often get feedback on (*) how what they are doing aligns to the larger plan for the organization (*) what they are doing well and (*) what course correction is required, their sense of alignment, contribution and participation would solve the root cause of the problem why they feel they are not being recognized.

It was also felt that this forum should give the employee an opportunity to give quick feedback to the manager on what the manager needs to provide/do to help the employee achieve his/her goals.

One board member talked about a 10-10 practice. Every two weeks he makes himself and all managers in his group sit with all direct reports for a 10 minute discussion on giving feedback – 20 minutes either way as described in the two preceding paragraphs.

Another member talked about a variation of the same being practiced in the whole company (large strategy consulting company).

That was a pretty interesting learning for me. Understanding the root cause of why employees feel they are not being rewarded or recognized enough.

Worthwhile idea to copy.

Do you have any experience on this? What has worked? What has not?



10 March 2011

Two trains colliding

A bullet train starts from Atlanta to San Diego at 200mph. A freight train starts an hour later from San Diego for Atlanta at 80 mph. When they meet, which train is closer to Atlanta? (note that the actual distance does not really matter)

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