July 2009


The power of ‘why’ and the sheer impact of ‘what’. (For more snippets from around the web, see the full Crackers list.)

Use the Five Whys to Get Comfortable with New Ideas:  elsewhere we looked at the importance of ‘why’. Here’s another reason for asking – although the implication is that you’ll need to persevere with the questions. Patience is a virtue.

Ambassadors of Harmony: this may well be a matter of taste, but for a 4 min 47 sec demonstration of not just presentation skills but also tight team-working this may take a little beating. But please turn down your speakers before clicking the link.

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‘Where’, ‘when’, ‘what’ and ‘who’ all have their place as questions go: getting answers to them gives our lives more structure and intelligibility, and helps us to master our daily schedules. ‘How’ is probably a step up the evolutionary ladder of questions: if we know how, we know the method as well as the ingredients – we’ll need practice at it, but we have pretty much the whole recipe. Time will tell exactly what kind of meal we will make of it. But ‘why’ – in the poker game of ‘my question asks more than yours does’ – must be the top trump.

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Philanthropy isn’t a word you run up against every day. The image it conjures in the UK is either one of noble, heavily-whiskered Victorian gentlemen, or of a charmingly antiquated name for a little girl (even though she’d probably be teased just as much as Chastity, Charity and Chardonnay). But the rise of CSR – corporate social responsibility has inevitably become an acronym – has given new life to a word that originated with the Ancient Greeks.

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Two more ‘crackers’ for you – nuggets from around the web we think deserve a wider audience (for the full catalogue, see our Crackers page) – looking at workplace entrants’ shifting values and at performance reviews

Size isn’t everything for today’s recruits: Management Today report on the 2009 Angela Mortimer Blue Book Salary Survey, which shows disparity between the outlooks of organisations and potential recruits. While 62% of employers think that being a market leader is attractive to potential recruits, only 23% of candidates agree. Given that 78% of organisations anticipate attracting the right staff will be tough, some clearer thought and effort on talent management might be called for, even in a “buyers’ market”.

The Performance Review & Some Ugly Truths: Gwen Teatro’s “You’re Not The Boss Of Me” blog is one of our favourites anyway, but this post deserves special mention. Performance Review is often almost counter-productive as an activity, every organisation, line manager, and line managee should read this one. While you do that, we’re off to add a comment …

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You might think ‘webstress’ is a formal job role title for a female spider: if you have a lousy broadband connection (this morning’s news in the UK indicated you might well), you might not be able to get to Google or Wikipedia to check, so let me reassure you it isn’t – it’s another hurdle in our working lives for us to hop or jump over: the ‘skip’ option in this instance, however, may take a few seconds longer or compel to watch a little movie for the three thousandth time first. And a new survey indicates it’s high time HR had a firm word with IT too.

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Flashes of inspiration or connectedness of ideas can strike in unexpected locations and unusual circumstances: moments of satori can, almost by definition (and Wikipedia has a commendable stab), strike anywhere. While Jack Kerouac had his in Paris, I had one or two in Wiltshire last weekend at the WOMAD (World of Music and Dance festival). And not, as you might expect at an event specialising in examples of global culture, sudden insights into diversity (well, certainly not among the audience, which is very largely white and wealthy – if it’s possible to be well-heeled in wellies, a WOMAD audience certainly is). WOMAD does provide some very interesting examples of aspects of leadership.

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The 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon-landing has seen an outpouring of an unusual kind of nostalgia – a fond look back to a past where the promised future looked fundamentally different. 1969 was not all in all a particularly Utopian year (the Vietnam War wore on, trouble erupted in Ulster, Hurricane Camille killed 248 people, the Manson murders, Colonel Gadaffi came to power …), but there were still some moments – the start of the first SALT nuclear-disarmament talks, the Woodstock festival – that offered a more positive note.

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