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Weekly Inspirations: January 19th, 2018

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

Self-improvement is never just about yourself

Consider a married couple. He’s spent the last 20 years working on himself. Learning, exploring, discovering. Changing. So has she. Each has been on a journey of enlightenment to become a better person. And they are, in fact, both of them, wonderful people. But they’ve each been on their own journey, and now, while each is one with the universe, they’re not in the same universe. They have nothing left in common. He doesn’t fit in her world. And she doesn’t fit in his. This scenario came to mind recently during a conversation with a financial services executive I advise. He is interested in becoming a more creative leader. And it occurred to me that there are really two dimensions to this challenge. Or any leadership challenge. There’s the internal work of improving yourself. But in parallel, there must also be the work of engaging your team. When you work on yourself but not on your team, two unintended consequences can unfold.
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Getting ready for the voice-first era is currently a top priority for leading companies around the globe. From Amazon Alexa’s $100 million Alexa Fund, to The Slack Fund, an $80 million investment fund, there’s a lot of support for startups exploring voice technology. Whether you believe the Forbes article that claims 2017 will be the year of voice, you should at least be paying attention.
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The human side of transformation

Spend any time looking at the pace of technological progress and global interconnection, and you can see why this era—which Thomas Friedman calls “the era of accelerations”—is so unsettling. Our latent ability to adapt is being overtaken by the increasing pace of technology-driven change, and it is getting much harder for leaders to draw upon past experiences as models of the future. The outcome is a lack of leadership when we need it most. And now we’re seeing the results: whole industries in death spirals because their constituents can’t keep up with change; a diminishment of institutional vigor, and trust in global institutions; and the loss of dignity and output among displaced workers throughout the country, let alone the world. The answer is not to go around trying to destroy new technology, like the Luddites of old. But rather, to activate our extraordinary human capacity to learn and adapt. This is a moment for leaders to design for active participation in change—helping individuals, organizations, and societal institutions tap into their human ability to transform. And that requires a mindset shift: from seeing human beings as an instrument of change to seeing them as the authors and leaders of it.
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A former Google and Apple exec says there are 4 ways to lead a team — and 3 are ineffective

Kim Scott is no psychoanalyst — she’s a CEO coach — but when she talks about the genesis of ineffective leadership styles, she points straight to your experience at 18 months old. At that point, Scott says, you’re taught: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Then, when you get your first job in your late teens, you’re told to “be professional.” In other words, to check your emotions at the office door. These two messages, Scott says, tend to stick with people, even as they move into the working world and assume leadership positions. The result is an ineffective — and often destructive — management style.
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Designers rise to top jobs as companies rethink how to inspire the consumer

When Jim Hackett stepped into the position of CEO at Ford, he became the first designer to lead a car company. But Hackett is part of a wave of promotions and corporate success stories that have resulted from design thinking — the creative strategies designers use to come up with innovative solutions. With technological innovation comes constantly changing expectations, so it is getting harder than ever to provide consumers with new and improved experiences. The upshot: Executives with design backgrounds are rising to the top and, in some cases, delivering billions in new revenue. Hackett is close with the founder of IDEO, David Kelley — so close they watch each other’s desks throughout the day on camera. Kelley is known for popularizing the design-thinking philosophy, and Hackett plans to integrate it into Ford’s operations.
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What Went Wrong In Hawaii, Human Error? Nope, Bad Design

“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” That was the false alert sent to people in Hawaii, January 13, 2018. What happened? “An employee pushed the wrong button,” Hawaii Governor David Ige told CNN. How do false alerts happen? As soon as I read about the false alert of a missile attack on Hawaii I knew who would be blamed: some poor, innocent person. Human error, would be the explanation. But it would be wrong. The real culprit is poor design: poor, bad, incompetent.
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