|"…keeping you great"
Why Surgeons Need a Coach — Nathan Gray, head of EarthTrain, pointed me to this rather lengthy October 3rd New Yorker article by one of my favorite writers, Atul Gawande (Checklist Manifesto), on why surgeons need a coach. He notes that all professionals reach a plateau and require a coach to get them to the next level.
Appletree Answers' IdeaFlash — aligned with their Q4 theme Flash Forward, John Ratliff, CEO of Appletree, updated me on their new employee feedback system in reaction to the idea that "the most brains wins." Notes Ratliff, "we increased our spend with Salesforce.com from $175,000 a year to about $400,000 a year to put a tool on every single employee desktop called 'Idea Flash' that we developed on that platform in-house. In short, it gives every single employee, from a 15 hour a week part timer to our COO the ability to submit an idea 'in a flash.'".
Launch Cost and Video — continues Ratliff, "The frontline Experts don't even have to hesitate in their call to Flash an Idea. Total development cost was about $50k. Huge investment for us but the results have been great so far. It's still very early but I can make the case it is paying for itself multiple times." Here's a link to Appletree's 5 minute quarterly theme launch video – always entertaining and shows you some of the IdeaFlash screens. They also created some educational videos on using IdeaFlash – these give you more details if interested:
The Bozo Explosion — it's worth 4 minutes to peruse Guy Kawasaki's 12 lessons from Steve Jobs, worthy because he worked directly with/for Jobs. I particularly like #9 — precisely why hiring the right people (Topgrading) is still one of the two most important leadership skills, negotiation being the other (High Stakes Negotiations):
It's then imperative to keep you're A players great, keeping the bozo explosion at bay! It's not surprising that Steve Jobs primary focus the past two years was on Apple University.
Herb Kelleher's Evening — Jim Collins notes in his latest book, Great by Choice (BTW, it's better than I expected, and I already expected greatness), that even though Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines, was known for his various antics, no one worked harder. And after long days, "he'd settle down before bed to make progress on reading the thousands of books scattered about his home." It doesn't surprise me that the guy who built the best performing company between 1972 and 2002, in the most turbulent industry, was a voracious learner. Greatness doesn't happen by accident!
You Don't Wait — one team lived; one team died. Collins uses the Scott/Amundsen's comparative race to the South Pole to underscore the main points of the book. My favorite paragraph in the book so far:
You Can't Wait — so it drives me absolutely nuts when people say "well we're already working on several initiatives and our plates are too full to learn more right now." Instead, you need to pack ideas in as quickly as possible when first available, not knowing when you'll need them, but trusting your brain will surface them almost magically when needed – but they have to be in your brain in the first place.
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