How do middle class people of the developed world keep the edge, work ethic, and values their immigrant ancestors had? How do we develop mental toughness?
This month my company featured me on our portal in a blog-style interview. I thought I'd share since I haven't posted much about work lately. Here you go: Get to Know John Demma We all share common goals, but rarely do we have an opportunity to share a cup of coffee and break the ice. Yet, studies show … Continue reading Get to Know Me, From My Company’s Portal Blog
This barber, he had to be seventy, was telling me once while trimming me up how he just had a whole bunch of cancer surgically removed about a week earlier. Tough old dog, I thought. "I can't believe you're back to work already." "You ever been in a fight before?" he asked. I nodded. "Then you know … Continue reading Gut Check – Getting Back Up
That's a picture of a cute little clownfish, we'll call him Remo, swimming among sea anemone. Most fish would not be feeling too good right now, because those cool looking tentacles of the anemone are laced with stinging poison. Good thing Remo's ancestors evolved a thin layer of mucus that protects him from the poison. … Continue reading Management Skills: Create Symbiosis
Manager is a just a made up word. Supposedly a manager is a person who controls a portion of a business, but you and I know this is silly, and not a real thing. Any control this person has is an illusion. People don't act because the person called their manager told them to. People … Continue reading Management Skills: There’s No Such Thing As ‘Manager’
The greatest trick Waste ever pulled was convincing the Organization it didn't exist. Waste does not look like an enemy, it appears as a friend-in-need. Waste is the extra team member that can lighten the load. Waste is just one more meeting, spreadsheet, or status report that makes bosses feel good. Waste gives us a … Continue reading The Temptation of Waste and The Fall of Organizations
Warren Buffett says he was born lucky. Being born in America, in the 1930s, without having to overcome barriers of race or gender, combined with the power of compound interest, allowed Buffett to amass one of the greatest personal fortunes in the history of mankind (which will be almost entirely given to philanthropy). As Buffett … Continue reading Born Lucky: Playing Warren Buffett’s Ovarian Lottery
The other day I read this Wall Street Journal article called "Smarter Ways to Discipline Children." The article advocates the parent management strategy outlined by Dr. Alan E. Kazdin in his famous book The Kazdin Method. Basically the doctors and researchers discussed in the article have found that the only effective way to get desirable … Continue reading Management Skills: Praise and Positive Feedback
Kids are generally thought of as little career killers for their parents. I can understand why. Kids take up a lot of a parent's time with their need for attention and supervision, and time is a manager's most valuable and scarcest resource. Kids can also be unpredictable and cause their mom or dad to miss … Continue reading Having Kids Won’t Kill Your Career, But Seeking Work/Life Balance Might
I have a tendency to judge others against a perfect version of themselves. I assume people are capable of perfection, and I expect to find everyone virtuously sprinting towards perfection. Expecting perfection from direct reports can be a good habit for a manager. A boss with perfection as a standard can replace a culture of … Continue reading Expecting Perfection is an Imperfect Strategy
The other day a new guy asked me, "Can you give me some tips?" I think he wanted me to give him one of those top ten lists, you know, the ten simple things you need to do to be a great manager. There is such a thing as a stupid question. If you're … Continue reading The Top 10 Tips For Being A Great Manager (Not Really)
Having a good sense of humor is important for a manager. It shows the team you're a real person, and not just an order shouting robot. I think some managers are confused about what they can and cannot joke about with direct reports, peers and supervisors. Sure, most people can use their common sense to … Continue reading Just Joking: An introductory guide to a manager’s sense of humor
I read this Newsweek article called "Is the Internet Making Us Crazy" last week. It's about how people are becoming more addicted to the web, digital devices, and screens in general. I am one of these people. I think I may spend around eleven hours each day looking at a screen. In the morning my eyes … Continue reading Screen Addiction
Why do we experience time in one direction? In other words, why do we remember the past, and know nothing about the future? And why is it a complete certainty that my company and your company will some day go out of business?
I read this article last week, another in a long list that talks about declining employee tenure. The article reminded me of dozens of articles I've read that peg the millennial generation (people born in the 1980s and 1990s) as perpetual job changers. I don't know where this dirty little rumor comes from, but when … Continue reading The Myth of the Millennial Job Changer