Archive for December, 2007

A Christmas Message

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Drink, don't drive - Xmas message, Isobar, Island Bay

Merry Christmas and a successful (WOMBAT-free) 2008 to you all.

What are meetings good for?

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Given that action points get raised in meetings, you’d think that’s the place to manage them. It isn’t so.

Had a meeting with a senior team in a large organisation yesterday in which we explored what issues they were having with their meetings. There were the usual suspects; poor focus, meeting purpose not properly defined and communicated, incomplete action points, blame game and so on.

Discussion moved to how you deal with action points that aren’t done. That’s a problem of its own but equally interesting is how action points get managed. Their way of managing them is common, we’ve been there in the past, and it’s probable that’s how your organisation does it.

What do they do? They have one of the first items in a meeting being the action point review. You go round the table and tick off the completed items and don’t tick off the incomplete items and probably set a new date for them or get into discussion on how that action point is going to get done.

If you didn’t have any action points this is a tedious waste of time. If you did and you got them done you can report smugly and then suffer the tedious waste of time. The attention and time goes to the non-completion and excuses, blame, waffle and so on. And this is how the meeting begins - where will it go from there?

Meetings are good for items that involve all or at least most of the participants. If there are items, like action point reviews, that are really a report back to a manager role - do that outside of the meeting. Meeting time is too valuable for your participants to be spectators - and often bored ones at that!

Last word on explanatory style

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Let’s close this recent foray into explanatory style with final words from Daniel Vettori after the Black Caps loss in the One-Day International.

“We were beaten by one man today, he played really well,” Vettori said.
“That’s one of the best one-day innings I’ve ever seen.”

Winning, optimistic explanatory style after a loss is impersonal, temporary and limited. Vettori’s words were impersonal “he played really well” and temporary “beaten by one man today” - and it took, “one of the best one-day innings I’ve ever seen” to beat them.

They may have lost - but these are words of a winner. More please.

The “real reason” for climate change?

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Watch Polar Bears, a 1 minute movie that proposes the “real reason”.

Recognise the voice? None other than John Clarke, aka Fred Dagg, who also wrote it.

OK - so the Black Caps won

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Clearly the South Africans had an off day, the explanatory style principle holds true more often than not and this was obviously an aberration.

I might have made a small mistake - but you can’t fault my explanatory style (temporary, limited and impersonal).

What will happen next?

South Africa:

“We were poor in all three departments, this has been our worst game in a long while.” - personal, pervasive
“We were very ordinary and our dressing room is very disappointed. We’ve rocked up at every game and expected to roll them over.” - personal
“The New Zealand dressing room is more hungry than ours at the moment and that’s a concern. They did it all right tonight and we did it all poorly.” - personal, pervasive

New Zealand:

“It was a complete performance, you couldn’t ask more of the team.” - pervasive
“The first words out of a lot of the guys’ mouths were that we should have won in Durban, so the series should be over now.” - personal, permanent
“Now that we’ve got the momentum we’ve got to make sure we hold onto it.” - permanent

Tricky business making predictions based just on explanatory style - but I think you’d agree that on that basis alone we’d have to pick the Black Caps for the next victory.

Yes - David Beckham’s in town - bend it he does, but this goal from halfway is an old favourite that shows his class (and this one).