Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Crit of business article on altruism and other stuff

This is my criticism on the following article:

11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader

[single bracket is text from the article. no bracket is me.]

> 1. Listening
> "When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." - Ernest Hemingway
> Listening is the foundation of any good relationship. Great leaders listen to what their customers and prospects want and need, and they listen to the challenges those customers face. They listen to colleagues and are open to new ideas. They listen to shareholders, investors, and competitors. Here's why the best CEO's listen more.

So they are open to ideas from other people. that's good.

> 2. Storytelling
> "Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today." -Robert McAfee Brown
> After listening, leaders need to tell great stories in order to sell their products, but more important, in order to sell their ideas. Storytelling is what captivates people and drives them to take action. Whether you're telling a story to one prospect over lunch, a boardroom full of people, or thousands of people through an online video - storytelling wins customers.

So the author is saying that marketing is about storytelling. I don't think that's right. Content marketing is about content, and the content isn't stories. The content is explanations of problems and solutions.

And I think that content marketing (in some industries) is more important than other types of marketing. Maybe Pepsi doesn't need content marketing, but a management consulting firm, or even a marketing firm, needs content marketing to persuade prospective buyers.

> 3. Authenticity
> "I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I've become. If I had, I'd have done it a lot earlier." -Oprah Winfrey
> Great leaders are who they say they are, and they have integrity beyond compare.

Yes. Because without integrity, good/smart people will notice and dislike people without integrity. someone with integrity won't follow someone without integrity.

> Vulnerability and humility are hallmarks of the authentic leader and create a positive, attractive energy.

um, i'm not sure what to say about that.

i think the best people are humble in that they aren't arrogant -- by arrogant I mean thinking you're right even in the face of devastating crit, or thinking you're right even when you didn't check your idea for accuracy.

but, most people think arrogance is something different. they think it means thinking you're right even in the face of other people disagreeing, like lets say 99% of the rest of the human population.

and so a Popperian is humble, but others think he's arrogant.

about the vulnerability, well i guess by telling the truth, one is more vulnerable than compared to hiding the truth, depending on whatever the truth happens to be. so ya a good leader will tell the truth even if it looks bad on him in the eyes of other people (and maybe the good leader disagrees that its bad) (and maybe the good leader is not concerned that people will react badly to knowing the truth).

> Customers, employees, and media all want to help an authentic person to succeed. There used to be a divide between one’s public self and private self, but the social internet has blurred that line. Tomorrow's leaders are transparent about who they are online, merging their personal and professional lives together.

i like transparency. i'm not sure i like merging public self with private self though. also not sure what he means by "merging".

> 4. Transparency
> "As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth." -John Whittier
> There is nowhere to hide anymore, and businesspeople who attempt to keep secrets will eventually be exposed. Openness and honesty lead to happier staff and customers and colleagues. More important, transparency makes it a lot easier to sleep at night - unworried about what you said to whom, a happier leader is a more productive one.

lol i never understood why people were so willing to lie when its soooo much harder than just telling the truth! how do they keep track of the lies!?

> 5. Team Playing
> "Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds." -SEAL Team Saying
> No matter how small your organization, you interact with others every day. Letting others shine, encouraging innovative ideas, practicing humility, and following other rules for working in teams will help you become a more likeable leader. You’ll need a culture of success within your organization, one that includes out-of-the-box thinking.

um 'team playing' and 'out-of-the-box thinking' are not the same thing. this point seems confused.

Team playing is good because many people collaborating on a problem is better than just one person doing it. "Two heads are better than one."

> 6. Responsiveness
> "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." -Charles Swindoll
> The best leaders are responsive to their customers, staff, investors, and prospects. Every stakeholder today is a potential viral sparkplug, for better or for worse, and the winning leader is one who recognizes this and insists upon a culture of responsiveness. Whether the communication is email, voice mail, a note or a tweet, responding shows you care and gives your customers and colleagues a say, allowing them to make a positive impact on the organization.

Yes. Do care about solving problems.

> 7. Adaptability
> "When you're finished changing, you're finished." -Ben Franklin
> There has never been a faster-changing marketplace than the one we live in today. Leaders must be flexible in managing changing opportunities and challenges and nimble enough to pivot at the right moment. Stubbornness is no longer desirable to most organizations. Instead, humility and the willingness to adapt mark a great leader.

wtf!? stubbornness was desirable? when/why?

> 8. Passion
> "The only way to do great work is to love the work you do." -Steve Jobs
> Those who love what they do don’t have to work a day in their lives. People who are able to bring passion to their business have a remarkable advantage, as that passion is contagious to customers and colleagues alike. Finding and increasing your passion will absolutely affect your bottom line.


> 9. Surprise and Delight
> "A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless." -Charles de Gaulle
> Most people like surprises in their day-to-day lives. Likeable leaders underpromise and overdeliver, assuring that customers and staff are surprised in a positive way. There are a plethora of ways to surprise without spending extra money - a smile, We all like to be delighted — surprise and delight create incredible word-of-mouth marketing opportunities.

that's weird. promises in business are basically the contracts between businesses (or between an employer and employee). and in contracts we describe the bare minimum that must be met in order for the contract to stay alive. so of course you're always going to overdeliver on the promise, so the point is superfluous i think.

and about the delight part, he's suggesting that smiles are the delightful part. why do people think smiling needs to be taught? i mean if something was funny, i'd smile/laugh. it it wasn't funny, i wouldn't. so it seems like the author is advocating fake smiling or something.

> 10. Simplicity
> "Less isn't more; just enough is more." -Milton Glaser
> The world is more complex than ever before, and yet what customers often respond to best is simplicity — in design, form, and function. Taking complex projects, challenges, and ideas and distilling them to their simplest components allows customers, staff, and other stakeholders to better understand and buy into your vision. We humans all crave simplicity, and so today's leader must be focused and deliver simplicity.

right. unnecessary complexity is bad. it decreases clarity.

> 11. Gratefulness
> "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." -Gilbert Chesterton
> Likeable leaders are ever grateful for the people who contribute to their opportunities and success. Being appreciative and saying thank you to mentors, customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders keeps leaders humble, appreciated, and well received. It also makes you feel great! Donor's Choose studied the value of a hand-written thank-you note, and actually found donors were 38% more likely to give a 2nd time if they got a hand-written note!

Saying 'thank you' is dumb. I instead say real things. if somebody i'm dealing with did something great, i'd explain the thing and explain how great it is. that's not a 'thank you' yet it clearly communicates that i appreciate the thing.

if i only said 'thank you' it might not be clear to him what it is that i liked. maybe he ends up thinking that i thanked him for a part of the thing that i actually didn't like. so saying 'thank you' without saying the real stuff is misleading.

> The Golden Rule: Above all else, treat others as you’d like to be treated

That's bad. Other people's preferences are different than mine, so treating them according to my preferences is bad because it means ignoring their preferences and acting against their will.

> By showing others the same courtesy you expect from them, you will gain more respect from coworkers, customers, and business partners. Holding others in high regard demonstrates your company’s likeability and motivates others to work with you. This seems so simple, as do so many of these principles — and yet many people, too concerned with making money or getting by, fail to truly adopt these key concepts.

holding others in high regard should be done because some specific other people have knowledge that i don't have. so by collaborating with them, i can cover more of my own blind spots. so its objectively better for me to highly value other people's knowledge (specific people that is).


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