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Ernie Banks dies = Cubs win the World Series?

Ernie Banks passed away, and I can’t think of a person the baseball world could lose where it would be a bigger deal — with the possible exception of Willie Mays or maybe Yogi Berra. But follow the bouncing ball here for a second:

The last time the Cubs won the World Series, Theodore Roosevelt was President. For context, he’s been dead since 1919.

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Leadership should actually be about making as FEW decisions as possible

I love leadership as a concept, because it means about 12,391 things to 1,435 different people (obviously those numbers are completely made up), and entire aisles of bookstores are devoted to it and people fly all over the world to speak on it and capture it, but it’s really actually a pretty simple thing.

Now, moving one step further — every single person on the planet who’s ever had a job, even those who absolutely adore their boss, has had moments where they don’t quite understand why their boss is deep in the minute details of something. After all, aren’t bosses supposed to think at a higher level? So why are they down in the weeds doing copy edits or writing tweets? I’ve had bosses do this, I’ve had friends tell me their bosses do it, I’ve had bosses admit to me they do it, etc. It’s pervasive.

(What’s interesting is that most everyone who ever becomes a boss was, at one point, a rank-and-file employee. They probably complained about those behaviors, then went and did them when they became a manager. Brutal cycle.)

So … we often think of this idea of “leadership” as “You have the influence now, so every decision should be running through you.” If you asked a random person on the street to list traits of a leader, I bet they wouldn’t get very far before they said “… decision-making.” So we think of our strong, powerful leaders as the real decision-makers in our organizations, generally.

But what if leadership is actually about making as few decisions as possible? Read more

Here are the 30 fastest-growing cities of 2014

You start with the Brookings Institute’s “Global Metro Monitor,” and then you move on over to CityLab breaking down the data. In there, you’ll find a chart of, essentially, the 30 fastest-growing cities in the world in 2014. Basically, it looks at the change in GDP per capita and employment rate from 2013 to 2014, and then ranks the cities off of that; about 300 global metro areas were included in this, but (of course) it’s a little harder to get data on some parts of the world than others. You can take some of this with a grain of salt, no doubt.  Read more

Networking better: (a) Stop caring about first impression; (b) stop networking

I honestly believe relationships and the whole idea of “networking” is basically everything; I’ve written about it before as a result, here and here. Here’s why it’s become everything, IMHO: the job market is supposedly “back,” but it’s not really — 23 percent of people (1 in 4!) look for a new job every single day. Problem with that is: the hiring process sucks at actually matching “people’s talents” and “what an organization needs.” (Believe me, I know.) So the overall picture looks something like this:

  • Jobs are posted.
  • Job seekers are probably getting information that’s out of context or outdated.
  • Job posters are getting hundreds of applicants (unemployed, want-a-new-job, etc.)
  • Job posters need a way to sort through the rubble, so they look to connections and referrals.
  • Job seekers are repeatedly told networking and connections are everything, so they focus on that.
  • KABOOM.

If you want to network well, though, maybe you should chuck out everything you ever thought about networking. WTF? Who’s saying this? Well, one of the most connected men at Davos is. Read more

What if what’s really being “disrupted” is The American Dream?

Sounds pretty deep for a headline, right? Maybe not. Consider this:

Much of this is ultimately supposed to be good. The term “disrupter” has become an accolade, like first-responder or something. Yet there could be an awful political and social price to pay, and that, for the moment, is being discussed only in whispers — largely limited to forums like Aspen and not the political arena. The stirring will likely have severe political repercussions. After all, what is being disrupted is not the occasional industry but the American Dream. The disrupters disrupt sleep itself.

We already know job growth is up but earnings are flat, and we know that inequality is pretty severe. This idea of a “Power Curve Society” is primarily discussed at places like the Aspen Institute, and it speaks to the idea that a high middle-class society (like the U.S.) actually doesn’t benefit from technological innovation, because that technological innovation can end up boosting the upper class and stagnating the middle class.  Read more

Get over your grudges, because the other person doesn’t really care

Last Friday around 4pm, I was walking to the supermarket to get some things for a little wine-and-cheese function my wife and I were hosting. I had a quick conversation with my father-in-law about 20 minutes into the walk; as a result of that conversation, I ducked into a bar, had a Lakewood Temptress (pretty good stout), then went to the supermarket and went back home. I was super depressed and upset. But ultimately, I think the sequence taught me a valuable life lesson. I thinkRead more

Here’s President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union word cloud

Here are the word clouds for the third State of the Union of every President since Roosevelt — i.e. the penultimate ones — and below (in large format, as well as to the side here in smaller format) is President Obama’s from his 2015 State of the Union. Interestingly on those penultimate SOTUs, Bush (Sr.)’s No. 1 word was “world” — this was 1991, after all (Gulf War issues) and Bush (Jr.)’s No. 1 word was “America” in 2007 (ironically, right before America’s economy crashed into a fiery cauldron of hell).

Additionally, per The Atlantic, Obama has used the word “freedom” less than any President since Warren Harding in his State of the Union addresses. Take that for what you will.  Read more

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