Monday, May 31, 2010

Light reading

Having a break from work is good for catching up on a lot of things, including the Harvard Business Review :)

Much as I dislike HBR's and EBSCOhost's linking policies for online classes, there's almost always something interesting. A recent blog entry is "Why controlling bosses have unproductive employees" describing a classic psych experiment:
... if your employees consider you a controlling person, even an unconscious thought of you can have a negative effect on their performance. If, for example, they were to happen to subliminally see, out of the corner of their eyes, your name flash for 60 milliseconds, you could expect them to start working less hard. Even if they didn't intend to slack off.
A featured story of the June issue is "The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Less" (if you are a Fresno State person the fulltext link is here, for others it is here).
... we encouraged Sony to make two fundamental shifts in the way it manages employees. The first was to stop expecting people to operate like computers ... and to recognize that human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between periods of intense focus and intermittent renewal. The second was to move from trying to get more out of employees and instead to invest in systematically meeting their four core needs... These four core needs are physical health (achieved through nutrition, sleep, daytime renewal, and exercise), emotional well-being (which grows out of feeling appreciated and valued), mental clarity (the ability to focus intensely, prioritize, and think creatively), and spiritual significance (which comes from the feeling of serving a mission beyond generating a profit).
Bob Sutton also recently posted his "12 things good bosses believe" at the HBR The Conversation blog.