One unnerving aspect of getting older is that life seems to speed up. Feeling that whoosh as time rushes past can be disheartening and may leave you wondering how to slow down time.
This piece was originally published in 2015. It has been updated with new data and advice for 2019.Image Source]
Here’s how the story usually goes. Sometime in the early 20th century, British explorer Ernest Shackleton needed to hire a crew for an upcoming expedition to the South Pole. So he placed a newspaper ad:
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in event of success.”
The copywriting — and its strong, direct language — has been printed, reprinted, and talked about for decades. It’s beautiful. Possibly the world’s greatest job ad.
Though his accomplishments went largely uncelebrated in the years after his death, Shackleton, in recent years, has become a revered leadership figure thanks to new literature on his life and career.
The Shackleton ad copy has taken on a life of its own, with hiring managers and entrepreneurs pointing to it as an example of how to lure exceptional people to your organization.
But there are two problems here. For one, the ad probably never existed. Even if it did, many people — it seems — are missing the point.
Just like the poor souls on Hoarders, you may not realize you have a problem.
Think of all those little times in the day when you stop what you’re doing to ask “Emma, how does the copy machine work?” or “Bryan, how many days have you taken off this month?”
They seem like small-fry problems, but they are actually issues of employee empowerment. You stop, gather the information, and move on. But they all add up to a huge productivity drain for you and your company, for one single reason: knowledge hoarding. Information is stored in particular places, and particular people are responsible for it.
Knowledge hoarding is normal but dangerous. Here’s why:
The more you write on your “Done List,” the less likely your co-workers are to read what you write. 81% of educated people don’t even read what they see—they skim.
I Done This 2.0 automatically sets the default length of a Done List post at about 12 words. We’ll never limit the amount of words you post, but the default setting encourages you to fit your post on one line, like this:
[Image Credit: MusicOomph.com]
Many gigabytes of text were spilled out all over the web about 2015 being the ‘year of the podcast.’ It seems like there may have been something to that. The medium is exploding. Apple last year reported that podcast subscriptions on iTunes have surpassed the 1 billion mark. And more than 39 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly, according to Edison Research.
Looking to up your podcast intake and grow as an entrepreneur? Here are seven suggested podcasts.
At some point — long, long ago — someone would say “bull in a china shop” and you would actually picture the scene. Here’s this bull, all big and mad and energetic. But he’s in a dainty little shop filled with delicate plates and teacups. You can picture it, you might even chuckle a little. And you would definitely remember that conversation.
But hear that same phrase today? You’d get the point, but the message doesn’t stick nearly as well. There’s no imagery to make the point extra clear. You register the phrase and what it means, but the benefits of the metaphor are washed out. You might as well be saying nothing. You basically are.
This is what a cliche is. And they’re insanely common in business. And they’re making you terrible at your job. Terrible? Yes. Talking in empty cliches makes you — and the things you say — forgettable.
“I’m a procrastinator.”
Probably no quicker way to ensure you’re “not the right fit” for that job. No matter what the job is.
Procrastination has become one of the ugliest words in modern work. It’s practitioners are stigmatized more than employees who make bad choices and blow up the company. They at least were doing something, the thinking goes.
But what if we’re thinking about it all wrong. What if the impulse to procrastinate is one of the more valuable tools we have?
Let’s play a game. Pretend I’m pitching you a fictional business.
“Since launching 29 months ago in 12 cities across 4 states we’ve acquired 208,000 users and 195,000 daily active users averaging a 10.5 percent monthly user increase over the last 7 months.”
Now here comes the important part.
There were a lot of statistics listed there, right?
Close your eyes and remember as many as you can.
How’d you do? There were seven statics in that paragraph.
Did you remember all seven? Three? Any of them?
There’s a good chance you didn’t. Let’s try this again.
Startups are at their sexiest when hundreds of millions of people around the world use something that a couple of guys and girls built in their garage.
But I’ve noticed how that perception lays a trap for many first-time entrepreneurs. With their sights set on serving the masses, first-time founders often conclude that they must build a product that will work for millions of customers — before they even have one.
This is such a major problem that Startup Genome identified “premature scaling” as the number one cause of startup failure. Surveying 3,200 startups in 2011, the startup-community hub Startup Genome found that a whopping 70 percent failed because they tried to scale too early — expending resources on add-ons like expensive marketing and hiring salespeople before they truly had a product to satisfy a sufficiently large market.
Here are three ways to avoid the trap of startup premature scaling and build a successful business the right way.
Here’s an excerpt from our fresh-of-the-presses eBook, What You Don’t Know About Management: How to Take Back Your Work Day. If you like what you read, download the 50+ page eBook for free!
For the amount of our lives that we spend working, you’d think it would be more common to spend time tending to our coworker relationships. Yet, the default is to treat the social aspects of work as a given instead of managing them in any significant way.
Team-building goes way beyond trust falls. Successful people recognize the importance of establishing and cultivating meaningful connections.