Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

Social Media is a Waste of Time

I am sure you’ve heard this before, what with 54% companies banning social media sites. Of course, Twitter and Facebook are complete waste of time. Reading and writing blogs is a complete waste of time too. I also hear some executives say email is a waste of time too. And phone? What does everyone talk about anyway? They should get off the phones and just work (and I have had managers complain that personal calls were affecting productivity of some people). I think books are a waste of time too. After all what good could possibly come out of reading anything.

Social media is a tool, a medium. What you do with it constitutes the value you extract from it. Twitter can be a very useful productivity enhancer tool. However if you use it only to catch up with friends, chat about what you are having or review movies (and there is a lot of that going on on Twitter), then yes companies will see it as a productivity sapper. Facebook is a great way to connect with people. But are you spending too much time playing Farmville or answering who is the best looking friend, then yes Facebook is not exactly going to be popular with your boss. Blogs are a great tool to reflect what you have learned, great way to connect with other thinkers and great way to learn. But if you are overactive on your blog about movies, your landlord, or your blue umbrella (yes I have seen this posts with more than 50 comments on how someone got wet because they forgot the blue umbrella or something like that), then companies aren’t necessarily going to be thrilled by it. You can spend all your time reading John Girsham or Harry Potter, but companies would prefer if you read Good to Great, Built to Last or Wikinomics or something like that and implement your learning in your work.

So if you don’t want companies to ban Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites, then show your boss the value you are getting from them and how the company can benefit from it.

How to Kill an MIS

Here are five easy ways to kill your MIS:

  1. Make it hard to access the MIS. Don’t automatically give access to everyone who needs it. Add special permissions that need multiple approvals for access. Have multiple logins.
  2. Make it hard to access data. Have too many clicks to reach the data. Have reports that aren’t intuitive and require you to make multiple selections.
  3. Have useless data parameters.
  4. Shrug your shoulders when data isn’t right. Garbage-in-garbage-out, right. So when the MIS throws up data that is meaningless simply shrug your shoulders and say that it shows what was entered.
  5. Don’t validate input data. See previous point.

Are You Having Fun?

The eight irresistible principles of fun from Box of Crayons, “an irresistibly funky animated movie designed to help you create more fun in your life”

  1. Stop hiding who you really are. Take the time to figure out what makes up your DNA.
  2. Start being intensely selfish. Get hungry for things that are truly important to you.
  3. Stop following rules. It’s no longer about what you can’t do, it is about what you can do.
  4. Start scaring yourself. Explore the edges; dip your toe in the outrageous.
  5. Stop taking it all so damn seriously. Lighten up, this too shall pass.
  6. Start getting rid of the crap. Think of all the stuff weighing you down and get rid of the clutter.
  7. Stop being busy. Just because you are going flat out, doesn’t mean you are on the right track.
  8. Start something. Don’t wait any longer for permission to do what you want to do.

How to Become a Thought Leader

Three easy steps to become a thought leader:

  1. Have a thought. You can’t be a thought leader without a thought. Have a point of view about everything, be opinionated.
  2. Share your thought. It’s all very good to have a thought but it is quite useless unless you share it. To be a leader assumes you have followers. You can’t have followers if no one knows what your thoughts are. It’s easy to share. Share more at workplace, be a node of reference, start a blog, don’t pass on an opportunity to present, be available, be visible.
  3. Make sense. It is good to have a thought and to share it with others. But ultimately it needs to make sense and resonate with others. Otherwise you are just opinionated. This is the toughest part of being a thought leader.

So there you go… becoming a thought leader in three easy steps.

Development Goals for Leaders

Another great post by Dan McCarthy on 12 development goals for leaders. He is spot on for the 12 development goals for leaders. There are additional ones suggested in comments on his post, but I quite like the 12 he lists. Thank you Dan. Head over to his post for more.

  1. Strategic thinking
  2. Listening
  3. Coaching
  4. Financial acumen
  5. Cross-functional knowledge and perspective
  6. Industry, competitive, and customer knowledge
  7. Leadership presence
  8. Change leadership
  9. Remote management
  10. Collaboration
  11. Talent management
  12. Time management

Leadership Development Carnival: Best of 2009 Edition

Catching up on reading blogs I follow, I came across the Leadership Development Carnival on Dan McCarthy's Great Leadership blog. Head over there to read 50 outstanding posts on leadership. I am still going through the links on his blog. Great post to start of 2010.



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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.