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  1. 1. 20 FROM 20 THE BEST BUSINESS BOOKS OF 2020 greatesthitsblog.com
  2. 2.  A library of 425 books  A blog  A series of printed books  One-page summaries  One-sentence summaries  Training programmes  Motivational speeches  A fertile source of new ideas greatesthitsblog.com
  3. 3. Pirates embodied a code that was far more advanced than most companies today. greatesthitsblog.com
  4. 4. • You need a pirate mindset to create change, and that means: 1. Rebel - draw strength from standing up to the status quo. 2. Rewrite – bend, break but most importantly rewrite the rules. 3. Reorganise - collaborate to achieve scale, rather than growth. 4. Redistribute - fight for fairness, share power, and make an enemy of exploitation. 5. Retell tall tales – weaponize your story, then tell the hell out of it. • Pirates cause good trouble. They challenge the authority of the establishment and its ownership of new ideas. They innovate at the margins, free from the order of the ordinary. They have a dual focus of fortune and fairness. Their acute focus on micro needs inadvertently creates macro solutions. They tell their story at scale through subversive tactics. They don’t accept pointless rules. • Pirate ships had three main conditions: 1. No plunder, no pay. There was no pay for underperforming bosses. 2. Open incentives for going beyond the call of duty – being the first to spot a ship on the horizon could earn reward. 3. Fair shares for all crew members – regardless of status or colour. greatesthitsblog.com
  5. 5. Staying small is the next big thing for business. greatesthitsblog.com
  6. 6. • Remaining small can provide the freedom to pursue more meaningful pleasures in life – running a successful business that focuses on getting better rather than bigger. Doing this on your own terms allows you to avoid the headaches that routinely arise in the day-to-day grind of a traditional growth-orientated business. • A company of one* questions growth first, and then resists if there is a better, smarter way forward. The question should always be what can I do to make my business better? not what can I do to grow my business larger? • The main traits of a company of one are resilience, autonomy and control, speed and simplicity. The build to sell mentality, in which growth is seen as the sole purpose, is flawed. 74% of high growth tech start-ups fail. • Growth and scale at all costs is a broken, outdated, and unsubstantiated model that disregards what research has told us about the hazards of growth and scale. • The system and structure needed to cope with growth is sometimes described as feeding the beast, or a hungry ghost – a creature with an insatiable appetite that is always looking for more. It’s the disease of more. • Overhead =death. The less you have, the freer you are. Work out the upper boundary of what you need and stick with that. • Growth as a one-dimensional metric for success is useless in the absence of real reasons for it. It is usually desired from the start because of inflation, investors, churn, or ego. Growth equals success as a philosophy leads to vanity metrics – measuring social media followers, subscribers or clicks, but not the stuff that really matters. This is often called collecting not connecting. You can’t own an audience, because they don’t think about your company all the time. • *It doesn’t necessarily need to involve just one person. greatesthitsblog.com
  7. 7. It is Mainstream economics has led us astray in seven critical ways but it is possible to use an economic model that meets the needs of all and the planet. greatesthitsblog.com
  8. 8. • The title of the book is based on a doughnut-shaped model invented by the author. The ring of the doughnut is the safe and just space for humanity, contained by a social foundation of well- being that no one should fall below. Should they do so, they would fall into the hole in the middle (critical human deprivation). On the outside of the ring lies the boundary of an ecological ceiling, beyond which we should not go because we create critical planetary degradation. • There are seven ways to think like a 21st century economist: 1. Change the goal. Stop being fixated on GDP or national output, and instead use Doughnut economics to bring all of humanity into its safe space. 2. See the big picture. Economics is not a circular flow diagram of a self-contained market. It needs to be an embedded economy, emphasising the core role of the household, the partnership of the state and the creativity of the commons. 3. Nurture human nature. Rational economic man is a myth. Human nature is far richer than this. We are social, interdependent, approximating, fluid in values and dependent on the living world. 4. Get savvy with systems. Supply and demand curves don’t work and there is no mechanical equilibrium. We need systems thinking with feedback loops that embrace dynamic complexity. 5. Design to distribute. The old adage was that it has to get worse before it gets better, and that growth will eventually even it up. This notion is wrong because growth does not reduce inequality. Economies need to distribute far more of the value they create. 6. Create to regenerate. Economic theory has long portrayed a ‘clean’ environment as a luxury good, only available to the well-off. This is untrue. Ecological degradation is simply the result of degenerative industrial design. We need to be regenerative by design. 7. Be agnostic about growth. GDP curves are always portrayed as relentlessly upward, but they don’t work out like that. Nothing in nature grows for ever. We need economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow. greatesthitsblog.com
  9. 9. GOOD HABITS BAD HABITS You can make positive changes that stick to change your habits. ems. greatesthitsblog.com
  10. 10. GOOD HABITS BAD HABITS • This is all about the science of making positive changes that stick. It explains that we have a second self that does things without thinking 43% of the time. That’s a habit, not a conscious decision. • Our non-conscious self is always forming habits that enable us easily to repeat what we have done before, but we have little conscious experience of forming these habits. • Top-down processing is when we try to control our unwanted habits with our better intentions. It doesn’t always work, because intentions don’t have much bearing on achieving them. Persistence holds more sway. • Bottom-up processing means that we mindlessly respond to environmental clues in the world as we find it. • A working definition of a habit is a mental association between a context cue and a response that develops as we repeat an action in that context for a reward. • A shorthand version is automaticity in lieu of conscious motivation. It turns the world around you – your context – into a trigger to act. • Habit refers to how you perform an action, not what the action is. • The introspection illusion is an overriding confidence in our own thoughts, feelings and intentions. We overestimate the extent to which we actively decide to do things. That’s the invisibility of habit. • Procedural memory is based on the automatic scripts our brains piece together when we repeatedly do the same thing in the same way. • The good effects that we popularly ascribe to self-control are more accurately described as situational control. We don’t achieve admirable outcomes by exerting willpower. We do so by forming powerful habits to automate our behaviour to accomplish our goals – good habits. greatesthitsblog.com
  11. 11. There is a new way to market like you give a damn by harnessing the power of cool to make money and do good. greatesthitsblog.com
  12. 12. • There are three big cultural shifts going on: Generational: Millennials and Gen Z have new expectations of brands. Technological: technology has disrupted advertising. Spiritual: there is a crisis of meaningfulness in marketing. “The fact of the matter is that consumers don’t trust marketing.” (Morton Albaek) • Great marketing optimizes life. The new model of marketing is to make money and do good by harnessing the power of cool. • To do this, brands (Commerce) need to work with nonprofits (Conscience) and artists (Culture). • “Every time you spend money you’re casting a vote for the type of world you want live in.” (Anne Lappe) • The seven principles of how to market like you give a damn are: 1. Know your purpose: great companies have a higher-order purpose than just profit. 2. Find your allies: build coalitions with allies who have similar purpose. 3. Think citizens, not consumers: treating people as ‘consumers’ creates a low-quality one-dimensional relationship with them. 4. Lead with the cool, but bake in the good: you need great design as well as a great story to make it all work. 5. Don’t advertise, solve problems: add value to peoples’ lives by solving problems, don’t just advertise at them. 6. People are the new media: 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family. That’s what marketers should be striving for. 7. Back up the promise with the proof: people can spot bullshit so provide tangible evidence of the good that you claim to be doing. greatesthitsblog.com
  13. 13. Green swans can take us exponentially to breakthrough solutions through regenerative capitalism. greatesthitsblog.com
  14. 14. • A Green Swan is a profound market shift that delivers exponential progress in economic, social and wealth creation. Black Swans are problems that lead exponentially to degenerative breakdown (They are sometimes said to occur gradually, then suddenly. Green Swans take us exponentially to regenerative breakthrough. We need to rein in the first and accelerate the second. • An Ugly Duckling is an early-stage concept which could go either way. • There are also Grey Swans, which may have been predicted, but then ignored for too long. They can erupt in ways that can rock the world. • This is a manifesto for system change designed to serve people, the planet and prosperity. Capitalism in its current form is broken. Capitalism, democracy and sustainability are fiercely contested territory. They need to be transformed to adopt green swan characteristics and help regenerate our natural, social and economic worlds through regenerative capitalism. • Impact investing intentionally seeks measurable social and environmental benefits. This is at the heart of regenerative capitalism. It is different from socially responsible investing which traditionally avoids those inconsistent with the values of the investors (tobacco, arms, etc.) • We need to embrace uncertainty and discomfort, experiment with new economic and political models, identify opportunities for 10X solutions (improving things by 10% won’t do), and use the Sustainable Development Goals as a North Star to guide it all. greatesthitsblog.com
  15. 15. Innovation is the main event of the modern age and we need to change our thinking on the subject. greatesthitsblog.com
  16. 16. • This book provides a full history of innovation in most fields, including energy, public health, transport, food, communication, and computing. It also covers less usual topics such as the invention of the dog. • The essential elements of innovation are that it is gradual, it is different from invention, is often serendipitous, is recombinant, it involves trial and error, is a team sport, is inexorable, it prefers fragmented governance, and increasingly means using fewer resources rather than more. • It is a bottom-up phenomenon that is the mother of science as often as it is the daughter (in other words, many innovators don’t understand the science of what they have created – that comes later). • Innovation cannot be forced upon unwilling consumers who aren’t ready or don’t want it. It increases interdependence and it does not create unemployment. • Big companies are bad at innovation because they have too many rules and too much bureaucracy. Multinationals have absorbed the mentality of planners rather entrepreneurs. • Innovation meets resistance if it is viewed as subversive, when it is demonized and delayed, when scares ignore science, and when governments and the law stifle it. Clergymen forbade their parishioners from eating potatoes in England as late as the 18th century for the magnificently stupid reason that they were not mentioned in the bible. • Innovation is a process of constantly discovering ways of rearranging the world into forms that are unlikely to arise by chance. It is the most important fact about the modern world but one of the least understood. greatesthitsblog.com
  17. 17. HUMANE CAPITAL It is our moral and ethical duty to create humane workplaces. greatesthitsblog.com
  18. 18. HUMANE CAPITAL • The traditional business model is broken. We need to shift from command and control to humanized management. The book provides a series of case studies from the public and private sector, SMEs, and non-profits. • Out of this fall 8 pillars of humane capital, which are: • Mindset: move from viewing people as resources to them being the unique asset that creates all value. • Motivation: from lifeless to reluctant to enthusiastic. • Higher purpose: a lack of it derails everything. • Alignment of values: employees need to be engaged enough to want to change • Alignment of people and systems: everyone needs to be ready for the shift. • Self-organisation of employees in communities: hire right-minded people and let them get on with it. • Caring ethos: from fear and ignorance to common good and humanity. • Organizational learning process: the process never stops. greatesthitsblog.com
  19. 19. NON-BULLSHIT INNOVATION Many companies think they can innovate through jargon but they just don't get it. greatesthitsblog.com
  20. 20. NON-BULLSHIT INNOVATION • The founding editor of Wired UK is exasperated by the amount of bullshit in the innovation industry: talk of change agents, co-creation gurus, ideas portals, make- a-thons and hackfests, paradigm shifts and pilgrimages to Silicon Valley. This is mostly innovation theatre and corporate nonsense that has very little to do with delivering real change. • He scours the globe looking for inspiring stories from those creating genuine innovation and real change – radical ideas from the world’s smartest minds. Some of their approaches and suggestions include: • Embrace unmet needs: live with the customer to find out what’s needed. • Empower your team: hire great people, then get out of their way. • Hire pirates: give these rule breakers autonomy and air cover, allowing them to challenge the conventions in your company. • Turn products into services: strip back your core purpose to work out how to serve customers, not just churn out products. • Enable moonshots: set up a unit that has autonomy from HQ to look at brand new approaches that could make a really big difference. • Incubate tomorrow’s business: don’t muzzle the talent, however threatening their activities are to today’s business revenue. • Prototype and measure: the power of a tangible prototype can be profound – make that a priority. • Find your blind spots: prepare to see your current assumptions cast away. greatesthitsblog.com
  21. 21. People with experience of many fields are often more fulfilled and successful at solving tricky challenges than experts. greatesthitsblog.com
  22. 22. • Most of what you have read about how to succeed in life is wrong. From the 10,000 hours rule to tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialization and many hours of deliberate practice, and that if you dabble or delay you’ll never catch up with those who got a head start. It’s not true, so don’t feel behind. • In fact, the way to succeed is to sample widely, gain a breadth of experiences, take detours, and juggle many interests – in other words, develop range. In most fields, it is generalists, not specialists, who are primed to excel. Failing a test is often the best way to learn, and frequent quitters usually end up with the most fulfilling careers. • The cult of the head start is wrong. Less of the same can often equal more. • Too much grit means people stick at things for too long, even when they aren’t enjoying it or necessarily achieving much. • Flirting with your possible selves is the way to find out what you are really good at, or really want to do. Switchers are winners. • Outsiders can have an advantage looking in on something experts have been trying to solve, because they have wider perspective. Experts are, of course, no better at forecasting than non-experts*. Experts in silos are often outthought by people who can bring in thinking from outside a particular domain. So being a deliberate amateur has advantages. greatesthitsblog.com
  23. 23. Psychopaths are everywhere but you can beat them at their own game by understanding how they operate. greatesthitsblog.com
  24. 24. • Some people are exceptionally manipulative. They enjoy controlling others, often with their charm, and will do anything to get what they want. • The original Psychopath Checklist was created by Robert Hare, one of the most respected researchers of the subject. It requires the scrutiny of 20 behavioural characteristics, scoring them as happening never (0 points), sometimes (1) or always (2). These range from glib and superficial charm, grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self, lack of remorse or guilt, callousness and lack of empathy, through pathological lying, cunning and manipulativeness, poor behavioural controls and need for stimulation, to serious issues such as juvenile delinquency and criminality. • Common manipulation techniques include: • Arbitrary positive enforcement: giving strong praise, and then sometimes withholding it. • Love bombing: over the top initial adoration, followed by withdrawal. • Negative reinforcement: the manipulator stops doing something you don’t like when you start doing something they do like. • Unfathomable smokescreens: shifting the focus from the actual issue by claiming that you are the problem. • Having your feelings turned against you: putting pressure on someone’s weak points, particularly ones that they are not proud of. • The triangle drama: enthusiastically talking about or introducing a third party. • Gaslighting: distorting someone’s sense of reality and making them question their own sanity (from the 1944 film Gaslight in which a husband drives his wife mad by secretly changing the lighting and many other environmental elements whilst denying it). • The silent treatment: passive-aggressively refusing to comment at all. greatesthitsblog.com
  25. 25. When talking to strangers we need to understand that transparency is a myth, we default to truth, and we don’t know the context, so we may well judge them incorrectly. greatesthitsblog.com
  26. 26. • There’s a lot we should know about the people we don’t know. Strangers are never simple, and misreading them can have disastrous consequences. • As ever with this author, the book covers a wide range of examples from history, psychology and infamous legal cases to paint a picture of encounters and misunderstandings. Strangers are not easy and it’s a messy problem. • Puzzle number 1: Why can’t we tell when the stranger in front of us is lying to our face? We are notoriously bad at this (Chamberlain and Hitler are often cited). • Puzzle number 2: How is it that meeting a stranger can sometimes make us worse at making sense of that person than not meeting them? (Judges are more likely to make inappropriate parole and sentencing judgements when they meet defendants). • Truth-Default-Theory (TDT, coined by Tim Levine) is where we tend to take people’s word for it. Evolution should have favoured people able to pick up subtle signs of deception, but it hasn’t. Instead we default to the assume it’s the truth. Around 50% of the time, we are fooled by liars. • Transparency is a myth – an idea we have picked up from television that makes us believe we can read people. Facial Action Coding Systems (FACS) don’t help much either. There is a whole industry that looks at whether we can read people’s faces, but we aren’t good at it. • On top of these errors we often add another: we do not understand the context in which the stranger is operating. Coupling and context are therefore vital components. greatesthitsblog.com
  27. 27. Gaining the attention of potential customers is much more complicated than the media industry would have us believe. greatesthitsblog.com
  28. 28. • This is all about how media works in a modern context dominated by fake news, fast facts and seriously depleted attention stamina. Rather than simply heralding disruption, this is a conversation about the myths we need to leave behind and what the scientific evidence actually says. • The concept of viral marketing is utterly flawed because of the nature of the sharing distribution (a reverse J-shape curve). The likelihood of a video spreading to millions from a small seed is highly unlikely. • Hyper personalisation creates a web of one or a filter bubble, in which you just see the same stuff all the time. • A brand’s customer base typically looks like a banana (a reverse J-shape distribution) technically called a Negative Binomial Distribution (NBD). There’s no point in trying to increase the purchasing of already heavy users. Big brands have more loyal users but they are loyal to several brands not just one. This NBD Dirichlet shows that the path to growth is less a marketer’s choice than a statistical certainty. • Advertising impact is therefore small but positive. It doesn’t persuade, it provides publicity. • Attention and viewability are not the same thing. Viewability is a media owner output (ability to see advertising), whereas attention is a consumer output (whether they watch or not). For example, a youtube ad could have 25% coverage of a viewer’s screen (a quarter of it) with 100% pixels (the whole ad in view). If the pixel level falls to, say, 70%, the brand name could be missing from the ad. • STAS is short term advertising strength. The greatest uplift in sales impact is when a viewer moves from a non-attentive state to a low attention one. In other words, high attention is not essential for success. greatesthitsblog.com
  29. 29. You can change anyone’s mind if you correctly understand the five barriers to change and remove the roadblocks that are preventing it. greatesthitsblog.com
  30. 30. • Catalysts are change agents who know it’s not about being more persuasive or providing more information. It’s about removing roadblocks and reducing barriers to change. Instead of asking ‘What could I do to try to convince someone?’, ask ‘Why haven’t they changed already? What’s stopping them?’ • There are five main barriers to change, or roadblocks: 1. Reactance: when pushed, people push back. Catalysts encourage such resistors to persuade or convince themselves 2. Endowment: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – people are wedded to what they are already doing. Catalysts highlight that inaction isn’t as costless as it might seem. 3. Distance: too far from their backyard, people tend to disregard. New information only works if it is within someone’s zone of acceptance, but if it is too far away it actually increases opposition and is therefore counterproductive. Good catalysts shrink distance 4. Uncertainty: Seeds of doubt slow the winds of change. People hit the pause button if they are uncertain about what a change will yield. Catalysts overcome this by making things easier to try. 5. Corroborating Evidence: sometimes the recommendation of one person simply isn’t enough. Catalysts find reinforcement from collective proof. • In summary, catalysts reduce Reactance, ease Endowment, shrink Distance, alleviate Uncertainty, and find Corroborating Evidence. The stages form the acronym REDUCE greatesthitsblog.com
  31. 31. Doing the right thing can be the key to competitive advantage. greatesthitsblog.com
  32. 32. • Ethical behaviour by businesses is often seen as the corporate and social responsibility icing on the cake – nice to do but never really essential. Changing this to make ethical behaviour a primary focus is vital for long-term competitive advantage. • This needs to go deeper than something managers do out of a sense of moral duty. They need to build trust through ethical behaviour and regular, honest communication. • There are many types of ethics, but the four main types are: 1. Deontology: rules based, right and wrong actions, consequences of actions are not important (so long as you have done the ‘right’ thing). The rules give a strong reference point, but strict interpretation can lead to injustice. 2. Consequentialism: consequences of actions are more important than the actions themselves, judgement of good versus bad, greatest good for the greatest number (utilitarianism), ends justify the means. Focus on outcomes frees us from restriction of rules, but could lead to cheating in order to get the right outcome. 3. Pragmatism: ends and means cannot be separated, no hard and fast rules, each situation is different, an experimental approach. This is practical, but it can be difficult to know what correct behaviour is. 4. Virtue ethics: deliberate choice, collect the facts then decide, practical wisdom, cultivation of virtue. Reliance on self rather than rules is admirable, but requires people with sufficient virtue and wisdom. • The thread running through all of this is moral responsibility: being ethical is down to us. Overall, there are three ethics tests: • ~ Are you treating others as you would want to be treated? • ~ Would you be comfortable if your decision were to be publicised? • ~ Would you be comfortable if your children were observing? greatesthitsblog.com
  33. 33. We can survive the climate crisis if we take urgent action now. greatesthitsblog.com
  34. 34. • The authors were involved in forging the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. In this book they define the 20s as the critical decade. Two dates should be seared into everyone’s mind: 2030 and 2050. • By 2050 at the latest, and ideally by 2040, we must have stopped emitting more greenhouse gases than the Earth can naturally absorb (a balance known as net zero or carbon neutrality). • By 2030 we must have halved global emissions. If we don’t, then we are highly unlikely to halve emissions every decade and so hit the carbon neutral target in 2050. • Climate change should be of concern to all those who care about health, economic stability, investment value, and intergenerational justice. • In just the last 50 years we have catapulted the Earth into the Anthropocene, the age of man, with excessive exploitation of resources. • The book presents two scenarios: 1. Dystopian: based on the trajectory we are now on, with 3.7 degrees warming by 2100. Bad air quality, unbearable temperatures, water scarcity, etc. 2. Tolerable: The world we must create, limiting warming to no more than 1.5 degrees. This is still attainable but the window of opportunity is closing. • To achieve this we need three specific mindsets: 1. Stubborn optimism: the steadfast confidence to solve big problems based on the bad news in front of us. 2. Endless abundance: perception of scarcity causes us to over-exploit natural resources fearing that they may run out, whereas endless abundance acknowledges that they do renew if properly managed. 3. Radical regeneration: many of the world’s assets can be regenerated. greatesthitsblog.com
  35. 35. Too many leaders abdicate their most important responsibilities because they are leading for the wrong reason. greatesthitsblog.com
  36. 36. • As with the author’s other books, this is a short, fictitious business story (called a fable) that illustrates a point and is followed by a pithy summary of what needs to be done. • Too many CEOs spend the majority of their time on things that they shouldn’t, including reviewing ops and financials, driving marketing and sales programmes, handling the board, and so on. These all need attention, but not by the CEO. • Much of this is displacement activity which allows the CEO to avoid what they really should be doing, but probably don’t enjoy as much, or at all. • There are two leadership motives: 1. Reward-centred: the belief that being a leader is the reward for hard work; therefore the experience of being a leader should be pleasant and enjoyable, free to choose what they work on and avoid anything mundane, unpleasant or uncomfortable. 2. Responsibility-centred: being a leader is a responsibility, so the experience of leading should be difficult and challenging (though certainly not without elements of personal gratification). • There are five vital things that reward-centred leaders omit (it is important to note that this is not a list of the primary responsibilities of a leader): 1. Developing the leadership team 2. Managing subordinates (and making them manage theirs) 3. Having difficult and uncomfortable conversations 4. Running great team meetings 5. Communicating constantly and repetitively to employees greatesthitsblog.com
  37. 37. It is often possible to solve problems before they happen. greatesthitsblog.com
  38. 38. • We all have a tendency to work around problems by being resourceful and improvising. We are so used to dealing with emergencies that we don’t stop to think about how we could prevent them in the first place. • We have the capacity to solve some of our thorniest issues if we start to think about the system rather than the symptoms – if we start to think upstream. First, there are three barriers to overcome: 1. Problem blindness: “I don’t see the problem,” or it just seems inevitable. 2. Lack of ownership: “That’s not my problem to solve.” 3. Tunneling: “I can’t deal with that right now.” When people are juggling a lot of problems, they adopt tunnel vision. Short-term, reactive thinking prevents long-term planning. • Anyone leading upstream change needs to address 7 questions: 1. How to unite the right people? 2. How to change the system? 3. Where to find a point of leverage? 4. How to get early warning of the problem? 5. How to know you’re succeeding? 6. How to avoid doing any harm? 7. Who will pay for what doesn’t happen? greatesthitsblog.com
  39. 39. There is a better way to select leaders than a deeply flawed system that rewards arrogance over humility and loudness over wisdom, to the detriment of competent women and men who don’t fit the stereotype. greatesthitsblog.com
  40. 40. Feeling (feel good) Fluency (be recognisable) • Research shows that men are more likely to be overconfident, narcissists, and psychopathic than women. These traits help them to achieve a leadership role, and then hurts their performance when in it. • Women have higher rates of transformational leadership, personal effectiveness and self-awareness than men. All driven by higher emotional intelligence (EQ). Good leaders require: 1. Intellectual capital – domain-specific expertise, experience and good judgement. 2. Social capital – the network and connections at their disposal. 3. Psychological capital – how they lead when using their capabilities. This includes their bright side (what they do when at their best), the dark side (less desirable traits) and the inside (their values and moral compass). • 75% of people quit their jobs because of their direct line manager, and 65% of Americans say they would rather change their boss than get a pay rise. • What if these two questions are causally linked – that most leaders are bad, and that most are male. Or, would the prevalence of bad leadership decrease if fewer men, and more women, were in charge? • Most leaders are inept – unaware of their limitations, overconfident, abrasive, and very much in awe of themselves. Ironically, people tend to equate leadership with the very behaviours that often signal bad leadership. Overconfidence is a classic example – often cited at interview as the reason why a man got the job. • Confidence has become a surrogate for competence. There is no relationship between the two. greatesthitsblog.com
  41. 41. No one is listening but you can improve your life if you do. greatesthitsblog.com
  42. 42. Feeling (feel good) Fluency (be recognisable) • This book asks the reader: When was the last time you listened to someone, or someone really listened to you? As a society we have forgotten how to listen. • Modern life is noisy and frenetic, and technology provides constant distraction (some people are now officially addicted to distraction.) So we tune things out or listen selectively – even to those we love most. We have become scared of other people’s points of view, and of silence. People are uncomfortable with gaps in conversation. It’s called dead air. • At work, we are taught to lead the conversation. On social media we shape our personal narratives. At parties we talk over one another. So do politicians. No one is listening. • Listening is about curiosity and patience – asking the right questions in the right way. It has the potential to transform our relationships, improve our self-knowledge, and increase our creativity and happiness. • We listen best when we are in sync with the other person. • We use assumptions as earplugs, thinking that we know what the other person is going to say. The closeness-communication bias means that we overestimate our ability to know what those closest to us are trying to say. • We think faster than we speak, so there is a speech-thought differential. • None of us is ‘woke’ or fully awake to the realities of people who are unlike us. One can only speak for one’s self. • Listening to opposing views makes us more entrenched, not more open-minded. Many people now show the traits of hyperpartisanship. Good listeners have negative capability – the ability to handle uncertainty without becoming irritable. Look for evidence that you might be wrong. greatesthitsblog.com
  43. 43. • Be inquisitive • Make the time • Understand the lines of argument • Have a point of view • Inform your work • Enjoy the debate • Ask Kevin to speak or train greatesthitsblog.com
  44. 44. More at: greatesthitsblog.com Ask Kevin to speak or train: 07979 808770 kevinduncanexpertadvice@gmail.com Twitter @kevinduncan