Your Job Just Got a lot More Complex – Now Make a Decision

The layoffs are still occurring, but the reckoning has arrived. There is all this work to do, but only a hand full of people to do it. In addition to the higher volume of it, is the fact that most people actually know very little about what it takes to do the job their laid off coworkers were doing.

This brings me to Dan Ariely. He authored a book called Predictable Irrational which dives into why people make the decisions they do. It is in the space of Behavior Economics. One of the key concepts is that when you make things more complex, people stop thinking it through.

This hits me over the head because we now have a bunch of people whose jobs just got a whole lot more complex. And not only that, they don’t have the leeway to figure it out because they have to prove they can execute. So they are motivated to simply make decisions regardless of if they are the right decisions for the long run.

The optimist in me thinks this will eventually have a great impact on the US. Why? Real leaders will emerge. They will take a step back, breathe deep, realize what is important, adopt time horizons that are realistic, and deliver real change.

Am I a Soloist?

Occasionally I need a little levity on this blog. But since I’m not that funny, I decided to repost a fairly snarky quiz from the authors of the book I Hate People!: Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job. I’ll do a review of this book sometime over the summer. I already read the first chapter (available in PDF form) and I’m optimistic.


The Am I a Soloist? Quiz
by Jonathan Littman & Marc Hershon,
Authors of I Hate People!: Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job

do you know if you’re a Soloist, or at least destined to become one?
The easiest sniff test is how many times a day you mutter, shout, or
even think to yourself, “I hate people!” But not all People Haters are
necessarily Soloists. 

This quiz will help determine the depth of your Soloist leanings. The higher your score, the more Soloist blood in your veins.

A. The portion of the day I prefer working by myself is . . . 
  1. one hour.
  2. two hours.
  3. four hours.
  4. six hours.
  5. all day.
B. My favorite part of the day is . . . 
  1. staff meetings.
  2. status meetings.
  3. dinner or cocktails with clients.
  4. lunch with colleagues.
  5. meeting with my boss.
C. I’m most comfortable working in a team with . . . 
  1. ten or more people.
  2. seven to nine people.
  3. five to six people.
  4. two to four people.
  5. nobody.
D. An empty office makes me feel . . .
  1. creepy.
  2. lonely.
  3. unmotivated.
  4. at home.
  5. excited.
E. When I get to the office in the morning, I usually . . . 
  1. bring in doughnuts and coffee for everyone.
  2. say hello to people and ask about their evening.
  3. nod to people I run into between the front door and my desk.
  4. grunt and head to my workspace.
  5. head to my workspace.
F. When I see an empty conference room, I think . . . 
  1. I hope I didn’t miss the meeting.
  2. I hope I set aside enough time for the meeting.
  3. the meeting is about to start.
  4. how can I get out of the meeting?
  5. what a great place to write my report.
G. When I dream of the perfect office, I visualize . . . 
  1. a glass fishbowl in the center of the action.
  2. the latest collaborative open-space environment.
  3. small work-group offices.
  4. a cubicle.
  5. four walls and a door that locks.
H. The place I do my most creative work is . . . 
  1. at my desk.
  2. in a meeting room.
  3. in the break room.
  4. at home.
  5. outside.
I. I like a boss who . . . 
  1. checks up on me periodically.
  2. asks what I’m working on in the morning.
  3. gives me
    weekly assignments.
  4. asks for monthly status reports.
  5. rarely comes in.
J. I like a coworker who . . . 
  1. is friends with everyone.
  2. regularly breaks up the day with office gossip.
  3. freely converses during breaks and at lunch.
  4. barely interacts with just a few people.
  5. minds his own business.

10–15 Forget it. You, my friend, are a teamworker, through and through. 

16–25 Though more comfortable in a team setting, you occasionally like your alone time. Soloist larva. 

26–35 Stretching your Soloist muscles. Yes, you like people a little too much. 

36–45 Strong Soloist. You could be teaching others if you weren’t spending so much time alone. 

46–55 Cream of the Soloist crop. No one’s getting in your way, and that’s the way you like it.

The above is an excerpt from the book I Hate People!: Kick Loose from the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job by
Jonathan Littman & Marc Hershon. The above excerpt is a digitally
scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been
proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process.
Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

This excerpt is used with the permission of Hachette Book Group, Marc Hershon and Jonathan Littman. All rights reserved.

Author Bios 
Jonathan Littman, is the author of I Hate People! and numerous acclaimed works of nonfiction, including The Fugitive Game, The Watchman, and The Beautiful Game. He is also the coauthor of IDEO’s The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation. He is a contributing editor for Playboy and a columnist for Yahoo! Sports.

Marc Hershon is the coauthor of  I Hate People! and
a branding expert who helped to create the names for the BlackBerry,
Swiffer, nüvi, and many other influential products. He is also a comedy
veteran who has worked closely, with Dana Carvey, Bill Maher, and Robin Williams.

For more information please visit

Leadership: CEOs and Organizations

I ran across two different views of leadership over the last few days.
One is about CEO leadership and the other is about directional
leadership from an organizational perspective.

The Upside of the Downturn by Geoff Colvin talks about the different actions leaders
need to keep in mind as adversity mounts. They are:

  • Be seen early and often
  • Act fast
  • Show fearlessness
  • Tell a story that puts the crises in perspective

like each of these. Be seen early and often is of the same vein as Show
fearlessness – courage. Both of these demonstrate to your employees
that although times are tough, there is no reason to hide. Story
telling is one of the best ways for people to learn, so leveraging that
instinct is helpful. Having experience, even if it isn’t your own, is
valuable to those that are being led.

In Leadership 2.0, and How Not to Achieve It by Umair Haque talks about how there are areas where organizations intersect. He calls these areas the edges. Here is a great excerpt:

Orthodox business is obsessed with “cores.” That’s the stuff that
happens in boardrooms. It is about dominance, coercion, tyranny, and
(myopic, valueless) profit.

It’s not concerned with what happens with what happens at the edges.

What happens at the edges is
different, and better. Meaning, democracy, participation, collaboration
— these are what power leadership. And so edgy players are more (and
more) valuable, because they are more innovative.

It is these edges where people with unique or game changing ideas can
have immense impact. But there are different styles of leaders as well.
Being a dictator won’t work on the edges, you have to be more
persuasive and possibly negotiate. These skills are often foreign in
many corporations.