Hybrid-Work Model, Free the Middle Manager, Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy, Visa’s Crypto & UFOs
6th June 2021 Evolution Partners Newsletter
“The great resignation is coming. When there’s uncertainty, people tend to stay put, so there are pent-up resignations that didn’t happen over the past year.” Anthony Klotz, Associate Professor of Management at Texas A&M University
Hope you’re Thriving!
It’s been a busy week with a couple of strategy workshops and a half-day spending time with a group of entrepreneurs who own businesses less than $1m, helping them identify their hedgehog. The hedgehog was one of the essential things we worked on because so many of them had arbitrary, meaningless goals in the one year, three year and BHAG. Instead, by beginning with a hedgehog, we can understand the constraints we need to apply.
Consider the BHAG as a mountain. At the summit is the BHAG. On the way up the mountain is the 3HAG (3 Year Highly Achievable Goal). Once you know these goals, you can visualise a path up to the BHAG from today. On your way from today until the BHAG, the hedgehog provides guard rails of discipline along that path.
Strategic planning is a process. Many people just put words into a box on a plan without any relevance or meaning – what I call bubble wrap business plans – where these only fill inside the plan’s boxes but are useless in any other manner. Failing to follow a disciplined process can let you fall into the trap of the one easy way businesses fail to develop a winning strategy
Anyway, they all clapped at the end of the day, so that was nice.
Managers Suffer The Unintended Consequences Of The Hybrid-Work Model
Across the world, the pandemic is in different stages. Some places are currently more or less affected, but many offices are thinking about evolving office attendance beyond the pandemic. Should we have a 100% attendance policy or two days per week? Many experts are presenting opinions about it as I discussed here. Also, 65 per cent of pandemic remote workers wanted to keep working from home, and 58 per cent even said they would look for a new job if they would have to return to the office. As outlined in the quote at the beginning of this newsletter, as workers gain confidence about the economy, they might be more likely to resign.
Who will suffer the most from these changes? Managers.
Managers are responsible for productivity as detailed in this article about Labour Efficiency Ratio. They’ve got to ensure that the right people are working on the right things at the right time.
If they struggle with individuals about work from home policies and whether people want to resign, it will be tough.
But more than that, as outlined in a Forbes article I read this week, managers have even more to deal with.
From the article
“Brian Kropp, chief of HR research for business advisory firm Gartner, said, “The job of a front-line manager is arguably going to be harder than it’s ever been before.” They’ll need to address issues, such as mandatory vaccinations, wearing masks and who could work from home and those who can’t. Their life is made more difficult, as people are still nervous and raw from the ordeal we’ve all endured.”
Therefore, understanding the upcoming challenges managers are likely to face and building ways to mitigate these challenges and personally dealing with these challenges is potentially a priority in the coming quarter for your team.
Read the article here The Unintended Consequences Of The Hybrid-Work Model
It’s Time to Free the Middle Manager
Beyond the pandemic related challenges mid-managers face, there are more significant societal changes at play. According to an HBR article released last week, the traditional role of a middle manager — monitoring productivity, optimising individual performance — is becoming increasingly redundant in three key ways:
1. The conventional 9-to-5 model is growing obsolete.
2. Digital infrastructure is replacing the physical office.
3. Measuring output has gotten easier while building shared purpose has gotten harder.
For many years I’ve advocated that managers should be set up for success, and the mindset, if not the title, needs to be that of a coach.
What’s fascinating within the article is how Slack has defined two equally important leadership tracks: an expert track and a team development track. Individual contributors can be promoted up to the VP level through the expert track based on their technical mastery alone. There is no expectation that they need to shift their focus to managing people, team development, or reporting on OKRs. On the other hand, the team development track is for people who both show a mastery of technical functions such as engineering, but also demonstrate an interest and competency in the essence of management: creating clarity in the mission and goals of the team, removing obstacles and aligning resources, and coaching and developing individuals.
I love the way that leaders can follow an expert track or a team development track. Not only because it enables people to follow what they’re interested in, but because it means managers who are technical experts, yet awful managers, can still develop a meaningful career path without damaging the culture.
Read the article here It’s Time to Free the Middle Manager.
Our Brain Typically Overlooks This Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy
What if, in all your strategy and priority setting with your leadership team, there was one brilliant thing you weren’t using?
Looking at the grid below, if you were asked to make it symmetrical, how would you do it?
Most people would think about how to add green squares. Very few people would consider how to remove the six green squares in the top right.
Well, you may be limiting your creativity by adding things instead of removing things in all the work you’re doing.
For example. When was the last time one of your teams’ quarterly priorities was to remove something rather than add or build something?
It turns out that our brains are wired to add things rather than take things away, which doesn’t always create the best outcome. And that comes at a cost that we can easily ignore.
For example, in some European cities, urban planners have gotten rid of traffic lights and road signs to make streets safer — an idea that runs counter to conventional traffic design.
Read the Scientific American article here Our Brain Typically Overlooks This Brilliant Problem-Solving Strategy
Financial volatility and opportunity
I think it’s a well-established fact now that retail traders on platforms like Robinhood have successfully developed an expensive hobby that attacks hedge funds who have shorted meme stocks, thereby forcing the hedge funds to lose money. How much? $4.5 Billion on Wednesday as one example. The leader of those meme stocks this week was AMC. Reminder — this is not investing advice. But it’s interesting the impact that groups of retail investors are having on select stocks.
These 3 things are unrelated, but
AMC is up 63x year to date
Amazon is 60x over the last 14 years
Berkshire Hathaway is up 61x over the last 30 years
Now moving from one easy way to lose money to another, here are a couple of interesting things from the world of Cryptocurrency this past week.
Visa’s new Crypto strategy
This week details emerged of payment provider Visa’s broad new digital payments strategy, which included B2B payments.It’s a five-pillar strategy, which is one of the best digital payments strategies I’ve seen from a major institution to date.
Importantly, it’s focussed on the less volatile areas of the industry; fiat currency backed digital currencies known as stable coins.
The Less Volatile Cryptocurrency Graph
On April 15, 2021, Cameron Winklevoss, a Bitcoin advocate and one of the twins who ‘allegedly’ co-founded Facebook, tweeted “, At $63K #Bitcoin, it feels like we’re running downhill towards $100K”. Of course, from that day, it ran downhill to USD 37k at the time of writing this newsletter.
But that’s his job, to pump up the price.
Again I own no cryptocurrency and recommend you get your own financial advice.
Rather than those crazy volatile graphs, here’s another way to look at it.
In the graph below, I’ve compared Bitcoin on the left with Ethereum on the right. If we look at the lowest value of Bitcoin each year, we get a different picture.
In 2012 Brian Armstrong was looking for a co-founder for his cloud-based crypto business. So he wrote a HackerNews post entitled “Apply with me to YC in the next 3 days and change the world”. Responses included “, Because Bitcoin worked out so well. Have fun with that, dude.”, “I don’t think you’ve properly thought this through.” And “I’m gonna call it right now: bad idea.”. That company was Coinbase which reported a nine-fold increase in 2021 Q1 revenue, to $1.8B, up from $190.6M the previous year. Read the original post here.
In the last months of his presidency, Donald Trump passed a spending and relief package for the pandemic, which included a requirement to produce an unclassified report on everything government agencies know about UFOs, including scores of unusual sightings reported by military pilots. That report is due sometime next month. How UFO sightings went from joke to national security worry in Washington.
To the concerns of dentists everywhere, trials have begun on a breath mint that rebuilds your tooth enamel while it whitens your teeth.
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
Finding a competent advisor is easy, but if you want to find the best advisor to really make a difference in any area, it is important to ask the question, who is the person that has been in your situation 14 times before. That’s what we call a 14X advisor.
We also discuss the Billionaire mindset and consider if a Billionaire with no limits on money was in your situation, what advisor would they choose and why. Finally, we talk about the importance of getting the right fit with an adviser so you can become clearer, stronger and more inspired.
Why finding the best advisors will help you quadruple your IQ
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