This blog has moved!

Come check out my new spot, www.ajpape.com.

Twitter started as a hunch. Are you trusting yours? [w/ video]

At the end of this post is a great video of Evan Williams, CEO of Twitter, talking about how it all started out as a hunch.  I’ll bet you’re working on something right now that might have a breakthrough if you tried out one of your hunches.  Here’s my hunch story and then the video of @ev.

In 2004 I had to get eight thousand overworked middle managers to schedule a training day they hadn’t asked for, show up for that training 2-3 months later, and not cancel, reschedule, or mysteriously “get the flu” when the day arrived. If even a small percentage of them no-showed or rescheduled, it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Either my company would wind up running make-up sessions for free to fulfill our contract, or the client would have to pay extra because the original sessions hadn’t covered everybody. Continue reading

On London, Rome, and saying “hot” in business emails

I’m having what I’ll call a “jet-lag organic” morning, which is to say that my sleep cycle is pretty disrupted from 12 days in Europe last week so I woke up very early and have been lazily browsing through email and things online for a few hours.

Chris Brogan who I follow on Twitter just published what I think is the best of several recent pieces on social media. (If you haven’t heard the term social media before it just means all the online conversations about life, business, politics, products, parenting etc. that new-ish tools have enabled in the past couple of years. And the interesting consequences of those conversations.) Continue reading

Why Guy Kawasaki is wrong about teams

I like the tweets from @RedStarVIP on Twitter. This morning I saw one that said “The Art of Execution” followed by a link. That topic teaser sounded generic to me, but because it was from redstarvip I clicked.

Guy Kawasaki offers some great advice in this piece. But he also perpetuates an old and destructive false dichotomy: that we can either have results (execution) or “a great work environment.”

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Beware positive thinking

Many of us have been schooled to “stay positive!” Ultimately I think there is a grain of wisdom in this, but it can also blind us. Sometimes we need to address important risks or vulnerabilities. In a group setting, if you insist on only focusing on the positive, you can also lose credibility with people who consider themselves realists.

On the other hand, some of us are by training and inclination problem-spotters. We believe that if we can find and fix what’s wrong, everything will be fine. As with the positive thinkers, this of course is useful to an extent. The problem comes when we find ourselves continually worrying or complaining no matter how well things are going. And again, in a group setting you might find that your legitimate concerns are easily dismissed if you have a reputation for being too pessimistic.  Continue reading

Offer to lead, even when you’re not sure

I took some time over the December holidays to immerse myself in Twitter, start this blog, and generally soak in the Palmolive of social web 2.0-ness or whatever it’s called. (How old does someone have to be to get a Palmolive reference anyway?)

My primary motivations have been curiosity and fun. I’m experimenting with giving those two forces a more important place at my decision-making table.  As a result of my online explorations and conversations, I have now offered to lead two processes that I don’t know very much about.

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Quick Update

Happily my client had done a good job getting his internal stakeholders focused more on business outcomes and less on a certain kind of event as “the answer.”

As the project progresses I won’t be chronicling it blow-by-blow out of respect for client confidentiality. But I will continue to post lessons gleaned from past projects or tips on how to get the most out of your team or your external consultants.