Emotion & cognition

Articles and posts about the aspects of emotion and cognition that are distinct to technology groups and how they interact with their business sponsors

Pathological connectedness

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Emotion & cognition | 0 comments

CIOs frequently invite me to give presentations to their management teams or to facilitate retreats. I’m always amazed by how many of the managers in those sessions feel compelled to answer their cell phones or monitor their “crack-berries” during those few short hours. I could tell you that this is the cost of competing in the blistering marketplace of the 24/7 economy, that it’s the inevitable result of globalization or that the participants in those meetings are just important people. But I don’t believe that pathological connectedness is caused by any of...

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The Truth About “Useless” People

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Emotion & cognition | 0 comments

Every so often, someone will ask me what to do with “nondelivery” people. The question goes something like this: “How do you deal with people who can’t execute? They are good at technical analysis, documentation and strategy, but not delivery. I can’t afford them.” What the questioner is politely trying to ask is this: “What should I do with useless people?” It’s a question that sometimes rubs me the wrong way, and I’ll try to explain why. Once you dig into the query in more detail, you find that it actually can have one of two very...

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3 Corrosive Effects of Fear

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Emotion & cognition | 0 comments

Wages of Fear (This article originally appeared in Computerworld USA.) In the circles of power, fear is often admired as a potent motivator. In his classic discourse on power politics, The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli offered the following thoughts on the question of whether it is better for a leader to be feared or loved: “If we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. For of men it may generally be affirmed, that they are thankless, fickle, false, studious to avoid danger, greedy of gain, devoted to you while you are able to confer benefits upon them, and...

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Are You a Scary Boss?

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Emotion & cognition, Managing teams | 0 comments

I’ll never forget the first time I learned that one of my subordinates was afraid of me. A talented young man, probably 26, had just left my office after explaining to me how happy he was with his current project. My assistant came in and told me that he had spent the 20 minutes prior to our appointment complaining to her about how terrible his project was and how miserable he felt. I was absolutely incredulous. Why would he lie to me? What was the point? I was the one person who could help him, if only he asked for help. I asked my assistant, “Why he would do...

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Find time to reflect

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Emotion & cognition | 0 comments

Managers, as a group, tend to be action-oriented. We measure ourselves, our importance and our effectiveness in part by the level of activity around us. The louder the hum of machinery, the faster the shuffle of feet in the corridor and the larger the proportion of time we spend in meetings, the better things must be. Stuff is happening, and that’s what we’re supposed to do: make things happen. So it’s natural that at the end of the year, our attention often focuses on planning activities for the next year. We’ve arrived at the season of strategic planning sessions,...

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The Problem with Problems

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Emotion & cognition | 0 comments

Those of us in IT tend to see the world through the lens of problems and solutions. Our entire work lives are devoted to solving problems. One after the other, we knock them down. This habit tends to start early in life. In school, we are presented with math problems — and we solve them. At home, we are given toys to play with — and we disassemble and improve them. We are given broken computers — and we fix them. We are rewarded for our ingenuity. These problems and solutions bring with them an emotional boost, too. What can beat the satisfaction of solving a truly...

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