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The100: Fixing your calendar, moneyballing and Jerry Seinfeld

What happens in London…

We had a grand old time with 260 of you at our ‘You are not your consumer event’ a few weeks back. I promised some sneak peaks of the talks in The100, so let’s start with getting stakeholder buy-in on understanding people.

“Fixing culture starts with calendars”

Meetings, bloody meetings. Bruce Daisly has shared a superb deck on how to reduce time in meetings (including calendar audits, silent meetings, meeting free days, coordinated office time) and the perils of too much time spent in them:

“Microsoft says total time spent in meetings has more than doubled since 2019. Studies into workplace behaviour show us that as total amount of meeting time goes up, workers pay less and less attention to what happens in them – they multitask […] Multitasking during meetings is credited by Microsoft researchers with creating a ‘chain of distraction’ where workers productivity was impacted by a constant haze of task switching. One study suggested that if someone was working on multiple projects concurrently, 75% of their time was lost to mentally switching between them.”

I also wonder if people who aren’t in the office all of the time feel an obligation to attend more online meetings, and that they therefore need to have more of an online presence? Hmmm.

Comfortable dissent

Being able to healthily disagree, or taking a ‘red-teaming’ approach, is one of the foundations for a high-performing team. And Neil Perkin has been giving examples of how you do exactly that: 

“One thing that I’ve done before now when working to improve a client’s innovation and ideas process is set up a ‘good cop, bad cop’ feedback session which gives teams the freedom to challenge early ideas in a way that can improve them or identify areas that need to be looked at. Positive contributions are balanced with more challenging but constructive feedback. If this is done with care it serves to enhance ideas rather than kill them before they’ve had chance to breathe.”

Being Brad Pitt can’t solve everything

I loved the film Moneyball. However, as Brian Klass points out, it isn’t the solution to everything.

You see, Moneyball works for well-defined problems that have clear-cut rules and straightforward outcomes. However, there are some areas of life where we don’t and can’t know what’s going to happen. And these are more akin to Calvinball, the first rule of which is that the rules are different every time:

Calvinball therefore presents a world of non-stationarity, where the patterns of cause and effect are constantly shifting […] And yet, modern life is governed, to an alarming extent, by those who are using Moneyball tactics to solve Calvinball problems. It laces catastrophic risk into our societies. Why? Because we think we know the answer to questions that are fundamentally unknowable. And that produces hubristic decision-making.”

So, what’s it like being 13?

Jessica Bennett has written an outstanding piece for the New York Times on what it’s like being 13 in the age of social media. It’s not an easy read, but it is important and a real eye opener:

“At the root of these conflicts are issues teenage girls have always faced: insecurity, figuring out their place in the social hierarchy, puberty, hormones, trying on different identities. But the stakes feel higher now, because there’s an audience, or the risk of one, at all times: “Receipts” for everything; hurtful messages to stare at again and again”

And finally…

I love a list, and Sasha Chapin has published one containing 50 things he knows. My favourites are 8, 21, and 47. What are yours?

Nothing better than a good commencement address and Jerry Seinfeld’s recent one has got to be up there. I particularly like his 3 life lessons: work hard, pay attention and fall in love (with anything and everything). Thanks to The100 reader Natalie Delgado for pointing me to it. 

And finally, Elspeth Kirkman’s video analysis of the top words in the UK for getting drunk. Utterly spectacular. And probably one to watch with headphones on.