Musings from the CU Suite

Apr 03, 2012

Four Counter-Intuitive Reads

Written by Anthony Demangone

I like hearing from folks who run against the herd.  I don't always agree with them, but they do tend to challenge "group thinking."  With that in mind, here are four blog posts that fit this description.

Do you need life balance? Not necessarily, says Jeff Stible.  (HBR Blog Network.) While he was writing about entrepreneurs, I think his logic could apply to many executives.  His point was that you might not need balance if you prioritize and cut out distractions.  Here's a snippet from his post:

I'm not saying entrepreneurs should give up the other important aspects of their lives. If family, friends, and hobbies are important to you, then by all means you should pursue those things. But the key is to make the most important things a priority and to get rid of the rest. Sure, there are only 24 hours in a day, but think about the hours you've wasted on social networking, television, unimportant meetings, and other trivial pursuits. As entrepreneurs, we often give up those things, but since we spend less time on the things that don't interest us, we can devote more time to the things that we're truly passionate about. If used efficiently, 24 can be an awful lot of hours.

You should multi-task, right?  Nope, says Tony Schwartz. (Harvard Business Review.) Rather, you should do just one thing at a time. Here's a snippet.

Tell the truth: Do you answer email during conference calls (and sometimes even during calls with one other person)? Do you bring your laptop to meetings and then pretend you're taking notes while you surf the net? Do you eat lunch at your desk? Do you make calls while you're driving, and even send the occasional text, even though you know you shouldn't?

The biggest cost — assuming you don't crash — is to your productivity. In part, that's a simple consequence of splitting your attention, so that you're partially engaged in multiple activities but rarely fully engaged in any one. In part, it's because when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you're increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 per cent.

Press releases are important, right?  No, says Alex Goldfayn.  Get rid of them. 

The vast majority of press releases are ill-conceived, in that they focus on features and specifications rather than the life-improvement value of the product or service. They are also written poorly, filled with errors and grammatical mistakes. They are not interesting. And they rarely tell a good story.

Solution: Consider eliminating press releases altogether. I'm very serious about this. You would be forced to build relationships with the media you pitch. You would be forced to learn what they cover and gather insights on each journalist's audience. And you would actually customize your pitches for them, sending one at a time. In turn, your media relations efforts would actually generate results.

Finally, here's a list  ( of 10 counter-intuitive ways to be happy.  Here's my favorite from the list.

7. Don’t insist on the best.

There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.


Enjoy the week, guys.