“Every battle is won or lost before it is fought.” – Sun Tzu
Those who have read one or more of the volumes that comprise Tom Butler-Bowdon’s “50 Classics” series already know that he possesses superior reasoning and writing skills as well as a relentless curiosity when conducting research on history’s greatest thinkers and their major works. For these and other reasons, I cannot think of another person better qualified to provide the introductions to the volumes that comprise a new series, “Capstone Classics.”
Unlike so many others, he provides more than a briefing to the given work. For this volume, he poses and then responds to key questions such as these in order to create a context, a frame-of-reference, for Sun Tzu’s’s insights:
o What exactly can the modern reader get from a manual for waging war that is probably about 2,500 years old?
o What Are the book’s “spiritual underpinnings” in addition to its practical advice about planning and waging war?
o What was the historical context, the frame-of-reference, in which Sun Tzu lived and worked?
o To what extent does his classic, The Art of War, reflect that period?
o According to Sun Tzu, what are the meaning and significance of each of the “five indispensable matters” that inform (or at least should inform) a leader’s decisions, including the one to do nothing, at least for now?
o According to Sun Tzu, what are the various degrees of successful warfare, with the most valued being able to “subdue the enemy without a fight,” closely followed by “taking whole” the enemy’s forces and other resources?
o What are the “five occasions when victory can be foretold”?
As indicated earlier, Tom Butler-Bowdon’s purpose in this Introduction is to create a context, a frame-of-reference, for Sun Tzu’s insights. He does so brilliantly in this instance and in each of the other volumes in the “Capstone Classics series that have been published thus far.
Here is an article written by Frank Kalman for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.
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Stay interviews are essentially informal conversations between managers and their direct reports — not to mention one of the most valuable measures of employee engagement out there.
When it comes to measuring employee engagement, there’s an oft-overlooked method — one that isn’t traditionally woven into the formal HR process — that some engagement specialists say might be the most effective of all: the stay interview.
Unlike the exit interview, where HR managers gain insights into employee sentiment just before they walk out the door, and the performance review, where managers assess employees’ performance for the year, the stay interview asks the question most managers yearn to ask their top talent: What could we do to make you stay?
“The ultimate goal of the stay interview is to stay in someone’s head and make sure we retain them,” said Kevin Kruse, author of WE: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement.
The stay interview is perhaps a manager’s most honest grip on engagement, according to Kruse. It’s a one-on-one meeting with a front-line manager and a direct report to gain insight on that employee’s perspective on the organization’s key engagement drivers, and to learn which of those drivers need fixing to retain top talent.
Kruse said stay interviews work best when they happen at least once or twice a year.
The stay interview is also not typically owned by the HR manager. If a manager feels that his or her relationship with an employee is particularly trustworthy, the stay interview might be more effective outside of the office — say at a coffee shop or over lunch, Kruse said.
A successful stay interview, however, isn’t as simple as just asking the question: “What could we do to make you stay?” HR managers need to train leaders to ask questions that help drive understanding on employee feelings about the key areas of engagement — company culture, communication, growth and recognition.
“It’s less about, ‘Are you going to leave?’ and more about, ‘How are you feeling about the things that would make them [want to] jump on Monster.com,’” Kruse said.
Managers should exercise caution in how stay interview questions are framed. For example, when asking employees about their feelings about communication, it would be best to refrain from asking blunt questions such as: “Do you think communication is going well here?”
Instead, managers can engage employees in a more open approach: “Is there enough two-way communication going on at [insert company name here]?” Kruse said.
It’s also important for managers to separate the stay interview from discussions about employee performance, said Dick Finnegan, the author of The Power of Stay Interviews for Engagement and Retention and the CEO of C-Suite Analytics, an engagement and retention firm.
“It’s [a meeting] about how is the job working from your perspective [the employee] and not my perspective as a manager,” Finnegan said.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Frank Kalman is an associate editor of Talent Management magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Peter Bregman for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, and sign up for a subscription to HBR email alerts, please click here.
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I was late for my meeting with the CEO of a technology company and I was emailing him from my iPhone as I walked onto the elevator in his company’s office building. I stayed focused on the screen as I rode to the sixth floor. I was still typing with my thumbs when the elevator doors opened and I walked out without looking up. Then I heard a voice behind me, “Wrong floor.” I looked back at the man who was holding the door open for me to get back in; it was the CEO, a big smile on his face. He had been in the elevator with me the whole time. “Busted,” he said.
The world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster. So much technology. So much information. So much to understand, to think about, to react to. A friend of mine recently took a new job as the head of learning and development at a mid-sized investment bank. When she came to work her first day on the job she turned on her computer, logged in with the password they had given her, and found 385 messages already waiting for her.
So we try to speed up to match the pace of the action around us. We stay up until 3 am trying to answer all our emails. We twitter, we facebook, and we link-in. We scan news websites wanting to make sure we stay up to date on the latest updates. And we salivate each time we hear the beep or vibration of a new text message.
But that’s a mistake. The speed with which information hurtles towards us is unavoidable (and it’s getting worse). But trying to catch it all is counterproductive. The faster the waves come, the more deliberately we need to navigate. Otherwise we’ll get tossed around like so many particles of sand, scattered to oblivion. Never before has it been so important to be grounded and intentional and to know what’s important.
Never before has it been so important to say “No.” No, I’m not going to read that article. No, I’m not going to read that email. No, I’m not going to take that phone call. No, I’m not going to sit through that meeting.
It’s hard to do because maybe, just maybe, that next piece of information will be the key to our success. But our success actually hinges on the opposite: on our willingness to risk missing some information. Because trying to focus on it all is a risk in itself. We’ll exhaust ourselves. We’ll get confused, nervous, and irritable. And we’ll miss the CEO standing next to us in the elevator.
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Peter next explains what the two lists are and why they should be reviewed each morning. To read the complete article, please click here.
Peter Bregman is a strategic advisor to CEOs and their leadership teams. His latest book is 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. To receive an email when he posts, click here.