Whole Root Challenge

Interviewed another candidate today.  A colleague used a challenge based on computing square roots.  It’s a very simple problem and still gives a quick feel for a candidate’s comfort with JavaScript and solving problems with code.

I’ve added it to the (tiny) suite of interview code challenges. See github.com/ManagerJS paper-code/whole-root. I hope you find this useful conducting interviews and preparing for interviews.

Here’s a copy of the challenge for your convenience: Continue reading Whole Root Challenge

Roberto’s 5 Decision Making Myths

A discussion I was having with a frustrated coworker reminded me of these decision making myths from Professor Roberto.

We maintain a belief in a number of myths about how decisions are made in groups and organizations…

“Myth #1: The chief executive decides. Reality: Strategic decision making entails simultaneous activity by people at multiple levels of the organization….

“Myth #2: Decisions are made in the room. Reality: Much of the real work occurs ‘off-line,’ in one-on-one conversations or small subgroups, not around a conference table….

“Myth #3: Decisions are largely intellectual exercises. Reality: High-stakes decisions are complex social, emotional, and political processes….

“Myth #4: Managers analyze and then decide. Reality: Strategic decisions unfold in nonlinear fashion….

“Myth #5: Managers decide and then act. Reality: Strategic decisions often evolve over time and proceed through an iterative process of choice and action….”

Professor Michael A. Roberto, The Art of Critical Decision Making, Course Guidebook pp. 5

I Was a Condescending Jerk

Dear ManagerJS,

I’m upset about something stupid I did yesterday. I was in a meeting with several peers. One of them suggested an improvement to our hiring practices. Before I knew what I was thinking I was already speaking. I said, “I categorically reject that suggestion.” Can you believe that? Not, “I see it a different way,” or even, “I disagree.” But, “categorically reject.” Really?!

What a condescending jerk.

Within a few moments I was uncomfortable. It didn’t take long for me to realize I had gone really wrong. I played it out in my head. Slow motion. Trying to see why I did that.

The suggestion was one we had talked about before. I largely agreed with him. I just hadn’t found a way to really implement it. It wasn’t a top priority for me.

I see now that I felt called out — attacked. I see now that the thing that really drew attention to my shortcomings was my own impulsive blabbing

How could I have avoided my outburst? What could I have done in the moment to keep my head? Continue reading I Was a Condescending Jerk

Roberto on Fundamental Attribution Error

we don’t attribute correctly when we think about others versus ourselves.  We have a bias in the way we attribute the causes of success and failure — particularly failure

“When we observe … highly flawed decision making we often ask ourselves, ‘How could they have been so stupid?’ We often attribute others’ decision making failures to a lack of intelligence, relevant expertise, or even to personality flaws in the individuals involved.  We might even question their motives.

“Of course, we think of our own decision making failures in a very different way. We tend to blame an unforeseeable change in external factors. We don’t attribute it to the factors within ourselves such as intelligence, personality, or expertise.

“Psychologists describe this dichotomy as the Fundamental Attribution Error. In short, we don’t attribute correctly when we think about others versus ourselves.  We have a bias in the way we attribute the causes of success and failure — particularly failure.”

Professor Michael A. Roberto, The Art of Critical Decision Making, Lecture 1: Making High Stakes Decisions. 6m 45s

I’m Sorry I Was Rude Today

You can have intellectual curiosity. You can relish inquiry. But I still think people don’t like being wrong. And as much as I dislike being wrong, I hate being in the wrong.

I snapped at a direct report today. It was in a tense voice, at a normal volume. It was one sentence long. Continue reading I’m Sorry I Was Rude Today

Don’t Speak From “The Cloud”

Warning!: This is not a very helpful post. I’m just sharing because I have to. Feel free to round-file this post if you’re in a hurry. This isn’t important.

I followed this series of links and found something at the end funny enough to make me chuckle, then giggle, then laugh until I cried.  Your mileage may vary.  Continue reading Don’t Speak From “The Cloud”

Successful Change Follows SEE FEEL CHANGE

In almost all successful change efforts the sequence of change is not “Analyze, Think, Change,” but rather, “See, Feel, Change.”

“You’re presented with evidence that makes you feel something. It might be a disturbing look at the problem, or a hopeful glimpse of the solution, or a sobering reflection of your current habits– but regardless, it’s something that hits you at the emotional level.”

Switch, Chip and Dan Heath, Chapter 5, 9m 23s.

Read: Crucial Conversations

About time for me to read Crucial Conversations again.

If Leadership and Self Deception had a baby with ManagerTools.com it would be Crucial Conversations. The book takes an intensely personal view of leadership and combines it with an emphasis on observable behavior and concrete action. More good information in this book than you can absorb after only one reading.

I highly recommend the book. It is universally useful. If you ever talk to other people then you will eventually need the skills in this book.