The Lead: NASA Leadership Secrets, Mechanical Watches Thrive

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

The Evolution of Business Books’ Buzzwords

As the number of books published annually in the US is mounting but sales are stagnant, authors of business books are increasing the use of hyperbole just to get noticed. In newly published business books the buzzwords ‘strategy’, ‘management’, ‘leadership’, and ‘market’ are decreasing in frequency, while words like ‘money’, ‘world’, ‘success’, ‘future’, and ‘entrepreneur’ are increasing.

Our View: Leaders must parse through the minutia for critical information to communicate effectively and minimize jargon. For every word of business jargon, there is a better way to convey the message. For example, the jargon “800-pound gorilla” can be conveyed more crisply by saying “a force to be reckoned with.” See the further reading for 149 more business jargon fixes. Further Reading

The Survival of Mechanical Watches Amidst New Technology

Amidst new watch technology, mechanical watches continue to survive. In 2016, mechanical watches accounted for 80% of total sales of Swiss watch exports (27% of watch exports in units). More consolidation, auction records, high-mech research, independent brands, manufacture brands, luxury marketing, new media, and interest in vintage pieces are all contributing factors to the expansion of the mechanical watch market.

Our View: Several old technologies continue to endure in the digital age. In the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, John Sansone’s shop sells typewriters, and most of the machines are purchased by high school and college students. Sansone said, “Most of the feedback I get is, on a computer you have the screen staring back at you, and it inhibits their creative process.” He added, “it shows you the journey, how you arrived. That is where we miss with the latest technology — you miss the process. To me, the journey is more important than the destination.” Whether using new or old technology, excellent leaders inspire others to enjoy the journey towards a shared vision. Further Reading

The Leadership Secrets of a Former NASA Mission Director

Former NASA flight director Paul Sean Hill shares in his new book, Mission Control Management, his leadership secrets for managing difficult situations. He says that you need to understand why every decision made is the right decision. Say the reasons out loud for the whole team to hear, so if a mistake is made, someone will likely detect it.

Our View: Leaders face many challenges, and they must make sure they always make well-informed decisions. A great tactic to implement before making a decision is to analyze the situation by asking yourself key questions like “what are my goals?” and “how does this affect the big picture?” Imagining how someone with effective leadership skills would respond to the situation at hand is always a useful thought experiment. Further Reading

Google Hires 30 Employees to Retrieve Stolen Bikes

Google offers free company bikes called “Gbikes” to help employees traverse its giant corporate campus in Mountain View, California, but 100 to 250 of these bikes end up displaced on a weekly basis. To combat the problem, Google is testing GPS trackers and bike locks and hired a team of 30 contractors whose only job is to retrieve bikes from around the city.

Our View: Problem solving is a main feature of effective leadership. The best way to solve problems is by enacting big-picture thinking, acting professionally at all times, avoiding finger-pointing, collecting data, maintaining a positive outlook, and monitoring results on a regular basis. Further Reading

New Driver’s License Law and Flying Domestic

Prompted by the 9-11 Commission, lawmakers passed the “Real ID” Act with the aim to prevent ID fraud, and the new licenses are supposed to be machine-readable and harder to forge. After 13 years of delays and extensions, the Department of Homeland Security set a hard deadline of October for the 23 states still operating under extensions to comply and is threatening to bar airline passengers if their license isn’t “Real ID” approved.

Our View: Managing privacy and protection is a delicate balancing act. Leaders who do it well help keep people safe without infringing on their privacy and civil liberties. The details of handling privacy and security concerns is very complicated, and applying careful thought to assessing and integrating these concerns is an excellent way to help avoid unintended consequences. Further Reading

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