[b]1) Giving and receiving gifts professionally.[/b] At the San Francisco meet-up, Mark demonstrated how to give and receive business cards. There are other gifts that are given at work e.g. to/from clients, xmas gift exchanges, celebrating personal and professional milestones etc... After dinner, I gave Mike and Mark baseball hats from the company I work for as a token of gratitude for all they've helped me with in their podcasts. When I gave them the mocap hats I noticed the following behaviours:
[list] Their eyes opened up;
Their each read what the hats said;
They thanked me;
They held the hats close to their body;
They tried the hats on;
They smiled;
They asked questions about where they came from and my work;and
the next day, Mark brought out the hat at the keynote presentation you gave at the GDC.[/list:u]
All of these behaviours made me feel as if the hats were valuable, that they were appreciated and that made me feel good. I felt like I had made a connection.
I took something away from observing Mark and Mike's behaviours and I think others would benefit from knowing how to give and receive gifts. They could also touch upon appropriate types of gifts in the corporate world ("Yes" for hats, "No" for lingerie, and booze might depend on the audience etc...).

[b] 2) Managing people out of your group positively.[/b] The group that I manage has several positions that are junior position and they should be junior positions. The work required from these people has a fairly low level of responsibility and is compensated at the same level.

Some of my staff in this position are fantastic and I don't require additional people at the next level. Part of their growth path within my department is limited by the business need of having a set number of junior level staff. If I were to keep my star junior employees close to me for as long as possible, they would eventually feel limited by what they could do in my department. If they felt trapped here, I would eventually lose them to another department or (worse) another company.

Fortunately I work for a large company and there are lots of opportunities outside my department for my staff. I can work with them to find where their skills would be a good fit in other departments. I can use their abilities to grow and learn, to show where they can add even more value in elsewhere in the company.

This isn't about off-loading my poorest performers on some other manager. This is about identifying how my high-performing direct reports can become bigger players and add more value to the company as a whole.

"But wait....I've just lost some of my highest performing staff from my group. Won't my team's productivity go down?"
"Yes, for the short term I may have lower productivity, but I'm a manager - I develop people. I will easily recover that productivity, have added more value to the company and gained an ally and evangelist for my group elsewhere in the company. I win, the employee wins, the company wins."

This is where one-on-ones, coaching and feedback are powerful. I can find out what my staff's goals are, know more about their strengths, help them grow and there is the trust that I'm not trying to get rid of them, but I'm helping them to be even more successful

mwojtow's picture

Iwanted to share this in the discussion form:

Often I attend meetings that will include a brainstorming session that does not produce "a pile of ideas". As brainstorming is not easy nor natural I have seen facilitators begin with a "trigger question". The purpose is to pose a question that will kick start the process. I have seen it work with a group of people who would not likely be able to provide ideas without a lead in probing question.

I have two questions:

1. Does anyone else think that a "brainstorm - trigger question" podcast (touching upon general rules or methodology around developing a trigger question) would be helpful?

2. Are there resources you are aware that would be helpful in development of "brainstorm - trigger questions"?



itilimp's picture
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In response to number 2: check out the creativity and problem solving sections over at Mind Tools ( [url][/url] ). They have some excellent tool on brainstorming and other techniques.

mwojtow's picture

Thank you for sharing this resource.

My organization is increasingly requiring this of my position.

I appreciate your post on this subject.

Max :D

Mark's picture
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I've never not had our technique for brainstorming work. We described it in detail on the cast...


mwojtow's picture


Thank you for the podcast on brainstorming.


paizleygrl's picture

Hey Guys, hopefully I picked the right forum to post this (as by the title.) :)

In the future, do you have any plans to talk to "Mid-life Career Crisis?" You know, those folks in the middle of their careers who need to either change directions, or are being FORCED to change? I have read a lot about it recently.

On a second note; what about Building Job Confidence? As people are promoted to higher levels, they often have doubts and insecurities etc. How can they build confidence, or fake it till they make it?

mwojtow's picture

A podcast on Harvard Business Review (HBR) speaks to the subject of a "Mid-life Career Crisis?", or getting stuck. The podcast was an interview with Timothy Butler who wrote a book called "Getting Unstuck How Dead Ends Become New Paths".

I did buy it (have yet to read it); due in large part (similar to MT's approach) the book claims to offer strategies to get from impasse to renewed meaning.