From Stephen Covey’s Principle Centered Leadership (p. 244):
In organizations, people usually perform one of three essential roles: producer, manager, or leader. Each role is vital to the success of the organization.
For example, if there is no producer, great ideas and high resolves are not carried out. The work simply doesn’t get done. Where there is no manager, there is role conflict and ambiguity; everyone attempts to be a producer, working independently, with few established systems or procedures. And if there is no leader, there is lack of vision and direction. People begin to lose sight of their mission.
Although each role is important to the organization, the role of leader is most important. Without strategic leadership, people may dutifully climb the “ladder of success” but discover, upon reaching the top rung, that it is leaning against the wrong wall.
In light of this, let me offer a small (OK, massive) critique of GTD (“Getting Things Done”): I would argue that, by its very nature, it inclines people to think in terms of individual contributors rather than managers or leaders. This is great if you are, in fact, a producer. But as a producer, your efforts can only scale so far–you can only get so much “done.” If your efforts are going to scale, if you are going to exponential increase the impact of what you do, you need to operate as a manager or leader. And to do this, you need to operate with a different mindset, and slightly different approach, than that which is set forth in the GTD system.
(Note: this doesn’t mean everyone should be a manager or leader–be what you are called to be, and want to be. If you are a producer, good management and leadership will also result in your work becoming effective for joint performance that is larger than itself. But those managers and leaders will be more effective if they are not operating according to GTD, as it is.)
I have always thought it was a shame that more people don’t go into “giving” professions. In fact, I have occasionally felt pangs of guilt that I didn’t choose a career that was completely focused on serving others. I have deep admiration for dedicated and hard-working clergy, social workers, or missionaries, and I wonder why I haven’t abandoned my career and moved into one of those kinds of jobs.
While I have not completely abandoned the idea of one day doing that, I have come to the realization that all managers can–and really should–view their work as a ministry. A service to others.
By helping people find fulfillment in their work, and helping them succeed in whatever they’re doing, a manager can have a profound impact on the emotional, financial, physical, and spiritual health of workers and their families. They can also create an environment where employees do the same for their peers, giving them a sort of ministry all their own. All of which is nothing short of a gift from God.
Here are five reasons to use a feed reader (such as Google Reader) to keep up with blogs:
1. You never miss a blog post from your favorite sites
Once you subscribe to a feed, your feed reader will make sure that you see every new post from that feed. Whether you want to read your websites once a week, once a day, or every ten minutes, any unread items will be saved for you.
2. You can scan a ton of articles quickly
When using a feed reader, you can quickly filter through the articles that you don’t want to read. When surfing the web, you have to shuffle through different interfaces, type in web addresses, and surf bookmarks. This takes a ton of time. It’s much better to have the content you want delivered to you than to have to go find it every time you get online.
3. Melting-pot learning
One of the great side-effects of using a feed reader is that you begin to learn about various memes in a melting-pot fashion, where ideas flavor each other. You’ll learn new ideas over time, and understand the relationships between them.
4. You can save articles for later
Feed readers allow you to save articles to read for later. In Google Reader, you can put a star next to items you like and come back later to read them in full. You can also tag articles and search for them later.
5. You can always be up to date with the Resurgence
I am so excited to see theResurgence.com have an impact by training missional leaders. I want more people to sign up for the feed so that they don’t miss anything here. We’re bringing in numerous experts from different backgrounds to help form a Christ-centered vision for our lives, and I don’t want any of you to miss out on that.
So those are five reasons to use a feed reader to keep up with blogs. This leads naturally to the question of how to use a feed reader. Mike also has a video that shows this in very simple terms, using Google Reader:
From the Harvard Business Review article “The Case for Slack: Building ‘Incubation Time’ into Your Week”:
Slack is anathema to most manufacturing processes, but it’s indispensable for creativity. How can you build in the incubation time required for breakthrough strategies and ideas?
Start by changing your mental model of production, suggests Michael Connor, manufacturing director of Meridian Consulting in Boston. When most people think of production, they imagine discrete inputs (say, leather and rubber), some kind of transformation (cutting and sewing), and, finally, outputs (shoes). By and large, such processes are linear, explicit, and ultimately predictable: we can touch, analyze, and improve them by eliminating time or other resources. In this model, time is money, and less is more: the less time the process takes, the more money you make.
A thought, however, often results from a nonlinear, subterranean, or even random process. Inputs, outputs, and the nature of the transformation can vary wildly each time. In this model, ideas are money, and more is more. Cutting time from the processes can diminish the quality of ideas. Research bears this out: time pressure, either perceived or actual, increases the rate but not necessarily the quality of performance.
Building on this research, Teresa M. Amabile … studied people working on well-defined projects in which the company needed a creative solution. She found that the higher the individual’s perceived time pressure on a given day, the fewer the reported instances of a new idea or creative insight on that day and the following day as well.
Here’s the point in one sentence: “Even in a lean-production world, workers need a certain amount of ‘down time’ to generate breakthrough ideas.”