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Book Review: "The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups" by Daniel Coyle

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I enjoyed reading "The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups" by Daniel Coyle. It has lots of great stories about groups in various fields (SEALs, sports teams, corporate environments, creative companies, aircraft crew and more) and the various (often subtle) attributes that makes these teams successful.
Key takeaways for me were: Safety is the foundation on which strong culture is built.Our brain is obsessed with psychological safety and we require lots of signalling over and over to feel safe.A sense of belonging is easy to destroy and hard to build.Patterns of interaction of successful groups that have good chemistry often include:Close physical proximity, often in circlesProfuse amounts of eye contactPhysical touch (handshakes, fist bumps, hugs)Lots of short, energetic exchanges (no long speeches)High levels of mixing; everyone talks to everyoneFew interruptionsLots of questionsIntense, active listeningHumour, laughterSmall attentive courtesies (thank-you…

Book Review: "Seven eLements of Leadership for a New Breed of Leader" by Michael A. Pitcher

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Written in an engaging manner with lots of examples based around the Seven eLements of "Laugh, Learn, Listen, Language, Lagniappe, Legacy, Love" I took away a number of good points to consider, many of which were good reminders and some of which were good reinforcement of things I have already been doing.

My key takeaways:
GeneralLeadership = Influence. And you influence ALWAYS! If you’re in a position to influence the behaviour, thoughts, or feelings of others, then you’re in a leadership role.Coaching is teaching a specific set of skills required for success in a specific situation. Mentoring is sharing wisdom so that the mentee has the opportunity to learn from the life experiences of the mentor.LaughAuthentic leaders show vulnerability and allow others to see their humanity. Laughter is the authenticity that opens the window so others can see inside. Laughter opens the door for meaningful conversations that create meaningful relationships.Humour defuses conflict, reduces …

Book Review: "The Power of Moments" by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

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I was listening to a podcast where one of the authors of this book was explaining the concept of "The Power of Moments" and provided some examples that compelled me to buy the book straight away (which is very rare for me). The book is packed with examples and lots of great advice, albeit it is a bit verbose at times. The key concept is that we can be more impactful as leaders and as people by recognising and creating more "moments" / memorable experiences. We can be the designers of moments that deliver elevation, insight, pride and connection. These extraordinary moments are what make lives meaningful.

My key takeaways:
Three situations that deserve punctuation: transitions, milestones, and pits. Transitions include first day of work, weddings and graduations.A milestone may be the length of time an employee has been at the company, getting to a key point in a project or completing a marathon.Examples of pits include:a positive response to a service failure and de…

Book Review: "Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)"

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Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone and Yuri Van Geest contains lots of useful information about how to give your organisation a chance of survival (be it a new one or an existing one of any size). It was repetitive at times and at points it felt like a Singularity University sales pitch but there was sufficient useful content for me to deem it a worthy read.

My key takeaways:
"Once any domain, discipline, technology or industry becomes information-enabled and powered by information flows, its price/performance begins doubling approximately annually." Ray KurzweilRather than owning assets or workforces and incrementally seeing a return on those assets, Exponential Organisations (ExOs) leverage external resources (people, systems, machines etc.) to achieve their objectives. An exception to this is for scarce resources and assets.Maintaining a small core allows significant flexibility. It also brings in fresh perspectives and expertise.Enlist customers …

Solution: Getting macOS Messages to work with Google Chat / Talk / Hangouts in High Sierra

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The Messages application wasn't working for me on macOS and I was wanting it to work with my Google Chat / Talk / Hangouts service. It appears that with macOS High Sierra a workaround is required.

After struggling to get it going I finally got it going after some searching on the Internet and trying a couple of supposed fixes. What ended up working for me were the instructions on https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/gtalk-messages-solution-found-high-sierra.2073393/ with a couple of tweaks. The tweaks were required to support 2FA which is enabled on my account.

The instructions, repeated here so that I can find them again if required and to assist others having the same problem, are as follows:
Go to System Preferences / Internet Accounts and delete your google account.Open Terminal and run the following commands (Warning: This will delete your history!):find ~/Library/Preferences -name "*iChat*" -deleterm -rf ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.Messagesrm -rf ~/Library/MessagesR…

Book Review: "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries

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The Lean Startup is a book I have been meaning to read for years and never got around to. It contains lots of useful advice and good case studies explaining experiences of what has and hasn't work. The book is oriented towards software development startups (and software development innovation in general in any sized organisation) and could have easily been condensed into a third its size.

Key takeaways:
Build, Measure, Learn (go through this loop as fast as you can)Use validated learning and measure using actionable metrics, not vanity metrics. Use cohort analysis.Do split testing to measure what matters to customersBuild a Minimal Viable Product (MVP), gain quick feedback from customers, learn quickly and evolve as requiredUse 5 whys for root cause analysis and identifying what to target in terms of improvements

Book Review: "Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days" by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Brad Kowitz

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Sprint is a superb book that is very easy to read, with real world examples of how to apply the techniques discussed. I have taken some of the concepts discussed and am applying them to other activities beyond a 5 day Sprint process. Thoroughly recommended.