Coming to terms with terms – Michael DeLanzo

In this episode of Le Podcast, I had the great pleasure to receive Michael DeLanzo to discuss the importance of coming to terms with terms. Michael and I met at a Boston Spin event when I gave a talk: The Change Starts Here. You can find more about speaking engagement here.

What precipitated the idea to discuss this topic was an email feedback exchange on Le PodcastHow to create great goals?“. As a listener, Michael did not agree with the level of abstraction or scope provided to goals and objectives. The reason turned out to be that we had different meanings of the term goals and objectives. Once he understood the definition I had of these terms, the issues with scope and level of abstraction were no longer there.

Michael ended the recording by asking me a question from Daniel Kahneman “Thinking, Fast and Slow”

  • A bat and ball cost $1.10
  • The bat cost $1.00 more than the ball
  • How much does the ball cost?

Highlights of the episode:

  • Clarify the terms is the starting point for any collaboration
  • Writing or Speaking communication, or synchronous and asynchronous communication
  • Cultural differences, and language struggle (There is a quote attributed to George Bernard Shaw that follows along the lines “Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language”.)
  • Passive Thinking and Critical Thinking
  • From The Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication
    • If your words can be perceived in different ways, they’ll be understood in the way which does the most harm.
    • Meetings are the last resort, not the first option.
    • Five people in a room for an hour isn’t a one-hour meeting, it’s a five-hour meeting. 
  • From CNBC: Jeff Bezos: This is the ‘smartest thing we ever did’ at Amazon
    • Jeff Bezos: “Many, many years ago, we outlawed PowerPoint presentations at Amazon,”“And it’s probably the smartest thing we ever did.”
    • Jack Dorsey: “Most of my meetings are now Google doc-based, starting with 10 minutes of reading and commenting directly in the doc,” Dorsey tweeted in 2018. “This practice makes time for everyone to get on same page, allows us to work from many locations, and gets to truth/critical thinking faster.”
  • I already mentioned the Valve Software New Employee Handbook in this article about the Neuroscience of Trust. I repeat here that it is worth to have a look 🙂

Book recommendations:

Author

  • Alexis Monville worked in multicultural and distributed environments for years, coming back from the US and now based in the southwest of France. When asked if he misses the work in the office, he usually answers that he spent half of his 30 years of management experience in diverse sectors outside of the office and a lot of that working from home. Alexis is Chief of Staff to the CTO at Red Hat, a long-time hybrid open-source software company with more than 100 office locations in 40 countries, where half of the 20,000 people work remotely. Alexis is a firm believer that change starts with the self. He is the author of two books: Changing Your Team From The Inside and I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge. Alexis facilitates successful playful collaborations. He designs and builds sustainable and high-impact teams and organizations.

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