Dec 30, 2014

Best and Most Popular Posts of Web Wanderer Blog in 2014

Blogging frequency have been going down again from the previous years. One reason has been that I haven't read as many books I would have hoped to. Also I haven't written that many other posts that in previous years. On the other hand, I've written down almost 30 ideas of blog posts that I should write. So blog isn't fading away, I just need to find the time to write it in the future.

Five Most Popular Posts from 2014

  1. Separate Testing is Waste
  2. Book Review: The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality
  3. Disease of Being Busy
  4. Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
  5. Book Review: All The Devils are Here by McLean and Nocera

Most of the posts come from earlier this year, so maybe that's the reason those got more reads than the newer ones. This year I didn't have any one post that would have been much more popular that any else, but there were many which were quite popular.

For some reason the most read blog posts of the year were from 2011. These three blog posts suddenly raised to be popular this year. Almost no one had read those before, but now these got lot of attention. It is weird, but it also proves that good content will find its way to be read sooner or later. There are the three posts from 2011 that actually were most read this year:

My Own Five Favorite Posts 2014

This time again, only one of the most popular posts are the same from the ones I think that were my best posts. All of these got attention, but I would have wished those would have got even more attention.

Thanks for everyone who has read my blog during this year. It's been good year and let's wish next one will be even better.

Dec 29, 2014

Book Review: Organize for Complexity

I got book Organize for Complexity when I was at Dare Festival in Belgium about a month ago. Author Niels Pflaeging did also give a speech at the conference. The contents of the speech and the book (or perhaps booklet) were mainly the same, so this review is a bit about both of those.

Topic of the book interests me a lot. I've recently had many thoughts, writings and discussions about how organizations should be organized in the future, to be able to suit the markets of the future and the needs of next generation workforce.

This short book is a good first step to the new organizational thinking. It gives some initial ideas why the organizations should change and it gives one simple view to the challenge. It is not a book as such, more of a booklet with few paragraphs and illustrative pictures. It gives basic ideas well and raises some thoughts, but it lacks all critical thinking and discussion about the subject.

I liked the ideas what Niels seems to have, but I don't think this book really brings those forward. It's almost as powerpoint slides would have been transferred to book format. It isn't really a proper book, but it has some powerful thoughts.

If you want to have a simple touch on the organizations of the future, this book might be for you. The contents are valuable, the format of the book wasn't just to my taste.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 16, 2014

Book Review: Today Matters by John C. Maxwell

Once in a while I like to read self help books. Today Matters by John C. Maxwell was highly recommended book by many. The full name of the book actually adds to the Today Matters a second title, 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow's Success, which actually tells quite much about the book.

Book explains a simple way to succeed tomorrow - make every day count. The whole idea of the book is to understand to concentrate to today. Make the right decisions every day to support your growth to whatever you wish to be in your life.

John C. Maxwell is author of many books, priest and teacher of leadership. He has been given many rewards about leadership and management. He seems to be interesting character, who gives quite easy and straightforward advice.

I've read some self help books about success and in a way there wasn't that much new in the book for me. Still the idea, which is so simple, concentrate to today, is something that easily gets lost in the busy world we live in. Every day counts. You shouldn't care too much about the past and definitely not think too much about future. You need to make the right decisions every day to help you to become who you want to be.

The idea in the book is to concentrate to the 12 Daily Practices. These are basically values or point of views that should be taken in to account every day. I did write my own Mission Statement after reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I think the ideology behind is similar. That's the reason I'm not taking this in to daily use for now. For many people those 12 practices definitely will be valuable.

Once a year it is good to read a classic like this about personal development. If you haven't ever read one or haven't read one for a while, I recommend this book. It's a good book and it did change my behavior a bit already. I enjoyed it and it was quite easy to read. So go ahead and read it.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 8, 2014

Book Review: 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People

Presenting, selling ideas to people and training has been part of my job for the past few years. Presenting as such is something I've always been comfortable with, but I know I could be much better. That's the reason I read 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk.

The author has Ph.D. in Psychology and has a strong background on behavioral psychology. This shows a lot in the book. I originally had different thought what the book would have inside. I wasn't expecting that much science and actual proof behind the things that presenters need to know. So the surprise was positive and made the subject more interesting.

The idea in the book is to explain and benefit from the behavioral psychology. Maybe it was because I had read quite a lot about behavioral psychology in the past years, that the psychology parts as such weren't that new to me. Some of the ideas how to use those in presentations where the ones that brought me the value.

Book is well structured. It was fun to read. It worked especially well for bus or train trips which I use when I visit our offices in Helsinki central. Like the title tells it has 100 of things that every presenter needs to know. Those things are short and backed up with a proper research. I have to admit that book would have been at least good enough with 91 or 93 things, but maybe 100 is just much more effective. Few of the things were there just to fill the hundred.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to understand people's behavior in presentation situations. If you are presenter, you facilitate meetings or meet people for sales, this is a good book for you. It also reminds about many important psychological studies from the past decades. It's a good book and quite easy and enjoyable to read.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 1, 2014

Work Needs to be Fun - Happy people are more Effective

We spend every week around half of our time awake at work or travelling to work. Already from that perspective work needs to be something you are happy on doing. At least in my thinking being happy every day is something I wish from life.

That's still not all. There's research backing up the facts that happier people are more productive at work. Study from University of Warwick showed that happy people are 12 percent more productive than others.  That's of course just one study, but there's more data for similar results. In Gallup's State of the Global Workplace study (over 200 000 respondents) they found that companies which had engaged employees had significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer ratings.

Even though I believe we need lot of other studies on the subject to be really sure about how the causation goes, there is definitely something in happiness at work place. Happiness at work place also might have a positive effect on company image and that way make it easier to recruit new talented people. On top of the previous one's there's also evidence that happiness has a strong effect on intrinsic motivation. And intrinsic motivation affects productivity.

My purpose wasn't in going to the academic discussion about what is proven and what is not. From personal experience, from my own workplaces and places I've seen as a consultant, this correlation is true. The happier people are, the better results the company will get.

In the State of the Global Workplace study, the engagement level in companies was surprisingly low. Overall in the world in average only 13% of the people were engaged to their jobs and 24% were actively disengaged. That's quite huge. Almost two times more people are disengaged than engaged.

In my interests there's of course the numbers of Finland. Here the numbers where 11% engaged and 14% disengaged. We were almost the worst in Western Europe, only France and Netherlands behind us. Maybe it tells a bit about our overall nature of being unhappy about almost everything, but still it's really worrying and we should do something about it.

I unfortunately don't have a list of "5 things that will improve your work place happiness" in my mind. There are lot of good articles about the subject existing and I recommend to read some of those to get the ideas. What I think is important is first to approve the fact that this actually matters. Happiness and engagement are important in productivity of the company. I believe these are not something that HR can do (at least not most of it), but this is something that operational leaders and other key people in organizations need to take under their radar.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen