Books, Books, Books

Some of the books I enjoyed recently had a few ideas that absolutely need to be recorded ūüôā

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Interesting: “if then” rewards can have negative effect on human performance in non-routine tasks. Intrinsic motivation gives humanity (and economy) more inventions than extrinsic motivation. Competition between team members does not¬†improve performance of the creative tasks, but rather¬†diminish¬†it¬†¬†(people spend more energy on worrying about competition than the solution of the problem).

Compensation, however, is very important for employees, but its importance is “to remove the question about the pay out of the table.” ¬†The pay of employees should be fare in the team as in the market. ¬†The interesting recommendation for companies is to pay employees above market – it would allow to attract interested employees, avoid tensions related to pay, and reduce turnover, what will reduce cost of human resources in general.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

To my¬†surprise, Zappos was “on the brink of disappearance” a few times, and was saved by personal investments by its CEO at the critical stage of its growth. Even famous Zappos culture was¬†threatened¬†by the¬†conservative¬†board and was saved by famous deal with Amazon.

Another interesting note was the origin of famous customer-centric culture – at one point, during its early days, Zappos did not have enough resources to invest into marketing and decided to concentrate on retention (what is always cheaper). The rest is history. The most interesting part is the flexibility of the company to try an approach, and change it if it does not work.

Approach to suppliers: Zappos was willing to treat its suppliers better than the market, and open its proprietary information to the suppliers, what benefited the company probably more than the suppliers.

Human resources: the company moved to the location where call-center employees were easier to hire, but some other employees, such as experienced buyers were not. ¬†The company created a pipeline of entry-level employees who are hired based on culture fit and trained to do more advanced jobs. Very interesting: the satisfaction (happiness) of the employees increased when the process of one raise in 18 month and one promotion was changes into there raises and three promotions after every 6 months. The amount and titles stayed exactly the¬†same. call center employees can take some courses and speedup of their raises. The employees are happier when they had control over parts of their jobs and could see a clear progress. ¬†The company would not hire any “talent” without a culture fit. ūüôā

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Quite interesting… ¬†Creativity is not opposite of knowledge (as popular culture implies), but its derivative. It does make complete sense from my educational background, but is often presented as opposites in the US. ¬†The age of the Nobel prize winners in¬†science¬†was¬†steadily¬†increasing – people needed to learn more already discovered material before they could become “creative.”

Just “being in the field” and “having an experience” does not improve performance. ¬†Only deliberate practice does – practicing and learning increasingly new and difficult parts of the field. Constantly increasing knowledge about the field is the only way to improve the performance… ¬†in any field ūüôā

Yes, yes, a book worm… ¬† Though mostly electronic format books now ūüėČ