TLF Gems Newsletter April 2022
Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research
If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.
We've been sending these TLF Gems newsletters for nearly 5 years. The format has evolved a few times already, but this seems like a good moment to take stock and make sure that we're offering you, our audience, what you want.
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Thanks for reading,
Here are 8 things we think are worth your time this month
Unifying The Old Guard & New Arrivals
Good short piece in HBR about the "us and them" division that many organisations are struggling with in the wake of the upheaval of the last couple of years as they try to bring together the "old guard" with new recruits. "Relational dynamics have been torn without the opportunity to re-stitch the seams between new connections."
The Power of Meeting-Free Days
Interesting (by which I mean opinion-confirming!) study from researchers at Reading University showing that reducing the number of meetings you have, and specifically having around 3 meeting-free days a week, not only reduces stress and improves productivity, but enhances collaboration as well. "With meetings yielding so little return on time investment, the opportunity cost is too high not to act now."
Here, There, Everywhere
Last year I signed up for a Gamestorming "Expedition", and one of the tools that Dave Mastronardi experimented with was a game he called "Here, There & Everywhere". It's just been written up on the site, and I think it's a great one for reflection, especially in workshops with a strong learning component. "Here, There, Everywhere emerged so that workshop participants might detail – sometimes in front of the room, sometimes just to themselves – how they will change their behavior once they return to work."
The Long Now
This is the April 2022 newsletter, but what if it was the April 02022 newsletter? Would that change our perspective? Would it make us think differently about our history and our plans? This is the idea behind the Long Now Foundation, which encourages thinking over the span of 10,000 years (forward and back) instead of our usual narrow focus. Loads of interesting stuff to explore in the "ideas" section of the site!
Structuring Your Day
I'm a bit of a sucker for ideas about structuring the working day, and Oliver Burkeman's 3/3/3 is a nice example of a simple approach that would work for a lot of people. In brief: spend 3 hours working on achieving a specific goal for your big project, complete 3 shorter "to-do" tasks, and do 3 "maintenance" activities (the sort of things that need daily attention, like emails). "The most revealing thing about the method for me, though, has been how it functions as a form of 'active patience', training me to be satisfied with accomplishing less on any individual day as a way to accomplish more over the long haul."
Stop Aggregating Away The Signal In Your Data
One for the data people, this is a brilliant article on making good decisions about how you aggregate data when reporting and charting it. Easy defaults (such as plotting the average) can often mask important variation which is the key to finding the "story" in your dataset. "...perhaps the next time you are about to aggregate your data in order to simplify it, you might instead try to rearrange, augment, or split your data into foreground/background."
The Office Is Fine, But The Commute Is Atrocious
It's an obvious point, really, but in all the discussions about whether and how often we'll be going back to the office, there hasn't been that much consideration of the thing that people hate most about it - the commute. "The number one reason homeworking employees around the world say they are dreading the return to the office is the time, expense and discomfort of getting to and from their desks each day."
Top Reads: The Little BIG Things
I'm a huge believer in the idea that details matter more than most people think. Great (and terrible) customer experiences often depend on the disproportionate impact of little things that make all the difference, and it's attention to these details that sets the very best apart. The flip side is that there's always something you can do to improve the customer experience. Tom Peters' book gives you 163 ways to improve. "'Small Stuff' matters. A lot!"
If you'd ever like to have a look at our list of past Top Reads, they're all catalogued here - enough reading to keep anyone going for a while!