The Feedback

Over the past week, we’ve looked at the topics of productivity, office hours and the traits of the best leaders, among other things, and our readers have weighed in aplenty.

One question we asked was where the heck America’s productivity has gone. Does it have something to do with less spending on new equipment, with poor management of knowledge workers—or what?

Reader Sergio said that in the world of software development, productivity has increased a lot, but with it certain demands:

The amount of tools (i.e. equipment) that has become available in the last decade alone is dizzying. Therefore, a software professional (i.e. knowledge worker) who doesn’t have or continuously seek a work style driven by practices that promote trust and effectiveness while also leveraging his or her individual strengths and motivations is a recipe for decreased worker productivity.

Meanwhile, reader Mike Grayson saw a problem to the east:[EXPAND More]

There is an uneven playing field between the U.S. and China. Currency manipulation accounts for part of the problem, regulations for the environment, working conditions, wages, etc. This causes an imbalance in trade and inability to compete by American companies.

When we enumerated Peter Drucker’s five characteristics of an effective leader and asked which were most important and why, reader Greg Zerovnik had a concise answer:

I don’t think it’s any accident that Peter listed knowing where the time goes first. Without that, none of the rest of the list happens or matters.

A couple of other readers suggested that we rethink our premise. Among them was Richard Straub, who had this to say:

I would think that the criteria outlined assume that these executives are acting within a framework of values that go beyond short-term business priorities. . . . . Hence, my question is if responsible action for the long term based on human values should not be added to the list.

Reader Maverick18 was sterner:

The question, in legal parlance, is leading. It begs a ranking which may have great or no validity. Read Drucker more in full context and you will come to the conclusion that the Best CEOs always think and act strategically. All five practices are subsets of that.

Finally, we asked about long hours at the office. Are they good for anything? Mike Grayson paid us another visit and commented:

If you are working on a mission critical project that could drastically impact the company or a customer, it may require additional temporary effort. . . . However, if you are putting in additional hours day after day, it is time to analyze why.

Preferably over a coconut drink with an umbrella in it. [/EXPAND]