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Posts Tagged ‘management consultants’

What goals and how goals – part 2

Posted by Andrew Cooper on February 10, 2009

Way back in mid-January I posted about the distinction that sports psychologists make between outcome goals and process goals.  In a nutshell, focusing on winning a race (an outcome goal) can be counterproductive because everyone else has the same goal and simply wanting to win clearly doesn’t guarantee that you will.  It’s much better, they argue, to focus on the things you need to do to maximise performance (process goals). 

Here’s the excellent Oliver Burkeman making similar points with better examples in his Guardian column last Saturday.

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Negative Bastard

Posted by Andrew Cooper on August 3, 2008

While I’m taking photos, I thought I’d introduce you to Negative Bastard.

Every organisation needs a negative bastard or two. It keeps the rest of us ‘half glass full’ types on our toes.  I’m fairly sure that the Huge Corporation would employ professional negative bastards to wander around ensuring all the new ideas its people generate are subjected to extreme levels of ridicule.  This would help Huge’s innovators to develop their objection handling strategies.

Being self-employed I obviously don’t have any negative bastard colleagues, so I bought the one pictured below eleven years ago to fill the position. He was actually part of a job lot from the Warner Brothers store at Gatwick Airport. They’d discontinued the line and sold me about twenty of them for a knock-down price. I was running some innovation workshops which were being held at the Gatwick Hilton (the project for a large multi-national I mention on my biog page), and I awarded negative bastards to participants who were particularly positive during the events.  I hope that they’ve taken good care of them.  (This sounds as though I’m making it up, doesn’t it?  Well I’m not.)

As you can see, Negative Bastard certainly looks the part. The small goat standing next to him usually lives on top of one of my modest collection of sand timers and was sent to me by a charity after my sister bought me a ‘goat for Africa’ birthday present, although there was some confusion at the time and I thought, not having properly read the instructions, that the present was the plastic goat.

You can see what I mean by negative, can’t you?

Negative Bastard does speak from time-to-time (actually it’s me that does the talking, but don’t tell anyone or you’ll spoil the illusion) . When he does talk he has, for obvious reasons, an extremely negative Australian accent.

If you work in a proper job and this all seems a little odd, don’t worry: it’s perfectly normal for freelance management consultants to surround themselves with virtual team members like this. (Hmmm. Sheba is looking at me right now with an ‘Oh no it isn’t’ expression on her face. In a moment I’ll tell her to get back to her job as Mindworks’ Director of Human and Non Human Resources althoughI have a feeling she rather admires the Evil Human Resources Director, Catbert, who you can see in action here. )

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