TEDx ReBlog: 9 common-sense rules for getting the most out of meetings

Been in a meeting recently? Sure you have.

When it comes to making the most out of meetings (i.e., productive, clear, professional, and as brief as possible), it’s not uncommon that we drop the ball from time to time. But that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to run meetings as effectively as possible.

Ray Dalio with Bridgewater Associates has some sounds suggestions for making the most of that time you and your coworkers spend locked away in a conference room trying to change the world (or at least, make a decision on the best font for your quarterly report). Clear objectives, firm leadership, and focus top the list, but do yourself a favor and read more here.

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Internal Auditor ReBlog: The value of mentorship

Mentorship is one of the most powerful tools for aspiring internal audit professionals and also provides valuable experiences to mentors. Early in my career, several professionals informally provided me with advice, suggestions, and guidance that helped bring me to where I am today. At the time, I did not realize these individuals were acting as “mentors” but the knowledge, experience, and insights they provided shaped the decisions I made…

At a recent internal audit forum, IIA Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Bill Michalisin co-facilitated a panel on mentoring and career management… As a fellow Emerging Leader, I reached out to Michalisin and some of the panelists and asked them to share their perspectives on mentorship with Internal Auditor’s readers.

Internal auditor Bill Stahl explores the benefits of formal and informal mentoring in the audit community, and makes suggestions on what to look for in a mentor, where they can be found, and makes the case for mentoring others.

Read more here.

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Internal Auditor ReBlog: Courage is easy when there’s nothing on the line

In her book, Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower, Cooper counsels internal auditors to “find your courage.” Courage means many things to many people, so thinking about it and discussing it with others you trust can help you reinforce your moral foundation.

In Trusted Advisors: Key Attributes of Outstanding Internal Auditors, one of the nine key attributes I examine is ethical resilience, and in speeches about the book, I talk about internal auditors needing to be ethical AND courageous. I have known many ethical internal auditors who kept their heads down rather than confront highly contentious risks, issues, or results. But being courageous often requires being the lone voice. It doesn’t take quite as much courage to stand in line to point a finger. Indeed, courage does not wait for a choir.

But courage doesn’t suddenly blossom within an internal auditor simply because there is an expectation or strong case for it. I go back to Cooper’s admonition to “find your courage,” which requires practitioners to examine what courage is and under what circumstances their own internal fortitude may be tested.

Read more here.

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Governing RePost: Drowning in Data, Cities Turn to ‘Citizen Scientists’

Government has a data problem. Put simply, it collects so much of it that it struggles to analyze most of it.

Of course, states and localities already use data analytics for a lot of things. Departments of revenue, for instance, rely on it to curb tax fraud. Public schools use it to measure student performance and figure out how to boost grades and graduation rates. Cities turn to it to manage traffic congestion and monitor air pollution. But despite all of this, governments are still collecting vast amounts of data and, well, doing nothing with it…

Ted Newcombe discusses a growing trend in local government data analysis, and some of the advantages – and drawbacks – of calling upon nonexperts to help analyze government data. Read more here.

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Internal Auditor ReBlog- Ratings in Audit Reports: Lights or Lightning Rods?

…an audit committee chairman observed that ratings can “shine a light” and help the audit committee quickly focus on the most important findings in a report. However, while ratings may be a “light” for some, they are ultimately a “lightning rod” for others.

Ratings can be a powerful tool, but if management and the audit committee place undue emphasis on them, they tend to have a polarizing effect on line and operating managers whose performance ends up being summarized in a single word: “unsatisfactory.”

Even the most useful tools have their limitations. In this post, IIA CEO Richard Chambers ponders the benefits and drawbacks of the use of ratings systems in internal audits. Read more here.

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Better Humans ReBlog: Cognitive bias cheat sheet

I’ve spent many years referencing Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases whenever I have a hunch that a certain type of thinking is an official bias but I can’t recall the name or details. It’s been an invaluable reference for helping me identify the hidden flaws in my own thinking. Nothing else I’ve come across seems to be both as comprehensive and as succinct…

I’ve taken some time over the last four weeks (I’m on paternity leave) to try to more deeply absorb and understand this list, and to try to come up with a simpler, clearer organizing structure to hang these biases off of. Reading deeply about various biases has given my brain something to chew on while I bounce little Louie to sleep.

Buster Benson, a platform product lead at SlackHQ, provides an interesting breakdown of cognitive biases in our thinking and why we use them. In short, cognitive biases are shortcuts that help us address problems and discern meaning from information and events. Many people are familiar with confirmation bias (favoring information that confirms your pre-existing belief and rejecting information that does not), but there are a long list of cognitive biases that influence how we perceive the world.

Cognitive biases gets a bad rap, but they are not inherently bad. Cognitive biases help us make sense of the world around us. Problem is, the world does not always comply with our sense-making efforts, and sometimes we are just dead wrong. Even auditors need to be aware of the biases they might employ to help make sense of the world.

Read more here, and check out the handy cognitive bias map below.

 

Are there any biases that you are particularly fond of (or, dare we say it, guilty of overusing)? Not sure? Check out the whole list here.

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Governing RePost: Fewer people are getting degrees in public service

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that several of the top government-related academic fields — including criminal justice, political science and public administration — have seen the number of degrees awarded level off or dip slightly over the past few years. This signals a departure from the previous several decades, including the immediate post-recession period, when schools handed out more diplomas in most fields as workers sought to enhance their résumé  during the economic slump.

While awarded degrees have slowed down somewhat in general in the last few years, public service degrees have shown slightly more of a slowdown. What affect this may have on public service employment is hard to say, but you can keep on top of trends and read more here.

 

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