Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Monday, March 08, 2010

A nice interview

In the NYTimes recently, with Tachi Yamada, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health program. Some excerpts:

- I think the most difficult transition for anybody from being a worker bee to a manager is this issue of delegation. ... a principle that I apply today — I don’t micromanage, but I have microinterest. I do know the details. I do care about the details. I feel like I have intimate knowledge of what’s going on, but I don’t tell people what to do.

- you can’t possibly be competitive in the world unless you actually go outside your own geography and learn the way other people live and think.

- when you actually are with somebody, you’ve got to make that person feel like nobody else in the world matters. I think that’s critical. So, for example, I don’t have a mobile phone turned on because I’m talking to you. I don’t want the outside world to impinge on the conversation we’re having.

- I spent a couple of evenings reading the paper and wrote a six-page review of it. I shredded the analysis. And I showed it to him, to show how smart I was. He looked at it and said, “O.K., now I want you to write me a report and give me a reason why it’s a fantastic paper and how we could make it even better.”

- Intelligence is often more displayed in what I would call complex abstract thinking, and there’s nothing more complex and abstract than human relationships.

- if I have something negative to say, I will say it. I will be clear about it. But I won’t try to couch it in a lot of positives, because people have a natural tendency to not want to hear a negative message. ... But I also try to give positive feedback in other moments. To try to mix the two is often very hard, because the positive messages get lost in the one negative message, and the negative message gets garbled.

- I don’t think anyone should do one job for too long a time. I think every five to eight years you should be willing to take on some different challenges. It’s so easy to get stale. Every time I’ve left a job, I was loving the job that I left. But I never regretted the next move that I made.

Kudos to the interviewer, Adam Bryant.


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