Showing posts from September, 2016

Experimenting with productivity in the workplace

Lot's of fun sounding ideas in this article. I haven't followed all the links to see how well the ideas are supported as actually having an impact. I think the bigger message though is that we need to be willing to experiment and be creative to keep the workforce engaged and productive.

5 experimental ways you can boost employee productivity The old-school, non-experimental attitude in some companies is why the younger generation of digital marketers is disenchanted with work. The resistant attitude of companies to burgeoning ideas leads to a low morale which affects employee productivity. The only way to turn this around is to try out new things.

Taking the long-term view

A nice commentary about the long-term orientation that government leaders often need to take, even when trying to address a current problem. I can certainly relate to this as I see the fruits of my efforts in previous positions coming to fruition in only the last couple years.

The Fantasy of the Quick Fix Americans are impatient. When we see a problem, we want it fixed yesterday. That helps explain why public leaders are reluctant to tackle the gnarly problems our society faces: It is difficult to show results in time for the next election.

Avoid a leadership training fail

This is a kind of long read, but I thought it was well worth it. I've seen a lot of the issues raised by the authors and how they can impact the success of change efforts in an organization - or even doom initiatives to failure. One of the key takeaways for me though was how important it is for leaders to be part of (and participate in) the processes and training concepts. Whatever leadership training is provided, it cannot be something for everyone else. 

Why Leadership Training Fails-and What to Do About It Idea in Brief The Problem Companies are dumping billions of dollars into training and development programs-but their investments aren't paying off. The Reason Six common managerial and organizational barriers prevent people from applying what they've learned, no matter how smart and motivated they are.

A holistic list of productivity tips

I am already familiar with a lot of these ideas and I suspect you are too. However, I do like how the list is on the holistic side and brings together some tips from several areas, notably about taking care of your body to maintain peak productivity. It is a quick read.
15 Productivity Hacks That Speed Up Your Efficiency Need to get more efficient at work? Do you ever have enough time to get it all done? If you are struggling to find the time to fit it all in, here are 15 productivity hacks that will help speed up your efficiency. Starting with the chief productivity killer in most offices...

The opposite of micro-managing? Autonomy

You probably know that micro-managing employees is bad for your business and employees. What is the opposite of that though? Check out this article on autonomy.

Autonomy could be the key to workplace happinessResearch suggests that automony can have a positive impact in the workplace.

Creativity and Productivity

One of the characteristics lurking in my personality according to my Myers-Briggs type is a streak of creativity. I would say that is accurate and probably explains why I enjoy learning new things and activities like writing blog posts. In this article I came across, they suggest that "creativity can actively drive productivity at work". As I also hold a keen interest in productivity topics and concepts, I was intrigued. Laura Cole proposes three ways this is true and why businesses should encourage creativity and innovation, not only for productivity reasons but for long-term business success.

How Creativity Can Drive Productivity in Your Small Business As a general rule, true creativity is lauded across the globe. From the iconic Burning Man Festival, which is held annually in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, to ever-diversifying International Women's Day, there are recurring events that celebrate the innate abilities and the creative potential that exists within us all.

Storytelling in the business world

I recently ran across an article on how Disney/Pixar is bringing concepts used to power some of their most successful movies to the world of video gaming. As I was reading over the article, Four lessons in emotional storytelling and plot structure from Pixar, I started wondering how these concepts might apply in the business world. One of my challenges in my positions has been presenting financial information to boards and management staff in a way that moves them to action. Unfortunately, financial information can be very dry and something many people struggle to understand, so the only movement might be to close their eyelids as their eyes glaze over. Even employing a variety of techniques to help make the information more understandable for non-financial professionals, I still find it difficult to make that connection. Perhaps Pixar’s concepts can help with this.

Assessing Your Productivity Style

I have assessed myself throughout my career using a variety of tools like Myers-Briggs. However, this article from FacileThings is the first time I've run across a similar type tool for assessing productivity styles (although this seemed to lean more toward project management). For the record, I followed the link to the HBR tool and I am a Planner (description below) - although I haven't seen descriptions for the others, this seems accurate based on how I like to work. This seems like it would be a good way to not only assess yourself, but your team members as well to help manage the dynamics of people working together. --------------------------- You are a PLANNER. Planners prefer organized, sequential, and detailed thinking. They create to-do lists, set aside time for tasks, and prepare thorough and accurate project plans. They don’t waste time on anything unproductive or unimportant. They comply with laws, policies, regulations, and quality and safety criteria, and they fr…

Why Aren't You Using Your Todo List?

Having used GTD for years and a whole host of todo list tools and apps, I always enjoy articles about how we manage our tasks lists. You are managing your task list, right? If not, this article on TimeManagementNinja may cover some things that might keep you from doing that and if you have an idea of what might be stopping you, you can take steps to get on it.

A few Gmail productivity tips using Gmelius

Over the years I've become a big Gmail user and I'm always looking for tips on how to make it even more useful. Just in the last month or so I started using more than just the default yellow star as part of my inbox zero process. This article provides some nice tips on how to make Gmail a more productive tool (and I tip my hat to Gmelius, who posted the article, for putting the use of their product down in the list instead of the first item). Since Gmelius put this together and had a nice recap of what their extension can do, I'm giving it a try. I can say I already like the colorization of the inbox buttons.

What To Do When You're New review

Since I am currently in the process of finding a new opportunity for my career, I have been looking into some areas where I can both improve my performance and be better prepared to undertake a new position. One aspect of my new situation is meeting lots of new people - much more than what I would normally meet in my last position. Part of my self-improvement goal is to become more of an extroverted introvert. Being an introvert certainly has advantages for me, like the ability to be able to dig in and really focus on a project when I need to. However, in my roles (and almost certainly any new position I take up) I often have to perform tasks and fulfill responsibilities that require me to step outside of that comfort zone and be more of an extrovert. In looking for some ways to improve, one recent book I read through is What To Do When You're New: How To Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful In New Situations by Keith Rollag. Keep reading for a quick recap of some of my take…

Motivation and employee engagement

This was a quick read about some of the challenges with employee engagement. I know that one of the issues I seemed to always struggle to get others to understand is that there is more to motivating employees than pay. Frequently this seemed to be due to people who are motivated by pay thinking that everyone else is motivated by the same things they are - they just could not get out of the mindset that what they valued was what everyone valued. Interestingly in this article, they briefly touch on the fact that for some employees, just using financial rewards can even be a bit of a disincentive.

cross post from my LinkedIn profile

Gamification and the search for a win

Earlier this summer I ran across an article in the Journal of Accountancy about gamification and how it can be used to help engage Millenials in the workforce. I thought it was an interesting take on the concept of gamification, which is a topic I have been keeping my eye on for years. Although the article included some examples that leaned very heavily on game type activities, my interest lies more in the area of gamification being the "psychology of game design" for purposes of improving performance, both personal and for an organization.