Realigning to Your Workplace Mission

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Inconsiderate Ignorance: Mindless Public Use of Technology

Inconsiderate Ignorance: Mindless Public Use of Technology by Laura Stack

In a memorable scene in the movie Star Trek IV, Mr. Spock delivers the famous Vulcan neck pinch to a kid who’s blasting rock music on a boom box at obnoxious levels. As he turns off the music, his fellow bus passengers applaud. I've sometimes wished I could do the neck pinch on the drivers of those cars who think their stereo bass should rattle my bones. I shouldn't be able to feel music through steel and glass from a dozen feet away. A few weeks ago, I published a blog about how some people inconsiderately disrupt other peoples' lives through sheer mindlessness. This includes inconsiderate use of technology. I learned of an excellent example recently, when my office manager Jin shared a story about taking her family out to eat at Olive Garden one Saturday. They heard talking and music a … [Read more...]

Creating a Positive View of Change

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Too Much of a Good Thing: Can Teamwork Damage Productivity?

Too Much of a Good Thing: Can Teamwork Damage Productivity? by Laura Stack

Back in the 1890s, French researcher Max Ringelmann discovered what others later called the Ringelmann effect[1]: The larger a workgroup, the more likely workers will waste time rather than get their work done. Not only do they socialize more, they also expect others to pick up the slack. This remains true today: small workgroups tend to produce more per person than larger ones. Many entrepreneurs have taken this to heart, including Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com. According to his "Two-Pizza Rule", a team or meeting should contain no more people than it would take to feed with two large pizzas. Bezos sets the number at 5-8. Why so few? Partially because the more channels of communication involved, the greater the likelihood for confusion. To answer the title question, clearly there are … [Read more...]

Avoiding Groupthink to Maintain Creativity and Innovation

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Team Productivity and Digital Detox

Digital Detox

I love technology—up to a point. There's no doubt electronic technology in particular has boosted our productivity to remarkable levels. But at the same time, electronics appeal so much to some of us that we waste time doing things we shouldn't at work. I've known Internet addicts who couldn't go an hour without checking their favorite websites, and there are legions of workers who babysit their inboxes all day long. If technology has slowed you down, why not try a “digital detox” to get you and your team back on track? You don't have to get rid of anything, just discipline yourself to use your tools as your inventors intended. Talk about ideas in your next staff meeting and see how you could support one another. For example: 1. Leave personal calls for the evening. There used to be r … [Read more...]

Building Consensus for Decisions

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Making Things Happen: Why Initiative Matters

Making Things Happen: Why Initiative Matters by Laura Stack

At least monthly, an audience member will come up to me after a presentation and say something to the effect of, “I love your ideas but hesitate to try anything new, because I’ll irritate my boss or coworkers.” Despite all the research and words we've expended pointing out that engaged team members are more productive, some leaders still enforce the old my-way-or-the-highway attitude. They don't see (or don't care) that unhappy, bored people have low productivity, so they just push them harder, further damaging their performance. Many employees want to help improve processes for the better, but often others aren’t willing to try anything new.   Even some leaders who know there's a better way often hesitate to make changes, because their own leaders remain stuck in the past. But l … [Read more...]