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Inside Networking and the Essential Elements of Success

September 4, 2014

There is always an element of serendipity to success. You have to be in the right place at the right time when the right opportunity comes along. However, to be successful in the modern corporate world you need more than just luck. You have to get three things right:

  1. You have to do good work.
  2. You have to be doing the right work.
  3. You have to be visible — people have to know about you.

Inside networking is critical in all three areas.

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Control the Message: What does your boss think that you do?

August 25, 2014

If you have a job, then I highly recommend that you produce a weekly status report. Not a full ‘status report’ per se, but a brief email with 3 – 6 bullets outlining your recent accomplishments and a preview of what you will be working on next week.

Here’s the logic: If you have a job — working for anyone but yourself — then you have a boss to whom you report. And if you have a boss, then on a regular basis, people will ask that boss, “What is working on?” In fact, your boss will occasionally ponder this question himself even without being asked. Do not leave your boss’ answer to chance.

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Announcing the Thinking, Fast and Slow Book Club

August 15, 2014

Beginning the week September 01, a number of smart, curious, and ambitious subscribers to the email list are digging in to read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. You can join too!

Daniel Kahneman is a psychologist and behavioral economist who studies the psychology of decision making. He shared the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.

Thinking, Fast and Slow first came to my attention last fall when Tom Peters tweeted,

I believe unequivocally that Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow is the most important book of the last 25 years for EVERY professional.

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What do you do?

August 1, 2014

Imagine a scenario where you are meeting for someone for the first time. If you live in America, there is a good chance that the conversational exchange will go something like this:

An opening volley of small talk …

A bit more small talk …

Something about the weather …

And then someone will inevitably say … (wait for it …)

“So, what do you do?”

How do you answer the question, “What do you do?”

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Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance

May 30, 2014

Knowledge is an important element of productivity. If follows that the acquisition of knowledge is equally important to your long-term success. But how do you learn? And how do you find time?

A new research paper called Learning By Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance offers some keen insights. Basically, there are two types of learning: learn by doing (‘experience’), and learn by thinking (‘reflection’). Based on the UNC and Harvard professor’s research, it turns out that the most powerful way to learn is a combination of both.

The authors define ‘reflection’ as an intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience. Reflecting on what has been learned makes experience more productive.

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Conflict At The Office? A Simple Start to Fixing It.

May 15, 2014

Conflict is a part of life.

It’s brought on by human nature. We each have different goals and dreams, and we each see the world just a little differently.

When you put us in a work environment, these natural forces become amplified — mostly by our ambitions — until they create inordinate amounts of tension, dysfunction, and stress.

This is, no doubt, why 70% of the American workforce is disengaged from their job.

For some reason, we are reluctant to address the conflict. Strange. It doesn’t have to be that way.

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Inside Networking: How and Why to Build a Network Inside Your Organization

April 18, 2014

How visible are you at work? Chances are good that you’re making one of most common career mistakes there is — pouring a disproportionate about of effort into doing good work and not taking enough time to get to know other people.

I frequently give talks on careers and networking, and I’ve found many people fail to recognize one of the most powerful opportunities for networking that exists: networking within their own companies. 

This is like wearing a cloak of invisibility.

Networking inside your company is some of the most important groundwork that you can do — and not just for yourself. Building a web of strong relationships up, down, and across your organization is invaluable for any projects and tasks that you could hope to accomplish, especially inside large organizations.

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5 Reasons To Stop Clicking on List Posts

April 1, 2014

It’s tough to be productive these days. Focus is hard. As if the Internet wasn’t distracting enough, along comes one of the most insidious wastes of personal energy since the invention of the chat room. We’ve all clicked on them — the alluring list post, or ‘listicles’ as professional bloggers and content marketers like to call them.

Instant productivity tip: STOP CLICKING ON LISTICLES. Just stop. If you want to fell more focussed and be more productive stop clicking on any article that has a number in the title.

You know the articles I am talking about. Listicles are those articles written with seductive headlines like:

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Forget 'Lean In.' Maybe we should lean back! — Reclaiming time to be creative.

March 18, 2014

Creative people’s most important resource is their time—particularly big chunks of uninterrupted time—and their biggest enemies are those who try to nibble away at it with e-mails or meetings. Indeed, creative people may be at their most productive when, to the manager’s untutored eye, they appear to be doing nothing.

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Diversity in Counsel … Unity in Command

March 14, 2014

Alfred Sloan, when he ran General Motors in the 1920s and 1930s, would refuse to make a decision at a meeting if no one could argue a strong case against what was being proposed. He felt that if no one had any objections to what was being decided, it was because they had not thought long and hard enough about the question under consideration.

Alfred Sloan understood that the best ideas — along with the best decisions — are forged in the crucibles of healthy conflict. If there are no objections leading up to a decision, then either people just aren’t trying hard enough or your team isn’t working on hard enough problems. Clear thinking, innovation, and good decisions depend on diverse perspectives and opposing points of view. 

Healthy conflict can be a tense arena. It takes bold leaders to create a safe space where everyone can be heard. And it takes confident followers to speak their mind even when they hold a minority point of view.

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About Heather

Heather Hollick has been helping others become better leaders and craft more meaningful careers for more than 25 years. Her experience spans both business and technology, operations and organizational development. Oh, and she was born in Canada, so she can't help but be helpful. 😉

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