Meta-analysis of the research on creativity by Francesca Gino in the Harvard Business Review. The whole three-article series is good. Here’s a sample: Five ways in which managers can bolster creativity:
- Hire for curiosity;
- Model inquisitiveness;
- Emphasize learning goals;
- Let employees explore and broaden their interests; and
- Have “Why?” “What if…?” and “How might we…?” days.
She identifies two tendencies that restrain managers from encouraging curiosity:
- They have the wrong mindset about exploration, often thinking that letting employees follow their curiosity will lead to a costly mess; and
- They seek efficiency to the detriment of exploration.
It’s the old exploitation-exploration dilemma. James March’s paper is a classic on this. Knut Haanaes provides great examples in this TEDtalk.
From the September 2020 issue of my newsletter. “On management and strategy” is a free, monthly newsletter in which I share my own writing as well as links to articles and research on management, leadership, and strategy. It’s easy to subscribe… and unsubscribe.
I don’t follow my newsletter’s stats. I put out what I think is useful information for my readers and they comment on what works and what doesn’t. Also, I often post links to articles that readers themselves send me (keep ’em coming!).
I don’t follow my newsletter’s stats but I received an email from the platform that one link in particular in last month’s newsletter was clicked a lot more than others. It is to an article in Fortune by Laura Vanderkam titled “Working from home poses serious dangers for employers and employees alike.” It seems to have hit a nerve, what with people working from home…
Here’s Laura’s answer:
Netflix isn’t the real danger. The real danger is that without a physical separation between work and the rest of life, people won’t ever stop working—risking burnout, which has huge costs for employees and their organizations. Wise managers address this, rather than worrying that people will slack the second they aren’t being watched.
Asking employees how they are –how they really are– goes a long way in building rapport and establishing credibility.
I am a fan of keeping a journal. I keep one myself and I encourage the leaders I work with to do the same.
The format does not really matter (what you thought, what you did, what you said, how you felt, etc.) as long as you record it. By recording it you’re acknowledging that it mattered at the time and you’re making it matter now.
You don’t keep a journal to revisit it. You keep a journal to make a record, to state that your day mattered.
I’m reminded of this by a recent post I read on keeping a Good Times list:
to notice and record the moments and experiences in life that bring you joy, or that energise and fulfil you. This one thing will help you appreciate what really matters, and to do more of them. It’s simple to do, and you need nothing more than a pen and paper.
It’s another form of “counting your blessings”. And it will help you keep track of what really matters.
[photo by Dina Spencer
FaceTime is a perfect alternative to Zoom, as long as everyone who’s part of the meeting or chat has access to an Apple device. FaceTime is stable and it allows you to add multiple people to your video chat. FaceTime uses end-to-end encryption, which means even Apple doesn’t have the key to view your chats, according to Apple.
Signal is a highly private and secure app. Think of it as a WhatsApp alternative, and like WhatsApp, Signal offers video functionality. As with Apple’s FaceTime, Signal is protected by end-to-end encryption, powered by the open source Signal Protocol. Unlike Zoom, Signal doesn’t support group chats, so it is really for use when you are having a one to one.
Skype is a solid Zoom alternative mainly because it is nearly as functional. It’s very stable, supports large group chats, you don’t need an account to use it, and it’s easy to create your own meeting and control who’s allowed in. One caveat: Skype isn’t end-to-end encrypted, so for those sensitive calls, you are better with an option such as Signal.
Jitsi is a very cool and secure open source app that’s recently launched to the market. It offers multiple video chatting features, and people joining your chat don’t have to create an account. It’s not end-to-end encrypted.
Houseparty isn’t super secure, but it’s very functional for casual chats and you can lock rooms to stop uninvited guests from crashing your party. In your settings, use private mode, and turn off location tracking. You can also use fake names and birth dates for extra security.
(the above is an abridged version of a longer article in Forbes, accessed on April 4, 2020 – photo by Benjamin Child on Unsplash)
The quote in the title is from Simone Weil.
When I pay attention I am giving my time. It prompts the question: Who, or what, receives my attention?
Therein lies my treasure.
A translator, being obliged by the nature of his task to attend to every single successive phrase of his author, however plain the meaning may seem, and to consider the intelligibility of what he renders to the uninitiated, sometimes discovers points of real difficulty which have escaped even the most thorough commentators, or arrives at fresh solutions of old problems. (source)
Not only in formal translation but also when living in multiple languages. It sometimes helps to think of a situation in a different language.
See also: Discovery is not finding new lands, it’s something else
often comes in the form of a relevant, timely, open-ended question.
Manfred Kets de Vries at KnowledgeINSEAD:
Consider your life today and answer the following questions:
- Do you feel that your life is out of control and that you have too many things on your plate?
- Do you often feel confused, anxious, irritable, fatigued or physically debilitated?
- Are you having increased interpersonal conflicts (e.g. with your spouse, children, other family members, friends or colleagues)?
- Do you feel that negative thoughts and feelings are affecting how you function at home or at work?
- Is your work or home life no longer giving you any pleasure?
- Do you feel overwhelmed by the demands of emails, messaging tools and social media?
- Do you feel that your life has become a never-ending treadmill?
- Are you prone to serious pangs of guilt every time you try to relax?
- Have you recently experienced a life-altering event such as a change of marital status, new work responsibilities, job loss, retirement, financial difficulties, injury, illness or death in the family?
- When you are stressed out, do you feel that you have nobody to talk to?
If you have answered “yes” to most of these questions, stress might have started to build up. If you feel close to your breaking point, it’s high time to take action.
In conversations with managers, I often hear people say something like “Well, I can’t help myself, that’s who I am, I’m an engineer / a finance person / a lawyer,” etc.
I share Stephen Fry’s consideration in The Guardian:
“We are not nouns, we are verbs.
I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next.
I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”