Anyone who’s ever tried to quit smoking, eat less or exercise more knows that changing personal habits is hard. The more often we repeat a routine behavior, the less we need to think about it. That’s one reason why entrenched behaviors are notoriously difficult to change—they happen without thinking.
Volatility, uncertainty and error lead to unpredictable outcomes. This can be a major cause of stress. But volatility will help you if you have options that allow you to profit from the upside without bearing a large cost from the downside.
Are you concerned about setting priorities? It may surprise you to learn that the concept of priorities (plural) has been around for less than 100 years. Before that, life was simpler—there was only a singular priority.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could focus on one or two simple behaviors that would lead to increased productivity, morale, and team spirit? You can, if you find the right behaviors to work on—keystone habits.
We cross a point of no return when we decide to take specific action towards achieving a goal. Until we are definitely committed to action, the danger is great that our goal will remain an armchair adventure.
It’s almost July. Many of the projects that I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year are still, well, waiting to be accomplished. Sound familiar to you? Read on for research-based tips on how to tame the procrastination demon.
Leading by vision is like navigating using the stars; it works well as long as the skies are clear and the sailing is smooth. When the clouds roll in, a deep-seated sense of purpose comes to the rescue.
The new year means new opportunities, experiences and... new goals. But the goals we set in January are often long-forgotten by July. Or worse, they hang around our neck like an albatross reminding us of our inaction. Bright lines can make the difference between success and failure.
Does your body language have an impact on whether you close the sale or get the job offer? You bet it does. And in ways that might surprise you.
Emails can be sent across the world in a matter of seconds but that doesn’t mean effective messages take no time at all. To deliver results with offshore team members, project managers must do more than just be culturally savvy. They must actively work at understanding how their own background influences their methods and behavior.
The motivation to reduce cognitive dissonance drives much of our irrational behavior. We choose to deceive ourselves rather than admit we were wrong. Being able to recognize when we are in a state of dissonance can help us make better decisions and improve our relationships.
Have you set personal and professional goals for the year? If so, I bet you've made sure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). But do you have the right attitude to achieve them?
According to Wharton Professor Adam Grant, it’s time to rethink the common notion that “nice guys” finish last. More often, they finish first! Grant’s research shows how givers—people who do more for others than they expect in return—rise in organizations. But not all givers succeed equally.
The language of leaders is we. Psychologist James Pennebaker shows how little words like "I", "we", and "the" reveal much about our relationships, honesty, and social status. The results are not what you might expect!
Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. The triple forces of FUD can unleash emotional turmoil that leads us to make poor decisions, hampers our productivity, and wrecks our health. FUD busters are brave leaders who set out to reduce fear, uncertainty, and doubt at work.
Having the right tools in our toolbox dramatically increases our chance of success. However, relying on the same tool all the time will hinder performance. As the saying goes: "If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
What are you exceptionally good at? What do you love doing so much that you lose track of time when doing it? Chances are, your answers to these questions reveal what psychologists call your “signature strengths.” Learning how to use your signature strengths at work can mean the difference between success and failure—between flourishing and burnout.
Why are we allergic to feedback? Because we often perceive feedback as (well-intentioned) criticism, which triggers the same kind of response in the brain as physical pain.
How do you respond when someone tells you about something good that happened to them? Do you say “That’s great!” while hurrying on to your next meeting? If so, you are missing out on opportunities to build your relationships.
Do you know your positivity ratio? That’s the ratio of positive emotions to negative emotions you experience over time. Research shows that people who experience at least three times as many positive emotions as negative emotions are more likely to flourish.
Do you sometimes wonder why it's easy to follow through on some plans but not others? Read on to find out why.
Self-control—the ability to delay gratification, concentrate on a task, resist a temptation, or control emotions—is key to success at work and in life. The good news is that we can improve our willpower.
Willpower. Who wouldn’t like to have more of it? We need willpower when we concentrate on a task, solve a problem or resist a temptation. Read on for tips on how to build your willpower.
In this video, you will learn a quick and easy method for planning a project and building your team at the same time.
First line leaders are the brave people on the front lines of organizational leadership. They are called upon day in and day out to lead a team.
Where do you get your best ideas? Most people say in the shower, while jogging or taking a walk– not at their desk. Why can’t we simply turn on the idea factory when we need it?
Managing stakeholder expectations can feel like steering a boat through rough seas. The “seascape” surrounding your project is constantly changing. The project is moving full steam ahead under its own power. Corporate politics blow from different directions with varying intensity. Resource availability may buoy the project up or cause it to crash on the rocks. [...]
Part 1 of this article introduced a process for identifying stakeholders, analyzing their impact on the project and setting a strategy for each stakeholder group. Here I will discuss how to plan communication actions to influence stakeholders. Plan Communication Actions Once you have set a strategy for each stakeholder group, you need to identify communication actions [...]
Vibrant communities combine face-to-face meetings with an online hub for sharing resources and coordinating events.
If asked how you make decisions, you might say it depends on the kind of decision and how quickly you need to decide. Do you follow a formalized process or framework for making decisions? Probably not. Although many of us are familiar with the classic decision-making process of understanding the problem, identifying and evaluating alternatives, [...]
Whether you are standing in line in the cafeteria or walking across the office lobby, you run into people who want to hear what you are working on. It helps to be prepared for these ad-hoc encounters and view them as informal opportunities for building credibility and relationships.
Apart from the stage fright that many of us feel, presenting to a large audience is usually easier than presenting or facilitating for a small group.
In many ways, presenting to a small audience is more challenging than presenting to a large group (stage fright aside). In my experience, you can expect more detailed questions with a small audience.
The other day I walked through a hotel lobby and saw the common scenario of two business people looking at a laptop displaying a bar chart. Most business presentations—whether for an audience of one or one thousand—contain charts and tables.
Tom Truly is project manager on a project that has recently missed a deadline and lost a key customer. Sarah, the project sponsor, has called a meeting to discuss progress. Sarah has been under pressure from senior management to "fix" the high-visibility project. She is angry that Tom didn't inform her in advance about the [...]
In the first part of this series I explored what makes a good stakeholder interview in general. In this article, I will write about how to use open questions, sketches and thinking out loud during stakeholder interviews. These techniques from the fields of usability and user experience can make interviews with project stakeholders more effective. Let's [...]
Journalists are experts at interviewing people. However, we can all benefit from better interview techniques. A good interview helps us understand expectations, gain insights and win people for our cause. For project managers, interviewing is an important technique for clarifying stakeholder requirements. Software developers should read Scott Ambler's essay on interviewing techniques for Agile Modeling. [...]
Headlines full of layoffs not only remind us that we are in an economic downturn but also instill fear that we could be next on the list. Friends confirm that the level of anxiety is running high in many organizations. There is talk about cancelled projects and a prevailing atmosphere of uncertainty and worrying.
Most of us make resolutions for the new year. And almost as many of us break them. "Research shows that about 80 percent of people who make resolutions on Jan. 1 fall off the wagon by Valentine's Day," says Marti Hope Gonzales, associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, according to the New [...]
In the last few weeks I have stumbled upon a lot of discussions on "digital storytelling" in the media. In their Educause article Web 2.0 Storytelling. Emergence of a New Genre, Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine encourage learning professionals to use blogs and microblogs to create a narrative that captures the interest of the audience [...]
What is the value of sketching? The act of sketching, of using hand and brain in a coordinated effort, leads to clear thinking. Literally, we can "grasp" ideas better once we've sketched them out.
When you need to identify tasks, generate alternatives and assess risks for a new project, resist the temptation of booting up your computer first. Grab a stack of sticky notes instead! The computer will come later, but first you want to make people feel comfortable contributing ideas and discussing alternatives.
More and more people seem to be sharing their colorful sketches and presentation notes on Flickr. Sketching is on the rise! I enjoy seeing how people combine words and drawings to capture information or explore an idea-using what I call a storytelling approach to note taking. Many of us first think of mind maps when [...]