Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to share as it resonates with me deeply. Those of us who consider ourselves freethinkers and enjoy the process and benefits of honest, spirited debate and conflict have probably, at one time or another, experienced a form of oppression in situations where cultural norms overemphasize social harmony, cooperation, and cohesion. The problem with striving for an atmosphere of perpetual warmth and agreement, as Jane Watson describes, is that great ideas get squashed. Hence, going against conventional wisdom with regard to hiring for cultural fit is especially important for organizations that aim to be innovative. Watson’s post provides a thought-provoking alternative view on what makes a great team, so check it out!
What a whirlwind at the 2015 HRPA Annual Conference this week! On day one, following three keynotes, 2 sessions, lots of coffee, and two after-parties later, I arrived home with a brain full of ideas and an iPhone full of notes. Here’s my first post from this week’s HRPA Annual Conference 2015:
Why Your Organization Needs More Rebels, Heretics, and Weirdos
Take a second and think about the best team that you have ever been part of. What made the team great? What did it feel like to be part of it? How did the team members interact with one another?
If the team you’re thinking of was the picture of harmony and cooperation, it might be worth questioning your rose-coloured recollections of just how great it actually was. In the session “When Getting Along Doesn’t Equal Results” Nicole Bendaly notes that while harmony and cohesiveness often figure into our…
When I first started using Pinterest, I thought finding and pinning images would just be a frivolous activity I’d engage in when I’m bored. While I don’t spend a lot of time there, I have found it to be more entertaining than I initially expected. For those who really know how to use it, another potential benefit of using such imaged-based social media tools is that they can be an effective way to find and connect with others who have interests in common and, at the same time, promote oneself or one’s business. I’m more of a recreational user but, for those who’re curious, my boards can be found here. As a forewarning, I’ve somehow managed to amass a large image collection of featherless, baby parrots which some people find freaky… though I think they’re rather cute!
Having found Pinterest to be more interesting and useful than I anticipated, I became curious about Instagram’s potential as a practical tool for networking and promotion. Fortunately, I just found the following guide which offers tips worth thinking about if you’re interested in using Instagram to promote your business or yourself as professional. Have you used Instagram and have tips to share? Feel free to comment and share them! Continue reading →
How did your transition back to work after the holidays go? For those who work from home and have yet to take down their holiday decorations, returning to work can pose a greater challenge. In this post, Lisa Duncan, co-founder of Flipside Workspace, briefly describes how an online collaboration platform that includes an immersive virtual environment facilitates separation between home and work as well as prime us, mentally, to go back to work. As an avid gamer, I’ve experienced how rich, virtual environments can transport us into a different world and put us in a completely different mindset. So I think Lisa makes an excellent point about the value 3D virtual environments can offer to remote workers.
It’s my first day back after a fabulous and disconnected vacation. I love these times where I get to fully disengage from work – energy, creativity, and inspiration swirl around me giving me months of “work” just to catch up with my thoughts. Only the heartiest of ideas make it through memory and grit into execution, a kind of Darwinian business process.
Today I was excited to get back to work, to catch up with my colleagues and exchange ideas. I was ready…sort of.
You see, I work from home and it’s after New Year’s. Two weeks of fun and festivities means many decorations are still hanging in the house and the onslaught of stuff from a household racing out the door each morning to school or work is still scattered about. So many distractions.
I love that mental separation of “go to work”. I need that mental separation. But where is…
Following an unexpected hiatus, I’m back just in time to provide the annual WordPress year-end report for my blog. Although I wasn’t as prolific as I was last year, I thought I’d publish the report in case anyone wants to see blog-related information such as what the most popular posts were and, at the same time, show my appreciation to WordPress for providing this service to bloggers.
Now, onto plans for next year. First off, I’d like to affirm that the Flipside Workspace user research project (which I mentioned in my previous post) is still happening. So, be on the lookout for a post that will spell out the details in January and consider participating! Among some other major projects I’ll be undertaking is the launching of my YouTube channel later on in the year. Content-wise, the channel won’t be related to this blog but, when it’s launched, I’ll make some mention of it as an opportunity to connect on interests that go beyond the focus of this blog.
As some of you may have guessed, I’ll be attempting to remake myself professionally. I hope that this undertaking will grant me ample opportunity to learn and share nuggets of information about reinventing yourself as a professional. On that note, I ask my readers, what are your plans for next year? Will you be changing anything? If so, how have you planned to go about it?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
Just in time for Halloween season! Here are some scary figures illustrating some health consequences of spending much of our days seated. We have been hearing about the health hazards of sedentary office work more recently, so none of this may come as a surprise.
Sitting around watching television or engaging in computer-related activities during our free time is, of course, a choice that some of us make. Unless you have a standing desk or treadmill desk however, you’re likely required to spend most of your workday sitting if you are an office worker. It’s common for commuting to add another 1-2 hours to this, leading to the total of 9.3 hours spent sitting down per day as cited below. Telecommuting can make a difference by freeing up time that many of us need in order to fit in physical activity. While considering the option to telecommute, keep in mind that the good health of individual employees is also important for the organizations they work for.
As a member of Better Collaboration, a virtually-based consulting firm, I can attest that a number of challenges must be surmounted in order to form an effective virtual team. Some of the most significant challenges are accurately described by Lisa Duncan, co-founder of an immersive, picturesque virtual work environment called Flipside Workspace (see here). Informed by direct experience, Lisa also offers excellent tips for addressing them. Hence, I refer you to her post.
Much has been written about the value of using virtual teams from a variety of perspectives: IT, HR, and management. While each contemplate virtual teams from different angles, the authors typically reach this conclusion: the fast-paced global economy, the advancements in technological solutions, and the general acceptance of telecommuting have each contributed businesses using virtual teams to gain a competitive advantage.
But despite all of the blogposts on “10 Steps to Build Virtual Teams”, or the numerous “Virtual Team Guidebooks”, the truth is: forming and maintaining virtual teams can be hard. Slacking-off on attention to critical details can spiral quickly towards wasting everyone’s time.
As a virtually-based company, we do know a thing or two about forming virtual teams for success; but a recent experience in forming a virtual group was a humbling lesson, and excellent reminder, of what is important when gathering individuals who are geographically dispersed.
For those who aren’t aware, the title of this post is stylized after Apple Inc.’s “Think Different” (a/k/a “Crazy Ones”) advertising campaign quote. However, this isn’t a satirical piece but, instead, an exercise in challenging conventional wisdom. While conscientiousness, a Big 5 personality trait, is often cited as the single best predictor of career success, it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t naturally well-endowed with it. The catch is that you must possess some other extraordinary quality that is rewarded in the context of your work situation. I believe that General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord would agree as he stated back in 1933:
I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!