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How to Be a Creative Problem Solver

How to Be a Creative Problem Solver | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Creative problem solving can be learned, says Mary Ann Gontin. By gathering information, taking time away from a problem to reflect and identifying the right resources, anyone can learn to do it well.
Richard Meyer's insight:

Not everyone can be Steve Jobs or Richard Branson.

Not to worry, says Mary Ann Gontin, managing partner at executive coaching firm OI Partners. “Many people have the misperception that you’re born creative or you’re not,” she says. But creative people aren’t born, they’re made.

“Creativity is mostly a consequence of intending to be creative,” says Gontin. “That’s often a relief to people.”

And creativity doesn’t have to mean painting a great canvas or inventing a new product from scratch. It can mean generating a few good ideas, or simply coming up with ways to improve a current system.

Gontin says that the ability solve problems creatively and collaboratively is a key skill for mid-level managers seeking to move up to the next level within their organizations.

She recommends that individuals and teams use a multi-step process to tackle a problem that needs to be solved. Her process is adapted from the 2012 book “Your Creative Brain,” by Shelley Carson (Gontin has no financial interest in the book).

Start out with a problem: Your boss has asked you to design a new sales strategy, or your staff has complained that the current system for sharing computer files is inefficient.

First, gather information – talk to people in other departments about how they’re handling a similar issue; go online and look for best practices; see what resources exist to help you address the problem.

Then, “enter your inner world,” says Gontin. Get up from your desk, take a walk, gaze out the window for a while. Think about ideas for solving the problem while you’re physically away from the problem and can think more expansively.

Then connect with other stakeholders for a brainstorming session.

If you’re a manager, your role may be less about generating solutions and more about facilitating other people’s brainstorming. “Brainstorming is usually not done correctly” because people are given too little time to think of ideas, says Gontin.

Typically, employees are called into a meeting and are asked to come up with some ideas, which are then written on a whiteboard and dissected. Not everyone can perform in that situation, she says.

Instead, let people know in advance that you’re seeking solutions to a problem and ask them to come in with two or three ideas written down – without their names on the paper. Then gather the ideas and discuss them one at a time. Because this part of the process is anonymous, teams can get away from the judgment and political gamesmanship that can make people self-conscious in these meetings.

Finally, in evaluating the potential solutions, consider what’s realistic given the resources available and the organization’s culture.

“You can’t become so invested in the brilliance of an idea that you shut out the question of whether it’s feasible,” she says.

Following these steps to create positive change in your company, she adds, can demonstrate impressive leadership to the boss, she says, by showing that “you can come up with ideas but you’re also politically in tune enough to know what can work.”

 
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You're Not Alone: Most People Hate Open Offices

You're Not Alone: Most People Hate Open Offices | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
People in cubicles and open offices long for privacy and probably get less work done. That this is surprising at all speaks to the current trendiness...
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Recent Leadership Changes Suggest That Twitter Is Struggling to Find Its Footing

Recent Leadership Changes Suggest That Twitter Is Struggling to Find Its Footing | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
The continuing turmoil in Twitter’s executive suite, a hallmark of the company’s eight-year existence, suggests that the company is struggling in the face of stiffening competition from Facebook.
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The 10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020

The 10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020 | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Share this infographic on your site!
Source: Top10OnlineColleges.org

The 10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020

The 6 Drivers of Change
○ All of the 10 skil(...)
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Your Work-Life Balance Should Be Your Company’s Problem

Your Work-Life Balance Should Be Your Company’s Problem | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Why system-wide approaches work better than individual solutions.
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Deck is stacked against millennials

Deck is stacked against millennials | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Matthew Segal says America is serving its young people for lunch with unpaid internships, sky-high student debt and no jobs to pay it off
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Millennials are more likely to support government regulation of business than older generations. - Real Time Economics - WSJ

Millennials are more likely to support government regulation of business than older generations. - Real Time Economics - WSJ | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
People often change as they age, but if the values of the Millennial generation hold up over time, corporate America may be in for a shock.
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This boss forced his burned-out employees to stop checking email on vacation

This boss forced his burned-out employees to stop checking email on vacation | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
"I had to impose it because the methlike addiction of connection is so strong."
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What's going on inside the executive brain? It'll surprise you.

What's going on inside the executive brain? It'll surprise you. | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
New research shows that the best business minds make decisions very differently than we thought.
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Steve Jobs' 13 Most Inspiring Quotes

Steve Jobs' 13 Most Inspiring Quotes | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Some thought-provoking words from an innovative guy.
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$37 Billion Is Lost Every Year On These 9 Meeting Mistakes

A full 11 million meetings happen in America every day. Yet a third of them are productive. Here's a few reasons why.
Richard Meyer's insight:

Studies from the University of Utah show that people have a terrible time of distinguishing experts on a given topic from the loudest person in the room.

As associate professor Bryan L. Bonner tells the Wall Street Journal, we rely on "messy proxies for expertise," like extroversion, gender, or race instead of actually listening to the content of what they're saying. Just because they're loud doesn't mean they're right. 



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/37-billion-is-lost-every-year-on-these-meeting-mistakes-2014-4#ixzz2yOwmg6Yp

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Where have all the workers gone? The labor force participation puzzle

Where have all the workers gone? The labor force participation puzzle | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
The U.S. unemployment rate is down, but rising numbers of Americans have dropped out of the labor force entirely. The problem is more than just cyclical, writes Glenn Hubbard.
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Americans only take half of their paid vacation

Americans only take half of their paid vacation | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Americans are so busy looking over their shoulders at work, they only take half of their paid time off, writes Quentin Fottrell.
Richard Meyer's insight:

Employees only use 51% of their eligible paid vacation time and paid time off, according to a survey of 2,300 workers who receive paid vacation. The survey was carried out by research firm Harris Interactive for the careers website Glassdoor. What’s more, 61% of Americans work while they’re on vacation, despite complaints from family members; one-in-four report being contacted by a colleague about a work-related matter while taking time off, while one-in-five have been contacted by their boss.

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3 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Productivity

3 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Productivity | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Yes, you can manage your time to live healthier and happier, do the things that you know are important. Here's how.
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Job burnout: How to spot it and take action - Mayo Clinic

Job burnout is a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work. If you think you might be experiencing job burnout, take a closer look at the phenomenon. What you learn may help you face the problem and take action before job burnout affects your health.

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Infographic: 67 percent of meetings are failures | Articles | Main

This infographic says it's because meetings are poorly planned, attendees multitask and remote attendees miss vital information. Do you agree?
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Why are meetings so unproductive? The graphic lists three reasons:


1. People multitask. More than 90 percent (92 percent) of people admit to multitasking in meetings.

2. Remote attendees aren't engaged. Eighty percent of the messages we receive from others come from body language, which you miss when you phone into a meeting.

3. Those who schedule meetings don't plan well. Meeting planners should send necessary materials to participants in advance, and ensure meetings begin and end on time.

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Your Work-Life Balance Should Be Your Company’s Problem

Your Work-Life Balance Should Be Your Company’s Problem | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Why system-wide approaches work better than individual solutions.
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Jobs Return to Peak, but Quality Lags

Jobs Return to Peak, but Quality Lags | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
The U.S. finally clawed back all the jobs lost since the recession hit in late 2007, a watershed in a grindingly slow recovery that finds a labor market still in many ways weaker now than before the downturn.
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Why Taking A Vacation Can Make You Better At Your Job

Why Taking A Vacation Can Make You Better At Your Job | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
We say we want more time off, but most of us don't use all of our vacation time. Life won't fall apart if you take two weeks off -- in fact your work...
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47% of Unemployed Have Given Up Looking for a Job

47% of Unemployed Have Given Up Looking for a Job | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Not all Americans are enjoying the slow economic rebound. A poll found that about half of unemployed workers say they have given up looking for a job.
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CDC: Vaccines given over 20 years prevented 731,700 premature deaths

CDC: Vaccines given over 20 years prevented 731,700 premature deaths | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
How much are childhood vaccines worth to America? Nearly $1.7 trillion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
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5 Simple Office Policies That Make Danish Workers Way More Happy Than Americans

5 Simple Office Policies That Make Danish Workers Way More Happy Than Americans | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Americans think it's normal to hate their jobs. Let us introduce you to the Danish concept of arbejdsglde. It means happiness at work. Here's how...
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France Just Made It Illegal To Answer Work Emails After 6 P.M.

France Just Made It Illegal To Answer Work Emails After 6 P.M. | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
C'est la vie.
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Why Fostering a Culture of Compassion in the Workplace Matters -- K@W

Why Fostering a Culture of Compassion in the Workplace Matters -- K@W | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Wharton’s Sigal Barsade says demonstrating “companionate love” in the workplace is vital to employee morale, teamwork and customer satisfaction.
Richard Meyer's insight:

Units with higher levels of companionate love had lower levels of absenteeism and employee burnout

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25% of firms give bonuses for incompetence

25% of firms give bonuses for incompetence | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
Most people think of workplace bonuses as reward for top performers. But many recipients don’t meet that standard, according to a new study.
Richard Meyer's insight:

Nearly 25% of North American managers will give some financial reward to their lowest performers — those who “fail to meet performance expectations” — the study by Towers Watson Talent Management and Rewards Pulse Survey found. What’s more, 18% fail to set differences in target payouts based on an employee’s performance.

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Offices For All! Why Open-Office Layouts Are Bad For Employees, Bosses, And Productivity

Offices For All! Why Open-Office Layouts Are Bad For Employees, Bosses, And Productivity | Managing people not cogs in a machine | Scoop.it
In part one of our two-part series, Fast Company senior editor Jason Feifer makes a case for giving all workers a little alone time--behind an office...
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