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Increasing the 'meaning quotient' of work - McKinsey Quarterly

Increasing the 'meaning quotient' of work - McKinsey Quarterly | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Through a few simple techniques, executives can boost workplace “MQ” and inspire employees to perform at their peak. A McKinsey Quarterly Organization article.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

What's the MQ (meaning quotient) for your employees??  How many of them (and for them how often) find that their work helps them achieve "flow" (that state where challenge and ability are closely aligned and time just flies by)?

 

The fine folks at McKinsey talk about ways to easily increase MQ and create meaning.  Some of their tips may surprise you.

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David Hain's comment, February 8, 2013 2:58 AM
What is is Dan Pink says about motivation? Autonomy? Mastery? Purpose? sounds like meaning at work to me...
What I'm thinking about
Articles, books, videos, links and topics that are on my mind. Many are leadership related. Some just plain made me think.
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Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Why Women Stay Quiet at Work

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant on Why Women Stay Quiet at Work | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
If a man talks in a meeting, he gets heard. A woman just gets interrupted.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Disappointing that this is still true.  I remember back in one of my first group projects in business school (in...errrr...1992), I was shocked when during a meeting a guy cut in, talked over me and repeated exactly the point I had made.  And no one seemed to notice.

 

Women emerging leaders I work with often want to work on their presence and on reacting to and counteracting this behavior in their male colleagues.  They also talk to me about how to appear and sound more powerful and how they need to 'take up more room' in group meetings. The read Amy Cuddy and view her TED talks.   

 

I agree with Grant and Sandberg that we need more women leaders.  We also need to constantly support and push our existing women leaders to stand up for themselves while also looking for more opportunities for them to shine. 

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Always Make Promises

Always Make Promises | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Living up to a social contract is inordinately valuable, and there's no pressure to exceed it.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Key thought: Only give away half the cookie

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What it takes to be a great leader

What it takes to be a great leader | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
There are many leadership programs available today, from 1-day workshops to corporate training programs. But chances are, these won't really help. In this clear, candid talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.
Kimberly Togman's insight:
BCG's Rosalinde Torres cites a disturbing statistic: 58% of 4,000 companies studied reported significant talent deficits in critical leadership roles.   What we are currently doing in leadership development isn't working. 

 

Leadership in the 21st century depends on the answers to the following:

- Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life? 

- What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? 

- Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past?

 

Our leadership development strategies must find ways to help leaders  face confidently towards the uncertainties of the future with the abilities to operate in an increasingly complicated world.  

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Kimberly Togman's curator insight, March 6, 2014 3:42 PM

BCG's Rosalinde Torres cites a disturbing statistic: 58% of 4,000 companies studied reported significant talent deficits in critical leadership roles.   What we are currently doing in leadership development isn't working. 


Leadership in the 21st century depends on the answers to the following:

- Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life? 

- What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? 

- Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past?

 

Our leadership development strategies must find ways to help leaders  face confidently towards the uncertainties of the future with the abilities to operate in an increasingly complicated world.  

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The benefits—and limits—of decision models | McKinsey & Company

The benefits—and limits—of decision models | McKinsey & Company | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Big data and models help overcome biases that cloud judgment, but many executive decisions also require bold action inspired by self-confidence. Here’s how to take charge in a clear-headed way. A McKinsey Quarterly article.
Kimberly Togman's insight:
This McKinsey Quarterly article landed in my inbox today. It argues for the need to use a combination of leadership talent, execution and inspiration as well as predictive models and data to make excellent decisions. “Players don’t predict performance; they have to achieve it. For that purpose, impartial and dispassionate analysis is insufficient. Positive thinking matters, too.” We certainly need big data -- to analyze it, understand it, and make use of it. At the same time, we need big human thinking, inspiration, perspiration and teamwork to make sense and use of it all.
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Listening to shame

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

This Brene Brown talk isthe sequel to her June 2010 appearance at TEDx Houston.   She describes the aftermath of her talk and the unexpected turmoil it caused her.   She shares her own vulnerability and growing understanding of shame with panache.  And I challenge anyone who sees it not to cringe when the hear the words "Houston TED." 

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The danger of a single story

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

I cannot believe that it took me so long to find this powerful TED talk given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  In gentle compelling tones she paints a multi-faceted picture illustrating some unexpected ways we can be myopic in our views.

 

Her power comes from simplicity.   Ms. Adichie tells her own story of not matching the story others had created of her and of the mistaken story she herself created someone else.

 

As I watcher her talk I sheepishly wondered who I had placed in a box far too small to contain them.

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The Power of Restraint: Always Leave Them Wanting More

The Power of Restraint: Always Leave Them Wanting More | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
In business, less is more.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Restraint...Control...Listening...in our frenetic-paced lives these things are often noticably absent.   As this nice little post suggests and illustrates : "The power of restraint is a lesson that cuts across all aspects of our lives."

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Entrepreneur, Fire Thyself

Entrepreneur, Fire Thyself | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
To spend enough time working on a business, you can’t devote yourself to working in it.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

A key issue for founders is letting go -- not taking on everything themselves and giving away the minutiae to others.  “The whole transition from working in the business to working on the business means letting go of what you’re comfortable doing. You always need to be thinking big and challenging yourself.” A key point in this article.  


In the earliest stages of a company, the founder or founders are the company and pretty much have to rely on themselves for everything.  Even as they begin to grow and hire a few additional employees control is easily theirs --problems arise when they don't see when it is time to focus on a few core thigs and allow others to step in to handle the rest.  If the new hires aren't capable of stepping in, they weren't the right hires.


The first employees hired should be top talent with excellent skills and the ability to operate independently (including a spectacular executive assistant).  They need the freedom to do what they've been hired to do.  It not, they won't be around long.  


 

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The Morality of Meditation

The Morality of Meditation | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Focusing the mind makes us more likely to help others in pain.
Kimberly Togman's insight:
Having just committed to a regular twice daily meditation practice, I read this with great interest.
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To Guide Difficult Conversations, Try Using Compassion

To Guide Difficult Conversations, Try Using Compassion | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Kindness is rarely inappropriate.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Compassion, breathing, noticing -- that buddhist sense of detachment.  All can help us be better leaders and better human beings.  

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Why You Need to Take 50 Coffee Meetings

Why You Need to Take 50 Coffee Meetings | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
50 coffee meetings. It should stick in your head as a metaphor for networking. For getting outside of your comfort zone. For starting relationships today that won't pay off for a year. It's the ent...
Kimberly Togman's insight:

As a coach, I'm always working with clients to develop and maintain their relationships both inside and outside their organization.  This article continues to build the case for something we ALL need to do...

 

Back away from the keyboard, step out of your office and go meet someone!!

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Givers take all: The hidden dimension of corporate culture | McKinsey & Company

Givers take all: The hidden dimension of corporate culture | McKinsey & Company | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
By encouraging employees to both seek and provide help, rewarding givers, and screening out takers, companies can reap significant and lasting benefits. A McKinsey Quarterly article.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Wharton Prof Adam Grant (author of bestseller Give & Take) highlights the competitive advantage or giving....or collaborating, helping.  In this article Grant tells us that in a Harvard study of the US intellignce system they found "the single strongest predictor of group effectiveness was the amount of help that analysts gave to each other." And further that "just knowing the amount of help-giving that occurred allowed the Harvard researchers to predict the effectiveness rank of nearly every unit accurately."

 

The benefits of giving/helping are many.  Yet corporate cultures don't always promote this and Grant tells us that reward systems implemented to promote helping can backfire as people have difficulty changing their methods from competition to cooperation.  Enabling a giving culture must be done strategically and in steps.

 

Good stuff.  I'd love to hear from others on steps they have taken to promote giving and cooperation.

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The Science of Serendipity in the Workplace

The Science of Serendipity in the Workplace | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Firms are thinking up new ways to encourage interactions among employees, going so far as to squeeze workers into smaller spaces and install trivia games on elevators.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

I've just been talking with colleagues about breaking boundaries across an organization.  This WSJ article gives a number of exapmles different organizations are employing.  What do you think??

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Brené Brown: If you're not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback!

Brené Brown: If you're not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback! | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
One of the most underrated parts of the creative process is remaining vulnerable says New York Times bestselling author Brenè Brown in this moving 99U talk.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

 I'm a big fan of Brené Brown. I loved both of her TED talks on vulnerability and shame. This keynote for the May 2013 99u conference (focused on making great ideas happen--derived from Edison's 99% perspiration quote) is about dealing with critics.The talk is centered around Roosevelt's 1910 "Man in the Arena" speech:

 It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.   

As always, Ms. Brown delivers her message with humor and conviction.  She talks about the three critics we all meet: shame, scarcity and comparison and advises us to believe like she does, "If you're not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback."

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The True Costs of Bad Bosses

The True Costs of Bad Bosses | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Apparently, a plague of bad bosses is running rampant in the United States, so much so that, according to an Inc. study, 75% of American workers say their boss is the worst and
Kimberly Togman's insight:

The old adage "People join companies and leave managers" still rings true...

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The Best Predictor of Lasting Success? Steady, Sustained Growth

The Best Predictor of Lasting Success? Steady, Sustained Growth | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
What does it take to expand year after year, even through the Great Recession? Very few companies have ever done so. You can learn a lot from those that have.
Kimberly Togman's insight:
Looking for the case for leadership development and coaching? This article is in the current Inc. Magazine. Inc.'s economist-in-residence researched 1,000 mid-size U.S. companies and identified the "Build 100" top companies that added headcount for five consecutive years. Inc. Found up with the following five points as commonalities among the Build 100 and notable differences with others: 1. More than 50 percent of respondents said "people/talent" and "customer service" were the only drivers of competitive advantage and identified those attributes as core to their company's identity, ahead of nine other factors. 2. A "big change in senior management or leadership" was among the top three factors credited for triggering company growth "breakouts" ahead of six other factors. 3. Two of the top three challenges or obstacles to growth were "attracting top managerial talent" and "training future supervisors and managers," ahead of 11 other challenges. 4. More than 82 percent of respondents said "sharing financial success with your employees" helps a company grow -- tying that practice for the highest response among six management practices. 5. Some 81 percent of respondents named "sudden loss of a key employee" as a concern -- the highest such percentage among 11 "unplanned events" that were rated.
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Bad to great: The path to scaling up excellence | McKinsey & Company

Bad to great: The path to scaling up excellence | McKinsey & Company | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Before senior executives try to spread best practices, they should use seven techniques to clear out the negative behavior that stands in the way. A McKinsey Quarterly article.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Stanford's Huggy Rao and Robert Sutton give some compelling arguments for curtailing bad behavior:


1. Nip it in the bud
2. Plumbing before poetry (go for getting rid of the nitty gritty negativity!!)
3. Adequacy before excellence
4. Use the 'cool kids' (and adults) to define and squelch bad behavior
5. Kill the thrill
6. Try time shifting: From current to future selves 
7. Focus on the best of times, the worst of times, and the end

The article is an overview of their upcoming book "Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less."  Sounds like a good read...

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The power of vulnerability

Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

This Brene Brown talk should be immediately followed by her next.  Her dry self-effacing description of her path to discovering the importance of vulnerability and how it is often misunderstood should make you reconsider the risks you fear take and the ledges you shy away from jumping off. 

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How to Suppress the Apology Reflex

How to Suppress the Apology Reflex | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
In the workplace, standing up for yourself may mean having to overcome some of your cultural upbringing.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Lookout!! This is the tale of an Chinese-American woman that applies to people from many cultures. And not just in the domain of women or minorities.  Many professionals succumb to the urge to use "sorry" a word of many meanings -- much like one might use "aloha" or "shalom."      

 

Just stop. 

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What's Keeping You From Being Strategic?

What's Keeping You From Being Strategic? | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it

Most executives are perfectly aware they should be delegating in order to free up strategy time – and yet it doesn’t get done. Part of the issue, executive coach Rebecca Zucker says, may be “underlying beliefs and assumptions…which, at one time, allowed them to cope, protected them, or even allowed them to succeed.

Kimberly Togman's insight:

My Next Step Partners colleague Rebecca Zucker is quoted in this article.  The process she is talking about is one developed by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey at Harvard and is called Immunity to Change (ITC). ITC is an outstanding coaching methodology that helps clients understand how they get in their own way AND the very good reasons they have for doing so based on some hidden--and perhaps wrong--assumptions.     

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Can Perseverance Be Taught?

Can Perseverance Be Taught? | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Angela Duckworth is THE preeminent researcher on grit.  Here she talks about its cultivation in those of us who don't come by tons of it naturally.    

 

My favorite line: "Unlike many decisions (e.g., what to have for lunch), choosing to endure rather than desist is a choice that must be effortfully sustained over time."


Often that's what we in the human development space worth with clients to help them achieve.  

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Leaders everywhere: A conversation with Gary Hamel | McKinsey & Company

Leaders everywhere: A conversation with Gary Hamel | McKinsey & Company | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
The management writer and academic explains why he believes companies that empower and train people at all levels to lead can create competitive advantage. A McKinsey & Company article.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Interesting thoughts on the importance of dispersing leadership throughout the organization.  My favorite bit of the article?


"I think the dilemma is that as complex as our organizations have grown, as fast as the environment is changing, there are just not enough extraordinary leaders to go around. Look at what we expect from a leader today. We expect somebody to be confident and yet humble. We expect them to be very strong in themselves but open to being influenced. We expect them to be amazingly prescient, with great foresight, but to be practical as well, to be extremely bold and also prudent.


How many people like that are out there? I haven’t met very many. Right? People who have the innovation instincts of Steve Jobs, the political skills of Lee Kuan Yew, and the emotional intelligence of Desmond Tutu? That’s a pretty small set. And yet we’ve built organizations where you almost need that caliber of person for them to run well if you locate so much of the decision-making authority in the top of the organization."

 

Makes you think, no?

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Tommi Tarkkonen's curator insight, July 22, 9:38 AM
Creation of competitive advantage through trust and empowerment of people at all levels of the organization
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Can You Overdo People Skills?

Can You Overdo People Skills? | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Lessons from one revered American president who might have been too soft.
Kimberly Togman's insight:

Yup, an overused strength can be problematic.  Even good people skills.  Learn from Lincoln.

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Kimberly Togman's curator insight, June 12, 2013 1:36 PM

Yup, an overused strength can become a liability--even people skills.  Learn from Lincoln.

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RSA - The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

Kimberly Togman's insight:

Just found this RSA talk that Dan Pink gave in February on his latest insights that we are ALL in sales.  His book, To Sell is Human is a great read.

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Executive Education Tiptoes Online

Executive Education Tiptoes Online | What I'm thinking about | Scoop.it
Executive education delivered via web-based platforms is becoming more mainstream. What does this mean for schools?
Kimberly Togman's insight:

WSJ is hitting my sweet spots this week...At a CLO breakfast yesterday I participated in a converstion about the future of learning and online ed was a big topic.   I'm a big proponent of cohort experiences and the cross-fertilization that can occur most easily through in-person programs.  

 

I'd love to hear how others are tackling this inovatively.

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