Culture

Curiosity

By: Jim Bruce
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The important thing is not to stop questioning… Never lose a holy curiosity. – Albert Einstein During World War II when I was a young boy, we lived with my mother’s parents while my father worked about 100 miles away in an oil refinery and commuted back to our small town on weekends. I think that I must have been a real question box back then, asking my grandmother more questions than she wanted to answer. I don’t remember what I asked, or her answers. What I do remember is that when she tired of my questions she always responded with the old parable “Curiosity killed the cat.”

You Gotta Have Grit

By: Jim Bruce
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Not the grit you think of in “gritty from hard work in a grimy, greasy environment.”  But rather, it’s the grit that Angela Duckworth defines, in her 2013 TED Talk, “as the passion and perseverance for very long-term goals.”  In this view, grit is having stamina, it is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.  Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
 

Asking Questions

By: Jim Bruce
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"Without a good question a good answer has no place to go.” – Clayton Christensen In today’s Tuesday Reading, I’ll focus on asking questions. Dan Pink, in his book Drive, tells us that the factors of mastery, autonomy, and purpose, spark motivation. And, that’s what you’d like to do as a leader, spark motivation. Stanier tells us that asking questions is a simple, powerful, yet difficult way of doing this. Good, well asked questions, he believes, can increase autonomy and mastery, and possibly purpose.

Leadership Competencies

By: Jim Bruce
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You can find many lists of leadership competencies.  Some result from a careful examination of the work in a particular job family or from role descriptions.  Some come from discussions about what it takes to be a really good leader in a mid-level position at, say, an education institution.  Other lists are developed based on a particular leadership model.  Still other lists are represented by 360 feedback instruments such as the MOR Associates instrument used in the Leaders Program or the Zenger Folkman model described in their Harvard Business Review article, Making Yourself Indispensible

Watch Your Language

By: Jim Bruce
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Professor Bernard Roth is academic director and cofounder of Stanford’s d.school, the campus hub for innovators.  Students and faculty from engineering, medicine, business, law, humanities, sciences, and education come there to work together on some of the world’s most messy problems. 

Giving Credit

By: Jim Bruce
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Today’s Tuesday Reading, Giving Credit, is an essay by Anna Lynch, Manager, Online Instructional Design, eLearning Design & Services, and Julie Parmenter, Manager, Enterprise Decision Support Services, at Indiana University’s University Information Technology Services.
 

Is Technology Wasting Your Time?

By: Jim Bruce
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Got your attention, didn’t I? 
 
In a recent HBR blog post, Bain & Company’s Michael Mankins answers with a strong very likely.
 
Twenty years ago, new technologies like email and teleconferencing were key drivers in dramatically increasing productivity.  Information flowed faster, collaboration was easier.  However, by 2007 year-to-year growth in productivity was on the decline.  Yet, today, a decade later, organizations continue to invest in new technology for white-collar workers.  And, increases in benefits are no longer visible.
 

Let’s Try FeedForward

By: Jim Bruce
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Among the essential skills we expect leaders to have is giving and receiving feedback.  Everyone needs to know how they are doing, what they might improve, what they are particularly good at, etc.  Feedback focuses on the past, and in particular on what you did recently.  And, that’s important in providing guidance on how you can do it better in the future.
 

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