First Friday Book Synopsis

"…like CliffNotes on steroids…"

How to Put an End to Procrastination

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

To procrastinate may be human but it’s not very rewarding. If putting off tasks is hindering your performance or making you unhappy, try these three things:

1. Identify what you put off. When you find yourself ignoring or delaying a task, ask yourself why. Knowing what you tend to delay can help break the cycle and prevent future procrastination.

2. Set deadlines. Break up tasks into smaller chunks and then create a schedule with clear due dates for each part.

3. Increase the rewards. Tasks with rewards far in the future are easy to put off. To make a task feel more immediate, focus on the short-term rewards. If there aren’t any, insert your own. Treat yourself to a coffee break or a quick chat with a co-worker once you’ve finished a task.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “Stop Procrastinating…Now” by Amy Gallo.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , | Leave a comment

Network Beyond Your Bubble

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

It’s no surprise that we instinctively seek out those who share our interests. But by doing so we limit the range of situations and people we’re exposed to. Try these three things to diversify your network and experiences:

1. Revise your conference calendar. Attend at least one conference a year in a field that you may have interest in, but little experience.

2. Talk to the loners. At social events, don’t just spend time with your friends and colleagues. Seek out the people who don’t fit in (hint: they look alone and uncomfortable) and strike up a conversation.

3. Find diversity within. Reconnect with passions that you may have ignored because they didn’t fit into your life. In doing so you’ll encounter people far removed from your daily experiences who may provide you with new self insight.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “Five Tips to Break Through Your Filter(s)” by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day by clicking here.

 

Monday, December 19, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Take Control of Your To-Do List

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Having an unruly to-do list can be overwhelming. If you find yourself rushing around, but not actually getting anything done, try the following process:

1. Write it all down. Put everything on one list. Determine which tasks are easy and which are more difficult.

2. Do some easy things. Spend 15 minutes doing the easy tasks. Focus on speed: make the quick phone calls, shoot off the brief emails. Cross as many tasks off the list as you can.

3. Turn to a bigger task. Turn off your phone, close all the open windows on your computer, and focus on one of the more challenging tasks. Do this for 35 minutes without distraction.

4. Take a break. After 35 minutes, take a 10-minute break. Then return to step two.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from Guide to Managing Stress.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day by clicking here.

 

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , | Leave a comment

Prioritize Before Starting Your Project

 

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Launching a project before you have a good sense of all its components will likely slow down your operation. Make sure you get your priorities right before setting your project in motion:

1. Clarify the assignment. Don’t start until stakeholders agree on the goals and the general timetable.

2. Organize your troops. Get team members involved at the get-go so they feel ownership. Agree on a way of working – how often you’ll meet, how you’ll communicate, etc.

3. Create a project plan. Ask your team to help you identify project activities and how long they will take. Put them in sequence and identify which are interdependent and which can run at the same time.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from Guide to Project Management.

To check out the book and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day by clicking here.

 

 

Thursday, December 8, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , | Leave a comment

Avoid Filler Language in Presentations

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Presenters often use the phrase “Does that make sense?” to gauge audience understanding. But this can convey a speaker’s uncertainty and signals that the audience might not comprehend or appreciate the content.

To be an effective speaker, eliminate useless words and phrases like this one.

Since you often include them unconsciously, record your next speech (try the voice record function on your smart phone).

Play it back and listen for where you added fillers.

Repeat this process several times and soon enough you’ll start correcting yourself.

And if you want to check whether your material is getting through, try the more concrete “Do you have any questions?” instead.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “Never Ask ‘Does That Make Sense?'” by Jerry Weissman.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day by clicking here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , | Leave a comment

3 Ways to Think Like an Innovator

 

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Most people struggle to do what innovators excel at: connecting the unconnected.

Here are three ways to get in the habit of making new associations:

1. Just do it. Force associations across different ideas when they don’t come naturally. Ask yourself: What else could this idea be connected to?

2. Shake it up. When associations don’t emerge, try forcing them to surface. Put seemingly unrelated ideas or words together and see what comes to mind. The creative combinations may spark a new idea.

3.Repeat. Research shows that if you practice associational thinking long enough, the task will energize you rather than exhaust you.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “Learn How to Think Different(ly)” by Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, you may wish to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Types of Questions That Every Manager Should Ask

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Asking the right questions is an essential skill of a great boss. Yet many fail to inquire enough.

Here are three types of questions you should be asking:

1. Questions about yourself. Good managers ask themselves and others about what they could do better. Ask in a way that invites constructive, candid responses.

2. Questions about plans and projects. These should both advance the work and develop the people. Tough and direct questions are OK, as long as they are in the interest of progress.

3. Questions about the organization. Look for ways that the organization can function more effectively by questioning practices, processes, and structures. Ask: Why do we do things this way? Is there a better approach?

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “The Art of Asking Questions” by Ron Ashkenas.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day, please click here.

 

Sunday, November 6, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , | Leave a comment

When Not to Insist on a Decision

 

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Conventional wisdom holds that a flawed decision is better than no decision. After all, you can always change direction.

But, in an attempt to appear decisive, leaders may prematurely push for an answer. And if there isn’t a clear conclusion, they’ll provide one.

This undermines a team’s ability to make a collective decision.

Pretty soon people stop participating because they assume you’ve made up your mind in advance.

If you can’t agree, don’t impose an answer. Instead, end the discussion by putting a process in place that yields decisions—even slowly-made ones—that everyone can accept. That way you won’t lose your people’s goodwill next time around.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “How to Cultivate Engaged Employees” by Charalambos A. Vlachoutsicos.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, be sure to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day.


Thursday, November 3, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Engage Your People

 

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Engaged employees are essential to a manager’s success.

Without subordinates who care about, participate in, and take ownership over the work, even the best boss will flounder.

Here are three ways to win your employees’ engagement:

1. Be modest. Share both your mistakes and your successes. Subordinates will see that you’re both human and don’t have anything to prove.

2. Show that you’re listening. People tune in to body language. Manage where you look and what you do with your hands so that employees know you’re paying attention.

3. Don’t have all the answers. Managers should catalyze problem solving. Be willing to admit that you don’t know what the answer is and invite your team to toss around ideas.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “How to Cultivate Engaged Employees” by Charalambos A. Vlachoutsicos.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, be sure to check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ask for a Favor

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

Entrepreneurs or executives often hesitate to ask for help because they worry about being intrusive or appearing needy.

The truth is that it’s innately satisfying to assist others, and most people want to help.

• Next time you want to make a connection with someone, ask them for a favor.

• Request that they serve as a reference or provide a testimonial of your work.

• Hit them up for new client referrals or job leads. Don’t be shy about it.

Asking for favors can be a powerful way to get people to like you better, because they become invested in your success.

Today’s Management Tip was adapted from “The Fear That’s Holding Back Your Business” by Dorie Clark.

To read that article and join the discussion, please click here.

Also, check out the new book Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, based on HBR’s Management Tip of the Day.

 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011 Posted by | Bob's blog entries | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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