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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Quality over Quantity, Dec 2018

Like you I am sure, I have my hands full as year-end approaches. But in the midst of many to-do lists, I still manage to squeeze in some podcasts, articles, and a book or two. Here are my top recommendations for this month that will hopefully serve as reminders of what it takes to pursue depth and integrity over time. Chip away at them - they will be worth it.

6 Fundamental Skills Every Leader Should PracticeIronic that a written article about developing leadership should say, "Our research and experience have shown us that the best way to develop proficiency in leadership is not just through reading books and going to training courses, but even more through real experience and continual practice." Guess I'll stop reading your article now and get to work!

Nonetheless, as always, HBR comes through with this one and this proves to be a good article for mentoring and developing leaders. Their six fundamental skills listed here are fail-safe. Set aside six months to look at each skill one-by-one with your rising leaders, assigning experiments to test-drive and develop the skills.

Favorite insight: "they found that workers were able to improve their own performance by 20% after spending 15 minutes at the end of each day writing reflections on what they did well, what they did wrong, and their lessons learned." We live in a non-stop world that does not encourage slowing down or reflection. You would do well to cultivate this practice in yourself and others.

The Urgency of Slowing Down. I just listened to this today on a long walk, though it was a rebroadcast from June 2015. Use this podcast as a way to mitigate against the stressful "have-to's" barking at you, and step back to be still and listen. 

The ‘Holy Grail’ of Class Discussion. As I get ready to teach a class again this next semester, I found this article a much-needed reminder. I especially loved this:
But in those discussions, are your students actually talking to one another? Or does it work the way it often works in my class: The instructor asks a question, and students direct all of their answers right back to the instructor. Getting students to interact with one another, instead of responding individually to the instructor, might be the holy grail of small-class discussion.
I think the same thing could be said of weekly staff meetings, dontcha think? I'm not really kidding. Regardless of where you are gathering people for discussion, I found some questions in this article that focused my preparation in helpful ways. Tell me what YOU think!

How to be More Productive. I would say my top two most talked-about topics with clients are 1) How do I deal with my annoying co-worker and 2) How can I get more organized? With that second woe in mind, I give you this article. Though it has been said in multiple ways, it really is true that the important things need to get done more than the urgent things. This article gives some practical ways to approach that tension.

Favorite quotes. This month's nuggets come from Albert Einstein, and need no explanation. Happy December!

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” 

He also reportedly said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

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