Make Your Life Easier: The Best of the Internet

Lil girlHappy Friday – Double Awesomeness Edition! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs these past 2 weeks: 

This dull skill makes for excellent management.

How to make your life easier.

The most engaged employees work at small companies.

Spark happens when we create the conditions for it to do so.

The extreme habits of great remote teams.

Culture prevents people from jumping ship.

3 motivational mind tricks.

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week:  Keep track of specific kinds of dones by using #hashtags!

 

Anywhere in the text of your done or comment, type “#” followed by a keyword or topic name, like this: #reimbursements or #win.

The Most Engaged Employees Work at Companies of 10 People and Fewer

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A recent survey published by Gallup showed that when employee engagement is broken down by company size, the smallest companies have the most engaged employees—and it wasn’t even close.

42% of employees working at companies of ten and fewer reported that they were engaged at work, a huge increase over the 27% to 30% of engaged people at larger companies.

Unfortunately, only 9% of the U.S. employees work in small companies compared with the 44% of people who work at companies with over 1,000 employees —and that’s why we’ve seen a massive push from even the largest enterprises into organizing in small, self-contained teams.

Here are three fascinating illustrations of why employees on small teams are more engaged at work and what that means for you and your company.

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Dare to Say “Yes, And”

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The skills cultivated in improvisation — communication, creativity, teamwork, taking risks, and resilience — are ones you’d want to see on a résumé. Business schools are taking note and even teaching improv. Robert Kulhan, adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business explains, that at its core, “Improvisation isn’t about comedy, it’s about reacting — being focused and present in the moment at a very high level.”

One of the most fundamental principles of improv which produces that mindful reacting is “Yes, and”. You accept and agree with what someone has said, and you’re not done until you build upon it, which requires listening, understanding, and insight.

That “and” generates possibility, and as Tina Fey writes in Bossypants, responsibility. For her, “Yes, and” means, “[D]on’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.”

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What Goldilocks Can Teach You About Management

Running a classroom and running a business have interesting parallels for what works best to cultivate intrinsic motivation, effective productivity, and successful performance. Whether we’re students or employees, we need supportive conditions to achieve know-how and expertise.

On the education front, Dr. MaryEllen Vogt has examined the effect of how teachers’ perception of their students’ aptitude influenced their classroom approach. She found that when students were perceived as high performers, teachers:

  • talked less and encouraged more interactions among students,
  • allowed for more creative and generative approaches to learning,
  • offered opportunities for independent work,
  • had warmer and more personal relationships with students, and
  • spent little time on behavior or classroom management issues.

When teachers saw their students as low performers, they:

  • prepared more structured lessons,
  • allowed fewer opportunities for student creativity,
  • covered less content,
  • rewarded students for “trying hard” rather than for “good thinking,”
  • spent a significant amount of time on behavior and management issues, and
  • had less congenial relationships with students due to their heavy emphasis on discipline.Source: Karen Tankersley, Literacy Strategies for Grades 4-12

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Share More Feedback and Recognition with Individual Likes & Comments Per Done

Many of you told us that you wanted to be able to give specific feedback on people’s dones, and we couldn’t have agreed more. So we’ve revamped the feedback system so that you can now add comments and likes to individual dones — on the web and through your email digests!

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These changes may seem simple, but for us, these small improvements are significant. We had a hunch that improving the feedback system to make it more responsive and interactive would be key to increasing the engagement and fulfillment of our members with their work. Since launching the feedback per done feature on February 6, we noticed some interesting trends that indicate we’re on the right track. We thought we’d share some of those preliminary observations, based on three measurements:  number of likes over time, number of users giving likes, and number of comments over time.

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The Ultimate Productivity Instrument is You

In this modern age of gizmos and gadgets, the best productivity app is you.

Benjamin Franklin, that historical grand master of productivity who did pretty well without an iPhone, knows why:

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

Our capabilities for self-analysis, awareness, and perception are what separate us from robotic worker drones, punching in and punching out without rhyme or reason. But our limited notion of productivity ignores those capabilities, focusing simplistically on output and end results, on just doing it and getting it done. We know the destinations in our work are important, but all too often, we ignore the journey and the process. We ignore ourselves.

Passing time

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