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Posts from the ‘Work’ Category

Reflection as a Discipline

Adaptive. Agile. Responsive.

Whether you believe that the world is changing faster than ever or not, I suspect there is near-universal agreement among leaders that organizations must become more nimble to succeed.

However, as is often the case, the desire for an organization to be something different seems to be strangely disconnected from the doing it will entail at the individual level. That is to say, adaptive and agile sound like fantastic destinations when considered in isolation from the daily practices required to get us there.

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A Spotter’s Guide to Rebels and Cynics

To the untrained, distracted, or overworked observer, rebels and cynics can easily be confused at first glance. This is particularly true in a habitat populated by otherwise homogeneous fauna. Their non-standard vocalizations and often contradictory postures might result in confusion unless further observation is undertaken.

Before you get out your binoculars, and this metaphor grows unwieldy,  can I suggest taking a moment to reflect on the image that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘rebel’.

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Networking Doesn’t Suck. Our Mindset Does.

As humans, there are certain common aspects of existence that we are all supposed to dislike. Mother-in-laws, the Department of Motor Vehicles, final exams, root canals…and networking.

“I know I have to network to get a job, but it’s so hard.”

As a textbook introvert, I used to take these lamentations to mean that I must not be doing it right, because, well, I rather enjoyed “networking”. And that couldn’t be right, could it?

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Psychic Entropy, Deep Work, and the Post-Knowledge Economy

Being a knowledge worker is so 2016. At a recent event, a speaker described our economy as being on the threshold of the ‘post knowledge era‘ – a period in which companies will achieve competitive advantage not by accruing the most data, but by honing the ability to focus on the most salient information, and coax relevant insights and analysis from it. While AI will increasingly be used for routine, repeatable tasks which can be governed by rules, our human intelligence is still unmatched at using context and intuition to reach non-linear insights, and in a world awash in information our attention (rather than knowledge) will become the scarce resource.

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Don’t Make Me Happy

I’ve just spent a week working with a few of my Actionable colleagues on the other side of the world. This gave me cause to reflect on both the obvious and intangible elements that contribute to our exceptionally collaborative team culture. It also meant that I had a lot of time on several airplanes to catch up on my reading list. Something that had been in my Pocket list for awhile was this short article by Olivia Godhill about employee happiness. I wrote about this topic years ago, and have since mostly ignored the employee happiness hype, but it continues to be an alarmingly popular aspiration for many in HR.

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Does ‘Remote Work’ Work?

When I joined Actionable at the beginning of this year I had never worked remotely, aside from the odd day over the years when I worked from home to spare my colleagues from a particularly vicious cold. I’d worked in organizations with remote workers, and had handled plenty of HR challenges and questions related to those arrangements, but I’d never experienced it first hand. Joining a fully remote, distributed organization was daunting: it meant that I needed to figure out how to work remotely for myself, while also understanding the particular needs of a remote and distributed team.

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Weightlifting and the Inner Game Of Work

This post is not really about weightlifting. Rather, it’s about the unexpected framework that lifting has provided for thinking about all the ways that I (and I suspect many other humans) tend to get in their own way at work.

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What HR Should Know About the Future of Jobs

This week I noticed an eye-catching stat making the rounds again. You’ve likely seen it as well:

“65% of today’s elementary school students will do jobs that do not yet exist”

Although it sounds believable, the claim is actually quite suspect. You can read a thoughtful tale of its history and context in this excellent essay from Benjamin Doxtdator: A Field Guide to ‘jobs that don’t exist yet’’.

The underlying message this stat conveys is that education is failing to prepare our next generation for the economy of tomorrow. And hey, don’t we already have a digital skills gap?

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Stop Hacking Your Productivity

Are you as productive as you want to be? Me neither. And although it fills me with self-loathing, I still occasionally succumb to the lure of those click-bait articles about productivity hacks based on the words of “wisdom” some sublimely productive human has shared with a business or lifestyle writer, presumably while also shaving and spending quality time reading poetry with their children and beloved pets.

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Late to the Introvert Party

I resist popular things. Apparently there’s a name for this: reactance, and it relates to not enjoying being told what to do. I didn’t see The Sixth Sense until 2008, and then I proceeded to tell everyone I knew who’d raved about when it was released in 1999: “I get it now! Bruce Willis was dead the whole time!” This really annoys people; psychologists should probably come up with a term for that too..

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