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Brain Food

Below are links and synopses for books and articles that may be of interest to you.  Click an item to read a review, find relevant links and/or join a discussion group for the selected reading.

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05/01/2016  Celeste Blackman and Ron Luyet: Collaborative Intention   (Collaboration)
09/27/2015  Celeste Blackman: Can You Thrive in the Age of Collaboration?   (Collaboration)
The inventor or entrepreneur who creates an idea and then single-handedly manufactures and markets it is a thing of the past. The world has become far too complex and interdependent for individuals to succeed entirely on their own. Today, everything is done with and through others. As a result, success is increasingly dependent upon your ability to collaborate with others. This brief article presents a compelling argument in favor of collaboration and provides a brief exercise to evaluate your place on the Collaboration Continuum.
08/27/2015  Richard J. Light: How to Live Wisely   (Health and Wellbeing)
What does it mean to live a good life? What about a productive life? How about a happy life? These are questions posed to college freshmen in Harvard's non-credit seminar called 'Reflecting on Your Life.' The course offers students an invitation reflect on what is most important to them. An activity we can all benefit from.
08/27/2015  Paul Bundick: A Call For New Thinking in a New Systems Age   (Change)
If we are to create sustainable, positive change, we must change the way we think about the world and the mental models we use to understand and make our world a better place. The success of our actions as leaders, and change-makers will depend less on what we do or how we do it, and more on the inner place from which we operate. The need to cultivate greater awareness and self development is an essential ingredient from which new thinking and and doing can emerge.
07/25/2015  Lydia Dishman: Why Your Company Needs a Chief Collaboration Officer   (Collaboration)
Two years ago, the Harvard Business Review touted the need for another C-suite executive: the CCO. A chief collaboration officer would be charged with integrating the enterprise to manifest innovation from within. In an ideal scenario, this most critical of business strategies would have a dedicated individual focused on making collaboration an integral part of the companies systems. It appears only one company has answered the call to date.
07/25/2015  Tony Schwartz: It’s Not the Hours We Work, but the Energy We Put Into Them   (Health and Wellbeing)
We create the highest value not by how many hours we work but by how much energy we are capable of bringing to whatever hours we work. We create the most value as human beings when we find a dynamic balance between work and rest.
07/25/2015  Christine Porath: No Time to Be Nice at Work   (Leadership)
In every interaction, you have a choice: Do you want to lift people up or hold them down? Your behavioral choices will impact employee energy and engagement. This article points out the negative impact of red zone behaviors at work and why productivity and profits benefit from more green zone attitudes and behaviors.
04/09/2013  Carl Zimmer: In Games, an Insight Into the Rules of Evolution   (Collaboration)
Dr. Martin Nowak, director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard, is studying mathematical models to understand one of the most puzzling yet fundamental features of life: cooperation. The science demonstrates that cooperation is essential for life to evolve to a new level of organization and that humans had to cooperate for complex societies to emerge.
02/20/2013  Reid Hoffman: Connect to Human Networks To Find Breakout Opportunities   (Collaboration)
If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’re really looking for people. If you’re evaluating an opportunity, you’re really evaluating people. If you’re trying to marshal resources to go after an opportunity, you’re really trying to enlist the support and involvement of other people. A company doesn’t offer you a job, people do. Opportunities flow through congregations of people.
02/20/2013  Nancy F. Koehn: Lincoln’s School of Management   (Emotional Intelligence)
Lincoln provides an excellent example of emotional intelligence throughout his difficult tenure in office. His keen self-awareness along with his ability to manage his own emotions, allowed him to listen to others and create environments where disagreement could be tolerated, debated and used to for creative problem solving.
02/17/2013  Thomas Friedman: Revolution Hits the Universities   (Change)
Cousera is an exciting new way to learn and according to Friedman, "nothing has more potential to unlock a billion more brains to solve the world’s biggest problems."
02/17/2013  Mark Crowley: How SAS Became The World's Best Place To Work   (Leadership)
SAS looks like a Green Zone Workplace!? SAS has enjoyed 37 consecutive years of record earnings and has been recognized as the world’s best multinational workplace. Their secret? They’ve discovered that feelings and emotions are the true drivers of employee loyalty, innovation, and productivity, and purposely have made workforce happiness one of their primary missions. Perhaps others will follow?
01/13/2013  Emma Seppala: Share Your Good News, and You Will Be Better Off   (Self)
Psychologists document the joys of sharing joy. The research indicates that those who shared their grateful experiences with a partner reported greater satisfaction with life, happiness and vitality (level of energy and zest for life).
01/13/2013  Thomas Friedman: Collaborate vs. Collaborate   (Collaboration)
Collaboration is the key to achieving success in business and in politics. “The only way you can achieve something magnificent is by working with other people,” Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn
10/08/2012  Robert C. Pozen: They Work Long Hours, but What About Results?   (Leadership)
Many organizations continue to apply an industrial-age mind-set to 21st-century professionals,thereby undermining incentives for workers to be efficient. Here is a post-modern idea. What if instead of instead of counting hours worked we judged success by the results produced? How might that change things?
10/08/2012  David Gelles: The mind business   (Emotional Intelligence)
Yoga, meditation, ‘mindfulness’ – why some of the west’s biggest companies are embracing eastern spirituality
10/08/2012  Beth Gardiner: Business Skills and Buddhist Mindfulness   (Emotional Intelligence)
Business schools are beginning to embrace a practice that has grown popular in the corporate world—teaching and studying mindfulness, the originally Buddhist approach to increasing awareness of oneself and one's surroundings.
10/01/2012  David Brooks: The Psych Approach   (Emotional Intelligence)
Paul Tough’s book, “How Children Succeed,” reveals finding on how childhood stress can have long lasting neural effects, making it harder to exercise self-control, focus attention, delay gratification and do many of the other things that contribute to a happy life. This corresponds with our experience that creating Green Zone Cultures enhances learning and collaboration by reducing stress and enhancing positive brain states.
08/17/2012  Dan Schawbel: How to Use Storytelling as a Leadership Tool   (Communication)
Some of the most successful companies in the world use storytelling very intentionally as a leadership tool. Organizations like Microsoft, Motorola, Berkshire Hathaway, Saatchi & Saatchi, Procter & Gamble, NASA, and the World Bank are among them.
08/17/2012  John Coleman: For Those Who Want to Lead, Read   (Leadership)
Deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.
08/13/2012  Tony Schwartz: Why Appreciation Matters So Much   (Leadership)
Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up. At the most basic level, it makes us feel safe, which is what frees us to do our best work. It's also energizing. This article includes practical steps you can take to build your skills at expressing appreciation in the service of building a higher-performing (and more sustainable) team.
08/13/2012  Amy Gallo: How to Get Feedback When You're the Boss   (Communication)
The higher up in the organization you get, the less likely you'll receive constructive feedback on your ideas, performance, or strategy. No one wants to offend the boss, right? But without input, your development will suffer, you may become isolated, and you're likely to miss out on hearing some great ideas. So, what can you do to get people to tell you what you may not want to hear?
08/13/2012  Susan David: Is Busyness Bad for Business?   (Leadership)
Great leaders are also expert at modeling work-life integration; they value not only busyness but also meaning. These behaviors have a positive impact on the bottom line? Their teams are more engaged, their revenues are higher and their turnover is lower than other groups.
08/02/2012  Deborah Mills-Scofield: Let's Bring Back Accountability   (Leadership)
Accountability has gotten a bad rap in recent years, more often associated with finding who to blame than understanding what went wrong and learning from it. Bringing back accountability will require that we help our cultures, ourselves, our people overcome the fear of failure and commit in a uncertain world.
07/26/2012  Ron Friedman: Mimicry, Motivation, And How Corporate Culture Gets Built One Face At A Time   (Collaboration)
The people we work with shape our thoughts, influence our creative thinking and ultimately determine the quality of our work and by extension the quality of our life. Choose wisely!
07/25/2012  David Rock: The Neuroscience of Leadership   (Leadership)
New understandings from neuroscience research are helping to reshape how we define leadership, select leaders and design leadership development programs. This article points to some of the key findings around decision making, problem solving and influencing others.
07/25/2012  Matt Richtel : Silicon Valley Says Step Away From the Device   (Self)
Seeking balance in the digital age requires turning off your devices once in awhile.
07/25/2012  Geoffrey James: True Secret to Success   (Self)
the key to lifelong success is the regular exercise of a single emotional muscle: gratitude.
07/01/2012  Michael Blanding: Collaborating Across Cultures   (Collaboration)
Learning to collaborate creatively with people from other cultures is a vital skill in today's business environment, says professor Roy Y.J. Chua, whose research focuses on a key measure psychologists have dubbed "cultural metacognition."
05/28/2012  Peter Bregman: The Challenge: Do One Emotionally Difficult Thing Every Day   (Self)
Here is a great suggestion for a daily practice supporting your own growth. Everyday do at least one thing that?s emotionally hard for you to do. Something you know is worthwhile but find yourself resisting.
05/28/2012  Adam Bryant: Google's Quest to Build a Better Boss   (Leadership)
The ?people analytics? teams at Google sought to discover what makes a better boss. They produced eight behaviors that make a difference in effective leadership. Most significant, the research revealed that while technical skills were important, ?much more important is making connection and being accessible.?
05/28/2012  Paul J. Zak: The Trust Molecule   (Trust)
Zak's research provides empirical evidence demonstrating the presence of oxytocin, the 'trust molecule' creates prosocial connections. As social creatures, we have created activities that prompt the expression of oxytocin in order to foster connection to others. Those who release the most oxytocin when they are trusted are happier and healthier because they have richer social lives.
05/27/2012  Dan Ariely: Why We lie   (Trust)
We like to believe that a few bad apples spoil the virtuous bunch. But research shows that everyone cheats a little?right up to the point where they lose their sense of integrity. According to Ariley's research there are small things that we can do to support people in choosing more ethical behavior, like providing reminders of morality?right at the point where people are making a decision. These reminders appear to have an out-sized positive effect on honest behavior.
05/12/2012  Stephanie Pappas: Cooperative Neural Networks Suggest How Intelligence Evolved   (Neuroscience)
A new computer simulation support a long-held theory that social interactions may have triggered brain evolution in human ancestors.
12/27/2011  Keith Ferrazzi: Candor, Criticism, Teamwork   (Collaboration)
True collaboration is impossible when people don?t trust one another to speak with candor. Solving problems requires that team members be unafraid to ask questions or propose wrong answers. Risk management is another area that relies almost completely on people?s admitting their mistakes. It takes work to create a candid environment supported by respectful, honest relationships, but it?s a challenge every leader should embrace.
12/26/2011  Kristin Neff, PhD and Cassandra Vieten, PhD: Self-Compassion: The Key to Psychological Well-Being   (Self)
Having self-compassion means that you honor and accept your humanness. Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow human.
12/18/2011  Thomas L. Friedman: Help Wanted   (Leadership)
Collaborative skills are critical to successful leadership . ?The days of leading countries or companies via a one-way conversation are over,? says Dov Seidman, the C.E.O. of LRN and the author of the book ?How.? ?The old system of ?command and control? ? using carrots and sticks ? to exert power over people is fast being replaced by ?connect and collaborate? ? to generate power through people.?
08/13/2011  Olivier Serrat: Bridging Organizational Silos   (Collaboration)
The Green Zone is a catalyst for creativity and innovation and for high levels of problem solving. It allows individuals to focus their ambitions, energies, and skills. In an atmosphere that is free of intrigue, mistrust, and betrayal, they have greater opportunities to realize the potential of their circumstances. They dream, believe, dare, and do. Until individuals operate in the Green Zone, organizations will not be able to tap the excitement, aliveness, and productive power of collaborative
08/13/2011  Gill Corkindale: News International's Leadership Crisis   (Leadership)
Organizational climate is a reflection of leadership values and beliefs. Whether conscious or unconscious leaders set the tone for what is acceptable behavior in the organization. Murdoch and his leadership team either directly or tacitly "embraced the brutal and aggressively commercial culture of their organization. They doubtless also knew deep down that they had a critical role in defining organizational climate and culture, and a responsibility to ensure it did not veer into brutality and
06/10/2011  J. Richard Hackman: Six Common Misperceptions about Teamwork   (Teams)
This is a great post from the Harvard Business Review Insight Center Making Collaboration Work. It is a succinct explanation that debunks some of the most common myths about teamwork. Among other things, the author points out " research suggests that condition-creating accounts for about 60% of the variation in how well a team eventually performs." This is consistent with our experience that building collaborative skills and creating a Green Zone environment provide the foundation for more ef
06/10/2011  Elizabeth Lesser: Take 'The Other' to Lunch   (Communication)
In this TedTalk Elizabeth lesser sets forth a challenge for each of us to engage in civil conversation with others who are different than us in an effort to better understand one another and develop greater appreciation and respect for differing opinions and ideas. I?d like to suggest this as a great workplace initiative. Is there someone in your organization that sees the world differently than you? Maybe someone on your team or in your project group? Would you consider going to lunch with t
06/10/2011  Thomas Friedman: Advice for China   (Leadership)
?The spark that lights the fuse is always the quest for dignity.? This is a quote from this NY Times article written by Thomas Friedman in which he talks about ?the role of leaders today ? of companies and countries ? is to inspire, empower, enable...? In our words, leaders must be aware, honest and accountable.
06/04/2011  Duncan J. Watts: Everything is Obvious   (Leadership)
"People say this isnt rocket science. I say, no, sociology problems are harder than rocket science." Watts thinks common sense is pretty good for many situations, like knowing what to wear to work or when to cross a busy street but it has it limitations. According to Watts, t common sense fails us more often than wed like to think. When applied to complex situations such as markets, planning and policymaking, common sense can lead people to make decisions that do more harm than good.
06/04/2011  Gregory Ferenstein: Beyond Hawaiian-Shirt Friday: Groupon, Hulu Inspire Employee Innovation With Radical Trust   (Trust)
CEOs of two breakthrough, webby businesses show Fast Company how office policies built on frankness, trust, and occasionally awkward closeness engender a culture of success.
05/18/2011  Melissa Korn And Joe Light: On the Lesson Plan: Feelings   (Leadership)
Colleges and universities are adding new coursework to the curriculum in response to changing workplaces and the leadership skills required to inspire an increasingly sophisticated workforce.
05/15/2011  David Brooks: Nice Guys Finish First   (Collaboration)
OP-ED columnist David Brooks writes about the importance of collaboration, citing a variety of scientific research that indicates we are born ready to cooperate.