People & Productivity

How can companies fill human resource needs when generational gaps and a shrinking labor pool make it difficult to find and retain qualified talent? For answers, turn to these briefings, packed with proven strategies currently in use by some of today's most successful companies.

Creativity: The Pixar Process

With fascinating insights about the creative process at Pixar and Disney, Ed Catmull reminds us that whatever conclusions we have drawn, we need to hold them lightly. Though they may have been right at one time, that doesn’t mean they are right today.

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Leveraging What Small Business Knows

How can big businesses retain their advantages? And where do unique opportunities lie for small businesses? Paul Oyer tells the stories of successes and failures he found on the road.

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Rookie Smarts: Reclaim Your Competitive Edge

Based on years of research, Liz Wiseman offers keen insights into how thinking like a rookie can reinvigorate your competitive edge in the workplace.

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Happiness Matters

Tony Hsieh discusses the different ingredients used by Zappos.com to build a long-lasting enduring brand, including the importance of customer service and company culture.

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Diversity: Helping Outsiders Become Insiders

Greg Walton shares research on a number of simple interventions that have had a remarkably positive effect on the performance – and social satisfaction – of both women and minorities.

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Managing the Millenials

New generations entering the job market have always caused disruption for coworkers and created challenges for managers from previous generations. The Millennials now entering the job market are no different. Alec Levenson’s research of over 40,000 employees, comparing Millennials to Generation X, shows significant differences in their needs for flexibility, team cohesion, and supervisor support and appreciation.

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Creative Confidence

David Kelley, founder and chair of IDEO, discusses human-centered “design thinking,” which requires building empathy for the end-users of whatever product, service or environment you are creating. But empathy alone is not enough. If you want to innovate routinely, you must have a process.

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Minimizing Gender Biases in the Workplace

We unconsciously use cognitive shortcuts, including gender stereotypes, and unfortunately, these stereotypes bias our evaluations and often give men the edge. Drawing from compelling research, Dr. Correll explains how we can minimize gender bias.

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Gen Y Decoded

Today’s young workers are a new breed. Socio-cultural factors, such as the self-esteem movement and ubiquitous technology, shaped a generation that thinks differently than its predecessors. Leaders that adjust their communication styles and expectations will succeed in connecting with and motivating this group. Dr. Yarrow’s tips for effectively managing Gen Y include providing context, relevance, and purpose for their work.

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The Innovation Engine

Why do we need creativity? Dr. Seelig’s model for the “Innovation Engine” allows us to alternate between discovery and invention by incorporating the internal strengths of imagination, knowledge and attitude along with the external forces of habitat, resources and culture.

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How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People

Dr. Charles O'Reilly argues that the source of sustained competitive advantage already exists within every organization. O'Reilly's prescription for an overheated labor market: abandon the obsession with hiring high-priced stars, instead motivating ordinary people to build a great company and achieve extraordinary results.

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Good Boss, Bad Boss

Great bosses are self-obsessed—but not for egotistical reasons. The best are those who understand their people’s opinions of them and what it’s like to work for them.

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Emotion vs. Analytics

Is it best to be emotionless and analytical in decision making? When our goal is to be decisive, the answer is a resounding No. Instead, harnessing the power of emotions is critical. Studies of the neural underpinnings of decision making show that our brains start by evaluating options analytically. But very soon—usually based on first impressions—we create an emotional front-runner.

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Reinventing the Way We Do Business

An insightful interview in which Ed Whitacre shares, vividly, leadership lessons learned and the core management principles that catapulted him to 17 years as chairman and CEO of AT&T and, temporarily lured out of retirement, as chairman and CEO of General Motors Co.

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Building a Winning Team

Jon Gordon's strategies for successfully uniting teams build on the premise that communication is key.

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Mining Talent

George Anders reveals why traditional hiring approaches are not designed for revealing the talent that fosters exceptional productivity and lasting success.

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Getting the Best from Others

Not understanding what motivates each individual, managers offer incentives that are not meaningful, or "encouragement" that backfires and alienates their staff. Doug Harris explains the steps for reaching awareness, managing biases, and "doing unto others as they want to be done unto."

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Leading by Example

The foundation of George Zimmer's success is his company's corporate culture, centered on "servant leadership" values, which seek to involve others in decision making and enhance the personal growth of workers. Zimmer explains how his experience proves that a culture based on strong ethical values can succeed even within a competitive business environment.

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Mindset, Motivation and Leadership

People are fairly evenly divided between those with either a growth or a fixed mindset about intelligence and talent. And leaders’ mindsets, Professor Dweck shows, influence their ability to grow on the job and to develop successful teams. Leaders with a growth mindset (who assume talents can be developed) place high value on learning, are open to feedback, and are confident in their ability to cultivate their own and others’ abilities. Leaders with a fixed mindset (who assume basic talents are carved in stone) place greater value on looking smart and are less likely to believe that they or others can change.

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How to Manage People Through Continuous Change

Change is now business as usual. But employees are increasingly skeptical about committing to business strategies that are constantly being redefined. Carol Kinsey Goman presents specific methods for communicating your plan and the negative consequences for your team if they don't get on board.

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Judging Talent

Hiring decisions and performance evaluations are affected by common biases, such as favoring tall or attractive candidates. Professor Flynn provides techniques for conducting objective employee evaluations.

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People-First Management

Daniel Amos follows two straightforward management principles: he sets clear expectations, and he listens to employee concerns. His focus is communication followed by action. Amos ensures that employees experience an evenhanded response to their input, and he provides a reward system that gives them a vested interest in the profitability of the company.

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Building a Feedback-Positive Organization

An effective leader must be prepared to offer timely and honest feedback, both to employees and to other members of the management team. David Bradford examines what it takes to have a "feedback-rich" organization, while Scott Brady relates how feedback propelled his own organization through tremendous growth.

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Why Don't We Naturally Make Good Decisions?

We rarely study—much less apply—the fundamental thinking processes that should be undertaken before we make important decisions. Dr. Howard describes the elements of high-quality decisions and tells how to increase our clarity of action in the personal and professional decisions that shape our lives and organizations.

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Billion-Dollar Lessons

Chunka Mui and Paul Carroll found the Number 1 cause of business failures of the past quarter-century: Misguided Strategy. Mui gives examples of the seven most common strategic failure patterns: illusions of synergy, misjudged adjacencies, faulty financial engineering and others.

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Common Purpose

Companies that achieve and sustain exceptional results over time are rare. Those that do are made up of people united by a common purpose—one that fosters hard work, sacrifice, and exemplary performance to accomplish the goals of the organization. Their leaders, whether at Disney, Google, or Staples, inspire a palpable sense of mission and provide the means for individuals to contribute as much as possible.

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Leading in a Connected World

Professor Cross explains what high-quality, energy-building networks look like and how to manage your organization’s interpersonal networks to drive business results.

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Building Personal Networks

Networks can be powerful career tools, helping to drive performance and build influence. But they benefit organizations as well, enhancing productivity and improving communication between disparate business units and functions. Professor James Baron offers concrete suggestions for building an effective and efficient personal network.

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Doing Well and Doing Good

Jeffrey Swartz firmly believes in commerce, and that profits for Wall Street are necessary—but not sufficient. It's no longer enough to be solely focused on the bottom line. Timberland is proof that profit-minded companies can "do well" for shareholders and "do good" for communities.

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Preventing Burnout in Your Organization

What can be done about burnout and its high costs both to the employee and the organization? Professor Christina Maslach describes six contributing factors that increase the risk of burnout, and the toll it takes on individuals and job performance. Learn strategies to turn exhaustion into energy, ineffectiveness into achievement.

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