The Common Sense Blog

5
Dec

Making a Game of Repetitive Work

Like anyone, there are times when I am saddled with a repetitive task. Whether it’s raking the lawn, stuffing envelopes, or painting the kitchen, it can be tough to make the time go by. But I  have learned to re-frame this boredom by making a game out of it. So have most of those who grew up before the digital

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29
Nov

Get Your Front Line Thinking About Your Bottom Line

I love my kids, but they leave the lights on. They’re both in college now, but when they returned for the Thanksgiving break, I found myself following them around trying to save electricity. How about your kids? Chances are, they do the same thing. What about your employees? Turning off lights is nothing compared to breakage, the small mistake on an

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21
Nov

Are You Learning from Your Mistakes?

A long-time contractor recently told me of taking charge of a building project when he first got started. Having just graduated with a degree in construction management and feeling full of himself, he began by telling the masons that he would now order their materials since he knew how to budget the job in a more efficient way. When they

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14
Nov

The Blessings and Curses of Conveniences

Dan, a senior executive, recently told me of driving around in his prized 1977 Chevy pickup with his 16-year-old grandson. “Hey Grandpa,” the young man said, while holding a latte, “Where are the cup holders?” “We didn’t have cup holders forty years ago,” answered Dan who then added, “Roll down the window. Let’s get some air in here.” It took

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7
Nov

Have You Ended Up as a Manager Instead Leader?

Michael has been in the industry for the past fifteen years and working for his present employer the past three. In addition to a degree in finance, he’s earned a master’s in leadership development. As he’s worked with his team and observed what goes on in the rest of the organization, he’s become impatient to implement some basic ideas that

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31
Oct

Should Employers Waste Their Time Recruiting Teens?

For what seems like forever, employers have recruited teens to fill front-line positions. These jobs typically pay little more than minimum wage and many times involve the work no one else wants to do. At the same time, they provide spending money and help young people assimilate to the world of work. Unfortunately, however, teen employment in the US during

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23
Oct

Employers! Does iGen Require Parenting?

Yes, you read that question right. In her brand new book, iGen, San Diego State University psychologist and author, Jean Twenge maintains that, “Maybe today’s teens and young adults have an underdeveloped frontal cortex because they have not been given adult responsibilities.” The brain’s frontal cortex, of course, functions as our center for reasoning and judgment. (iGeners, by the way, are

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16
Oct

Is Too Much Information Your Worst Enemy?

When was the last time you complained about dealing with too much information? Chances are, it was in the past week, if not the past day. Information overload not only produces a sense of stress and tension, it prevents us from doing our best work. Research by psychologists Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky has demonstrated that people are unable to

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8
Oct

Becoming Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

When was the last time you felt uncomfortable before making a decision? Chances are, you get a little twinge of cold sweats anytime you’re faced with the unknown. You’re not alone, of course. All our brains focus on security and comfort before anything else. So if you’re uncertain about something, the limbic system jumps in and says, “Don’t do it!

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7
Jul

Decision Making and Expectations

For years, I’ve asked those in my audiences if they tell stories. Predictably most hands go up. Then I ask, “How many of you tell stories that get better every time you tell them?” That gets a sure-fire laugh. Sadly, however, I would argue that many, if not most, of those stories are about a bad experience. Have you ever

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