Tag: problem solving


Teach Your New People the Top 15

It happens all the time. A new hire arrives for the first day of work. The supervisor rattles off a list of responsibilities and resources. The newbie nods over and over. The supervisor says, “You got that?” The newbie answers, “Yup.” And the supervisor says, “Good. Let’s get to work.” Then the newbie bombards the supervisor with endless questions for

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Have Your Young Professionals Learned How to Fail?

Yes, you read that correctly. As I speak with employers every week, one of the concerns they mention is the apprehension many new graduates display when compelled to make a decision for which there is no right answer. Sometimes this apprehension takes the form of endless questions. Sometimes it appears to be a lack of urgency. Sometimes it looks like

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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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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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Critical Thinking: The Economy’s “Other” Skills Gap

A lot has been written recently about the skills gap facing today’s economy. Researchers credit several sources for this phenomenon. First, the Baby Boomers will finally retire in droves over the next decade. Second, there has been a diminished interest in the hard sciences, resulting in a deficit of healthcare professionals and scientific researchers. Third, significantly fewer young people are

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A Newsboy’s Lament

When I was a kid, I had a job that no longer exists – a paper route. I had 150 customers. Every afternoon, I would get out of school and rush to a house two blocks away, where I would pick up 150 papers from the local distributor. I would fold them, stack them in a wagon with high slatted sides

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How a Top Leader Organizes Her Time

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Laurie, the chief operating officer for an organization of 12,000 people. While time management wasn’t our topic, she began to describe how she works as a part of our conversation. “I divide my days into 15 minute chunks,” she said. “I typically work from 8AM to 6PM everyday, so I have 40 chunks

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How Presence of Mind Adds to the Bottom Line

My wife and I just spent a wonderful week in Hawaii, a chance to relax and reflect. Of course, my mind is never far from the topic of decision making. The first night we were there, Wendy discovered the clothes iron in our room wasn’t working. She called the hotel’s front desk to ask for a replacement. Five minutes later,

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Are You a Student of Error?

Do you learn best from success or failure? Upon reflection, most people will say failure. The question is what do you learn? Mistakes can cause all kinds of heartburn, fear, and frustration. But they are a fact of life. When you make a mistake, you are really faced with two choices: 1) You can relive the event, wallow in it

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The Secret Truth About Dishwashing

Dishwashing is a chore that most people try to avoid. There are even jokes about guys eating out of anything that will hold food just to skip this mindless task. But Bill Gates says he likes it. Yes, that Bill Gates. A couple of years ago, Gates mentioned that “I do the dishes every night — other people volunteer, but

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