Archives For Brain Power

It’s the end-of-year list time! We’re going to see lists on any subject you want for the worst and best of 2012.  There’s a great one on leadership books just out by Tim Fox, the “Federal Coach”, who blogs for the Washington Post. 

Leader Know How Notes

Leaders Read

If you’re going to be a great Leader-Manager you need to keep up on the best in Leadership thought and example. Leaders need to read! You should always have a good book going on your job as a leader.  Fox’s list is short and sweet. His recommendations span history, biography, and practical application. To be great you need to follow the greats. Fox has a great list to up your Leadership game.

I also have my own list of  favorites – those books and articles that have been helpful to me and those I teach on our journey to becoming better leaders.

But Reading Isn’t Leading!

Along with my reading list I provide my Know How Notes.  Know How Notes are ideas about how you can apply what you are reading to your practice of Leadership.


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If you want to be a smart manager, you need to use the SMA2RT tool. SMA2RT stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Aligned, Realistic, and Time-Bound.SMART objectives and goals tag cloudIn my last post I covered the first four criteria. Here I’ll finish up with the last two, Realistic and Time-Bound.

R = REALISTIC: I find it very common in companies to establish ‘stretch goals’ for their employees.  How hard is too hard when putting some ‘stretch’ into an objective?  In his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Cziksentmihalyi describes a person’s optimal state of consciousness which he calls “flow”.

Cziksentmihalyi asks us to consider both the level of challenge of the work and the person’s skill level.  When people are “in the Zone” the activity is the right balance between challenge and skill.  If the assignment is too easy people become bored so they can lose motivation in their job. But, if people are given a task that is too difficult for their skill level, we throw them into anxi[……]

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Brain functioning tips to help you focus and get more done!

Stressed businesswomanMany leaders that I work with tell me that they feel overwhelmed with how much they are asked to do. Quite simply too much to do plus too little time equals stressed! These same leaders search out time management techniques that will allow them to cram more into their very full days. But I wonder? Are they focusing on the right culprit? Is it really a lack of time? Or is it a lack of energy (mental energy that is)?

Here’s a easy to read Harvard Business Review article written by a medical doctor that helps us understand what goes on in our brains when we try to cram too much into our days:

Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform – Dr. Edward M. Hallowell of the Hallowell Center, – HBR: January 2005

Attention Deficit Disorder – This is the focus area of Dr. Hallowell’s practice. Dr. Hallowell was seeing an emerging trend in his practice. Adults were showing up in his office, complaining of ADD symptoms, but their brain was functioning properly.   In sum, they couldn’t focus – seem scattered and overwhelmed.
The Big Question: So what might be going on in the work environment that is causing the lack of focus?
Conclusion: Overloaded Circuits – Dr. Hallowell calls it ADT: Attention Deficit Trait


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