Insights2019-07-21T11:20:40+01:00

Knowledge in Action

Concise, usable tips on putting brain-based leadership practices to work.

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Seven leadership practices that work. We explain the research behind why each practice works and offer suggestions on how you can use it to improve personal and professional success.

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Knowledge in Action

Concise, usable tips on putting brain-based leadership practices to work.

Subscribe Now!

Get your free e-booklet

Seven leadership practices that work. We explain the research behind why each practice works and offer suggestions on how you can use it to improve personal and professional success.

Download Now!

Keeping Stakeholder Relationships On Course

Managing stakeholder expectations can feel like steering a boat through rough seas. The “seascape” around the project is constantly changing. In this article I introduce an approach for managing stakeholders to maximize support and minimize interference.

I Will—The Power of Public Commitments

You can influence a person’s future behavior by asking for a commitment and then waiting for them to give it. Making a commitment, however small, puts “skin in the game.” A commitment now will influence behavior later. People want to act in ways that are consistent with what they have already said or done.

Goals are Good But Habits Will Take You Further

We may not think about our habits often. Unlike goals, habits are not a one-time affair. We never "achieve" a habit. We can only strengthen it. By cultivating the right habits and routines, we will accomplish more in the long run.

Don’t Trust the Reviews

Before I decide what to buy, I read the reviews. The more time I spend online, the more confused and frustrated I become. There is there a better way. I will share with you my approach for navigating the review jungle to make better decisions. You can use the same approach to make any kind of decision at work or at home.

Don’t Fear Change—Fear Being Left Behind

A change whose time has come will be implemented, whether you like it or not. Will you be in the boat or treading water while the ship sails by? Or will you be on the bridge piloting the ship?

Bounce Back and Overcome Setbacks

The long-term consequences of an event (good or bad) are determined largely by our reaction to the event. This is good news. While we can’t control whether we experience bad events, we can learn to control our reaction to the events.

That’s a Mighty Personal Habit—How to Break Stubborn Routines

Anyone who’s ever tried to quit smoking, eat less or exercise more knows that changing personal habits is hard. The more often we repeat a routine behavior, the less we need to think about it. That’s one reason why entrenched behaviors are notoriously difficult to change—they happen without thinking.

Forget About Priorities—Choose Your Priority Instead

Are you concerned about setting priorities? It may surprise you to learn that the concept of priorities (plural) has been around for less than 100 years. Before that, life was simpler—there was only a singular priority.

Keystone Habits—Change a Little to Change a Lot

Wouldn’t it be great if you could focus on one or two simple behaviors that would lead to increased productivity, morale, and team spirit? You can, if you find the right behaviors to work on—keystone habits.

Crossing the Rubicon

We cross a point of no return when we decide to take specific action towards achieving a goal. Until we are definitely committed to action, the danger is great that our goal will remain an armchair adventure.

Tips for Taming the Procrastination Demon

It’s almost July. Many of the projects that I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year are still, well, waiting to be accomplished. Sound familiar to you? Read on for research-based tips on how to tame the procrastination demon.

Purpose is the Why Behind the Vision

Leading by vision is like navigating using the stars; it works well as long as the skies are clear and the sailing is smooth. When the clouds roll in, a deep-seated sense of purpose comes to the rescue.

Bright lines

The new year means new opportunities, experiences and... new goals. But the goals we set in January are often long-forgotten by July. Or worse, they hang around our neck like an albatross reminding us of our inaction. Bright lines can make the difference between success and failure.

The Power Pose

Does your body language have an impact on whether you close the sale or get the job offer? You bet it does. And in ways that might surprise you.

The Message Is Clear

Emails can be sent across the world in a matter of seconds but that doesn’t mean effective messages take no time at all. To deliver results with offshore team members, project managers must actively work at understanding how their own background influences their methods and behavior.

Dissonance, Decision-Making, and Relationships

The motivation to reduce cognitive dissonance drives much of our irrational behavior. We choose to deceive ourselves rather than admit we were wrong. Being able to recognize when we are in a state of dissonance can help us make better decisions and improve our relationships.

Setting Goals? Get an Attitude!

Have you set personal and professional goals for the year? If so, I bet you've made sure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). But do you have the right attitude to achieve them?

On Gifts and Giving

According to Wharton Professor Adam Grant, it’s time to rethink the common notion that “nice guys” finish last. More often, they finish first! Grant’s research shows how givers—people who do more for others than they expect in return—rise in organizations. But not all givers succeed equally.

The Language of Leaders

The language of leaders is we. Psychologist James Pennebaker shows how little words like "I", "we", and "the" reveal much about our relationships, honesty, and social status. The results are not what you might expect!

FUD Busters: Reducing fear, uncertainty, and doubt at work

Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. The triple forces of FUD can unleash emotional turmoil that leads us to make poor decisions, hampers our productivity, and wrecks our health. FUD busters are brave leaders who set out to reduce fear, uncertainty, and doubt at work.

Dropping Your Tools: Letting Go of Non-Productive Habits

Having the right tools in our toolbox dramatically increases our chance of success. However, relying on the same tool all the time will hinder performance. As the saying goes: "If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

Put Your Signature Strengths To Work

What are you exceptionally good at? What do you love doing so much that you lose track of time when doing it? Chances are, your answers to these questions reveal what psychologists call your “signature strengths.”Learning how to use your signature strengths at work can mean the difference between success and failure—between flourishing and burnout.

The (Ugly) Truth about Feedback

Why are we allergic to feedback? Because we often perceive feedback as (well-intentioned) criticism, which triggers the same kind of response in the brain as physical pain.

Active, Constructive Responding

How do you respond when someone tells you about something good that happened to them? Do you say “That’s great!” while hurrying on to your next meeting? If so, you are missing out on opportunities to build your relationships.

The Positivity Tipping Point

Do you know your positivity ratio? That’s the ratio of positive emotions to negative emotions you experience over time. Research shows that people who experience at least three times as many positive emotions as negative emotions are more likely to flourish.

What it Takes to Follow-Through

Both talent and effort are necessary for achievement. Without talent, you can put in lots of time and not get very far. And talented people often fail for lack of stamina. While talent depends on intelligence (the smarter you are, the faster you learn), effort is directly related to self-control or "grit." Psychologist Angela Duckworth defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” It’s grit that keeps a person going long enough to put in the 10’000 hours of dedicated practice needed to achieve mastery in a field.

Give Your Self-Control a Boost

Self-control—the ability to delay gratification, concentrate on a task, resist a temptation, or control emotions—is key to success at work and in life. The good news is that we can improve our willpower.

Strengthen Your Willpower

Willpower. Who wouldn’t like to have more of it? We need willpower when we concentrate on a task, solve a problem or resist a temptation. Read on for tips on how to build your willpower.

Where Do You Get your Ideas?

Where do you get your best ideas? Most people say in the shower, while jogging or taking a walk– not at their desk. Why can’t we simply turn on the idea factory when we need it?

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Project Planning with Sticky Notes

In this video, you will learn what a Work Breakdown Structure is and how to create it using sticky notes.

What Are You Working On? How is the Project Going?

Whether you are standing in line in the cafeteria or walking across the office lobby, you run into people who want to hear what you are working on. It helps to be prepared for these ad-hoc encounters and view them as informal opportunities for building credibility and relationships.

How to Present, Part 1: Show the Numbers

The other day I walked through a hotel lobby and saw the common scenario of two business people looking at a laptop displaying a bar chart. Most business presentations—whether for an audience of one or one thousand—contain charts and tables.

Learning to Have a Difficult Conversation

Tom Truly is project manager on a project that has recently missed a deadline and lost a key customer. Sarah, the project sponsor, has called a meeting to discuss progress. Sarah has been under pressure [...]

How to Interview Stakeholders, Part 2

In the first part of this series I explored what makes a good stakeholder interview in general. In this article, I will write about how to use open questions, sketches and thinking out loud during stakeholder [...]

How to Interview Stakeholders, Part 1

Journalists are experts at interviewing people. However, we can all benefit from better interview techniques. A good interview helps us understand expectations, gain insights and win people for our cause. For project managers, interviewing is [...]

A Reminder for Turbulent Times: Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers

Headlines full of layoffs not only remind us that we are in an economic downturn but also instill fear that we could be next on the list. Friends confirm that the level of anxiety is running high in many organizations. There is talk about cancelled projects and a prevailing atmosphere of uncertainty and worrying.

New Years Resolutions for Project Managers

Most of us make resolutions for the new year. And almost as many of us break them. "Research shows that about 80 percent of people who make resolutions on Jan. 1 fall off the wagon [...]

In Focus: Twitter and Storytelling

In the last few weeks I have stumbled upon a lot of discussions on "digital storytelling" in the media. In their Educause article Web 2.0 Storytelling. Emergence of a New Genre, Bryan Alexander and Alan [...]

Sketching is Everything. Sketches are Nothing

What is the value of sketching? The act of sketching, of using hand and brain in a coordinated effort, leads to clear thinking. Literally, we can "grasp" ideas better once we've sketched them out.

Sticky Notes for Project Planning

When you need to identify tasks, generate alternatives and assess risks for a new project, resist the temptation of booting up your computer first. Grab a stack of sticky notes instead! The computer will come later, but first you want to make people feel comfortable contributing ideas and discussing alternatives.

The Storytelling Approach to Note Taking

More and more people seem to be sharing their colorful sketches and presentation notes on Flickr. Sketching is on the rise! I enjoy seeing how people combine words and drawings to capture information or explore [...]

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