I live in Washington, D.C., and go to about 15 Washington Nationals home games each year. I have an interest in the team’s performance and leadership, if only for all the hours and dollars I spend on the team.

As you may have heard, the team did not play well this year. Off the field, there were problems, and saying “the Nationals choked” had a more literal meaning than usual:

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After this disappointing regular season, The Nationals fired manager Matt Williams and all his coaches. Williams may be a decent fellow, but there is no one who says he was a good manager, and he too often made decisions that were wrong in terms of process and results. He struggled with in-game tactical situations, struggled to understand how his actions could have long-term repercussions, struggled in communicating with his team and struggled to explain his actions to the media and, by extension, the fans. (read more…)

The naming of Jack Dorsey this week as Twitter’s permanent CEO brings closure to the last quarter of leadership limbo. It allows the organization to begin moving forward, reinventing itself and its platform (perhaps even allowing us all more than 140 characters to express our deepest thoughts). It also offers several important and enduring lessons for organizations and leaders alike.

Lesson 1: Be careful what you wish for.

What organization doesn’t want highly engaged customers? What executive doesn’t secretly fantasize about a committed fan base? Who doesn’t wish they could get into their customers heads and get their feedback at the drop of a hat? But as we know from any number of fairy tales, when wishes are granted, they generally come with some baggage and at least a few surprises.

Twitter’s customers (and probably yours too) enjoy nearly effortless access to information and the ability to broadcast their reactions, experiences, opinions and advice — all day, every day, in an exponential fashion. (read more…)

bob caporale bookThis post is adapted from the book “Creative Strategy Generation” by Bob Caporale (McGraw-Hill, 2015). Caporale is the president of Sequent Learning Networks. His goal is to help business practitioners infuse more passion and creativity into their jobs. You can learn more about his work by visiting BobCaporale.com or following him on Twitter @bobcaporale.

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Ask where do great ideas come from and you’ll likely hear why they evolved rather than how. They were inspired.

Some of the best ideas haven’t been developed; they’ve been inspired. I say this because if you ask someone where their great ideas come from, they will probably be more inclined to tell you why they evolved rather than how. In other words, they’ll be telling you what inspired them.

When people are inspired, it usually means that some external force has pulled on their emotions and caused them to see or feel something that they may not have been seeing or feeling previously; and this often compels them to take some action in order to express that feeling. (read more…)

The first thing you need to do to get an irrational person to behave rationally is to calm yourself down so that you don’t escalate the situation with your own irrational and emotional reaction.

If you’re viewing a person as irrational, it means they’ve already succeeded in getting you upset enough to take something they’re doing or saying too personally when you shouldn’t. When that happens, a part of your middle emotional brain called the amygdala will hijack you away from thinking rationally and responding accordingly. It does so by blocking you from accessing your upper rational brain to evaluate the situation.

Thinking of someone as irrational can mean you’re feeling as if they are intentionally acting in some way just to get you upset — and then you react by becoming upset. Alternatively, if you view them as merely not rational, and don’t take their behavior personally, you will be able to take your emotionality out of the equation. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How frequently do you spend time writing (blogs, journaling, articles, etc.)?

  • Very — I write regularly every week: 16%
  • Somewhat — I’ll write occasionally as the mood strikes: 21%
  • Not at all — I’ll write only when absolutely necessary: 63%

Writing Makes You Better. Finding the time and a reason to write has many benefits – it makes you sharper, more articulate, helps you clarify your thoughts, and creates opportunities for you. It’s easy to rationalize you don’t have time or a reason to write. Reconsider that position and think through the many benefits of having a regular writing habit. Whether it’s journaling, blogging, white papers, or articles – writing will improve your skills and value to your company.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, author of “Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.” (read more…)