By on July 22nd, 2014 | Comment on this post

How much time each week do you spend making decisions? Likely, many of the choices you make are almost automatic, requiring little thought: Attend that meeting or not? Stay late to finish the report tonight, or come in early tomorrow? And then, there are more challenging choices, such as whether or not to terminate an underperforming employee’s employment.

Your daily work life is made up of numerous tasks, all of which require decision-making. According to Sheena Iyengar, a Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and author of “The Art of Choosing,” the average CEO works on 139 tasks per week. In a TED talk called “How to Make Choosing Easier,” Iyengar reports that scientists who documented the many decisions related to those 139 tasks found that 50% of the choices related to task completion took nine minutes or less. Not all decisions were reached quickly, however; about 12% of CEO decisions required an hour or more of thought.…

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By Sander Biehn on July 22nd, 2014 | Comment on this post

A nervous group walks into the conference group. They are still trying to shake off the holiday haze, but are totally alert and loaded for bear. It’s our vice president of sales’ first all-hands call of the year and the team has honed in on one agenda item: This year’s quota.

Loni comes on and confidently runs through our end of year results. Then she sheepishly tackles the quota. “We expect that quotas will be handed out at the sales leadership meeting in a few weeks. We hope to see…”

Rizzo thrusts out his arm and stamps down the mute button of the Polycom star phone that sits in the middle of the long oak table. “This is looking at lot like last year, boss.” He stares at me. The rest quickly follow suit.“I suppose we won’t get our objectives until July again,” he finishes.

Loni keeps on talking, but nobody is listening.…

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By on July 22nd, 2014 | Comment on this post

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How engaged are the members of your team?

  • Highly engaged: 27.49%
  • Mostly engaged: 48.86%
  • Somewhat engaged: 17.76%
  • Not engaged: 3.65%
  • Actively disengaged: 2.43%

You need them all engaged. While it’s great that almost 80% of you have a mostly or highly engaged team, having 20% of people out there who aren’t is a huge drag on the organization. You’re likely spending 80% of your time on that 20% group of disengaged people. That’s a tremendous productivity drain because engagement matters more than you think it does. Spend a few days figuring out not now to cure the symptoms of their disengagement but rather how you can change their role or their perspective on their work to get them more engaged.…

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By on July 21st, 2014 | Comment on this post

In many workplaces today, there seems to be a reward for looking busy. The more overwhelmed you are, the bigger your payoff.

But what is the real payoff? If you’re a chronic rusher, a confirmed multitasker, what’s your reward? Perhaps more important, what is the quality of work you’re producing? And what, if anything, should you do about it? Ask yourself these seven questions:

Statements Contributing To Rushing


Do you feel your projects are more important than those of your colleagues?


Do you feel irritated when other people take too long to get things done?


Do you habitually rush from one activity to the next?


Do you push your people to get things done faster?


Are you impatient when listening to other people talk?


Do you often feel there’s no way you can get it all done?


Does your workplace culture reward busyness?…

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By Naphtali Hoff on July 21st, 2014 | Comment on this post

professional developmentFor most of us in the field of education, summer is a time that we wait for all year. During the months of July and August (or, for some of our colleagues, June and July,) we relax and recharge. Perhaps we are doing some summer school teaching during these months or use the time to plan for next year. Still, we enjoy our time away from school and its many demands. In this context, it is pretty easy to feel balanced and unstressed.

Of course, the challenge for us is to maintain a sense of balance and control once the new academic year commences. At that point, we will again be inundated with our core responsibilities as well as the many ancillary components of teaching, such as planning, assessments, record keeping, meetings and communication. This is in addition to the responsibilities that we have towards our families, particularly for those of us with relatives (children and parents) to care for.…

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