1. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.
    — Servant Leadership
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  2. You have to be burning with “an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right.” If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.
    — Steve Jobs
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  3. If I’m to speak for ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I’m ready now.
    — Woodrow T. Wilson
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  4. Productivity Hack of the Day: Keep E-mail From Crushing You With Ohio

    Ohio stands for “only handle it once” and is a technique that is espoused by productivity expert Bob Pozen and practiced by the CEO of Huge and Fast Company contributor Aaron Shapiro. The whole thing is suggesting that “No I’ll respond later” is bad for your productivity. Responding later means you take three times longer to get through your e-mail thank taking care of it the first time, because responding later means you have to waste time finding and re-reading that e-mail. Or even worse, the time wasted reminding yourself over and over to get to that e-mail. 

    So, the productivity hack of the day is to take the bull by it’s horns and plow through your e-mail, no matter how strong the urge is to “respond later…”

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  5. The One and Only Management Strategy You’ll Ever Need to Learn

    I read an article on inc.com this summer about a management strategy that has stuck with me ever sense. I want to tell you about it. It’s the one and only management strategy you’ll ever need to learn to master. 

    Story:
    A lecturer was struggling to engage his audience full of senior/top level managers and decided to throw out the following question ”In one sentence, what is the key to leading people?” The lecturer paused to read the room. Some people looked down. Some looked away. As the lecturer expected, no one was going to answer. 

    Right when the lecturer, was about to speak, a voice broke the silence.
    "I think I know," a man sitting in the back corner said, somewhat hesitantly.
    A few heads turned in his direction.

    The lecturer was a little surprised thought the man was about to whip out some leadership cliché or channel his inner John Maxwell or Stephen Covey.  The lecturer started scrambling to figure out how to recover from the dead end he had created.

    As the lecturer was half- listening half-preparing he heard the man quietly say
    "No one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care about them."

    Wait—what? ”Can you repeat that?” the lecturer said.

    A number of heads slowly turned in his direction while the man continues “We think we have all the answers, and maybe we do, but that doesn’t matter. No one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care about them.”

    More heads turned in his direction. He took the silence in the auditorium as disagreement.

    "No, really," he said, starting to sound more confident.
    "Yeah we’re in charge and yeah we talk about targets and goals and visions, but our employees don’t care about any of that stuff for very long. We can communicate and engage and connect all we want, but no one really listens to us. They just smile and nod and go back to doing their jobs the way they always do.

    "Our employees don’t really care about what we want them to do until they know how much we care about them. When an employee knows—truly knows—that you care about them, then they care about you. And when they know you care, they will listen to you… and they will do anything for you."

    Best answer ever.

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  6. 2012 –– A glance back at the year that has passed

    In a few weeks will only be memory events and we’ll enter the new now — 2013. What do you want to remember 2012 by in terms of your accomplishments and learnings? Every year tons of interesting things happen to us, both in our personal lives but also in professional lives. Take some time this year and reflect upon the past year. Think of the rough patches you’ve been through, how you handled them and how it has changed you. Think of great accomplishments, think of moments when you’ve made yourself and others proud. Think of all those things, and write down a few important milestones from 2012. It’s very important to remember and document your growth, it very easily gets forgotten. Being able to look back at your growth gives you a chance to reconnect with your self and your past and that is really important. It’s like looking back on text-books and drawings from you childhood. Even though they might not always say much, they guide you back to your past self and it opens you up to setting goals, making decisions and most importantly, it almost never fails in making you feel happy about where you are today.

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  7. TIP: Increase your productivity by using “If-Then Planning”

    I came across this interesting productivity method and wanted to share it with you. 

    Many of us are constantly looking for ways to increase our productivity and some of us even spend hours every week trying to help our co-workers, friends and family to become more productive.  Even though there are many strategies on how to increase productivity, I have found that this one is the most simple approach and it can boost your productivity right away. It’s called if-then planning.  Well over 100 studies on everything from diet and exercise to negotiation and time management has shown that deciding in advance, when and where you will take specific actions will help you reach your goals. 

    What is if-then planning?

    It’s simple. Here it goes: If X happens, then I will do Y. 

    Here are a few examples:

    "If a conflict occurs in my team, then I will schedule a meeting with the people it concerns right away"

    'If I haven't heard back from the client by the EOD today, then I will call them at 9am in the morning”

    "If my boss doesn’t mention my request for a raise at our meeting, then I will bring it up again before the meeting ends"

    "If I haven’t finished the SOW before lunch, then I will make it my top priority when I return"

    Why are plans like the above so effective?
    Because they are written in the language of your brain ––the language of contingencies. We are particularly good at encoding and remembering information in “If X, then Y” terms and using these contingencies to guide our behavior helps us become efficient and productive. 

    Basically, once you have formulated your if-then plan, your brain will unconsciously start scanning en environment you’re in, searching for the situation in the “if” part of your plan. This enables you to seize the critical moment right away (“Oh it’s already 4pm, I should make those calls”) even when you’re busy doing other things.

    This obviously works great because your have pre-decided exactly what you need to do and can execute the plan without having to think about it or wasting your time deliberating what you should do next. 

    This brilliance comes from Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. and Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia Business School is the author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals and Nine Things Successful People Do Differently .

    Follow her on Twitter @hghalvorson and check out her blog http://www.heidigranthalvorson.com/

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  8. How To Improve Your Leadership Skills #2: Utilize your strenghts

    Once you have done your self reflection and leadership analysis, you probably know what your strong areas are at and what areas that you need to work on. As a step two in this series it is important to start focusing on utilizing the strengths and gifts you have to gain better self esteem and to build the foundation of your leadership.

    What are your strengths? How can you utilize them in your day to day?

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  10. How About Some Fucking Group Dynamics?

    I’m not sure how many of you know what the study of group dynamics is and how to but for those of you who don’t know: it is essentially the relationship / behavior process between people in a group (social/professional). When understanding and mastering the study of group dynamics you’re able to facilitate and guide your team into becoming highly efficient and well being. 

    I’ve been interested in Group Dynamics for the past 2 years and came around to create a little website of mine: How About Some Fucking Group Dynamics?

    It’s a website that promotes the group dynamic thought pattern in a fun way. The site is inspired by Good Fucking Design Advice and other websites that use the same theme. 

    I hope leaders, project managers and teams will find this page fun and useful!

    Enjoy!

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  11. Watch this. Susan Schuman, CEO and Partner at SYPartners talks about organizational improvements and how to unleash the superpowers in us all. 

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  12. TIP: Typeform

    If you currently use survey monkey, google forms or any other web application to create surveys and ask questions online, you’ll love this. Typeform is a delicious online application that focuses on simplicity. It’s well designed, intuitive and easy to use.

    Check it out here: Typeform 

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  13. How To Improve Your Leadership Skills #1: Self Reflection

    What type of leader are you? Understanding your current leadership style is essential. What are your strengths? Which areas need some improvement? One way to start assessing your skills is to take quizes (online, google them!) to get a general idea of how you lead. Once you have completed the quiz, read about the major characteristics of your leadership style. Are these qualities helping or hindering your leadership? Once you’ve determine which areas need some work, you can begin looking for ways to improve your leadership abilities. If you’re not a big quiz person, take some time a weekend to really self reflect upon how you make decisions, how you communicate etc. Thinking about these key questions are very helpful to do every now and then. 

    Remember, to be able to improve, you have to set a goal and you cannot set a goal without knowing what your starting point is. 

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  14. Habits

    I read an interesting article on how to crack bad habits and wanted to share it with you. 

    We are, roughly the sum of our habits. Who we are and what we accomplish depends largely on a vast cluster of routines and behaviors that we carry out with no thought whatsoever. If we can learn to crack our bad habits, we’re more likely to be successful.

    How habits get formed and how habit loops work

    When we do something for the first time, our brains process a lot of new information as we find our way. As soon as we understand how a something new works, the behavior starts becoming automatic and need for mental activity decreases. 

    Writer Charles Duhigg says "This process—in which the brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine—is known as "chunking," and it’s at the root of how habits form. There are dozens—if not hundreds—of behavioral chunks that we rely on every day."

    All habits consist of a simple but extremely powerful three-step loop and if we can get in there and modify the loop, we can crack our bad habits.

    1. First there’s a cue, something that triggers your brain into automatic mode and which habit to use.
    2. Then there’s the routine/action, which can be physical, mental or emotional.
    3. Finally, there’s the reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
    Over time, this loop becomes more and more automatic and the cue and reward become intertwined with a powerful sense of anticipation or craving. 

    Changing a bad habit

    To successfully change a bad habit we have to make sure to consider the three-step process (cue, routine, reward) and not shut it off completely. The best way to get rid of a bad habit is to find a routine that gives you the same reward. 

    Example; Your cue is feeling stressed or frustrated after a long workday. Your routine is to get drinks with your co-workers. The reward is feeling more relaxed and happier.

    The way to change this habit replacing the drinking with something healthier that gives you the exact same reward. An example could be to work out, go to the movies, cook dinner etc. Whatever gives you the same exact reward.

    After doing this a few times, your brain will remember it and it will be an automated choice to work out instead of drinking.
    This is of course a top level description of how to hack your bad habits but the core of it is there.

    If you want to read more, check out The Power of Habit 

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  15. TIP: Read “The One Minute Manager”

    This came recommended from one of the ECD’s and co-founders of Your Majesty. You can either purchase it at Amazon, or read the PDF version online – here.

    The book is written by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson and is a simple, easy-to-read story about leadership and three step management methodology. 

    If you’re having lunch at your desk today –– take some time to read it through!

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