Spark Innovative Thinking by Letting Go

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Conceptual image of electric bulb against grey backgroundPaula Scher is an identity and branding expert who is highly regarded for her creative abilities. She has come up with a lifetime’s worth of great ideas, including Citigroup’s umbrella logo and the window panes graphic for Microsoft Windows 8. Like many highly respected creative minds, Scher attributes her ideas to flashes ...

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Three Keys to Creating a Powerful Purpose

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Business PurposeThe most powerful team purposes go way beyond satisfying your intellect and literally ignite high energy. I experienced this on a team I once led where an inspiring purpose tangibly brought them to life.

I was the CIO of a large trucking company and one of my teams was building a system to help truck drivers load their trailers more rapidly. I couldn’t have asked for a more capable ...

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Start Capturing the Benefits of Team Negativity

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Angry DavidOutspoken and aggressive, David Weiss, a web developer at General Engines, has always voiced strong opinions about the look and feel of the company’s website. When his manager, Nancy Colletto informs his team that she cannot approve their urgently needed budget request, David loses his cool. Turning red in the face, he shouts, “This company doesn’t give a damn about the customers who visit our website. They’ll take ...

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Beginners Mind: A Source of Innovation

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Beginners Mind and InnovationSome people approach each situation with a beginner’s mind, which is an attitude of openness and lack of preconceptions, even when they’re a highly accomplished professional. These people are more innovative than others, and you can facilitate this attitude in a team.

A great example of this comes from a team I work with that writes software to run the operations of a trucking company, which I’ll ...

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An Easier Way to Boost Employee Engagement

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Boost employee engagement thru team emotionsWhat if employees that we call “disengaged” are really just stressed, burned out, or simply bored with the routine. Then the remedies would be entirely different than the ones we’re trying.

What we commonly diagnose as an employee’s lack of engagement may really be due to primal emotional issues, which are best remedied at their source. Stress, ...

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How Much Team Diversity is Optimal for Innovation?

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DiversityI used to think that the purpose of creating diversity on a team was simply to give people of various races and orientations equal opportunities. When I create a team, my main concern is achieving the business goal, not being a do-gooder in society, so I never cared too much about intentionally creating diversity on a team. That was before I understood that diversity is a key requirement for ...

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Combat Negativity by Bringing the Positive to Life

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Enliven the PositiveDoes it seem like some people choose to be negative? In many ways it’s our basic nature, but it has damaging consequences to our creative and cognitive performance. Here’s a remedy for shifting a team’s emotions from negative to positive, but it requires understanding a bit about our conscious minds.

Understand Conscious Awareness

Our conscious minds are attracted to the emotional. Our cognitive and emotional systems constantly process a ...

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Our Brains are Wired for Emotional Bias in Decision Making

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DecisionDo you think you make business decisions based on logic? If you’re like most people, you make decisions based on emotion and then find the facts to substantiate them. Even if you use the most sophisticated data analytics, your bias influences the hypotheses you pursue, the alternatives you consider, and the decisions you make.

A study by Antoine Bechara, Hannah Damasio, and Antonio Damasio shows that we all make decisions ...

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