Archive for March, 2018

How To Train Yourself To Take Feedback Well

Posted on March 22nd, 2018 by The Learning Factor

With all the “be your best self now!” hullabaloo, we can get overwhelmed with what we think we should be doing. We can drive ourselves crazy thinking about all the things we could do to make ourselves smarter, stronger, better. Not long ago, I actually found myself surrounded by whiteboards sketching out all of my self-improvement plans for the year, kanban board style.


And while goals and growth plans are great, sometimes the best ideas for change come from an awareness outside of ourselves. I know, it sounds weird to hear a leadership coach telling you to look for something outside of yourself. I’m all about tuning into that courageous and all-knowing voice who can tout your fabulousness–it’s good stuff. But let’s get real: Sometimes the only way to get perspective about what needs to change comes from an outside perspective. Yes, believe it or not, there is often a gap between who we desire and think we are presenting to the world, and the way others see us.


Turns out that when you ask the people around you–the ones who see you in action every day and are impacted by the choices you make–where you can grow, their ideas might be a little different than your own.

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Receiving feedback is hard. Here are some tips on how you can be better at it.

This Is How To Make A Team Brainstorming Session Effective

Posted on March 19th, 2018 by The Learning Factor

If you want to hold brainstorms that unearth better, more creative ideas, it all starts with the number of people in the room.


That’s my first tip for you: Follow the “pizza rule” for brainstorming. If you’re unfamiliar with the “pizza rule,” it’s the idea that if you have more people in a room than you could feed with a pizza, there are too many people in that room to hold a productive meeting.


The same rule goes for a brainstorming session: If you’ve got a dozen people sitting around a table, expect a really long list of truly mediocre ideas.


So, what else can you do other than bribe a group of two to six people with pizza to unearth good ideas? So glad you asked.

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You can’t always pull creativity out of thin air, but you can design situations that foster creative ideas.

How To Stay Focused When You Have A Flexible Schedule

Posted on March 19th, 2018 by The Learning Factor

Ah, autonomy. Isn’t it grand? No defined time when you have to arrive at the office. No guilt over having to leave early for your kid’s recital. And if you’re not feeling well or the roads are bad, no problem–just work from home.


But is it ever really that simple? After all, other things become more salient when you’re working from home, like that pile of laundry that needs to get done, or a plethora of mindless daytime TV viewing options. That’s one issue with autonomy–it’s entirely up to you to get your stuff done. You have to set your own deadlines and hold yourself accountable to deliverables, because no one is looking over your shoulder.


Perhaps it’s a mixed blessing. According to the National Workplace Flexibility Study, 98% of managers who implement a flexible work schedule see no negative drawbacks. Rather, they see results like better communication, interaction, and productivity. So, it’s not that simple–managing a flexible schedule requires a strong balance of managerial trust and personal accountability.


But what does the latter look like? How can you still manage to get stuff done with the boundaries that many of us became accustomed to before we had this kind of autonomy? As it turns out, it’s more than possible–and we’ve got a few tips.

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It can be harder to stay productive when you work your own hours, so it’s up to you to set boundaries that allow you to do your best work.

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