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The Most Productive Meetings Have Fewer Than 8 People

There are many problems with the way most meetings are run. One of the most political is the invite list. Deciding who to include can be tough but too many managers default to including everyone. In an effort to not make anyone feel left out, they unknowingly decrease the quality of the meeting. Robert Sutton, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University, looked at the research on group size and concluded that the most productive meetings contain only five to eight...

To Cope with Stress, Try Learning Something New

Stressed. Anxious. Exhausted. Drained. This is how many employees feel at work due to stressors like longer work hours, more-frequent hassles, the need to do more with fewer resources, and so on. Such work stress has been shown to induce anxiety and anger, unethical behavior, poor decision making, and chronic exhaustion and burnout — all of which impair personal and organizational performance. There are typically two ways people try to deal with this stress. One is to simply “buckle down and power through” — to focus on getting...

How Working Parents Can Survive Back-to-School Season

For working parents with school-age children, this time of year is especially chaotic. The season brings end-of-the-school-year projects, state testing, report cards, parent-teacher conferences, the transition to 10 long weeks of child care arrangements, the awkwardness of explaining to colleagues why you’re out of the office again, the need to...

Solve Complex Problems by Expanding Your Thinking

Too many leaders approach complex problems with either-or thinking: The answer is right or wrong, good or bad, win or lose. To cultivate a nuanced perspective, challenge your understanding of the problem. Ask yourself, “What am I not seeing here?” and “What else might be true?” Don’t seek out answers that just confirm what you already know. It’s also helpful to tackle this kind of challenge first thing in the morning, when your mind is fresh. Spend at least an...