newsletter links

Each issue of my newsletter offers links to articles, research, and cases about management, leadership, and strategy. Here are all of them in descending chronological order. [photo by israel palacio]


Interesting leadership profile of Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoseda. “When people first meet [him], they are often surprised that instead of an extrovert, effusive, globe-trotting chief executive of a tech company, they find an amiable and quizzical figure who devotes as much time and energy to listening to others as talking.”

Forget the individual creative genius. Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Share ideas early and often, and surround yourself with people willing to help you take chances. The case of the IKEA design lab;

We often say that decision-making should be rational and detached. Well, research shows that emotion and mood have great influence on the process. Whether you are cheerful, angry or you’re experiencing regret, all these impact the decision-making process. Be mindful of your mood!

Available research suggests that virtual teams are generally less effective than face-to-face ones. Here are some findings (London School of Economics):

    • The more virtual a team, generally the less effective it is;
    • The less face-to-face communication, the less effective a team;
    • The more dispersed virtual teams both geographically and across time zones, the less effective they are;
    • It is even more important for a virtual team to have high levels of trust, social cohesion, information sharing and effective transactive memory systems (TMS), a form of knowledge that is embedded in a team’s collective memory that works like an indexing system that tells members who knows what.

Speaking of which, working from home (WFH) is only the first step. Down the road is Work from anywhere.

4,000+ scholars from around the globe think that “human health and the care of the most vulnerable cannot be governed by market forces alone. [That] if we leave these things solely to the market, we run the risk of exacerbating inequalities to the point of forfeiting the very lives of the least advantaged. So, how to avoid this unacceptable situation? By involving employees in decisions relating to their lives and futures in the workplace. They have specific suggestions;

“Healthy sales” and $1 billion in cash might not be enough to weather a storm when you carry $17 billion in debt – Hertz, Car Rental Pioneer, Files for Bankruptcy Protection;

Joe Rogan is taking his podcast exclusively to Spotify in a licensing deal worth more than $100 million. Someone thinks Joe got ripped off.

For decades, the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) has been used to gain valuable information on risk and price. However, research shows that it doesn’t give the right price of risk. And that poses a problem when you evaluate businesses with a view to buy them.

Because the covid-19 crisis is not over yet and we still need to be mindful for our safety and that of others, here’s How the coronavirus spreads in those everyday places we visit.

Report: people working from home during covid19 are working an average of 41.6 hours per week, which is the highest weekly average dating back to November 2019. They are also spending an extra 60-90 minutes per week in team sync meetings and nearly as much added time in 1-on-1 meetings. Result: a decrease in long blocks of time available to them to focus.

post by LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner about why people need to build buffer time into their remote work schedules generated over 30,000 reactions in 24 hours. Buffer time is meant to give people time for themselves rather than being filled with constant calls or household chores.

A longer piece addressing why many of us are experiencing zoom fatigue. Well worth the read.

While 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the past six weeks, the job-destroying effects of the pandemic haven’t been evenly distributed. A consultancy that surveys jobs of the future is acknowledging that the future “is coming to pass faster than we realized.” That will include a mix of high-technology jobs like Alternative Energy Manager and Business Intelligence Architect, as well as high-touch jobs for an aging population, like Home Health Aide (up 348% year-over-year in the first quarter). Jobs will return eventually — but they won’t be the same ones we lost.

A company had to lay off some of its employees. The CEO chose to write about the decision-making process and to identify where the responsibility lies: “It is important that all of you know I personally reviewed every list and every person. If you are one of those affected it is because I decided it. Your manager did not. For the majority of you it was quite the contrary. Your manager fought to keep you and I overrode them. They are blameless. If today is your last day, there is only one person to blame and it is me.” Refreshing.

Covid19: We’re in the same storm, but we’re not necessarily on the same boat.

Hiring “the best” isn’t always the brightest move in building your team. Harnessing a diversity of skills rather than a roster of pure talent is often a better team-building strategy. When everybody’s swinging hammers and no one’s sawing lumber, the house won’t get built.

Wired co-founder and tech philosopher extraordinaire Kevin Kelly shared 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice for his 68th birthday. Scoop: “A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can’t believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.”

The coronavirus is close to being deemed a pandemic and its spread require changes in how companies operate. Here is an Inc. article on some things companies can do.

And Scientific American has recommendations for individual preparation.

In a recent survey, over 60% of workers said they think they could contribute more in their jobs but don’t know how, and 90% wish they had more opportunities to share their knowledge with colleagues. (HR dive)

Companies including Amazon, Chevron, and Home Depot are addressing skills gaps themselves by investing in training programs and educational partnerships for their employees. This represents a major change from the previous school of thought that education providers and the government should be responsible for preparing workers for jobs. (US news & world report)

A century of data shows that top resume “boosts” like years of relevant education and experience, interests, and GPA had little to no correlation to later job performance. (research paper)

The Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For” list is out. Hilton took the top spot, followed by Ultimate Software, Wegmans Food Markets, Cisco, and Workday. Overall, 85 companies on the list offer telecommuting, 15 offer student loan repayment benefits, and 12 offer 100% health insurance coverage. (Fortune)

Clayton Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, died earlier this week. He is best known for his theory of disruptive innovation, in which he warns large, established companies of the danger of becoming too good at what they do best. People who knew him personally speak of a fine human being. RIP You can find some of his seminal Harvard Business Review pieces here

Strategic inflection points are changes that alter the taken-for-granted assumptions underlying a business model—can feel sudden. Andy Grove, who coined the term, said it referred to change that was 10 times more significant than a typical change encountered by a business. The challenge for leaders is: How do you prepare to see an inflection point coming—so you don’t need to make a last-second turn? And how do you bring the organization along into the post-inflection point world?

  1. Challenge your assumptions. You need protocols to do this continuously;
  2. Learn from the edges of the organizations where changes are just beginning to bubble up. You have to spend time there; and
  3. Once identified, experiment with ways to benefit. Make small bets. (Fortune)

Guess what? We go to libraries more often than movies. Gallup found that in 2019, movie attendance didn’t even come close to library visits.

Research: people receive more effective input when they ask for advice rather than feedback. (HBS)

Research: What ultimately separates the winners from the losers is not persistence. It turns out that trying again and again only works if you learn from your previous failures. And there is something else: the time between consecutive failed attempts should decrease steadily. In other words, the faster you fail, the better your chances of success, and the more time between attempts, the more likely you are to fail again. (Nature)

Top 10 emerging technologies of 2019 per Scientific American.

Pushan Dutt thinks that the recent Business Roundtable’s new Purpose of a Corporation statement (to benefit all stakeholders) might be seen as mere virtue signalling that engenders further cynicism. He thinks businesses would be better served by being more modest in their intentions and following a corporate version of the Hippocratic Oath:

  1. Do no evil. Evil includes facilitating interference in elections, cheating on emission tests, enabling money laundering, paying bribes, forming cartels or tolerating unsafe workplaces.
  2. Pay taxes and adhere to laws and regulations. When laws are murky and compliance optional, default to point 1.
  3. Avoid interfering in politics. Cease lobbying for preferential treatment; at the very least disclose all political donations.
  4. Do not deny science. And do not run misinformation campaigns that undermine science to benefit your bottom line.
  5. Focus on core competencies and embrace competition.
  6. Ensure that stakeholders are represented in your governance structures.
  7. Address inequality at home. Disclose wages, bonuses and pay ratios by skill level and by gender in your organisation.

Such an approach can help restore faith in corporations, protect their brands and reputations, avoid accusations of hypocrisy, while focusing firms’ attention on what they truly do best – making widgets. (INSEAD)

Employee emotions are not noise, they’re data. Companies that want more satisfied employees and stronger performance need to invest in understanding what motivates people in their work lives and pay attention to the emotional side of organizational culture. (MIT)

Asana surveyed the behaviors and attitudes of 10,223 knowledge workers across Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S.

Here are some of their findings:

  • The majority of respondents’ time (60%) is spent on work coordination, leaving only 13 percent for strategic planning and 27 percent for the skill-based job they were hired to do.
  • Responding to a constant barrage of emails and notifications is the primary reason that nearly one-third of employees regularly log overtime hours, followed by unexpected meetings and chasing people for input or approval.
  • Respondents surveyed believe that nearly two-thirds of meetings are unnecessary.
  • Over 10 percent of an employee’s day – 4 hours and 38 minutes per week – is spent on tasks that have already been completed. This amounts to more than 200 hours of duplicated effort and wasted efficiency annually.
  • Less than half (46%) of respondents surveyed clearly understand how their output contributes to the achievement of their organization’s objectives and mission. (Asana)

So says IBM. “New Collar jobs are roles in some of the technology industry’s faster growing fields – from cybersecurity and cloud computing to cognitive business and digital design – that do not always require a traditional degree. What they do require is the right mix of in-demand skill sets.” (IBM)

John Goodenough was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is 97 years old. “Some of us are turtles; we crawl and struggle along, and we haven’t maybe figured it out by the time we’re 30. But the turtles have to keep on walking” and “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together.” Also that at his age “You no longer worry about keeping your job.” (NYT)

In the U.S. alone, we hold 55 million meetings a day. Most of them are woefully unproductive and tyrannize our offices. Freakonomics’s Stephen Dubner has a take on how to make meetings less terrible (Medium)

Video surveillance that “uses machine learning to analyze footage of restaurant staff at work and interacting with guests. It aims to track metrics like how often a server tends to their tables or how long it takes for food to come out. At the end of a shift, managers receive an email of the compiled statistics, which they can then use to identify problems and infer whether servers, hostesses, and kitchen staff are adequately doing their jobs. “It’s not that different from a Fitbit.”” (Wired)

A short enlightening discussion by Lisa Gill. “Self-managing organisations are not a cure-all. Like any organisational model, there are benefits and there are weaknesses. However, far from what self-management critics or sceptics might have us believe, this is not a fad or passing trend, and self-managing organisations are not utopian playgrounds. The most inspiring case studies show us that organisational self-management is a sophisticated and explicit human system which, when executed well, can liberate untapped knowledge, creativity, and energy in our organisations at a time when we desperately need it.” (Medium)

In a recent survey, 70% of managers said they feel undervalued and underpaid at their current company. 24% had never received any training on how to manage people, and 76% wanted their employers to provide more training and professional development. (TalentLMS)

The biggest obstacle women face on the path to senior leadership is at the first step up to manager. For every 100 men promoted and hired to manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired. This broken rung results in more women getting stuck at the entry level, and fewer women becoming managers. Not surprisingly, men end up holding 62 percent of manager-level positions, while women hold just 38 percent. This early inequality has a long-term impact on the talent pipeline. Since men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, there are significantly fewer women to hire or promote to senior managers. The number of women decreases at every subsequent level. So even as hiring and promotion rates improve for women at senior levels, women as a whole can never catch up. There are simply too few women to advance. The case for fixing the broken rung is powerful. If women are promoted and hired to first-level manager at the same rates as men, we will add one million more women to management in corporate America over the next five years. (McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2019)

Millions have taken to the streets not only in countries like Egypt and Iraq, but also in places like Chile and Hong Kong. And don’t forget France and Lebanon. Is there any discernible common denominator? “To express anger at the entire political system, rather than having a clear political agenda or even identifying with a political party.” (Axios)

“Bezos controls nearly 40 percent of all e-commerce in the United States. More product searches are conducted on Amazon than on Google, which has allowed Bezos to build an advertising business as valuable as the entirety of IBM. One estimate has Amazon Web Services controlling almost half of the cloud-computing industry—institutions as varied as General Electric, Unilever, and even the CIA rely on its servers. Forty-two percent of paper book sales and a third of the market for streaming video are controlled by the company; Twitch, its video platform popular among gamers, attracts 15 million users a day. Add The Washington Post to this portfolio and Bezos is (…) arguably the most powerful man in American culture.” (The Atlantic and The New Yorker)

“Yvon Chouinard and his company have spent decades—and millions of dollars—fighting for environmental causes around the world while investing in more sustainable business practices. Patagonia has embraced and promoted the B Corporation movement, while Chouinard led such efforts as 1% for the Planet, a collective of companies that pledged to donate 1% of sales to environmental groups and has raised more than $225 million since 2002. Meanwhile, over the past 46 years, Patagonia has become a billion-dollar global brand, making it the ultimate do-good-and-do-well company. But Chouinard remains unsatisfied. ” (Fast Company)

“We want to raise our concerns before it’s too late. Free speech and paid speech are not the same thing. Misinformation affects us all. Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for. We strongly object to this policy as it stands.” (NYT)


Not research, but a sound first-person account of the practices I work on with clients – “It’s easy to think that being a manager is as simple as assigning work and keeping schedules, especially when you’re new to it. The sooner you can engage with the thoughtful work of real management, the more successful you and your team will be. Thread

A major disconnect between employers and job seekers: 77% of employers in a recent survey said their process is excellent or very good, but 84% of job seekers said they have had negative experiences with potential employers. (Randstad Sourceright) In addition, employers tend to consider their company career portal and Facebook most helpful for finding candidates, while job seekers prefer the company website and LinkedIn for finding openings.

New research finds that 120 million workers will likely need additional training within three years, but only half of companies have strategies in place to close skills gaps. (IBM) Instead, companies are most concerned about finding workers with the requisite soft skills, including flexibility, time management skills, and communication skills. IBM also reports that it took more than 10 times as long to close skills gaps in 2018 than it did in 2014.

Weekly 1-on-1 meetings can be an extremely effective way to increase employee engagement and retention. Half of employees who say that they have these meetings and find them very useful plan to stay with their current employer for at least five years. (15Five) Younger employees are also using check-ins for more than just work: 75% of Generation Zers have asked their managers for personal advice during a 1-on-1 meeting, compared to 23% of Baby Boomers.

A survey by PwC found that for millennials, work is a thing, not a place. Flexibility no longer means what it did to older generations — the ability to work from home when a plumber is coming or a child is sick. Instead, it’s about employees shaping their jobs in ways that fit with their daily lives. That could mean working remotely or shifting hours when needed. (PwC)

Nearly half (45%) of managers say they don’t feel confident developing their employees’ skills, and 70% of employees have not mastered the skill set needed in their current role. (Gartner) Managers spend less than 10% of their time developing their direct reports’ skills, even though managers who are good at it can increase their employees’ performance by up to 26%.

In a recent survey, 20% of workers said they would replace their boss with a robot. Men and younger workers were most likely to pick the robot option; 41% of men under age 30 would pick a friendly robot over their boss. (Forbes) The most common reasons why people picked the robot were that they disliked their boss, thought their boss showed favoritism or incompetence, or thought their boss lacked people skills.

Those who change their minds are perceived as lacking confidence, but demonstrating intelligence. (OB and HDP) Take-away: Managers who want to promote thoughtfulness in employees should take steps to ensure that people can change their minds without losing face.

Want your manager to think highly of you? Show empathy to your direct reports. A study shows that managers who show more empathy toward direct reports are viewed as better performers in their job by their bosses. (CCL)

If you happen to belong as I do to this unique tribe, you might be interested in learning that scientists have found the first genetic instructions hardwired into human DNA that are linked to being left-handed (BBC)

We overestimate how much we work and exercise, and we’re no busier than we were a few decades ago. We think we are. Also, we wear our busyness as a badge of honor. (Center for time use research)

We need to rethink our assumptions about introverts. The need for solitude seems to be more associated with being the kind of person who feels free and in control of their life and who finds pleasure in reflecting on their inner experiences – and among both introverts and extraverts there will be those who do and do not fit this description. (PsyArXiv)

A survey of more than 20,000 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older revealed:

  • Nearly half report sometimes or always feeling alone or left out;
  • One in four rarely or never feel as though there are people who understand them;
  • One in five people report they rarely or never feel close to people or feel like there are people they can talk to;
  • Around half have meaningful in-person social interactions on a daily basis.

Getting the right balance of sleep, work, socializing with friends, family and “me time” is connected to lower loneliness scores. (Cigna)

77% of employees struggle to address issues related to company culture and 69% of HR leaders say that their company’s culture does not meet its needs. (Gartner)

Employees think companies should offer soft skills training and training in new technologies (Sitel)

Researchers asked workers how they felt about every physical aspect of their workplace that might cause them to be happier. Result: enclosed private offices ranks higher than other floor plans in every category except building maintenance. (Journal of Environmental Psychology)

Research from Stanford and other sources reveals that working from home vastly increases productivity (Inc.)

Also, working remotely is now the norm for developers. 86% of IT developers work remotely, with almost one-third working from home full time. 43% said that the ability to work remotely is “a must-have” when considering a job offer. (DigitalOcean)

72 percent of senior-executive respondents to a survey said they thought bad strategic decisions either were about as frequent as good ones or were the prevailing norm in their organization. (McKinsey)

Scientists report they have a model that could, using 15 demographic attributes, correctly identify 99.98% of Americans in any anonymous dataset . (Nature)

Less than 5% of jobs are at risk of being fully automated, but 60% of jobs could have at least 30% of their tasks automated. (McKinsey)

Among the top 25 cities for U.S. job seekers based on competition for jobs, earnings potential, the reputations of local companies, and unemployment rates included cities of varying sizes. New York City is not among the top 25. (Indeed)

Survey: nearly half (47%) of tech workers said that they did not think their compensation was fair given the cost of living in their home city. (Hired)

Defined by the World Health Organization as a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”, burnout has three elements: 1. feelings of exhaustion, 2. mental detachment from one’s job, and 3. poorer performance at work. But waiting until you’re already fully burned out to do something about it doesn’t help at all –and you wouldn’t wait to treat any other illness until it was too late. (WHO)

Efficiency is overrated. You have to wander to create. “Wandering is an essential counter-balance to efficiency. You need to employ both. The outsized discoveries – the “non-linear” ones – are highly likely to require wandering,” wrote Jeff Bezos in Amazon’s 2018 annual letter to shareholders. (SEC)

Women score higher than men in most leadership skills. (Harvard Business Review)

The top 10 emerging technologies in 2019 according to Scientific American.

Does diversity training work? One-off trainings don’t. (PNAS)

Tech CEO salary rose 15 percent last year on average to $6.6 million. The average median pay for all their workers declined 2 percent to $82,500, yielding a CEO-to-employee pay ratio of 129 to 1. (equilar)

In a recent survey, employees preferred higher salaries over other factors such as more vacation time, more senior titles, and more flexible work schedules. However, 60% of business leaders thought that their employees would prefer more flexible schedules over higher salaries. (Washington State University)

Millennials show higher rates of turnover than comparable Gen Xers, but the reasons why contradict many generational stereotypes. Millennials are more likely to stay in their jobs if their base pay is higher, which goes against the thinking that millennials are mission-driven or risk-taking in their careers. (Mercer)

In a recent survey, 69% of Americans said that artificial intelligence should not be used in the hiring process. (Yoh)

Women aged 25 to 54 joined the workforce at faster rates than their male peers in 2018, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is an abrupt change from the previous three years, in which twice as many women left the workforce as men. The reasons for the change include a strong labor market, “returnship” programs that help women restart their careers, the growth of traditionally female-dominated industries such as healthcare and education, and greater access to male-dominated industries such as manufacturing and construction. (NPR)

Managers would do well to keep in mind that the tasks they assign are governed not only by the time their contributors have to perform them but also the timing of the assignment itself (Scientific American)

A study indicates that it is unreasonable to ask managers to solicit and encourage ideas and input from employees when (a) they are not empowered themselves and (b) are asked to focus on short-term outcomes. (Organization Science)

61% of new employees have found that their role isn’t consistent with the expectations set out during the interview process, and a recent study suggests that candidates are looking for more transparency when interacting with prospective employers. (Glassdoor)

A lesson from Eliud Kipchoge, who just shattered the marathon world record: he says that the key to his success is not overextending himself in training. He’s not trying to be great all the time. Instead, he has an unwavering dedication to being good enough. He says that he rarely, if ever, pushes himself past 80 percent of his maximum effort during workouts. This allows him to string together weeks and weeks of consistent training. (Outside)

Basecamp has just implemented a new minimum wage/starting salary: $70,000 a year. “Calling it “minimum pay” might strike some as odd. It’s well in excess of what’s the “minimum required to live” (at least in most places!), which is a driving force behind the larger debate of equating minimum wage with a livable wage. Instead, we’re choosing to link “minimum pay” not simply with what’s the least we can get away with, but rather as literally just the lowest pay that we offer.” (Basecamp)

Spend 20 percent of your time doing “work you find most meaningful” and you will reduce your risk for burnout. Here’s what’s fascinating: spend more than 20 percent and the risk for burnout will not change by much. In other words: You don’t need to change everything about your job to see benefits. A few changes here and there can be all you need. (Mayo Clinic)

Feeling drowsy at work? Walk up and down stairs for 10 minutes at a regular pace. It is as energizing as ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine (UGA)

A study shows that taking a lunchtime walk provides employees with a much-needed afternoon mood boost. On days that people took a walk, they felt considerably more enthusiastic and relaxed at work during the afternoon even compared to their mood on the same day in the morning before the walk. Also, taking a lunchtime walk provides a mood boost. Lunchtime walkers also perceive that their work performance improved after their walk… and beyond: they report gains in work performance and mood up to four months thereafter. (APS)

Men who don’t take vacations are 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack (NIH). And women who rarely vacation are 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack. They are also more likely to suffer from depression (NIH)

Posture affects our behavior. Sitting became the new smoking and there followed new ways to work, from standing desks to treadmill desks. Enter squatting.

For over 75 years, a Harvard study has tracked the physical and emotional health of two groups: 456 poor people in Boston and 268 graduates from Harvard University. Their conclusion? Good relationships keep us both happier and healthier.

“Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.” The author calls them “bullshit jobs.” A bullshit job is one that even the person doing it believes need not, or should not, exist. That if the job, or even the whole industry, were to vanish, either it would make no difference to anyone or the world might even be a better place. 37-40% of workers according to surveys say their jobs make no difference.

The idea was simple: If we break down office walls, people will interact more. This will spark new ideas and boost collaboration. Researchers studied two different corporate headquarters transitioning to more open office spaces by monitoring the effect of the new architecture on employees’ face-to-face, email and instant messaging (IM) interaction patterns. Contrary to expectations, the volume of face-to-face interaction decreased (approx. 70%) in both cases, with an associated increase in electronic interaction. And to the emergence of wireless headphones as the new cubicles. (The Royal Society)

By the way, some think that Slack is the “open-plan office” of technology. (vox)

There’s Agile, the method used in software development that challenged the traditional “waterfall” development model (Manifesto for Agile Software Development). And then there’s Agile at scale. (MIT).

Having a mentor can be a great help to your career. The question is: Are you “mentorable”? (ssrn)

Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation promotes the idea that human needs exist in a hierarchy that people strive to satisfy progressively. Often illustrated as a pyramid, it is one of the first and most remembered models encountered by students of management. Problem is: Maslow never created a pyramid to represent the hierarchy of needs. (Academy of Management)

We tend to blame managers when they fail to create speak-up cultures. But this study shows that it is unreasonable to ask managers to solicit and encourage ideas and input from employees when they are not empowered themselves and are asked to focus on short-term outcomes. (Organization Science)

Survey and experimental research with nearly 100,000 working adults from around the world find that the happiest people prioritize time over money. People who are willing to give up money to gain more free time, experience more fulfilling social relationships, more satisfying careers, and more joy. Also, the benefits of choosing time over money emerge for the wealthy and less wealthy alike. Despite this, most people continue striving to make more money. Research shows that once people make more than enough to meet their basic needs, more money does not promote greater happiness. Yet over and over, our choices do not reflect this reality. (Linkedin)

10 things you don’t know about yourself (Scientific American)

Emotions affect so many parts of work, from collaboration to decision-making, motivation, and communication between employees and managers. But in American work culture, “emotional” can be a dirty word. There’s a misconception that expressing feelings is unprofessional or out of place in the office. Take this emotional expression tendency assessment to see if you are an over-emoter or an under-emoter.

Want to make up for past sleep, improve memory recall, and be more alert? Take a 20-minute nap (NIH). Be sure not to take it after 3pm (NIH)

if you want to explore ideas in an environment conducive to good thinking, consider hanging out with “people who are not so much like-minded as like-hearted,” people who are “temperamentally disposed to openness and have habits of listening.” (AK)

You don’t have a career. You have a life. Professionalism has become a destructive myth. You don’t have to leave your conscience behind when you head to work. (Sydney Morning Herald). That’s all fine and good, but what do people do when they can’t be themselves at work (AofM)?

Study reveals number of hours it takes to make a friend: more than 200 hours. This means time spent hanging out, joking around, playing video games and the like. Hours spent working together don’t count as much. (JSPR)

Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer (Aeon)

Be a rebel. Refuse to know it all: Deliberate undecidedness is an intellectual rebellion against the relentless pressure to get with the socially-appropriate program (Quartz)

Productivity isn’t about time management. It’s about attention management. (NYT)

In that vein, making yourself inaccessible from time to time is essential to boosting your focus (NYT)

An “elite” pedigree is not predictive of superior management. Yet these credentials are overrepresented in the CEO biography database. The elite credentials thus benefit the individual and not shareholders. (Institutional Investor)

New employees don’t need to be singled out. They don’t need special support. They need to see that even their most successful colleagues -and their managers!- need help sometimes. (HBR)

We should not be optimizing our data science teams for productivity gains. (…) [T]he goal of data science is not to execute. Rather, the goal is to learn and develop profound new business capabilities. (…) With data science, you learn as you go, not before you go. That’s why data science teams need generalists, not specialists. (HBR)

Do large and small teams differ by type of innovation? Yes, they do. While large teams do advance and develop science, small teams are critical for disrupting it. Both types of teams are essential. Small teams will drive disruption and innovation and larger teams can pick up the ball and engage in greater development of a given area, as part of a virtuous cycle. (Nature)

“Make something people want. Nothing else you do will matter if you’re not making something people want. You can be the best spokesperson, the best fundraiser, the best programmer, but if you aren’t building a product that satisfies a real need, you’ll never succeed.” And other tips on how not to fail – from a veteran VC. (YC)

Nobel Prize-winning psychologist tells managers: Don’t be so quick to go with your gut. (WP)

Firms do not typically disclose information on their costs to produce a good to consumers. But there is evidence of when and why doing so can increase consumers’ purchase interest. (HBS)

This MIT researcher believes that in a VUCA world hypotheses beat goals (SMR)

Interview with Delta CEO who says that leadership is not a popularity contest: “When you go through difficult times, employees can feel like they’re a number, they’re a cost, they’re a means to an end. But no, they are the end themselves.” (NYT)

Of course we listen to what the other person says. We should also pay close attention to what is not said.

We often filter as we listen – determining whether we agree or not. Listening is also being receptive to opposing views.

Ninety percent of adults in the US took out a phone during their most recent social interaction. Roughly 80% reported that doing so diminished the conversation. In other words, they weren’t really listening.

Be that as it may, the biggest distractor is not your iPhone — it’s your own mind.

Listening is not only affecting the listener. Research shows that experiencing high-quality listening can shape a speakers’ emotions and attitudes.

Research reports that managers who listen well

Some managers feel that listening to their employees makes them look weak. In fact, being a good listener increases their prestige.

Stop mulling over millennials. They want the same things from their employers that Generation X and Baby Boomers do. And all three generations agree on the characteristics of an ideal leader

Rock groups face the same challenges as any business: how to make a group of talented people add up to more than the sum of its parts, and how to keep the band together. There are four different models: The Beatles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, R.E.M., and the Rolling Stones

A list of best practices will not make you a great company, any more than finding a recipe will make you a great cook. Instead, favor of a culture of discovery.

A meta-analysis of the existing research on work flexibility identified three fundamental components: where we work, when we work, and how predetermined our schedule is. These component parts lead to six distinct types of flexibility.

Hey boss, no one knows your strategy. An analysis of 124 organizations revealed that only 28% of executives and middle managers responsible for executing strategy could only list three of their company’s strategic priorities.

Meritocracy is overrated. The research shows that, while it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, the most talented people hardly ever reach the highest peaks of success. Those are often overtaken by sensibly luckier individuals.

Is your job killing you? There are 120,000 excess deaths per year attributed to ten workplace conditions and they cause approximately $190 billion in incremental health care costs. That makes the workplace the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. — higher than Alzheimer’s, higher than kidney disease.

Every time you switch your attention from one target to another and then back again, there’s a cost. This switching creates an effect called attention residue, which reduces your cognitive capacity for a non-trivial amount of time before it clears. If you constantly make “quick checks” of various devices and inboxes, you essentially keep yourself in a state of persistent attention residue. There’s a way out of this.

Your boss wants machines to replace you. As soon as possible

Finally, a mathematical feat… and a wink to participants of one of the leadership development programs that I facilitate. The 15-puzzle consists of a four-by-four grid in which you slide fifteen numbered tiles around, trying to put the numbers in sequence. It is of interest again, this time not as a distraction, but as a way to understand a seemingly unrelated and much more complex puzzle: how magnets work.