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The ideal picture is as simple as a clear sentence. It enters our eye and tells a story. It doesn't call much attention to itself.

To help, we should limit detail, color, shading, and 3-D effects. These tend to draw attention to the picture rather than to the idea.

The ideal picture is just the essence of an idea made instantly visible, and nothing more.

9781591846857 Taken from: Show & Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations by Dan Roam, Portfolio, 2014
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There's nothing simple about simplicity. It is a concept with many nuances and lines. A second pass suggests that clarity makes for simplicity--something with clear intent that quickly conveys its purpose or use. With even greater magnification, you find that it's about essence--cutting to what matters, delivering substantive content that seems to speak to an audience of one. Lastly, it's not about what is there but what you take--a feeling of confidence, of trust, of satisfaction. So for us, simplicity has no synonym--it's not just convenience, clarity, usability, timeliness, or beauty. It's the sum of all of those, and that's why it is so rare. 9781455509669 Taken from: Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity by Irene Etzkorn and Alan Siegel, Twelve, 2014
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No plan survives contact with the enemy. No doubt this principle has resonance for people who have no military experience whatsoever. No sales plan survives contact with the customer. No lesson plan survives contact with teenagers.

It's hard to make ideas stick in a noisy, unpredictably, chaotic environment. If we're to succeed, the first step is this: Be simple. Not simple in terms of "dumbing down" or "sound bites." You don't have to speak in monosyllables to be simple. What we mean by "simple" is finding the core of the idea.

9781400064281 Taken from: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Random House, 2007
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The magic ratio here is roughly three to one. The amount of time you dedicate to listening to your clients and discussing their challenges should be three times what you spend talking about yourself. The key strategy here is to play a match game. Identify what the new client needs most to achieve his or her goals. Then find a successful case study to show you've provided something similar. The extent of your pitch could be merely, "A few months ago, we helped one of our clients through a situation very similar to what you're going through. Fortunately, the issue is resolved and they're back on track. So if you ever want us to give you a hand with that, just shout. It's something we're very familiar with." 9780062273222 Taken from: Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time by Bill McGowan, HarperBusiness, 2014
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This suggestion that structure and creativity are two sides of the same coin is often an eyebrow-raiser for my clients. There is a persistent myth that creativity results only from complete lack of boundaries and total freedom. The reality is that we are not capable of operating without boundaries. We need them in order to focus our creative energy into the right channels. Total freedom is false freedom. True freedom has healthy boundaries.

9781591844013 Taken from: Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice by Todd Henry, Portfolio, 2011
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Back in the 1970s many psychologists argued that creativity was just another name for problem solving. We now know they were wrong, because most successful creativity comes through the process that led to Instagram and Starbucks: you begin without yet knowing what the real problem is. The parameters aren't clearly specified, the goal isn't clear, and you don't even know what it would look like if you did solve the problem. It's not obvious how to apply your past experience solving other problems. And there are likely to be many different ways to approach a solution.

These grope-in-the-dark situations are the times you need creativity the most. And that's why successful creativity always starts with asking.

9781118297704 Taken from: Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity by Keith Sawyer, Jossey-Bass, 2013
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Creative Intelligence competencies are designed to help you amplify your creativity. Separately and collectively, they increase your creative capacity. The model here is not the light bulb going off in the mind of a genius but the improved ability that comes with training in sports or yoga. Each of us can learn to be more creative. Most of us can get really good at it.

9780062088420 Taken from: Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire
by Bruce Nussbaum, HarperBusiness, 2013
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At IDEO and the d.school, we seldom say, "That's a bad idea" or "That won't work" or "We've tried that before." When we disagree with someone else's idea, we push ourselves to ask, "What would make it better? What can I add to make it a great idea?" Or, "What new idea does that spur?" By doing so, we keep the creative momentum going instead of cutting off the flow of ideas. Throwing cold water on one person's contribution can bring the conversation to a halt..." Taken from: Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
by David Kelley, Tom Kelley, CrownBusiness, 2013
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The late Peter Drucker, in his 1999 book Management Challenges for the Twenty-First Century, suggested a practical reflection method that amounts to a daily routine of recording in a personal journal you key decisions and actions, along with a projection of the expected outcome. You then review your performance and satisfaction--comparing outcomes to expectations. He suggested getting additional input from a superior, peer, or subordinate. Over time, trends show up that point out strengths and weaknesses.

9780470769508 Taken from: Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change by Matthew May, Jossey-Bass, 2010
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Sure, there's something to be learned when we look inward to explore our attitudes, preferences, and decisions. But much of the information that introspection generates is fleeting, on-the-fly construction at a particular point in time: how we think we feel; why we guess we've made the choices we have. By looking inward, we don't gain access to a stable set of impressions regarding an unwavering, authentic self. We produce a temporary status report.

In other words, the gurus of self-help got it wrong. Our sense of who we are is no less context-dependent than the behaviors of everyone else around us. Book sales, Nielsen ratings, and Oprah appearances notwithstanding, introspection just isn't all that it's cracked up to be.


9781594488184 Taken from: Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World by Sam Sommers, Riverhead, 2011
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You aren't listening to be polite. You aren't listening because the giver is right or because you're necessarily going to accept or take the feedback. And you aren't listening because your own view doesn't matter.

You are listening to understand. The first order of business is archeological: You're digging under labels, clarifying contours, and filling in pieces you didn't initially see. You're assembling all the relevant evidence and background to make sense of the size and shape of the feedback from the giver's perspective. After that you and your internal voice can convene to decide what to do with what you've unearthed--how it fits together with your own view, and whether or not you are going to take their advice.

9780670014668 Taken from: Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well (even when it is off base, unfair, poorly delivered, and, frankly, you're not in the mood) by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen, Viking/Penguin, 2014
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Talking about difference is hard. It’s imperative that we develop a shared vocabulary for talking through difference in a productive way so that we can initiate these basic and necessary conversations. It’s the first step toward fully understanding one another’s perspective and positions.

9780062248527 Taken from: Flex: The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences by Jane Hyun and Audrey Lee, HarperBusiness, 2014
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The deeper understanding here, as I see it, is for us to acknowledge our equal claims to humanity, but whether we are promoting social justice, working in an office, or teaching in a classroom, it makes sense to appreciate our individual differences as well.

Even if we grant that people do differ from one another, isn't it impolite to point out these differences? After all, if someone notices our shortcomings and points them out to us (or, even worse, points them out to a mutual friend who shares their feedback with us), we can easily feel hurt. But at the same time, the doctrine that differences are unmentionable has made us so uncomfortable talking about character among our close friends and colleagues in particular that we've done a disservice to our society as a whole--because the differences exist and we can make life easier for ourselves and others by acknowledging them.

9780374230852 Taken from: Personal Intelligence: The Power of Personality and How It Shapes Our Lives by John D. Mayer, Scientific American, 2014
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As easy as changing your approach to creating a great workplace may sound, you need to be aware of some very real challenges to doing so. Pardon us while we get technical for a second, but time and time again in our consulting work, we see examples of self-defeating beliefs, dysfunctional thinking, and rigid schemas that were first identified by psychologists.... Essentially, these experts tell us that our repeated ways of thinking about our world can be skewed, which is dangerous when those patterns of thinking drive much of our reactions to our world (broadly) and our workplaces. We have a lot to learn from these theorists about the cognitive patterns that keep us stuck, and ultimately about changing the way we think. Ultimately, these psychologists put forth a model of psychological health that rests upon an individual's automatic and constructive beliefs and thoughts. By extension, we can look at the health of the workplace as a function of the beliefs of its leader. Fix the thinking, and you are on your way to fixing the workplace.

Taken from: No Excuses: How You Can Turn Any Workplace Into a Great One by Jennifer Robin & Michael Burchell, Jossey-Bass, 2013
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Your best approach is to have already established the conditions of a genuinely motivating environment. The baseline rewards must be sufficient. That is, the team's basic compensation must be adequate and fair--particularly compared with people doing similar work for similar organizations. ... And the people on your team must have autonomy, they must have ample opportunity to pursue mastery, and their daily duties must related to a larger purpose. If these elements are in place, the best strategy is to provide a sense of urgency and significance--and then get out of the talent's way.

But you may still be able to boost performance a bit--more for future tasks than for this one--through the delicate use of rewards.

The essential requirement: Any extrinsic reward should be unexpected and offered only after the task is complete.

9781594488849 Taken from: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H Pink, Riverhead Books, 2009
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Space is the "body language" of an organization.

Intentional or not, the form, functionality, and finish of a space reflect the culture, behaviors, and priorities of the people within it. This suggests that a space designer is simultaneously a cultural translator and a builder. That said, space design has its own grammar that can be tweaked to bolster desirable habits.

9781118143728 Taken from: Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration by Scott Doorley, Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, & Scott Witthoft, John Wiley & Sons, 2012
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An organization changes when the habits of the people who make up that organization change. Get your people in the habit of pursuing and achieving dreams in their personal lives and they will be much more effective at chasing down the goals and dreams you place before them in the workplace. Achieving dreams is a habit.

9781401303709 Taken from: The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly, Hyperion, 2007
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By offering employees opportunities to attain their needs for esteem and self-actualization, Beta organizations typically end up with a workforce that is emotionally committed to the company. Those are the kinds of people needed for the company to be all it can be as well. And Beta organizations, with their emphasis on the intrinsic rewards that lead to self-actualization, foster precisely the kind of environment needed to maximize creativity, a key element for business success in today's world.

The core elements of Beta--communication, collaboration, and curation--not only address the needs of Information Age organizations, but they also help today's knowledge workers achieve their highest individual needs.

9780312681937 Taken from: Fall of the Alphas: The New Beta Way to Connect, Collaborate, Influence--And Lead by Dana Ardi, St. Martin's Press, 2013
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In this new era, leaders will be called upon to become profoundly aware of themselves and their teams, to help those they lead discover and apply their passions to the work of the organization, to become deeply aware of the customers they serve and the value that company products and services can offer, and to understand intimately the diversity of the cultures and countries in which their organizations operate. The organizations in which these leaders function must morph and grow in response to the flatter world environment, or they will suffer the fate of all living systems that are unable to adapt and transition in the face of change.

There is so much to be accomplished in organizations operating in this new era that it behooves leaders to make the best and most efficient use of their people.

9780071624701 Taken from: Purpose Linked Organization: How Passionate Leaders Inspire Winning Teams and Great Results by Alaina Love and Marc Cugnon, McGraw-Hill, 2009
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The great irony of all this is that capitalism actually does better when we work as we were designed--when we have a chance to fulfill our very human obligations. To ask our employees not simply for their hands to do our labor, but to inspire their cooperation, their trust and their loyalty so that they will commit to our cause. To treat people like family and not as mere employees. To sacrifice the numbers to save the people and not sacrifice the people to save the numbers.

Leaders of organizations who create a working environment better suited for how we are designed do not sacrifice excellence or performance simply because they put people first. Quite the contrary. These organizations are among the most stable, innovative and high-performing companies in their industries.

9781591845324 Taken from: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't by Simon Sinek, Portfolio, 2014
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We erect fences in our leadership styles, shutting ourselves away from the imagination of each other. We need to clearly articulate that a collaborative and engaged culture can and will instill openness, imagination, growth, and promotion of ideas and innovation. A reclamation process must begin. We must reclaim our generosity, our openness, our accessibility as individuals. The solution to fenced-in minds is to bring the fences down, united as an organization of unified and connected people.

9781118529799 Taken from: Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization by Dan Pontefract, John Wiley & Sons, 2013
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...most of us grew up in a culture that applauded only individual achievement. We are, each of us, generals in an ego-driven "army of one," each the center of an absurd cosmos, taking such happiness as we can find. Collaboration? Why bother? You only live once; grab whatever you can.

But now more and more of us are realizing that the brilliant CEO, the politician who keeps his own counsel, and the lone hero are yesterday's role models. The media may still love them, but our new heroes are men and women who know how to gather allies, build teams, and work together toward shared goals. Name an enterprise, and you'll find levels of collaboration that were unthinkable just a few years ago.

9781416576501 Taken from: Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together
by Twyla Tharp, Simon & Schuster, 2009
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Mentoring at its best is a partnership, like two dancers perfectly in sync. Partnership learning positions both parties--mentor and protege--on a collective journey of discovery. As the mentor embraces a curious, egalitarian stance, the protege instinctively senses safety and joins in the journey. The more the mentor seeks to learn (rather than just teach), the more the protege feels affirmed and less alone. Mentoring is a dance of sorts to reach the heights of a pure partnership. And it all begins with surrendering to the process of learning, instead of pursuing the program of teaching.

9781609947101 Taken from: Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning (Third Edition, Revised) by Chip Bell and Marshall Goldsmith, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2013
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Whatever Rodin's natural gifts may have been, he honed them over a very lengthy period of study. He did not miraculously become a great sculptor. In fact, we can't think of any individuals offhand who accomplished anything of significance without first dedicating themselves to a discipline and preparing for the inevitability of lifelong learning. The latter point is worthy of emphasis: because art changes, the artist has to change along with it. The same applies to leadership. It is not something that is learned. It is something one learns and continues to learn indefinitely. Leaders who understand that they are engaged in an occupation that requires study are ones who find mentors, learn from their own mistakes, test new methods, speak to others about their approaches, take classes, read books, and improve over the years as a result.

9780071778572 Taken from: Every Leader Is an Artist: How the World's Greatest Artists Can Make You a More Creative Leader by William Baker and Michael O'Malley, McGraw-Hill, 2012
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Artists are natural conduits of change, transforming raw materials into finished expressions: from a blank canvas into a still-life flower, or from mathematical algorithms into computer art. They constantly seek to find new and improved means to transform ideas into reality. Learning something new means finding not just a new way to see the world, but often a new way to change the world--which for the artist is the modus operandi.

Ever since I've become president, people often approach me with a pained look on their face and ask earnestly, "How are you doing?" My answer is generally a simple but honest, "I'm learning." .... The exchange forces me to clarify how excited I am to be a leader right now because I love to learn. There is nothing I'd rather be doing than learning. It often isn't an easy task and I've made mistakes. But the artist in me accepts the possibility of being wrong for the opportunity it provides to learn. I believe anything you do will be more wrong until you learn how to do it more right.

9780262015882 Taken from: Redesigning Leadership
by John Maeda, MIT Press, 2011

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