A Team Building Lesson from Nick Fury and The Avengers

Creating a dream team is like working a puzzle. It’s about recognizing each person's unique contribution—their strength—and putting them in a position to use it. Nick Fury did this in The Avengers. Fury selected each member for the unique strength they brought to the team. As a result, the capability of the team far exceeded the individual capability of its members—the whole became greater than…

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To Set the Stage for Great Teamwork, Look No Further than the Sports Pages

Setting the stage for great teamwork in the workplace is a lot like creating a new team sport, like soccer nuevo. In team sports, how the game is won is crystal clear. There’s a time limit—urgency. There’s an arena and a well-defined playing field. There are rules. There’s a way to keep score in real-time. There’s a referee and a coach. These things frame up…

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How to Feel More ALIVE at Work

Most of us at one point or another have switched over to autopilot at work—just phoning it in. Once we're cozy within our comfort zone, we want to stay that way. If we keep doing what we've always done, we'll keep humming right along. Easy. Comfortable. Safe. Right? Not quite. It's logical, but there's a flaw. The flaw is that it perpetuates the status quo,…

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Stop Playing Whack-a-Mole & Take Back Your Time

A few years ago I learned that complexity gives rise to surprises (and not the good kind). These surprises push planned activities aside and force us to redo previously completed work, troubleshoot problems, or otherwise set things right (again). Surprises make us reactive. It doesn't take many to utterly derail us and transform our day (or week) into a game of whack-a-mole. Moles pop up…

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Why Delegation is Paramount for Happy, Focused Growth & Gain

Clinging to the known is easy and comfortable, but it’s not satisfying. In fact it’s boring. Growth and gain come from doing the things we don’t really have to do. They come from stretching ourselves—by embracing discomfort.  But we don’t need to cannonball into new challenges, just dipping a toe in will do. As our toe gets comfortable, we need to put the rest of…

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Why You Want to Keep a Twinkie in Your Team Building Toolbox

A team that rows as one is a symphony of motion. A harmonizing of spirits. It’s magical. And it's FAST! Assembling such a team is challenging work. The coach repeatedly assigns each rower to different positions in the boat, rooting out their strengths. Rowers are moved, swapped, and replaced until a magic combination is found. There’s an old story about a coach who just wasn't…

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These 3 Ps Make Finding & Keeping Good Employees Much, Much Easier

Employees are a business owner’s largest expense, and a massive source of wasted time and money in most companies. The ability to attract and retain great people separates thriving businesses from struggling ones. Engaged people amplify business effectiveness, but according to research, most people are not engaged. That’s a tragedy, especially when we consider that everyone enjoys engaging work. When engaged, we’re at our best.…

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Hiring? This is How to Spot a Diamond in the Rough

Which would you choose to attend, a blockbuster TED Talk or a blockbuster movie? Do you read more non-fiction or fiction? How do you feel about documentaries? Do you listen to anything other than music in the car? We all seek out a mix of pleasure and purpose in our daily lives. However, the mix that’s right for each of us varies. Paul Dolan and…

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Research Suggests People Bring Their Whole Heart & Mind to Work When These 3 Things are Present

I was walking the beach with a friend when we came upon a sandcastle under siege. The ocean was sending wave after wave to destroy the defenseless fortress. Each wave surging ever-closer. The sandcastle would soon be erased from the face of the Earth. Its only crime was daring to stand in defiance of the mighty ocean. Something had to be done. I immediately dropped…

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How to Transform Work into a Game People Want to Play

On the day I turned 16, I was all gussied up and the first person out the door—determined to land my dream job. I chose the place because everyone working there always looked like they were having fun. When I arrived, I sheepishly asked the girl behind the counter if they were hiring. She said, “I think so, fill this out” and slid a blank…

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Do You Work with a Vampire? How to Tell and What to Do About It

“Toxic people adhere as concrete blocks to your ankles, then push you to swim in poisoned waters.”John Mark Green Do you work with someone who leaves a trail of depleted people in their wake? Do the majority of their interactions leave people feeling badly? If so, they are poisoning the work environment. Draining everyone’s time and energy, like a vampire. They are a boat anchor,…

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