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Turn every ask into an intake memo

Helpers want to build reputations for being helpful. They want to prove their value at work by showing their willingness to jump in and get things done—no matter what. But the problem is, these people wind up burnt out and overcommitted. They say yes to any and everything that comes their way, overbook themselves, and…

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Better predictions make for better decisions

How many times, upon realizing you’ve made the wrong decision, have you thrown up your hands and exclaimed, “If only I had known better”? Our wrong decisions, no matter how big or small, often feel like they can be traced back to a single choice between A or B. If only we could predict the…

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Five simple steps to achieving alignment at work

Keep your eyes and ears open for valuable intelligence up and down the chain of command. That doesn’t mean listening to and spreading gossip. It means learning from your direct reports about what’s happening on the front lines, from your boss about what’s occurring in the executive boardroom, and from everyone else about anything in…

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How to build a go-to network

The ultimate manifestation of go-to-ism in the workplace is finding and fostering a network of go-to people. Whenever you find go-to people, you want to approach those relationships with a service mindset. What can you bring to the relationship that will make that person want to work with you again in the future? There are…

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Helpers, experts, and rogues

Certain types of employees, more so than others, tend to jump into projects outside their normal jobs. I classify these people into three groups: helpers, experts, and rogues. Helpers get pulled away from their regular work because they are genuinely open and tend to be good at solving problems. And they usually have a hard…

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How to build better working relationships with difficult colleagues

There are plenty of good reasons to want better relationships with your colleagues at work. Pleasant interactions with coworkers generally make your workdays more enjoyable. Trust and respect among team members opens everyone up to contribute their best ideas. And you never know which connections will lead to new and amazing opportunities for you in…

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If you want to be a workplace influencer, don’t rely on the quid pro quo

I’m fond of saying, “If you don’t have authority, you’ve got to use influence.” Sounds great, right? But ‘influence’ is often hard to define in the workplace. What does it look like? And, more importantly, how do you get it? Merriam-Webster defines influence as “the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or…

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How to transform work interruptions into opportunities

If you’re wondering whether interruptions from colleagues have disappeared during the COVID-19 pandemic, rest assured, they have not. Ask just about anyone—those side conversations are still happening, whether you’re working remotely or onsite. Whether it’s a Zoom meeting tangent, or a rambling Slack thread, or the relentless ping of incoming text messages, there is still…

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How to Create a Shareable Job Aid

The number one most effective form of shareable job aid I have seen is the humble checklist. It’s a simple but powerful tool used from kindergarten classrooms to nuclear launch sites. And in a world of increasingly remote, asynchronous work, these types of job aids will be invaluable. Yet, as simple as they may be,…

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Avoid these 5 bad attitudes at work

Attitude may be intangible, but it really matters. You cannot always control your feelings (nor should you necessarily try to). But feelings are on the inside. Attitude is what you show everyone else on the outside—and that is always under your control. Everybody has bad days or bad moments. But, even if you are not…

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