Saturday, August 31, 2019

To Come Up with New Ideas, Get Out of the Office

Every leader needs to come up with ideas that will separate their companies from the crowd. And to do things that your competitors don’t, you need to see things that other people miss. Find ways to expose yourself to new ways of thinking. For example, go on a business field trip and spend time as a customer — of your company’s products or another’s. Look at how employees serve people, where bureaucracy gets in the way, and whether there are opportunities to improve. You might also consider swapping jobs for a day with a counterpart from a different industry. Notice how the other company approaches engagement, motivation, and communication. What can you learn? And if you can’t leave the office, try a simple perspective-swapping exercise: Pretend you’re the CEO of a leading company, and adopt the mindset of that leader. If you were Tim Cook, for example, how would you tackle Apple’s largest strategic problems? What does that tell you about how to tackle your own?
This tip is adapted from To Come Up with Better Ideas, Practice Paying Attention,” by Bill Taylor

Monday, August 5, 2019

How Dual-Career Couples Can Stay on Top of Things at Home

When you and your partner both have demanding careers, staying on top of things at home is a struggle. That’s why you have to be strategic about who does what. Make a list of household responsibilities, everything from unloading the dishwasher to picking up your kids after school. Next, categorize each item on the list as “loathe,” “don’t mind,” or “enjoy.” Then assign tasks based on each person’s preferences. Divvying up the work this way can ease tensions and make sure both partners are contributing equally. If there are certain items that both of you loathe, outsourcing can be a helpful option. It’s also a good idea to have weekly or monthly check-ins to compare schedules, ask for support, and shift responsibilities as needed. For example, if you know you’ll need to work late for a few days, your partner will have to pick up the kids. Just make sure to return the favor when your partner needs it.
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