- Coming December 14: Dealing with Meeting Hijackings
- When you haven't prevented a meeting hijacking, and you believe a hijacking is underway, what can you do? How can you regain control? Available here and by RSS on December 14.
- And on December 21: Problem Displacement and Technical Debt
- The term problem displacement describes situations in which solving one problem creates another. It sometimes leads to incurring technical debt. How? What can we do about it? Available here and by RSS on December 21.
This page has links to articles from 2016. For other years:
December 7, 2016
- Preventing Meeting Hijacking
- Meeting leads, meeting Chairs, and facilitators must be prepared to deal with meeting hijackers. Hesitation, or any ineffectual action, enhances the hijacker's chances of success. Here are suggestions for preventing hijacking.
November 30, 2016
- How to Hijack Meetings
- Recognizing the tactics meeting hijackers use is the first step to reducing the incidence of this abuse. Here are some of those tactics.
November 23, 2016
- Why People Hijack Meetings
- When as Chair of a meeting, you have difficulty completing a reasonable agenda, you might be the target of a hijacking. Here's Part I of a series exploring meeting hijacking.
November 16, 2016
- The Paradox of Carefully Chosen Words
- When we take special care in choosing our words, so as to avoid creating misimpressions, something strange often happens: we create a misimpression of ignorance or deceitfulness. Why does this happen?
November 9, 2016
- Solving the Problem of Solving Problems
- Problem solving is sometimes difficult when our biases interfere with generating candidate solutions, or with evaluating candidates we already have. Here are some suggestions for dealing with these biases.
November 2, 2016
- Shame and Bullying
- Targets of bullies sometimes experience intense feelings of shame. Here are some insights that might restore the ability to think, and maybe end the bullying.
October 26, 2016
- Toward More Engaging Virtual Meetings: Part II
- Here's Part II of a set of simple techniques to help virtual meeting facilitators enhance attendee engagement.
October 19, 2016
- Toward More Engaging Virtual Meetings: Part I
- Keeping attendees engaged in virtual meetings is a widely sought but rarely achieved objective. Here is Part I of a set of simple techniques to help facilitators enhance attendee engagement.
October 12, 2016
- How We Waste Time: Part II
- We're all pretty good at wasting time. We're also fairly certain we know when we're doing it. But we're much better at it than we know. Here's Part II of a little catalog of time wasters, emphasizing those that are outside — or mostly outside — our awareness.
October 5, 2016
- How We Waste Time: Part I
- Time is the one workplace resource that's evenly distributed. Everyone gets exactly the same share, but some use it more wisely than others. Here's Part I of a little catalog of ways we waste time.
September 28, 2016
- Favor Symmetric Virtual Meetings
- Virtual meetings are notorious for generating more frustration than useful output. One cause of the difficulties is asymmetry in the way we connect to virtual meetings.
September 21, 2016
- Counterproductive Knowledge Work Behavior
- With the emergence of knowledge-oriented workplaces, counterproductive work behavior is taking on new forms that are rare or inherently impossible in workplaces where knowledge plays a less central role. Here are some examples.
September 14, 2016
- Behavioral Indicators of Political Risk
- Avoiding dangerous political interactions is easier if you know what to look for. Among the indicators of possible trouble are the behaviors of the people around you.
September 7, 2016
- Cultural Indicators of Political Risk
- Because of fire risk, hiking in dry forests during dry seasons can be dangerous. In the forest, we stay safe from fire if we attend to the indicators of fire risk. In the workplace, do you know the indicators of political risk?
August 31, 2016
- Contributions, Open and Closed
- We can classify contributions to discussions according to the likelihood that they stimulate new thought. The more open they are, the more they stimulate new thought. How can we encourage open contributions?
August 24, 2016
- Virtual Teams Need Generous Travel Budgets
- Although virtual team members who happen to be co-located do meet from time to time, meetings of people who reside at different sites are often severely restricted by tight or non-existent travel budgets. Such restrictions, intended to save money, can contribute to expensive delays and errors.
August 17, 2016
- Costs of the Catch-Me-Up Anti-Pattern: Part II
- When we interrupt a meeting to recap the action so far for a late-arriving attendee, the cost of the recap itself is just the beginning. There are some less-obvious costs that can be even greater.
August 10, 2016
- Costs of the Catch-Me-Up Anti-Pattern: Part I
- Your meetings start on time, but some people are habitually late. When they arrive, they ask, "What did I miss? Catch me up." This is an expensive way to do business. How expensive is it?
August 3, 2016
- The Passion-Professionalism Paradox
- Changing the direction of a group or a company requires passion and professionalism, two attributes often in tension. Here's one possible way to resolve that tension.
July 27, 2016
- The Risks of Too Many Projects: Part II
- Although taking on too many projects risks defocusing the organization, the problems just begin there. Here are three more ways over-commitment causes organizations to waste resources or lose opportunities.
July 20, 2016
- The Risks of Too Many Projects: Part I
- Some organizations try to run too many development projects at once. Whether developing new offerings, or working to improve the organization itself, taking on too many projects can defocus the organization and depress performance.
July 13, 2016
- Cognitive Biases and Influence: Part II
- Most advice about influencing others offers intentional tactics. Yet, the techniques we actually use are often unintentional, and we're therefore unaware of them. Among these are tactics exploiting cognitive biases.
July 6, 2016
- Cognitive Biases and Influence: Part I
- The techniques of influence include inadvertent — and not-so-inadvertent — uses of cognitive biases. They are one way we lead each other to accept or decide things that rationality cannot support.
June 29, 2016
- How to Waste Time in Virtual Meetings
- Nearly everyone hates meetings, and virtual meetings are at the top of most people's lists. Here's a catalog of some of the worst practices.
June 22, 2016
- How to Waste Time in Meetings
- Nearly everyone hates meetings. The main complaint: they're mostly a waste of time. The main cause: us. Here's a field manual for people who want to waste even more time.
June 15, 2016
- The Utility Pole Anti-Pattern: Part II
- Complex organizational processes can delay action. They can set people against one other and prevent organizations from achieving their objectives. In this Part II of our examination of these complexities, we look into what keeps processes complicated, and how to deal with them.
June 8, 2016
- The Utility Pole Anti-Pattern: Part I
- Organizational processes can get so complicated that nobody actually knows how they work. If getting something done takes too long, the organization can't lead its markets, or even catch up to the leaders. Why does this happen?
June 1, 2016
- Workplace Anti-Patterns
- We find patterns of counter-effective behavior — anti-patterns — in every part of life, including the workplace. Why? What are their features?
May 25, 2016
- Wacky Words of Wisdom: Part V
- Adages, aphorisms, and "words of wisdom" are true often enough that we accept them as universal. They aren't. Here's Part V of some widely held beliefs that mislead us at work.
May 18, 2016
- Ego Depletion and Priority Setting
- Setting priorities for tasks is tricky when we find the tasks unappealing, because we have limited energy for self-control. Here are some strategies for limiting these effects on priority setting.
May 11, 2016
- Characterization Risk
- To characterize is to offer a description of a person, event, or concept. Characterizations are usually judgmental, and usually serve one side of a debate. And they often make trouble.
May 4, 2016
- Just-In-Time Hoop-Jumping
- Securing approvals for projects, proposals, or other efforts is often called "jumping through hoops." Hoop-jumping can be time-consuming and frustrating. Here are some suggestions for jumping through hoops efficiently.
April 27, 2016
- Pushing the "Stupid" Button
- Some people know exactly how to lead others to feel ignorant or unintelligent. Here's a little catalog of tactics to watch for.
April 20, 2016
- Virtual Brainstorming: Part II
- When virtual teams must brainstorm, they try to do so virtually. But brainstorming isn't just another meeting. There's a real risk that virtual brainstorms might produce inadequate results. Here's Part II of some suggestions for reducing the risk.
April 13, 2016
- Virtual Brainstorming: Part I
- When we need to brainstorm, meeting virtually carries a risk that our results might be problematic. Here's Part I of some steps to take to reduce the risk.
April 6, 2016
- Irrational Deadlines
- Some deadlines are so unrealistic that from the outset we know we'll never meet them. Yet we keep setting (and accepting) irrational deadlines. Why does this happen?
March 30, 2016
- Still More Things I've Learned Along the Way
- When I have an important insight, or when I'm taught a lesson, I write it down. Here's another batch from my personal collection.
March 23, 2016
- Much of what we call backstabbing is actually just straightforward attack — nasty, unethical, even evil, but not backstabbing. What is backstabbing?
March 16, 2016
- The Costanza Matrix
- The Seinfeld character "George Costanza" is famous for having said, "It's not a lie if you believe it." What if you don't believe it and it's true? Some musings.
March 9, 2016
- How to Find Lessons to Learn
- When we conduct Lessons Learned sessions, how can we ensure that we find all the important lessons to be learned? Here's one method.
March 2, 2016
- Allocating Airtime: Part II
- Much has been said about people who don't get a fair chance to speak at meetings. We've even devised processes intended to more fairly allocate speaking time. What's happening here?
February 24, 2016
- Allocating Airtime: Part I
- The problem of people who dominate meetings is so serious that we've even devised processes intended to more fairly allocate speaking time. What's happening here?
February 17, 2016
- Conversation Despots
- Some people insist that conversations reach their personally favored conclusions, no matter what others want. Here are some of their tactics.
February 10, 2016
- Patterns of Conflict Escalation: Part II
- When simple workplace disagreements evolve into workplace warfare, they often do so following recognizable patterns. If we can recognize the patterns early, we can intervene to prevent serious damage to relationships. Here's Part II of a catalog of some of those patterns.
February 3, 2016
- Patterns of Conflict Escalation: Part I
- Toxic workplace conflicts often begin as simple disagreements. Many then evolve into intensely toxic conflict following recognizable patterns.
January 27, 2016
- Virtual Clutter: Part II
- Thorough de-cluttering at work involves more than organizing equipment and those piles of documents that tend to accumulate so mysteriously. We must also address the countless non-physical entities that make work life so complicated — the virtual clutter.
January 20, 2016
- Virtual Clutter: Part I
- With some Web searching, you can find abundant advice for decluttering your home or office. And people are even thinking about decluttering email inboxes. But the problem of clutter is far more widespread.
January 13, 2016
- When Fixing It Doesn't Fix It: Part II
- When complex systems misbehave, repairs can require deep thought, inspiration, and careful reasoning. Here are guidelines for a systematic approach to repairing complex systems.
January 6, 2016
- When Fixing It Doesn't Fix It: Part I
- When complex systems misbehave, a common urge is to find any way at all to end the misbehavior. Succumbing to that urge can be a big mistake. Here's why we succumb.
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