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Uncover Hidden Creative Thinking on Your Team

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When the team needs some creative ideas or innovative solutions, who’s the go-to?

Maybe it’s you. Or maybe it’s definitely not you.

When you think about the “creatives” that you know, your mind probably instantly goes to certain people. We all have some preconceived notions about what it takes to be creative and innovative, as well as who should be involved in the process. We pretty much know who’s got it and who doesn’t.

 Sometimes these “things we know” don’t really tell the full story.

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6 Must-Have Tips for Using Thinking Styles in Job Design

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Would it surprise you to learn that the more independence and self-determination someone has over their work, the more satisfied they are with their job?

Probably not. After all, it seems pretty obvious that the more say you have in terms of how you get your job done, the happier you’ll be in it. And the happier and more engaged you are in the work, the more productive you’re likely to be.

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham Business School confirms the connection between work autonomy and job satisfaction. As one of the researchers, Dr. Daniel Wheatley, puts it, "Greater levels of control over work tasks and schedule have the potential to generate significant benefits for the employee, which was found to be evident in the levels of reported well-being."

But most roles aren’t designed to give people that kind of autonomy. In general, jobs are structured around specific tasks, and accountability is assigned so that the person’s performance can be measured and evaluated. This makes sense as far as it goes, particularly in jobs where collaborative, creative effort isn’t a priority (increasingly rare as that is), but even in narrow functional roles, one size doesn’t fit all. Sure, you can go with a “force fit” approach that says, “it’s this way or no way.” But you might just lose some talented, hard-working people in the process.

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Think Before You Resolve: How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Lose weight. Get organized. Learn something exciting. Fall in love. These are just a few of the top new year’s resolutions.

All worthwhile goals. Which makes it even more of a shame that, according to a study by the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their new year’s resolutions.

But if you’re thinking that dismal statistic gives you all the justification you need to pass on the resolution tradition this year, think again. The same study found that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than those who don’t.

Before you forgo the resolutions altogether—or make that same old pronouncement about how you’re going to stay fit and healthy this year (and this time you really mean it!)—why not put a little intention into the process to up your odds of success?

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Your Sharp Focus Might Be Blocking Out Diversity of Thought

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Lately, we’ve been talking about something that Ann Herrmann-Nehdi calls “rut thinking.” It’s just what it sounds like. It’s about getting stuck in a single-minded way of approaching a problem or tackling your work or even thinking about the future. It may feel like a shortcut because you’re “in the groove,” but from that narrow vantage point, it’s hard to get a clear view of what’s really going on all around you. And that makes it even harder to find a potentially better way forward.

While there’s something to be said for specialization and a laser-sharp focus, like any good thing, too much of it can be a problem.

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Why You Should Reconnect With Your Teenage Risk-Taking Brain

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“How about we all go bungee jumping after today’s session?”

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7 Yoga Poses for Better Thinking

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September is National Yoga Month, and what better time than the beginning of fall to stretch, refresh and reconnect with our bodies, minds and spirits.

As you practice your yoga poses this month, why not use it as an opportunity to develop your thinking agility, too?

Grab your yoga mat and your thinking cap, and check out these 7 yoga poses to inspire better thinking.

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The Real Reason They're Not Reading Your Emails

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Here’s an experiment. Read the following paragraph once:

With hocked gems financing him, our hero bravely defied all scornful laughter that tried to prevent his scheme. “Your eyes deceive,” he had said. “An egg, not a table, correctly typifies this unexplored planet.” Now three sturdy sisters sought proof. Forging along, sometimes through calm vastness, yet more often very turbulent peaks and valleys, days became weeks as many doubters spread fearful rumors about the edge. At last from nowhere welcome winged creatures appeared, signifying momentous success.

Did that paragraph make any sense?

Probably not.

This little passage, from Robert Ornstein’s book “The Right Mind,” is actually about the first voyage of Christopher Columbus. Go back and read the paragraph again with this in mind. Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?

You’ve just experienced the power of context. Your brain searches for it constantly. And while it searches, you won’t be paying attention to anything else. Your mind will drift while it works to fill in the blanks—whether it fills in those blanks correctly or not.

When it comes to workplace communications, lack of context is just one of the ways the brain can get thrown off course, and when it happens in email, it can lead to misunderstandings, frustrations or even conflict.

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Effective Personalized Learning for the Masses: Oxymoron or Opportunity?

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In today’s always-on, always-connected world, learning has no boundaries. It might happen through group discussions on a messaging app like Slack, or via a how-to video on YouTube, or by competing against people from around the world on a gamification app accessed from a smartphone or tablet.

Between mobile devices, social media, MOOCs, real-time messaging apps and more, learners are becoming accustomed to taking control of their own development and choosing the options that appeal to them. Particularly for Millennials and younger generations entering the workforce, this kind of self-directed approach is what they know and what they expect.

But as more employees are looking for ways to personalize and direct their own learning, L&D professionals are struggling with how best to facilitate it. For one thing, the systems have been slow to keep up, so just the thought of tracking and managing personalized learning for a population of any significant size can be overwhelming.

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How to Improve Teamwork: The Introversion/Extroversion Variable

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At the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, every writer will give a reading at some point during the week to an auditorium full of people. It will be brand new work that you’ve just written, shaped as much as possible with the help of the participants in your workshop, people you’ve known since Saturday. In between, you’ll sleep in spartan college dorms, eat together in the cafeteria and, occasionally, when you can be inspired no more, throw back a few drinks at the local bar.

In many ways, it’s the introvert’s nightmare. It’s also what makes these conferences so fascinating. A group of writers, many of whom fall somewhere on the introverted side of the scale—ambivert at best—willingly put themselves in what is potentially the most energy-draining situation possible. The entire scenario seems designed to work against their strengths.

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What Motivates People? Look for Clues in How They Think (VIDEO)

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In today’s business world, where the large majority of the work is knowledge work, each day can be different and challenging in its own way. Constant change means that most employees are dealing with simultaneous projects, shifting priorities, complex problems, lots of demands, and a never-ending stream of disruptions and distractions.

It’s not just a challenge to stay focused in this environment; it’s hard to stay motivated and engaged. In fact, recent research by Bersin by Deloitte attributes low employee engagement levels to the overwhelmed employee.

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