On Materialism

It is what it is. If the shoe fits, wear it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. A rose by any other name…. Our language is peppered with such phrases that urge authenticity. Perhaps Shakespeare said it most eloquently (Hamlet, I,3, 564-566) with This above all--to thine own self be true, And it must follow,... Continue Reading →

Managing Micromanagers

“Get off my back—I can’t fly when you are weighing me down!” Such is the lament of the underling suffering from micromanagement—the uninvited incursion by a manager into the how to’s and wherefores of a subordinate’s day. Just last week a client asked me, “How do I get her off my back? I’ve about had... Continue Reading →

Communication Practices of Great Teams

At the Human Dynamics Laboratory of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers pinned electronic badges on 2,500 team members from diverse industries. These badges collected a wide range of team-relevant data such as tone of voice, length of talking episodes, who was addressed, body language, standing versus sitting, and so forth. Lab director Alex “Sandy” Pentland... Continue Reading →

The What and How of Motivation

Motivation is a complex concept with many definitions. I have a simple definition: People are most motivated, or engaged in what they are doing, when they are 1) acting in accordance with their values and 2) acting in a way that builds on their strengths and not their weaknesses. Values are what we hold as... Continue Reading →

Change of Life, Change of Personality

I frequently get this question, for which I’ve had no convincing data to respond: Do personality trait levels change as the result of menopause? I’ve decided to look for an answer. In a recent survey of the published research literature, I found no information. So, in lieu of answers from the known literature, I turned... Continue Reading →

Keeping the Mountaintop Experience Alive

I invite you, dear reader, to contribute to this list. It is prompted by an associate who asked me last week how to keep learning alive. She lamented that she conducted team building sessions and led participants to great insights based on personality assessments and other items in her professional toolkit. Her people were wowed... Continue Reading →

Ancient Wisdom Has Legs

Literally. The ancient wisdom to “Know thyself” emblazoned on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and carried forward by Shakespeare’s Polonius as “To thine own self be true” has carried Misty Copeland to be named (the first African-American) principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. Having broken this color barrier on June 30, she shared... Continue Reading →

KISS Me!

Keep it simple, sir! One month ago I wrote in praise of brevity. Today I write in praise of her sister—simplicity. In short, when you intend for all who read your writing to understand it, then keep it simple, sir. My first encounter with this principle was the 1978 monograph by Richard Wydick “Plain English... Continue Reading →

Know Thine Unself

Several years back I posted on the importance of being true to one’s nature (see Becoming More Like Who We Are). Today I post on the importance of being true to what one is not. When work, family, or community expects us to behave unnaturally, and we consent to go along with them, we experience... Continue Reading →

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