A real friend with benefits

Recently, Brandon Levey and the amazingly talented team at Stitch Labs compiled a list of expectations they have for managers in their company. Their definition included: someone who builds trust, is incredibly supportive, challenges people to do their best, communicates well, has difficult conversations, recognizes successes but also tells things like they are, leads by example and jumps in when the going gets tough. I suggested to Brandon that we might capture many of these attributes with one word: friend. It occurred to me in that moment that what we really expect from Read More >>

Musings on Work on Labor Day 2015

It seems right to take a moment to reflect on the nature of work today and remind ourselves of the ways we can build meaningful work environments. The holiday has ceased to be an occasion to demonstrate the power of labor unions, perhaps because so many companies now actually strive to be places where human flourishing matters. Barry Schwartz got it right when he said that in talk about fair wages, we " must ....not lose sight of the aspiration to make work the kind of activity people embrace, rather than the kind of activity they shun. How can we do Read More >>

The Innovator's Personality

Harold Evans' They Made America is filled with vivid stories and photos of American invention over the last century. It is an account of audacity, the bold and sometimes arrogant disregard of natural restraints in service of some vision or problem to be solved. Reading the stories and seeing these images, I wondered what we really know about who "They" are – the characters in these stories – and what conditions enabled them to do what they did. The Innovator's Personality The most innovative scientists and engineers have a handful of Read More >>

PsyCap and Gamification

A new concept is gaining momentum in the world of work psychology: positive psychological capital or PsyCap for short. It describes a constellation of other, more established psychological constructs such as efficacy, hope, optimism and resilience. Together, these have been shown to produce some pretty powerful results for organizations: higher job satisfaction, reduced absences and higher levels of individual performance (see Peterson's recent study in Personnel Psychology http://bit.ly/oJ9pnw.) So how does your organization get more PsyCap? Some in the field believe PsyCap resembles a stable trait, and as Read More >>

Playing In Traffic

The story of the Denver Barnes Dance caught my attention this week. In the 1960's, a young traffic engineer named Henry Barnes tried to make the streets of Denver safer for pedestrians. He instituted a new crosswalk system "trusting those on foot to get to their destination without the confining guidance of crosswalks." He opened the whole intersection to pedestrians, stopping traffic in all directions and letting pedestrians cross any way they wanted – even diagonally – to help prevent drivers making right-hand turns from hitting them.His intent was Read More >>