Make Your Gift One from the Heart this Week

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By Peter Hartmann

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, I couldn’t help but reflect on an experience a friend of mine had a few years back.

My friend awoke one sunny morning to hear a rustling noise in his garden. Certain it wasn’t an animal, he went outside to investigate. Peering into the garden, he saw a young boy of about 5, looking back at him.

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The child, covered in dirt and clutching a handful of flowers, was startled, embarrassed, scared.

“What are you doing?” my friend demanded.

“I was… picking… some flowers… for my mom… for Valentine’s Day,” the boy stammered. Continue reading

DREAMS Are Key to Successful Autonomy in the Workplace

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By Holger Reisinger

Increased autonomy in the workplace leads to greater innovation, productivity and employee satisfaction. But it also presents several cultural challenges. Find out how to establish a strong company culture around autonomy and individualization.

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I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

Let me explain. I recently attended a meeting that included some of our newest employees, most of them students who work here while attending university.

They made a great impression, with outstanding reflections about our product positioning, marketing strategy and market trends. They weren’t afraid to provide their opinions and offer input. Continue reading

A Hurt So Good: My Quest for the Elusive Runner’s High

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By Peter Hartmann

We’ve all had a song or a phrase stuck in our head that we just couldn’t get out.
For me, it was two words spoken by a coworker.

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They came from Joachim Ekelund, a product manager at Jabra. I met him while previewing our new Jabra Sport Pulse wireless earbuds. As he demonstrated the cool Sport button, which enables runners like me to get read-outs of distance, time, heart rate and other useful metrics while running, I asked him about battery life.

He responded in part with the words I now couldn’t stop thinking about. “Five hours – enough to get anyone in the runner’s high zone.”

“Runner’s high.”

Continue reading

Six Ways to Bring the “Golden Rule” to Groups

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By Holger Reisinger

You can’t see them, but they’re all around you. Group norms are powerful, invisible forces that determine how we interact with others. Here’s how they shape our behaviors and how we can create ones to build high-performing teams.

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“Haaaaaaaay everyone! How are we all doing today?!?”

I recognized the booming voice immediately. It was Mads, one of our best – and most boisterous — sales reps, and he was bursting through the doors of our office.

Veteran workers, accustomed to Mads’ infrequent yet euphoric and thunderous visits, jumped up and scrambled to receive his customary high-fives and back slaps.

Newer ones looked at each other in shock and horror, as if to ask, “Who is this person violating our quiet work area?” Continue reading

No More Excuses!

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By Peter Hartmann

This blog was supposed to be posted last week.

But it’s not my fault.

One of the keys on my keyboard broke off. Then the Internet went down and I couldn’t send it. When I was finally able to, I was called in a meeting.

Ridiculous? Of course. It’s merely an exaggerated version of the many excuses we hear in our day-to-day lives.

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I got thinking about excuses a few weeks back while at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I have very publicly announced my resolution for 2016 to run a half marathon in May. But while working our booth and attending meetings and dinners while at CES, the excuses for not exercising came raining down: “I’m jet lagged”; “I’m too busy working”; “It’s cold outside,” and on and on. Continue reading

It’s Time to Redefine IT “Success”

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By Holger Reisinger

For too long, we as IT professionals have defined success as an on-time, on-budget technology deployment. But that isn’t success; in fact, it’s just the beginning.

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It’s almost time for the world’s biggest TV event: The Super Bowl of American football. (Yes, we Europeans tune in for the big game too – and not just to check out the quirky commercials!)

While watching highlights from past contests, an infamous play from 1993 grabbed my attention. A defensive player for the Dallas Cowboys had recovered a fumbled ball and was rumbling toward an easy score. But he began celebrating too early and an opponent swatted the ball away, depriving him of the touchdown.

I’ve noticed a parallel between that premature celebration gone awry and how we as IT professionals celebrate our success – often also prematurely – in implementing new technologies. Continue reading

The Right Quote, at the Right Moment, Will Make a Difference

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By Peter Hartmann

Inspirational quotes are everywhere, providing unwanted advice on everything from our love lives to working out to the meaning of life. We can’t stand them, but, under the right circumstances, we actually draw inspiration from them.

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Is it just me – or are inspirational quotes everywhere these days?

While checking Facebook the other day I was advised to “Live every day like it’s your last.”

Then as I clicked over to LinkedIn, I learned that “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

So I headed to my local football club to watch the game and get away from the well-meaning intrusiveness of social media philosophy, only to learn from an inscription on a wall at the stadium that “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.” Continue reading

Please Interrupt Me… So We Can All Get More Work Done

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By Holger Reisinger

Interruptions are a fact of life in today’s open offices. But are all interruptions necessarily bad things? We’ll take a look at how some of them are actually vital to increasing our productivity.

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 “Make yourself available!” … “Make yourself available!”

The words still ring in my ears. They came from my childhood football coach as he desperately tried to get a group of oblivious youngsters to watch where the ball was being played—and be ready to receive it.

I got thinking about Coach’s words while reading some interesting research about interruptions in today’s open offices. In a nutshell, scientists can’t seem to agree on whether interruptions are good for our productivity or bad. Others weigh in with a qualified “it depends,” based on the context. Continue reading

Next Week, Let’s Put Down Our Smartphones and Give Someone a Hug!

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By Peter Hartmann

January 21 is the official National Hugging Day, a time to commemorate this simple act of a slight physical contact and probably the most common sign of affection. It’s definitely a day worth celebrating, especially when technology is robbing us of the in-person social experiences that are so vital to our well-being.

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OK, everyone, let’s have a big hug in celebration of the official National Hugging Day on Jan. 21!

I’m completely serious. Although I’ll admit that I laughed when a colleague told me that there was a National Hugging Day in the US. I laughed even harder when he suggested I write a blog about it. Hugs, really? Continue reading

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Knowledge Superhero!

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By Holger Reisinger

Maybe they aren’t able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, but knowledge workers are the real-life superheroes in our organizations. Let’s go behind the mask and see what makes them so indispensable to our success.

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What’s the most important position in your organization? Easy, right? The CEO. Or CFO. Or maybe chief product engineer.

They’re all critical, I’ll admit. But in my book, the heroes of every organization are its knowledge workers.

They’re the essence of our organizations. They do the heavy lifting that keeps the products flowing, customers happy, financials in order, patents in force and a whole lot more. Or as the old saying goes, they “keep the trains running on time.” Continue reading