CategoryCollaboration

When Technology Meets Community

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A co-op grocery chain in Seattle began dismantling their self-checkout kiosks this month. After considerable investment in the technology over the past few years, the PCC Community Market, made the decision to remove the automated stations.  Here is how the store describes the reasoning behind the decision: “A kiosk doesn’t create community or connections. So we wanted to take those out so that when someone comes into our stores, they have a human connection with someone and an interaction...

The Power of We versus Me

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At the age of twenty, Art Unruh flew 50 missions into enemy territory in the European theater of World War II. The first six missions he served as a tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. Protecting the B-17 from all threats behind the plane was a dangerous assignment, but it wasn’t the most dangerous – that belonged to the waist gunners. The waist gunner had to stand, which exposed them to more enemy fire. For the next 46 missions, Army Staff Sgt. Art Unruh served as a waste gunner, and...

Use this Richard Feynman Technique to Increase Your Team’s Productivity

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As World War II broke out, the physicist Richard Feynman was recruited to Los Alamos to assist in the development of the first atomic bomb. He was tasked with calculating the energy released by the nuclear explosion. Machines were brought in from IBM to assist in the task. Although state of art in their day, they were crude mechanical calculators that used punch cards to execute complicated calculations. The Army dispatched a group called the Special Engineering Detachment to operate the...

What Baseball Can Teach Us About Team Chemistry

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In the movie, Miracle about the 1980 US men’s Olympic hockey team, there is a scene where head coach Herb Brooks is evaluating talent. At one point he turns to his assistant coach Craig Patrick and says: “I’m not looking for the best players, Craig. I’m looking for the right ones.” Brooks was searching for that elusive element: Team Chemistry. What is Team Chemistry exactly? It is something that has vexed coaches, players and fans for ages. It appears that successful teams have Team Chemistry...

5 Tips for Better Decision Making from a Professional Poker Player

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Every decision we make is a bet. A bet is essentially an investment in a future outcome that is uncertain. That investment could be money, time, attention or some other resource. When we think of decisions as bets, we are more likely to think probabilistically, adopt an open-mind, consider diverse options and learn from our mistakes. If every decision is a bet, then we can learn to become better decision makers by studying the ultimate betting game: poker. People often compare life to chess...

How Bucky the Bean Counter Created a World-Class Culture at Nike

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From a very young age, Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, went by the nickname “Buck.” His father had always referred to him as such, and the name stuck. Even when he ran track for the University of Oregon his track coach, the legendary Bill Bowerman (and Nike’s other co-founder), called him Buck. As Nike grew more successful so did Phil’s stature in the business community, and Phil was increasingly referred to as “Mr. Knight.” But there was one group of early Nike employees who never got the...

Leadership Lessons from Lewis & Clark

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Charles M. Russell: Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia From May 1804 to September 1806, two men led an expedition from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean and back again. The group covered over 7,000 miles, crossed the Rocky Mountains in harsh conditions, and encountered numerous Native American tribes, both friendly and hostile. They were the first people of European descent to explore this territory.  Only one man died on the journey, and that was likely from acute appendicitis. All...

The Ancient Wisdom of Teams

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For a team to be successful, team members must put the interests of the team above their own. It’s necessary for team members, at times, to sacrifice their ego, play a supporting role, and in some deep sense, care more for the success of the team than for individual achievement and glory. These are timeless truths with roots extending far back to the very dawn of human culture. Cooperation has been reinforced, generation after generation, through the evolution of human culture. Agriculture...

It’s Not Who’s On Your Team, It’s How You Work Together

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If your boss came up to you today and asked you to form a team for a high-profile strategic project, what would be your first task? If you’re like most people, your thoughts would immediately turn toward whom to select to join your team. After all, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the most important factor for any team is the quality of the players. If you want a super team, fill it with superstars. Just look at the Golden State Warriors. Now suppose your boss gave you a further...

To Make Better Decisions, Think Independently

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Photo by Rachele Caretti, Licensed under CC by 2.0 One of the qualities shared by great decision makers is the rare ability to disregard the opinions of others and think for themselves. There is a strong gravitational pull to conform to the conventional wisdom. If you’re looking to avoid accountability or even regret (which is a powerful force in decision making), then it’s much easier to agree with the group as opposed to doing the research and analysis to make your own determination. It’s...

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