Weekend Reading: June 2017

Weekend Reading: June 2017

Happy Friday! We’ve scoured the web for thought-provoking articles and essays for you to enjoy during our first full weekend of summer.

The Beatles convinced us that “we get by with a little help from our friends” – but is there actual science to back that up? Over at the New York Times, Jane E. Brody reports on recent studies out of Harvard, Duke, Stanford and more that stress how critical social interaction is for our mental and physical health.

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Being Asked to Dance: The Key to Diversity Is Inclusion

Being Asked to Dance: The Key to Diversity Is Inclusion

Most leaders know that diversity and inclusion go hand-in-hand. But like many concepts in the business world, “diversity and inclusion” has become a buzzword phrase, something that we speak of frequently but may not fully understand.

In a talk at the AppNexus Women’s Leadership Forum in 2015, diversity consultant Vernā Myers brilliantly described the difference between diversity and inclusion: “Diversity is being invited to the party,” she said. “Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

So why is inclusion so hard?

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A Meeting of Minds: Shared Reading and Lifelong Learning at Work

A Meeting of Minds: Shared Reading and Lifelong Learning at Work

Who doesn’t enjoy a lively conversation? Mortimer Adler, the co-founder of the Great Books program, wrote, “Of all the things that human beings do, conversing with one another is the most characteristically human.” Adler’s How to Read a Book is a literary classic, but less well known is his 1983 companion volume How to Speak and How to Listen. Conversation – speaking and listening – is part of the normal activities of life, but Adler describes a kind of communication that goes deeper, a “two-way talk [that] can achieve a meeting of minds, a sharing of understandings and thoughts, of feelings and wishes.” This kind of conversation is pleasurable and satisfying – but why is it so rare?

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Reading Mindfully: Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations”

Reading Mindfully: Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations”

Renowned and prolific science fiction writer Tom Godwin’s short story “The Cold Equations” takes place aboard a cargo spaceship bound for a far-off planet in need of medical supplies. The ship’s pilot finds himself – and his ship – in an unexpected predicament when he discovers a stowaway on board.

As you read, consider the many hard choices we must make in our lives – should decisions be rooted in reason or emotion?

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The Elephant in the Room: Healthy Companies Address Workplace Problems

The Elephant in the Room: Healthy Companies Address Workplace Problems

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of giving a presentation on the importance of social interactions in the workplace at the International Conference & Exposition of the Association of Training and Development in Atlanta. Over four days, 10,000 attendees chose from 400 presentations on a broad array of topics.

In a session on culture, Joseph Grenny, author and co-founder of the social science research firm VitalSmarts, asserted simply: “The health of a relationship, team or organization is a function of the average time lag between identifying and discussing problems.”

We’ve all worked with someone who excels at finding all the things an organization does wrong. Maybe we’ve even found ourselves doing it too. Identifying problems is easy. Talking about them? Not so much.

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Breaking an Academic Taboo: Professor Laura Baudot on Books@Work

Breaking an Academic Taboo: Professor Laura Baudot on Books@Work

We recently had the chance to speak with Laura Baudot, an Associate Professor of English at Oberlin College who has facilitated Books@Work sessions at a private high school and an adhesive manufacturing company. Among other things, we discussed her experience as a facilitator and how it differs from her experience teaching at a university. How do the humanities translate out of the academic world?

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Beyond the Workplace Happy Hour

Beyond the Workplace Happy Hour

Many of us have experienced a workplace happy hour. Maybe it’s a weekly thing: HR plans the outing, picks the bar, and you and your colleagues leave a few minutes early each Friday to grab drinks together. It’s a wonderful way to shrug off the workday worries and share laughs with colleagues outside the context of work. But how much do you bond with people at happy hour? Do you get to know the colleagues who work in a different department or on the opposite side of the building – or do you talk to the people you already know?

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Weekend Reading: May 2017

Weekend Reading: May 2017

Happy Friday! We’ve scoured the web for thought-provoking articles and essays for you to enjoy over the weekend.

In The Atlantic, Bouree Lam interviews Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of the book Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life which looks at “how companies and employees can acknowledge uncomfortable experiences and react appropriately.” How can negative emotions like grief, fear or resentment actually benefit our workplaces?

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Should We Make Friends at Work?

Should We Make Friends at Work?

When was the last time you made a great friend?

Way back when, the structure of the school day provided the perfect conditions for new friendship. We attended the same classes, we learned from the same teachers, and we experienced many of the same growing pains. It’s no wonder we bonded with each other.

So why doesn’t the same happen at work?

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That Can Be Me: How a Genuine Literature Discussion Can Lead to Self-Discovery

That Can Be Me: How a Genuine Literature Discussion Can Lead to Self-Discovery

In a recent post, I explored the subject of listening as understanding, and ever since I have had a heightened awareness of talking and listening in the public space – and, more importantly, in my own social interactions. The current public discourse displays a flood of talking and a drought of listening, but I have been surprised at how much private discourse (including my own) suffers from the same conversational excesses. We seem to listen so poorly, in fact, that we no longer notice how little genuine dialogue is happening. If listening does lead to the “miracle of understanding” described in my earlier post, how do Books@Work discussions make that miracle happen?

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