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A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Don’t Let Your Facebook Phobia Keep You From Doing Your Mission

Social media engagement strategies are pushed to the back burner for a number of reasons. Arguments against change revolve around funding, existing mediocre websites, the importance of personal ties and the golden years of civic engagement through perseverance. For those of you nodding your head in agreement, I am here to deliver a wake-up call. The No. 1 reason leaders do not pursue social media strategies is fear. Take a cue from Ted Gonder, the 24-year-old founder of Moneythink, who gives an inspiring talk called “Smashing Fear.” Do not let fear limit your organization’s ability to serve its mission. Fear is a sign, a compass that points us in the direction we need to walk and a guide for taking action.

You and your organization need to meet your stakeholders where they are: online.

Every organization is different, but every organization needs an online community. It is the reality we now live in. Online stakeholder interaction allows you to maintain closer relations with and among the partners, benefactors and potential influencers of your organization as a unit. When troublemakers try to obstruct goals, you can point to data and statistics gathered from an online presence and send them on ...

How a Quick Glimpse of Nature Can Make You More Productive

A nice walk through a city park can do wonders for a work-weary brain, reducing mental fatigue and improving attention. But if you're trapped on the high floors of an office tower all day, you can't exactly break for a long stroll and a picnic. Well, fear not. If you have a view of a nearby green space, like say a green roof, and even just a minute to spare, you can reap some of the same refreshing benefits of urban nature.

That's the upshot of a new paper from an Australia-based research team set for publication in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Their work has found that even taking just 40 seconds to focus on a view of nature can boost "multiple networks of attention"—sharpening your mind to handle the next task dealt by the work day. They call it a "micro-break," and it turns out your brain loves it:

Our results have particular implications for the workplace where sustained attention is vital for performance. They provide a preliminary indication that micro-break views of a green roof could help employees top-up their attention resources as they become depleted in the workplace.

What They Did

For ...

5 Productivity Secrets Your Boss Won't Tell You

When you're first starting out in your career, it's easy to think that your job consists of "what my boss tells me to do," followed closely by "how my boss tells me to do it." But after 15 years of study, practice and mostly observation, I've concluded that the most productive employees in the world take a different tack. As follows:

1. Don't work for a boss you don't respect. It's true: There aren't an infinite number of jobs out there, and you don't always get to pick the boss you want. That said, you will inevitably fail at your job if you insist on working for someone you don't think very highly of. Because your feelings will inevitably leak out in your attitude, in your words, and in your work. And when your boss gets wind of the fact that you are contemptuous of them, nothing you do on the job will be right -- even if all the work you do is brilliant. That situation alone is the ultimate productivity-killer.

2. Tell your boss what your boundaries are. All of us have tasks we need to decline. Sometimes they represent ...

How to Rebalance When You Get Off Track

One of the biggest misconceptions about time management is that if you just get the right systems in place, all of your time management stress will be solved forever. But that way of thinking is simply not accurate.

Your systems and routines are extremely important, but they are not everything. These strategies are more or less the equivalent of building yourself a boat so that you’re not clinging to drift wood as you go through life. But even in a boat, you still need to captain your ship to maneuver through the various weather changes and obstacles that cross your path.

“Captaining your ship” relates to adjusting to changing circumstances and also to managing your emotions. Chapter 2 of my book The 3 Secrets of Effective Time Management is on overcoming crippling emotions and Chapter 3 is on empowering mental patterns because I know these are foundational for lasting behavioral change.

To get you started and help you to stay calm in what can be a spring season, here are a few tips on how to achieve peace now:

Lean the Other Way

When you notice that you get off track, a temptation can be to just give up ...

It’s Not Too Late to Strengthen the Workforce

This headline on the tentative budget deal says it all: “Feds Dodge Bullet in Budget Deal, But Sequester Cuts Still Coming.” Federal workers should apparently feel good because there are no specific plans to reduce pay or benefits. In reality, the deal extends the negative atmosphere through the end of the Obama presidency.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., would have been correct that pay is not the reason for low morale if he had made the statement three or four years ago. But after five years of pay freezes and minimal increases, pay is an issue because the way it’s been handled communicates a lack of respect for employees. According to a recent report from the Society for Human Resource Management, respect and trust between leaders and employees are the two most important factors that contribute to job satisfaction. On both issues, it should not be surprising morale is so low.

If reform could have started on a positive track when the Obama presidency began, government would undoubtedly be performing at a significantly higher level today. But 2009 was very obviously not the time to rethink the civil service. In addition to the economic problems triggered by the Great Recession ...