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The 5 Best Management Tips of the Week

Image via The Last Word/

Welcome to Excellence in Government's weekly round up of the best management tips from around the web. This week we feature a whole bunch of great ideas from the Harvard Business Review's "Management Tip of the Day" as well as a gem on the multi-faceted note taking/life organizing tool Evernote. Read on...

1. Change Small Things, Not Your Entire Culture.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, says HBR's tip from Monday. If you're trying to change an organization's culture, do it incrementally by taking it one step at a time:

When people don’t achieve company goals, senior managers often declare that it’s time to change the culture. But sweeping, large-scale culture change efforts rarely cure what ails a company. Managers get better results when they start with a few smaller successes. Start with one problem, for example a performance challenge.

Learn More…

[via HBR]

2. Three Ways to Make the Most of Your Downtime

Why don't we treat our downtime the same way we treat meetings? HBR advises you lend some structure to your downtime, blocking off free time with intention. Focus on specific things you want out of your downtime by doing these three things:

  • Schedule your downtime
  • Shut off electronic devices
  • Create routines

…Learn More

[via HBR]

3. Make Your Writing Chronological

Great tip for those of you writing lots of reports: “When giving a factual account, use chronology to keep your writing clear, efficient, and interesting. To help you relay the narrative in order — rather than jumping in at the middle or even the end — create a ‘chronology of relevant events’ before you write.”

…Learn More

[via HBR]

4. Learn How to Use Evernote Effectively

If you've ever wanted to completely ditch pen and paper methods of taking notes, Evernote is for you. Record audio of meetings as you take notes, archive pictures, recipes  and more. Lifehacker's Whitson Gordon tells the tale of how he was using Evernote all wrong (i.e. not using it consistently) and how, by using it to organize several aspects of his life, it became his own personal archive and useful wiki. If you've ever wanted to dive into or get more out of Evernote, this one is for you:

...Learn More

[via Lifehacker]

5. Eliminate Jargon from Your Next Presentation

When was the last time you were in a meeting and a presenting program manager talked completely over everyone's head? Yeah, don't be that guy/gal. HBR says that using lingo only people in your industry know has no place in your presentations. They advise you employ the "grandmother test": 

If your grandmother wouldn't understand what you're talking about, rework your message. Use words that will resonate with the people you want to support and influence you. If they can't follow your ideas, they won't adopt them.

…Learn More

[via HBR]

Have a great management tip to feature in the weekly round up? Send them to me at

Image via The Last Word/

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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