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The 5 Best Management Tips of the Week

Image via The Last Word/

Welcome back to Excellence in Government's weekly round up of the best management tips from around the web. This week we tell you to stop being stupid, give you tips to unlock your creativity and advise you to simply say “thank you” a little more often.

Read on…

1. Play Games to Unlock Your Creativity

Looking to get more creative with your team? Try playing the creative thinking games inventor Stephen Key writes about for Entrepreneur. Take for instance a game he calls “Mix and Match”:

What two products could be brought together for the first time to create a new one? Don't be afraid to get unconventional. Walk down the aisle of your favorite retail store and ideas abound. For example, the decision to combine a flashlight with a screwdriver was ingenious. It's now possible to work in dark areas without having to hold a flashlight. And of course, what would our phones be without a camera?

One of my students came up with the idea to combine a license plate frame with a dry erase board. People want to have their license plate reflect their interests and style and with this product, they're able to craft and modify their own unique message whenever they want.

Learn more…

[via Entrepreneur]

2. Figure Out Your Current System Before Trying to Improve It

Before you decide you need to radically change your organization's workflow, figure out what that workflow is. If you accomplish something everyday, you are already working with a system, you might just not realize it. Michael Schechter, writing on self-improvement blog A Better Mess, advocates that you spend some time with the system you already have before you try and fix it:

If you’re yet to really consider your system, don’t ask yourself if you need one. Don’t start by asking yourself something along the lines of “do I need to read Getting Things Done?” Instead, start by asking this: is how I’m working, working? If the answer is yes, great! Get back to work. If not, don’t worry, but start looking to understand the system you’re pretending not to use and then start figure out how to make it better.

Learn more…

[via A Better Mess]

3. Leaders: Be Brave, Be Honest

Forbes Contributor Erika Andersen tells us about the fundamentals of 21st Century leadership. Chiefly, effective leaders must be brave and honest—admitting, and embracing, the things they don’t know:

Because being honest about what you fear is essential to real change.

If you can be unflinchingly honest in saying “I don’t know this,” or “I’m worried I won’t be able to do that,” or “that makes me uncomfortable,” you can be brave enough to move into that awkward place of exploration where you’re trying something new; the novice phase that’s part of all true growth.

And finally, you can be brave enough to keep going when you’re in the ‘not-good’ part of learning new things and break through: into new knowledge, new capability, new comfort.  For a leader in the 21st century, that’s critical. Avoiding the things you fear simply won’t work, if you want to lead people into the future that’s before us.  There’s just way too much that’s new and untried for you to be successful staying in your comfort zone.

Learn more…

[via Forbes]

4. Three Ways to Be Less Stupid

Drake Baer at Fast Company writes that, from an evolutionary standpoint, our default mode is stupid. When we’re not asked to employee our full processing powers, we don’t—and this “lazy-survivalist evolutionary adaptation,” he writes, gets us in trouble. Namely, we make dumb decisions. Want to be less stupid? Try these three things:

Critical thinking--that is, a reflective reasoning about your beliefs and actions--is a good start.

. . .

Do less. As a recent University of Utah study has shown, people who think they're good at multitasking actually aren't.

. . .

Schedule thinking time. If we take stupidity to be an unquestioning of the motivations for your actions, sculpting some inquiry time into your schedule could help.

Learn more…about how to not be stupid.

[via Fast Company]

5. Foster an Attitude of Gratitude to Repair Your Culture

Christine Riordan, Dean of University of Denver’s College of Business, writes in the Harvard Business Review that high performing teams begin and end with making sure everyone feels valued and appreciated. She writes, “when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engaged in productive relationships with co-woerks and supervisors, are motivated to do their best, and work towards [sic] achieving the company’s goals.” So what should leaders do to foster cultures of gratitude? For starters, say “thank you” more often. Beyond that, she recommends the following three things:

1.     Help others develop.

2.     Involve employees in decision-making and problem solving

3.     Support camaraderie and collegiality

Learn more….

[via HBR Blog]

Have a great management tip to feature in the weekly round up? Contact me at or @mark_micheli.

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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