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Waking Up Early For Work Could Quite Literally Be Killing You

Around one in five people in Western countries could be putting their health at risk simply by going to work. This is because working shifts outside of the rest of the population’s normal hours has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even declines in brain function.

Scientists think this is because our bodies are programmed to run on cycles known as circadian rhythms, and changes in our routine caused by shift work or travelling long distances disrupts those rhythms. But our new research suggests that the effects of shift work or jet lag on our body clocks could be reduced simply by changing the times at which people eat.

The key to this theory is the idea that each person doesn’t just have a single body clock but rather a complex network of billions of cellular clocks found throughout the body. In humans and other mammals, there is a master clock within a region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) and many peripheral clocks found elsewhere.

In most individuals, the master SCN clock is set to the planet’s natural cycle of light and dark. The SCN clock then synchronises the peripheral clocks...

Three Psychological Strategies Women Can Use To Combat Manterruptions At Work

In the past few weeks, California senator Kamala Harris has emerged as a prominent voice in US Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. But if repeated interruptions from her male colleagues are any indication, some would prefer to keep her from using her voice quite so often.

Unfortunately, many women—even senators and Supreme Court justices—have to deal with a disproportionate amount of interruptions at work. It can be tricky figure out the right way to respond, particularly because there are a number of reasons why people interrupt one another—ranging from the innocuous to the outright sinister. Here are a few tips for identifying the most common kinds of interruptions, and how to deal with them appropriately.

Over-exuberance

Some interruptions are just a sign that you’ve effectively engaged your audience. But if your interrupter is demonstrating unbridled enthusiasm, you can still call it out in a non-judgmental way. First, validate their enthusiasm: “I’m glad you’re so invested in this. I’m just going to finish my overview so we can all be on the same page.” If the person interrupts again, reiterate the process: “I’m going to finish the overview and then everyone will have a...

What the U.S. Can Learn From India’s Government Reform Efforts

I was in India recently, along with IBM Center Executive Director Dan Chenok, to participate in a forum entitled “The Business of Government: Learnings from Global Experiences,” which was co-sponsored by the IBM Center for The Business of Government along with the National Institution for Transforming India, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, and the Indian School of Business. The goal was to discuss best practices in service delivery and governance, and how thought leadership from academia and business might support the Indian government going forward.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a major government reform initiative that is a couple of years ahead of recent reform efforts by the U.S. Government. India’s efforts hold lessons that can inform the U.S. initiatives currently underway.

India’s government is based on the British parliamentary system with career civil servants heading about 80 departments that report to political ministers. Day-to-day operations are in the hands of career executives with the title of Secretary to the Government of India. It’s a more centralized system and in some respects and faces greater challenges. It serves a population nearly four times the size of the United States, with...

How the Army Recruits and Retains Millennials

The popular image of a “millennial” employee is an app-obsessed, T-shirt clad Googler. So perhaps it is not surprising that many conversations about how to recruit and lead millennials focus narrowly on young college graduates and the tech companies that hire them.

But some employers must attract and manage a much broader swath of millennials. Perhaps few organizations face a more difficult challenge than the Army. Imagine having to recruit more than 60,000 people a year, from diverse backgrounds, for positions that may require moving far from family, letting go of a lot of civilian comforts, and perhaps even seeing combat.

“We want to keep our talent,” says Col. Robert Carr, the current Army Chief of Staff Senior Fellow at the Kellogg School. “In that sense we’re no different from corporate America. But that can be especially difficult in the military,” given the Army’s size (nearly one million active, reserve, and national guard soldiers), its physical and disciplinary qualifications, its relatively modest pay, and the competition from industries and universities for talent.

Based on his more than 20 years of military experience, Carr says that, when it comes to grooming millennials for a military career, it is...

There’s a Limit to Doing More With Less, And Many Feds Have Reached It

It should come as no surprise that almost all public sector leaders today anticipate increased cost pressures to get their jobs done. In a recent survey of these leaders by CEB (now Gartner) 85 percent believe their workload will increase in the future, but only 20 percent think their resources will keep pace. Agencies have long sought to cut costs and improve efficiency, pushing the mantra “do more with less.” But the reality is that teams are hitting their limits.

Leaders often focus on squeezing just a little bit more out of their team’s performance to maintain the same level of service at a lower cost. This may seem logical, but it is not sufficient to sustain the level of cost cutting federal leaders currently face.  

A major mistake many take when implementing cost-reduction campaigns is to assume that all of a function’s activities are created equal and each delivers the same worth for the same cost to the organization. Instead, leaders need to think critically about what their teams should and should not do. With the private sector companies we work with, we’ve found that those that implement sustainable cuts to service delivery costs focus on...