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Here is One Simple Trick to End Your Inbox Insanity

You’ve tried Google’s new Inbox app and every other bloody “email management” app out there. You’ve tried browser extensions, browser add-ons, the hipster journal, the non-hipster journal, GTD books, mindfulness, lifehacking… nothing ever works—your inbox is a mess. You have thousands of emails pending and the will to live is now slowly ebbing out of your being.

Wait. There is one more trick that might just bring some sanity to your much maligned inbox.

That trick is called: Clarification.

I can stake no claim to have invented this trick. But I’ve been using it ever since my first job working in an automotive parts factory in Chennai. Perhaps I picked it up from a colleague. My memory fails. But you know what never fails me?

Exactly. Clarification.

This is how this trick works.

First you open your email inbox. Right away, you know which emails aren’t going to be a problem. The easy stuff. The stuff you don’t sweat over.

Ignore those.

What we are looking for are the messages that have been rotting away in your inbox for days. And you just can’t be bothered to respond to. But you can ...

Take This Critical First Step to Boosting Employee Engagement

Is your organization looking for ways to increase employee engagement? If not, it’s time to start prioritizing as new guidelines from the Obama administration require agency leaders to ensure their performance plans include engagement-related strategies and actions. Organizations with engaged employees have been shown to outperform organizations with employees who are not engaged. In fact, according to Gallup, organizations with highly engaged employees have a 51 percent lower turnover rate, 27 percent less absenteeism, and have workforces that are 20 percent more productive. These are all critical factors that can add to the success of your agency’s mission.

Part of the administration’s Cross Agency Priority Goals, the key objective of the People and Culture CAP is to increase employee engagement scores to 67 percent by 2016. This is a big goal given the 2014 scores dropped 1 percent from 2013 to 63 percent in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.  

Improving your organization's employee engagement by 4 percent in the next two years will require a large team effort.  But it can be done. Agency leaders will need to be involved across the organization from start to finish. You will also need a comprehensive strategy that includes ...

Leading America's Workforce

Yesterday the president honored the incredible innovation, energy and commitment of the senior leaders of America’s federal workforce. These public servants come from all walks of life and from every corner of America to carry on the proud tradition of dedicating their careers to serving others.

In his address, the president highlighted the extraordinary contributions senior leaders make every day to public service, and he called on leaders in the federal workforce to continue their focus on the most important elements of leadership: investing in our people and engaging our workforce, maintaining a focus on achieving agency missions, encouraging diversity and inclusion, encouraging innovation, and delivering quality customer service. 

A high-performing government relies on an engaged, well-prepared and well-trained workforce. Whether defending our homeland, restoring confidence in our financial system, providing health care to our veterans, conducting diplomacy abroad, providing relief to victims of disasters, or searching for cures to the most vexing diseases, we are fortunate to be able to depend upon a skilled workforce committed to public service.

As part of the President’s Management Agenda, the Obama administration is focused on developing and unlocking the full potential of the federal workforce to drive greater effectiveness and ...

How Sexism Stifles Creativity

If you ever want to say something offensive, just preface it with, “I’m not the politically correct type, so...” It’s a signal to the listener that the unfiltered brain-vomit that’s about to dribble forth is just an exercise in free speech.

In defending his statement that he would never appoint a Muslim to his administration, for example, Herman Cain told Fox News in 2011, “My motivation for saying no ... was based upon the fact that they are trying to push Sharia law off on this country. And I'm simply not going to try and be politically correct in order to help facilitate that.”

The writer Teju Cole parodied this perfectly in the New Yorker recently: “Look, I’m not the politically correct type, so I’m just going to put this out there: Ebola is the neo-Nazism of niggling knee injuries.”

People who aren’t politically correct, according to this philosophy, are the only true thinkers in a world of sheeple. They took the red pill, and they’re here to drop some knowledge.

The other connotation of political correctness is as a euphemism for false outrage. It’s the grown-up version of “concern trolling ...

Don’t Run in the Pentagon

Over the course of my 25 years of military service, I have acquired valuable lessons in leadership, time management, and organizational operations. Since soldiers are short on time, sharing these lessons with them as succinctly as possible communicates both the idea I want to get across and the value I place on their time. While the military is not the boardroom or the executive suite, fundamental ideas like these should be applicable to your own work as an executive.

 Every step you take shows your leadership, so don’t run in the Pentagon.

You are standing in line for coffee at your company’s cafeteria one morning when a director darts by with a printed PowerPoint slide in his hand. You may start to speculate: What could possibly be wrong? Has something drastic happened that we don’t know about? Is that one piece of paper going to save the company from imminent demise?

Now imagine a colonel or Navy captain running past you in the halls of the Pentagon. Has World War III started? Should we all be running? Keeping a cool head projects an awareness of the larger situation and the ways your actions may be interpreted by ...