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One Way to Tackle Job Interview Jitters

When we lose ourselves in a stressful moment—a workplace situation can quickly escalate from challenging to completely overwhelming.

For many of us, job interviews are a common scenario that can trigger strong responses; anticipation, excitement, trepidation, anxiety. If you’ve sat in the interview chair, you are likely aware of the struggles we all face to remain calm and focused. As much as we might attempt to stay composed—our minds can race out of control—not unlike a runaway train. Managing ourselves through this stressful dynamic is key. Could the concept of mindfulness possibly help all of us through the challenge of an interview? Recent research tells us that it can.

Tough workplace scenarios can cause our “fight or flight” response to kick in—and job interviews qualify. 

Labeled “Amygdala Hijacks” by psychologist Daniel Goleman, these moments are characterized by a neurological process in which our “rational brain” (neocortex) becomes overpowered by our emotional brain. This renders us in a weakened position to deal with many situations effectively.

Mindfulness is defined as “the psychological state where you focus on the events of the present moment” and allows us to observe the events of our lives from a safer ...

Managing in the Era of ‘New Power’

In the 1990s, a new model of governance emerged: Reinventing government. This model was rooted in private sector entrepreneurial approaches and market-like incentives. A new trend, dubbed “new power,” has emerged in the 2010s.

Reinventing government was organized around 10 values, such as government being catalytic, community-owned, competitive, etc. Today, a new management reform trend is evolving, with its own models and values, again inspired by private sector and societal trends. A recent Harvard Business Review article by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms examines this trend, at least as it has evolved in the private sector, and they call it “new power.” Not catchy, but their article does crystalize some powerful ideas.

What Is ‘New Power’?

Heimans and Timms write that “new power” actors differ from “old power” players along two dimensions: the models they use to exercise power and the values they embrace. They say the nature of power is shifting in today’s world—who has it, how it is distributed, where it is heading. Understanding these shifts will define the challenges facing businesses, nonprofits and government alike.

 “Old power works like currency. It is held by few,” Heimans and Timms say. “Once gained, it is jealously guarded ...

Enhancing the Citizen Journey Is a Government Imperative

As websites, 24/7 customer support, mobile apps and other tools open up convenient options for people to interact, the collective expectation for customer service has changed. Whether we are communicating with work associates or friends and relatives, transacting business, gaming or streaming online content, real-time access to information and services is no longer an added perk, but a necessity. This is especially true of citizens' interactions with government.

Expectations have grown for the citizen journey—the experience a person has when seeking government assistance, from beginning to end—and it is imperative that agencies deliver. It is also an opportunity for those in the government services industry to find ways to help serve citizens more effectively.

Citizen-centric experiences are priority for the Obama administration and a key tenet of modern government. In 2011, President Obama issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to improve their customer service. “With advances in technology and service delivery systems in other sectors, the public’s expectations of the government have continued to rise. The government must keep pace with and even exceed those expectations,” the directive said. The President’s Management Agenda focuses on creating government-industry partnerships that improve services delivered to citizens ...

When Priorities Clash, Time Seems Shorter

“It's a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.” That's a quote from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Perhaps Rowling isn't as profound as Einstein, but research shows that this insight about the nature of time might be more than anecdotal.

Time is of course, relative. In economics, the question of what to do with one's time is often described by opportunity cost. That is, the opportunity cost of reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is measured by the next best use of time—the book that you didn't read because you read Harry Potter. Included in the idea of opportunity cost is the fundamental concept that resources are limited, and that scarcity is real. One thing that people seem to constantly run out of? Time.

But since time is relative, what if we could make it seem longer? A new studylooks at what the pressure of choice, particularly that of conflicting priorities, does to the perception of time. "People may feel time constrained for a few reasons. On some days, for instance, we ...

Not Everyone's Internal Clock is Set for the 9-to-5

No matter how early she went to bed, Maggie couldn’t fall asleep until the early hours of the morning. Though constantly exhausted, Maggie (she asked that I not use her last name) got good grades in high school, but she'd frequently get in trouble for coming in late and napping during her morning classes.

Maggie dreamt of going to medical school. Unfortunately, she couldn't concentrate during early morning science classes in college, and she had to switch her major from biology to literature. Her post-grad situation was no better: Waking up for her 8:30 a.m. teaching position turned her into a zombie, and she lost her job because she lacked enthusiasm. She switched career paths to take on a marketing position that was supposed to be afternoon-only, but once her boss started requiring her to come in mornings, it didn't work out—and she's now unemployed.

Maggie isn't lazy, she suffers from delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)—a disorder that affects one in 750 adults that causes them to be somewhat nocturnal. By that estimate, DSPS affects over 40,000 Americans. Essentially, DSPS means a person's internal clock is set differently ...