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This technique is applicable to all kinds of creative activity, including writing. It's worth a read to see if this is something that might benefit you.

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This is worth a read if you're in a position to influence cultural change in your company. Change is hard and cultural change can be very hard, depending on:
1. How long your current culture has been in place
2. How engaged (or not) employees are
3. How willing your company is to put in the time and effort to understand the current culture as well as the change needed to get to the desired culture
4. How willing management is to put in the effort (making cultural change a priority) to ensure culture gets enough attention despite the onslaught of other business priorities.

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This is a very interesting approach to breaking the ice in conversations, with some risk but also serious potential payoff. It's at least worth thinking about.

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Good perspective on agile development, somewhat applicable to other types of work.

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Being able to talk to people you don't know well is a vital work skill. If you can start a conversation with strangers, you'll be rewarded with:

1. People opening up to you, helping you feel closer to them and them closer to you
2. A decreased level of stress and awkwardness (compared to silence)
3. Potential business or social opportunities for you or the person you're talking with

The tips here are all excellent. I'm not good at small talk and I don't enjoy it, but I make myself engage in it at work because it often leads to real, substantial communication which can benefit everyone.

One of the tips, "Give them your full attention", is an obvious one, but many of us have a hard time doing that. If you can really be present with someone, listening to them and paying attention to their tone, watching their body language, and thinking what they might be trying to communicate with their words (consciously or subconsciously), you'll find that such presence is both its own reward and will give others the desire and confidence to open up to you. Give it a try. Focus completely on another person while they're talking with you. Your relationship with them will likely grow in a positive way.

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This is a short article detailing the business advantages of empathy and the medium to large companies doing well and poorly at empathy. The ranking methodology is available for the curious.

It's worth noting that the companies in the survey set are a subset of all medium to large companies. The idea seems to be to limit the set to 100 well known companies and given that the methodology focuses on empathy in three areas (customer, employee and social media), some companies don't have presences in all three of these areas and probably won't be considered for the survey.

It's worth reading at least one article linked from the main piece - - as it provides some background on the survey.

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A Review of the IDEO Process

The link points to a PDF version of "A Review of the IDEO Process", which is worth reading for anyone, in any line of work. For those not familiar with IDEO, it's a very highly regarded design firm, used by many of the most innovative companies in the world. They have a great web site if you want to learn more -

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This is worth reading for everyone. Almost everyone can improve their email technique. By making your emails direct and concise, you save yourself and your readers/recipients time, minimize misunderstandings, and maximize the likelihood of someone who's busy taking the time to read your email and reply.

The article also discusses when to ask for a phone call or in person meeting. The author's points are all good rules of thumb to guide your thinking about how to communicate with others. 

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Autonomy is a central factor in work satisfaction.

What is Autonomy?
As the article notes, autonomy in the workplace "essentially means having a job where you can make at least some of the decisions on your own."

Why do we need autonomy?
The word "autonomy" is descended from the Greek "autónomos", with "auto" meaning self and "nomos" meaning law. It's helpful to think of autonomy as meaning having the ability to guide yourself, using your own internal guiding principles. Thinking of it this way, you might wonder whether this kind of freedom is essential for living a full life and giving meaning to your actions. For me, and I suspect for most of us, this kind of freedom allows us to give ourselves to tasks fully, using our creativity to accomplish them, rather than following an exact procedure, a human robot. We've all had to perform tasks that were specified exactly, with no freedom to deviate from the given procedure, and for most of us, it's a very unsatisfying activity.

This article, or one like it, should be read by everyone, and the lesson underlying it should be taught in secondary schools so that every adult has an understanding of what most human beings need to thrive while working.

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This is an excellent checklist for analyzing business ideas to determine their potential value and find any holes in your idea that might come back to bite you, or worse.
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