Top Blog Articles of 2016

Here are this year’s most popular articles based on email- and feed-subscribership:

  1. Top Blog Articles of 2016 How Smart Companies Get Smarter. To develop collective intelligence and build smarter organizations, discourage employees from heroically patching up recurring problems—whenever and wherever they occur. Instead, encourage them to find, report, analyze, experiment, and fix systemic problems to prevent their recurrence.
  2. Stop asking “What do you do for a living?” Chatting with somebody in socializing situations should be less about discerning the details of the other’s life to size up the other’s socioeconomic status, and more about building a bit of familiarity to initiate stimulating conversations about topics of mutual interest.
  3. What Will You Regret? A fascinating way of looking at life is to think about your life and your career in the context of future regret-avoidance. Regrets for the things you did are likely to be tempered by the passage of time, but regrets for the things you do not do will be upsetting in retrospect.
  4. Make Decisions Using Bill Hewlett’s “Hat-Wearing Process.” Carefully consider an idea, listen to and mull over facts, collect input from others, develop some perspective that comes only with time, and make sound, thoughtful decisions.
  5. Destroy Your Previous Ideas (Lessons from Charlie Munger.) An important constituent of critical thinking is taking your beliefs and opinions apart methodically, analyzing each part, assessing it for soundness by means of arguments and counterarguments, and then improving it. Challenge your convictions with contradictory evidence to fortify your beliefs.
  6. Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken. You can learn a lot from your heroes, but don’t blatantly pattern your lives after them. Develop your own style. Don’t become second-rate versions of people you admire; instead be a first-rate version of yourself.
  7. Being Underestimated Can Be a Great Thing. Don’t sweat when others think less than you actually are. Don’t let them make you feel small. Embrace their misjudgments with equanimity. Believe in yourself with humble confidence. Then outthink, outsmart, and outperform.
  8. Groupthink—The Curse of Teamwork. Many teams tend to compromise their decisions for the sake of consensus, harmony, and “esprit de corps.” They strive to minimize conflict and value conformity. The result is often a lowest-common-denominator decision upon which everybody in the team agrees.
  9. Beware of Advice from the Superstars. What worked for them won’t work for you. Expose yourself to many success principles and consider what qualities, attributes, mental models, or approaches to life you may want to assimilate into who you are. Don’t expect to blatantly imitate your hero and expect the same outcomes.
  10. You Can’t Know Everything. The wisest people I know are the ones who acknowledge that they don’t know everything and put strategies in place to shield themselves from their own ignorance. Make risk analysis and risk reduction one of the primary goals of your intellectual processes.

And here are articles of yesteryear that continue to be popular:

  1. Reframe Your Thinking, Get Better Answers. By changing or adjusting your perception of an issue, you are likely to reevaluate your intentions and find alternative, acceptable solutions to your situations.
  2. Self-Assessment Quiz: How Stressed are You? The first step to overcome the causes and effects of stress is to acknowledge stress and become aware of its symptoms. By identifying a few telltale signs of stress, you can take steps to manage them.
  3. How to Email Busy People. When you ask something of somebody, make it as convenient as possible for that person to respond to your request. Avoid imposing more busy work on already busy people.
  4. Coaching vs. Feedback. Coaching is about future behavior and feedback is about past (and current) behavior. Coaching is about assisting employees reach their goals for the future. Feedback is about helping employees understand what prevents them from reaching their current goals.
  5. The Opportunities in Customer Pain Points. Many innovative ideas are born of a reliable formula: prudent attention to customer pain points. Customers are usually willing to pay a premium to have their frustrations with a product or a service resolved.
  6. When Delegating, Acknowledge Possible Errors. When delegating, empower your employees by letting them know that they aren’t expected to make optimal decisions every time and you’re not demanding perfection.
  7. How to Earn Others’ Trust. The most important component of being effective at work is earning and upholding others’ trust through our actions, not through our words. Earn trust by making and honoring commitments.
  8. The Truth Can Be Bitterer than a Sweet Illusion. Delaying action and putting off unpleasant confrontations will only make things harder. Especially when dealing with difficulties involving people, there is nothing more insidious than unresolved conflict and inaction.
  9. Your To-Do List Isn’t a Wish List. Most folks can’t seem to complete and cross-off more than half of their to-do lists. Their buildup of tasks is never-ending; for every task they complete, they tend to add a few more. Add to your to-do list selectively; don’t say yes to everything that people ask of you.
  10. How to Write Email Subject Lines that Persuade. By writing persuasive subject lines in emails, you can help your readers identify the importance of your message and the action you’re asking.

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