Tag Archives: teams

Great Bosses Cultivate Great Ideas

NewNPRHQI'm in Washington, DC this week, teaching workshops at NPR. Folks here have just moved into a beautiful new building. It's not just a state-of-the-art workspace. It's also designed to bring many creative people together for better opportunities to think and collaborate.

That's important here, for sure, because public radio is built on ideas. But every good organization wants to capture and cultivate good proposals, plans, thoughts, suggestions. It works best when leaders understand how to cultivate great ideas. How to make it easy and effective to pitch, catch and coach them.

In preparation for the teaching, I immersed myself in a good amount of literature about brainstorming, collaboration and innovation.  I turned that into a column and podcast for Poynter.org, titled "Don't Be an Idea Killer: Ten Tips for Cultivating Good Ideas."   Here's how I begin:

Some of our best ideas come when we’re taking a break from concentration. At least, that’s what recent research says. Since the concept for this column coalesced while I was sweating my way through a Zumba class, I’m prepared to believe it.

I’d been doing a lot of reading about the cultivation of ideas — especially the leader’s role in brainstorming, creativity and innovation. I collected insights and advice from all sorts of experts to use in my teaching. I wanted to craft a column, too, but kept debating with myself about the framing.

Not surprisingly, my breakthrough came when I stopped fretting and shifted my focus to enjoying some music and keeping pace with the class leader.

And here's a link to the full column and all ten tips.

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Happy to Say “Arbejdsglæde” in Aarhus!

Welcome to the Aarhus studios and offices of DR - Danish Broadcasting.


On a Friday morning in April, I spent the day there to teach about leadership and success. To say I was welcomed would be an understatement.  Take a look at the front door! That poster, announcing my morning talk to the full staff, was not only there, but everywhere around the building.


I had been asked to talk to DR employees about a successful, creative and competitive workplace, with both the joys and the demands it places on people. In fact, the talk was titled "Surviving Success."  The shot below is from the back of the gathering.  I'm that tiny spot in the front right corner.


Fortunately, English is a second (or third or fourth!) language for many Danes, because my Danish is quite limited.  It's so limited, I told the group, that I knew only a few Danish words: "tusen takk" -- which means "thank you very much" and "velkommen," which is "welcome."  But for this day, I had learned a new and very powerful Danish word.  Here it is:


It is the Danish word for "happiness at work."  Isn't it interesting that there's no one-word equivalent for it in English?  We talk about motivation, or job satisfaction, but arbejdsglæde means more than that.  It means the workplace is a great place and people look forward to coming to work.  Great bosses guiding great employees create that culture of arbejdsglæde.

The DR staff applauded my attempt to pronounce the word.  (Sounds like "ah-BITES-glay-the")  Later that day, I applauded their managers for their focus on leadership, during our daylong workshop.

DRWorkshop These are the top leaders of various aspects of DR's news and information programming. We talked about their values and how values lead to the choices they make every day as leaders. We focused on communication, collaboration and the development of successful and happy staff.   DRNameplates   As you can tell from the extra care DR took to emphasize the positive, right down to putting an image of "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" on the manager's name cards, the word "arbejdsglæde" might have been new to me, but it's in the leadership lexicon of this team.    
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Leading and Laughing: My Favorite Combination

What better way to spend the weekend before the official publication date of the book, than conducting a leadership workshop for some very bright young managers in the Raycom Media group.  Raycom believes in growing leaders from within the organization, and each year selects up-and-coming mid-level managers for specialized training. I've played a role in that program for several years running.  Being a manager is serious business, of course, but if you read my book, you'll see that I believe levity is a key value of leadership. As a surprise to the class, Raycom's news VP, Susana Schuler purchased early copies of the book from Amazon.com, and presented each one with a copy, which I then signed.  This photo was taken after they learned about the importance of feedback -- and my concept of "feedback glasses" (also in the book.) We took a few class pictures together, and needless to say, this one is my hands-down favorite.
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8 Tips for Building Trust in Teams

Isn't this a great picture?  It's dynamic, iconic -- it represents a real team with real trust.  The best part of all, is that it isn't some stock photo.  It's a real event.  It wasn't posed.  In fact, it happened in an instant.  I know because I was there.  My hand is in that circle.  But let me be clear: I didn't instigate it.  I just chose to take part, just as every other person did.  This photo is the jumping off point for a column I've written in my "What Great Bosses Know" series for the Poynter Institute. The column offers eight tips for leaders who want to build strong, high performing teams.  It takes trust to build and sustain a true team.  So, here's a link to the column, (just click on the highlighted words to get there) with all eight tips, and the interesting back story of how that picture came to life. (Photo credit to Scott Simmie of The Toronto Star.)
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