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Communication & Teamwork

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Lightening the cognitive load. A longtime colleague and friend of mine used to love to say “Let’s just make this easy for them” whenever we discussed an upcoming meeting.

Lightening the cognitive load

I think I winced the first few times I heard it. It didn’t seem like much of a negotiation strategy… at least, that is, until he helped me appreciate how powerful it can be to manipulate “cognitive load.” It’s a fairly straightforward principle — cognitive load is the level of mental energy you expend to interpret a situation and act on it. Because our “working memory,” the part of our brain that powers conscious thought, is limited to only 4-5 pieces of information at any given time… the lower the cognitive load, the easier and faster a decision can be made.

A simple arithmetic problem has lower cognitive load than a complex exponential equation. The lower the cognitive load, the easier and faster a decision can be made. The irony is that it’s essentially just a shift in cognitive load from the “user” to the “supplier.” Narrower decision criteria. Online notepads and collaboration tools. Whiteboards online. Orgnet, LLC - Social Network Analysis software & services for organizations, communities, and their consultants. The-8-simple-habits-of-incredible-bosses. Want to Learn How to be Better at Your Job? Here's the Best Way to Do It. Asking for advice can be tough.

Want to Learn How to be Better at Your Job? Here's the Best Way to Do It

It often feels like a sign of weakness, an admission that you're doing something wrong. Or maybe you feel like you're imposing on the advice-giver. But looking to other people for guidance is one of the most important habits of successful people. Whether you're entry-level, a manager, or a senior VP, everyone can benefit from reaching out. Take it from someone at the top: Pantheon CEO Zack Rosen makes a habit of reaching out to fellow-CEOs for insight and perspective.

"To be good at this job I need to be a learning machine," Rosen says. Zack found that, while Q&A-style meetings were helpful, something was missing. He calls it, "CEO Shadowing"--spending a day with the CEO of another company to discover more about how that company works and learn about different ways leaders have approached management and company building. People often shadow someone else to learn about a different career path--but why not shadow someone in your own?

Shadow the right person. Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout. Dave wheeler FOR HBR It can be tough enough to manage your own stress.

Help Your Team Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout

But how can you, as a manager, help the members of your team handle their feelings of stress, burnout, or disengagement? Because work is getting more demanding and complex, and because many of us now work in 24/7 environments, anxiety and burnout are not uncommon. In our high-pressure workplaces, staying productive and engaged can be challenging. Although it’s unlikely that the pace or intensity of work will change much anytime soon, there’s a growing body of research that suggests certain types of development activities can effectively build the capacity for resilience.

One approach is to focus on employees’ personal growth and development. The good news is that there are some very practical and easy-to-implement approaches to personal development that managers and team members can adopt — and they aren’t time-, budget-, or resource-intensive. Model and encourage well-being practices. Exercise empathy and compassion.

Task Scheduler Tasks. Online Mind Mapping and Brainstorming app - SpiderScribe. How To Communicate Visually With Your Team. Visuals are the most powerful form of communication.

How To Communicate Visually With Your Team

Take a look at the fastest growing social media platforms at the end of 2014: Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram: all image-focused. Add that to the fact that 65% of people are visual learners, and you have a compelling case for why your business needs to incorporate visuals throughout your office—especially if you’re a technology company. I write from personal experience. In growing a technology startup, tools like white boards, planning maps, timelines, and even gifs have been instrumental in company planning, brainstorming, and employee recruitment and retainment. Here are a few ways we’ve successfully leveraged visuals to improve business.

Planning Company Growth In business, choosing your next steps can be challenging. A visual planning map coupled with a straw poll is a great solution. At the start of every quarter, create a map that includes all the paths you and your team could take.