Todd Davis

What I see time and time again at work is that we confuse activity with results. We get to the end of the day or the end of the week or the end of our life, and we’ve been very busy, we’ve been very exhausted, and we’ve been doing a lot of things. But have we been doing those things that really matter or make … [ Read more ]

Scott Crabtree

A lot of people believe that multitasking makes them even more efficient at what they’re doing. Science shows otherwise, in dramatic fashion. Most importantly, multitasking makes attaining flow impossible. That’s the happiest, most productive state of mind, and you can get into it simply by focusing completely for 20 minutes or more on a challenging but possible task.

James A. Runde

What I’ve found is that in the recruiting process, soft skills are under-assessed. In other words, they’re not properly measured.

Once people get hired, they are often slow to be developed by the human resources people. Only when there is a problem, only when somebody gets passed over for promotion, does a person realize that they undervalued, underappreciated how much the soft skills were going to … [ Read more ]

James A. Runde

In the early phases of people’s career, the very first thing is adapting from the academic world to the business world. In the academic world, the teacher has the answer and is there to help you. In the business world, the boss is expecting you to come up with answer and you’re expected to help the boss, so everything’s turned on its head.

Daniel Gross

By many measures, the labor market has never been better, with historically low unemployment rates and historically high levels of payroll jobs and job openings. So one service worker might be reasonably optimistic about finding a better position at better wages. And yet anxiety and economic insecurity remains rampant — in part because an increasing number of people rightly fear that their work could one … [ Read more ]

Ron Carucci

It’s a common complaint among top executives: “I’m spending all my time managing trivial and tactical problems, and I don’t have time to get to the big-picture stuff.” And yet when I ask my executive clients, “If I cleared your calendar for an entire day to free you up to be ‘more strategic,’ what would you actually do?” most have no idea. I often get … [ Read more ]

Tim O’Reilly

Because of the demands of financial markets, companies often find short-term advantage in cutting employment, since driving the stock price gives owners a better return than actually employing people to get work done. Eventually “the market” sorts things out (in theory), and corporations are once again able to offer jobs to willing workers. But there is a lot of unnecessary friction.

One of the challenges … [ Read more ]

Alexis de Tocqueville

Nothing tends to materialize man, and to deprive his work of the faintest trace of mind, more than extreme division of labor.

Lotte Bailyn, Laura W. Geller

Our society is still compartmentalizing “work” and “life,” looking for a way to even the scales, when we should be rethinking the perspective that values time as the ultimate capital. In systems based on such a mind-set, success comes to those who seem to be working the hardest, because they are always accessible. People cling to an outmoded view that work should be done by … [ Read more ]

Lotte Bailyn

I think the trouble with much of the advice out there right now is that it accepts the organizational and societal status quo. For example, there are companies that support telecommuting, but still require people to be accessible between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. That defeats the purpose. The purpose of giving people autonomy is allowing them to work when they are most productive. Time … [ Read more ]


Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.

Jennifer Reingold

There is most emphatically a Free Agent Nation today. The thing is, not all of the 9.3 million self-employed asked for citizenship: Downsizing turned many of them into refugees. Some of those who left secure, if staid, jobs for the freedom of free agency now find themselves struggling to pay the rent or offering to do the same work for the companies they left–for less … [ Read more ]

Angela Lee Duckworth

I’ve heard [game designer] Jane McGonigal describe play as the voluntary overcoming of unnecessary obstacles. Is work the voluntary overcoming of necessary obstacles?

Jeff Atwood

If you want to determine beyond a shadow of a doubt whether someone’s going to be a great hire, give them an audition project. […] If you can’t find a mini audition project for a strong candidate, perhaps you’re not structuring work properly for your existing employees either.

Keith Yost

What I learned is that burning out isn’t just about work load, it’s about work load being greater than the motivation to do work.

John Ruskin

In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.

Ulysses S. Grant

Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.

A.G. Lafley

You can never outwork a problem. You have to outthink it.

Richard P. Gabriel

People involved in “risky work”, as opposed to “repetitive work,” face three challenges: to create, to communicate, and to collaborate.

Arthur C. Brooks

Popular culture insists our jobs are drudgery, and one survey recently made headlines by reporting that fewer than a third of American workers felt engaged; that is praised, encouraged, cared for and several other gauges seemingly aimed at measuring how transcendently fulfilled one is at work.

Those criteria are too high for most marriages, let alone jobs. What if we ask something simpler: “All things considered, … [ Read more ]