Blog. Insight, issues, opinions and productivity solutions

Five Things That Turn a Job into a DREAM Job

Posted on November 6, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Everybody would love to work in a Dream Job. Not everybody is so lucky; and not everybody realizes what the makings of such a job are. What makes a salaried position into a dream job? I’ve spent some 3 decades in a variety of positions before striking out on my own, and now as a consultant I get to see many workplaces and to talk to many workers. I’ve seen good jobs and bad, wonderful and horrible ones. Here is what I found. Perhaps you can find more (do share, if you do!). This is a subject you want to.. Read more

When Cultures Clash: Open Door Policy vs. Information Overload

Posted on October 29, 2014 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

The causes of Information Overload are always tightly intertwined with organizational culture, so it is small wonder that solving the first requires messing with the second… and there are times when my work to help organizations mitigate information overload runs into apparent conflicts with existing cultural values. When that happens, we must tread carefully! One such case is the contradiction with the Open Door policy that is quite common in progressive organizations in the western world. The conflict The basic idea of Open Door is that managers are available to their subordinates whenever the latter feel they have something to.. Read more

Should IT Customize Outlook to Reduce Information Overload?

Posted on October 24, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

I was giving a workshop on Information Overload at a midsized hi-tech company where it was agreed to use a standard format for meeting invitations: in addition to the subject, time and place required by Outlook, each such invitation would contain an agenda with a timetable, a list of desired outcomes, and “homework” to be prepared ahead of the meeting. That’s an excellent idea, which I urge you to consider applying in your own group. But then one attendee asked: can we build this into the Outlook platform, so these added fields would be required and enforced automatically? And that.. Read more

Announcing Information Overload Day!

Posted on October 13, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized

Every year in October the Information Overload Research Group (IORG) promotes the observance of the worldwide Information Overload Day. This holiday may not cure the problem that is exacting a growing toll on the effectiveness and sanity of knowledge workers worldwide, but it is a way to give some reach to the message that something needs to be done about it! This year the day is Tuesday, Oct. 21, and I urge you to devote some time during that day to consider how you can reduce the overload you suffer and the one you create for others – and to.. Read more

Wedding Photos and Managing Information Overload

Posted on September 30, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Recently I attended a session at Haifa University, where the MA students of the Faculty of Management presented their research theses. I love these opportunites to hear bright young folks share their ideas! One presentation attracted my attention in particular: Dina Fridman talked about “Contemporary Wedding Photography: New photography Practices and digital wedding album management” (see her abstract here). The point is that today everyone has a camera in their phone, so the role of the traditional professional photographer is complemented by scores of amateurs who create a vast number of photos, then share them online. Dina wanted to research.. Read more

Information Overload and Innovation: a Vicious Circle

Posted on September 18, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

An unusual lecture subject Yesterday I gave a somewhat unusual invited lecture at the Innovation as Culture conference in Tel Aviv. The lecture was about Information Overload, something I speak about often, but in this case I was asked to consider it from an Innovation point of view. After some thought I realized there were a number of points of congruence between these two subjects: after all, innovation requires thinking, and information overload is a major barrier to deep, focused thought. On the other hand, many solutions to information overload are extremely innovative. That’s two areas to explore already –.. Read more

New Insight Article: Want to Motivate Employees? Don’t Treat Them Like Children!

Posted on September 8, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

A great deal has been written about how to motivate your workforce, and there are many valid ways to go about it. One method, however, is so simple and effective that it’s hard to understand why many companies miss out on applying it. The secret is simple: accord your employees – all of them, even the newest young hires – your unquestioning trust. In other words, show them that you trust their judgment, and that they have your permission to apply it as they see fit. No micro-management, no debilitating approval loops, no frustrating insistence on excessive control. You hire.. Read more

Is Information Overload a Symptom of Incorrect Staffing?

Posted on August 21, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

Of the 164 solutions to information overload included in my Definitive Guide, the last one is probably the least likely to be implemented – and that’s truly a shame. The problem we seldom mention I was discussing Information Overload a while ago with a thoughtful executive at a Fortune 500. The guy agreed with me that things were out of control, but he wasn’t impressed with the fact that he was receiving some 250 work-related email messages a day, most of which were pretty much useless. He said to me, “The problem is not the 200-odd useless emails; those I.. Read more

Nathan’s Favorite Solutions to Information Overload

Posted on August 14, 2014 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

When I consult about Information Overload, I often get asked what are my favorite solutions to this problem. Of course this is a simplistic approach: what works in one company won’t necessarily be a good fit to another, as it all depends on the local culture and other factors. Still, the question is raised, so with the above caveat I will try to answer it. Now that I’ve published the Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions (available in PDF and Kindle versions), I have a long list to choose from: 164 solutions are included in the guide, and a few.. Read more

Why Employee Badge Design Matters to Your Company

Posted on August 8, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

What defines the design of the employee badges in your company? Who cares, you say? YOU should, I reply. Very much so. Read on. How it’s usually done The employee badge is a standard feature of the hi-tech workplace (and other security-aware establishments). It is usually issued to new employees by the security department, since its main raison d’être is to enhance security by highlighting intruders. Until full biometrics take over, it is also frequently used to open doors to restricted areas, to feed the employee in the plant cafeteria, and to charge and track other activities. Form follows function,.. Read more