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On Job-crafting and Other Hot Topics

This past week I had the opportunity to participate in a career webinar series sponsored by the alumni association of my alma mater, The University of Chicago. The topic of my talk was the concept of job crafting, a pragmatic approach for altering aspects of your job or career to make it more engaging and meaningful. I have included two HBR articles below that describe job crafting at both the individual and team levels. If you are interested to learn more about this topic or see a copy of my presentation, please feel free to reach out. 

For the balance of this week’s collection, I put myself on a bit of a diet re: coronavirus-related material and dipped (mostly) into my backlog of articles, podcasts, etc. The result is quite a varied mix of content and topics. For those interested in coronavirus-specific content, I highly recommend Avinash Kaushik’s article titled Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste and the 99% Invisible podcast The Natural Experiment. Hosted by Oakland’s own Roman Mars (yes that is his real name), he and his producers highlight 4 areas of inquiry that have been directly informed by and benefited from the pandemic. Totally nerdy and totally fascinating. 

As always, happy reading and listening! And please stay safe and look out for your families and your community. 


What Job Crafting Looks Like. “Job crafting — changing your job to make it more engaging and meaningful — can take many forms…First, there is task crafting, which involves altering the type, scope, sequence, and number of tasks that make up your job. Next, you can relationally craft your job by altering whom you interact with in your work. Finally, there is cognitive crafting, where you modify the way you interpret the tasks and/or work you’re doing.” 

How to Job Craft as a Team. “For leaders of teams whose work is highly interconnected, making it difficult to allow one member to job craft, team job crafting is a way to practically manage the tensions between individual and collective success and meaning, achieving higher levels of both.” 

Never Let a Crisis Go To Waste. “History demonstrates that human society and norms have an incredible capacity to spring back to the median after a crisis. Yet, just as consistently, a minority of people and teams have demonstrated an ability to take advantage of a crisis to drive change that optimizes the present to brighten the future. Will you, your company, be in that minority?” 

Getting Personal About Change. “…If you want to lead change, you must take on both the contextual and personal dimensions. Mastering them is a challenge but also can be incredibly rewarding—not just for the organizations and people you’re trying to lead but also for you as a leader.” 

Overwhelmed by your to-do lists? Try this simple solution. “But while we try to overhaul society, we still have to tackle our to-do lists, and there’s one technique I’ve recently found more useful than any other, as well as better suited to this era of exhaustion and overwhelm: limiting work-in-progress, or WIP.” 

Why Filler Words Like “Um” and “Ah” Are Actually Useful. “Language matters, and the words you use have an impact on your effectiveness as a speaker and as a leader. Contrary to popular wisdom, sometimes it’s OK to use fillers or hedge words. Recognize the impact these words have and use them strategically.” 

The 5 Biggest Biases That Affect Decision-Making. “Through our research, we’ve organized more than 150 such biases into five broad categories. These five biases comprise the SEEDS Model®, the framework that underpins our solutions geared toward reducing unconscious bias and, ultimately, as a person.” 

7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Is One Of The Fastest-Growing Job Skills. “Here’s why hiring managers say they often value emotional intelligence more highly than IQ.”  

TED Talks/Podcasts

WorkLife with Adam Grant: Authenticity Is a Double-Edged Sword. “‘Just be yourself.’ That’s popular work advice these days, with more and more companies encouraging people to “be authentic” and bring their whole selves to work. But when we get real at the wrong time or in the wrong way, it can backfire. What does effective authenticity look like, and how can we learn to strike the right balance?” 

TEDWomen: How Symbols and Brands Shape Our Humanity. “‘Branding is the profound manifestation of the human spirit,’ says designer and podcaster Debbie Millman. In a historical odyssey that she illustrated herself, Millman traces the evolution of branding, from cave paintings to flags to beer labels and beyond. She explores the power of symbols to unite people, beginning with prehistoric communities who used them to represent beliefs and identify affiliations to modern companies that adopt logos and trademarks to market their products — and explains how branding reflects the state of humanity.” 

99% Invisible: The Natural Experiment. “…There are some researchers for whom the shutdowns have provided a unique opportunity—a whole new data set, a chance to gather new information, or to look at information in a new way. And so, this week, we’re bringing you stories very different academic fields, about researchers who are using this bizarre, tragic moment to learn something new about the world.”  

Blog Posts (excerpt below with links to the full post)

This Is a Critical Strength to Cultivate. “’The strongest man,’ the great Nobel prize-winning poet Juan Ramón Jiménez wrote, is ‘the one who forgets the most.’ Let that inspire you today.” 

A situation vs a slog. “When we get to the other side of the slog and look back, what will we have contributed, learned and created?” 

Life Comes at You Fast. So You Better Be Ready. “Life comes at us fast. Today. Tomorrow. When we least expect it. Be ready. Be strong. Don’t let your light be snuffed out.”  

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

Hear Bono’s ’60 Songs That Saved My Life’ Playlist. “On 60th birthday, U2 singer shares “fan letters” of gratitude to Billie Eilish, Kraftwerk, David Bowie and more.” 

Lifelong Learners: Insights from an intergenerational initiative. “Beyond making connections between young researchers and older curious minds, Minds Across Generations is a form of outreach that has prompted people to consider why outreach is important in today’s world.” 

The boss who put everyone on 70K. “In 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off.”

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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