Continual Improvement, Process Planning and Leadership Skills for 2013

Each Friday we highlight five popular news stories from the world of training professionals. Visit our blog each week to see which stories were trending amongst your industry peers.

The Wall Street Journal: Want That Promotion? Practice Your Job by Cal Newport
There’s a difference between doing things you already know how to do and doing things that force you to stretch and improve your skills. To get better—and win the promotions and opportunities most of us dream about—we must set out to intentionally improve our performance. In this article, Newport explains how we can integrate continual development into our workday.

Inc.: 6 Habits of Remarkably Likeable People by Jeff Haden
When you meet someone, after, “What do you do?” you’re out of things to say. You suck at small talk, and those first five minutes are tough because you’re a little shy and a little insecure. But you want to make a good impression. You want people to genuinely like you. Haden has the key to being the best-liked person in the office: Lose the power pose. Maybe your parents taught you to stand tall, square your shoulders, stride purposefully forward, drop your voice a couple of registers, and shake hands with a firm grip. It’s great to display nonverbal self-confidence, but go too far and it seems like you’re trying to establish your importance. That makes the “meeting” seem like it’s more about you than it is the other person–and no one likes that.

Forbes: The Most Misunderstood Aspect Of Great Leadership by Mike Myatt
We’ve seen many articles about “control freaks” lately. Some argue control freakery isn’t so bad, but in this article, Myatt sides with William Booth: “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” He believes surrender the most overlooked element of leadership, and the one which also affords leaders the greatest opportunity for personal, professional, and enterprise growth. Will you be letting go to become a better leader in 2013?

Harvard Business Review: Making Process Planning Cool Again by Sarah Green
Processes are, if not under attack, then falling out of fashion among a certain type of business cognoscenti. Planning is out. “Planning to learn” is in. Little bets, experimentation, just start, iteration, rapid prototyping, lean — these are the cool kids. Process is the dork in the corner wearing mom-jeans and an unironic Christmas sweater. It may not be hip, but Sarah Green isn’t ready to give up on process planning yet. She believes the world is in need of more processes — and more process evangelists.

TIME: Hone Your Leadership Skills by Paul Shread
The tough economy of the past few years has made managing and leading a business harder than it used to be, but one author has some leadership lessons that might help. Joris Merks, author of Samurai Business: The Way of the Warrior for Professionals in the Digital Century, believes that honesty and compassion are qualities that great leaders actively cultivate. Merks bases his belief in the traditional teachings of Asian cultures, particularly those relating to self-discipline, saying that they increase performance and productivity. The positive result of cultivating these qualities tends to be lifelong and reaches beyond any short-term goals and projects.

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Happy New Year!