Make It Easy
Rebels at Work
by Lois Kelly
1M ago
The biggest secret to changing behavior or getting your boss to say “yes”: make it easy. So many of us lay out masterful proposals and presentations on why our idea should be supported or adopted and how we can make it happen. But rather than get people interested, we often overwhelm them. It’s not that they dislike our concept. They dislike how complicated it seems. Warning signs in their brains go off, “Danger. Too complicated. So much work. Overwhelming. Disengage.” Neuroscientists have found that humans are hardwired to choose the easiest way. The greater the effort to do something, the m ..read more
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A Few Words about Accountability
Rebels at Work
by Carmen Medina
5M ago
Accountability is a really good thing, correct? Organizations would perform so much better if they had a culture of accountability. Managers who hold their direct reports accountable are practicing tough love, and if they actually hold themselves accountable, you could call that tough narcissism. But like almost all cliché business concepts, the notion of accountability frays under scrutiny. (A favorite example is “authenticity” which just goes POOF as soon as you pronounce the word.) Often the individual that is typically held accountable in an organization is the one who made the final mist ..read more
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Good Rebels Persevere: Boston's New Police Commisioner
Rebels at Work
by Lois Kelly
7M ago
Boston’s new police commissioner, Michael Cox. Photo @BostonGlobe. People often ask Carmen and me for examples of good Rebels at Work. Here's one: Boston's new police commissioner Michael Cox. He's rebelled for justice, accountability, and the possibility of better Boston police. Despite what the very same police force brutally did to him. I'm not sure I could have overcome such violence and betrayal of my co-workers. He's a testament to Rebel perseverance and, as Carmen has observed, that optimism is the greatest act of rebellion. Highlights from today’s Boston Globe story about Cox: "Co ..read more
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Ten types of Rebels at Work
Rebels at Work
by Lois Kelly
8M ago
Rebels at Work can’t be neatly categorized. We’re far too complex, as are most humans. What is important is that we value different approaches to solving problems and improving situations at work. That we invite people different from ourselves to join the cause or help us think about our approach. That we share what we’re particularly good at with one another so that a team can figure out who is best at doing what. Diversity of thinking creates better strategies. Diversity of approaches gets the job done. Over the last decade, we’ve observed some common qualities of Rebels. None are “pure.” We ..read more
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Rebels At Work: Control is for Amateurs
Rebels at Work
by Carmen Medina
8M ago
We came across this graphic the other day and it reminded us of something we observed a few years ago. Control is for amateurs. This usually applies to new managers, who often default to micro-managing their team lest a mistake get made that will reflect badly on them. Probably almost all managers start out this way but the good ones learn quickly that a better route is to trust your colleagues. But Rebels at Work can also suffer from the desire to control others, sometimes out of insecurity and sometimes because it’s just too hard to let others be the ones to implement your dream. Then there ..read more
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A Rebel’s True Thoughts on Returning to the Office
Rebels at Work
by Lois Kelly
9M ago
By Laurel Maxwell I like my quiet mornings. The slow ease into the day like placing eggs in boiling water. Gently so they won’t crack the minute they hit the hard bottom. Bubbles lazily making their way to the surface.  I enjoy being able to sit in silence. Listen to the birds outside my window, the beep and drill of construction down the block. Revel in the stillness the day holds in its unfolding. The waves continuing to wash away the beach, gulls circling for a beak of breakfast. On some days I prefer working from home. To not get out of my sweatpants, keep my glasses on. Pad around i ..read more
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Always Learning
Rebels at Work
by Carmen Medina
9M ago
Rebels at Work has been a thing for more than 15 years now so you might assume there’s not a whole lot more Lois Kelly and I could learn about the struggles of so many of you to make things better at work. But our curiosity continues to be rewarded with more insight and helpful advice and, sadly, with stories of frustration and failures, some noble and some just plain ugly. Here’s a few learnings that stand out in recent weeks. 1.       The Strategic Leverage of Adjacency. An innovation leader recently offered an interesting rule of thumb. She only pursues new ide ..read more
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Dare to Un-Lead: Collectively Changing Leadership
Rebels at Work
by Lois Kelly
9M ago
Celine Schillinger's new book, "Dare to Un-Lead: the Art of Relational Leadership in a Fragmented World," comes out today. The well-research book examines why we need new approaches to leadership and suggests that we collectively transform leadership through the concepts of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The days of hierarchical, hero-worshipping, superficial "employee engagement" leadership don't fit our times or our souls. This is the age of collective action, for better or for worse. Celine explores how to cultivate corporate activism and new leadership approaches "for better ..read more
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Rebels at Work Keep it Real--newsletter
Rebels at Work
by Carmen Medina
1y ago
A brief thought about Ukraine The planet on which we circle the sun every 365 (and a quarter) days is not having a smooth time of it. It’s impossible to write about Ukraine without somehow taking advantage of and minimizing the suffering of millions of other people just to make some rhetorical points. So let’s keep the observations brief. How you carry yourself when you are in a leadership position really matters. You can be the leader of a nation or of an informal alliance of rebels, but people will respond to the signals you send with every action you take, conscious or subconscious. Uni ..read more
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The Day After: A Rebel's Mistakes
Rebels at Work
by Lois Kelly
1y ago
The historic Ashton Mill and Viaduct, Cumberland, RI. Photo by Lois Kelly An incident happened yesterday in my small New England town where people called the police on me. I was in that wonderful flow state when you get immersed in doing something and lose all sense of time and place. In my case, I didn’t realize I was trespassing while taking architectural photographs at a historic mill that has been turned into apartments. If interested, you can read about it here.  A day after the incident I see that I had veered into Bad Rebel behavior yesterday. Here’s what I learned. People living ..read more
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