Past failures or disappointments can haunt us for a long time. Even once we think we’ve moved on, new opportunities can bring back their painful memory — just long enough to make us doubt ourselves again. Executive coach Susan Peppercorn outlines four strategies this week for overcoming these lingering fears of failure. I like her advice to set approach goals, which focus on what you want to achieve, instead of avoidance goals, which focus on what you don’t want to happen. She reminds us that we need to take steps outside of our comfort zone to grow and learn.
How long should a typical workday last? Steve Glaveski, CEO of an innovation accelerator called Collective Campus, decided to do a two-week experiment with his team: giving them a six-hour workday. He found that the compressed day forced the team to prioritize carefully, limit interruptions, and closely examine the value in their tasks. While this exact formula may not fit all types of work, I think we can all appreciate the additional evidence that more focus — and fewer interruptions — leads to better and smarter productivity.
Going to a conference can be a whirlwind of activity and connections, and sometimes, despite my good intentions, I don’t follow up with the interesting people I meet. Consultant Dorie Clark has a practical guide this week for how to process all the information you get at a conference, and how to follow up with people in ways that strengthen your network. By the way, if your issue is that you don’t have enough people to follow up with after a conference, you might like this other piece from Dorie on how to network when you hate talking to strangers.
Finally, if you’ve missed any of our “Inside the Case” series — live video events that walk you through a business school case study — they are now available for replay on HBR.org (these are just for subscribers, so you’ll need to sign in to watch them). These discussions have examined how Satya Nadella changed Microsoft, how Lagunitas Beer Company handled being acquired, the Tate museum’s digital transformation, and how the Mekanism marketing agency weighed branching out or sticking to its strengths. I’ll keep you updated when we have more of these “Inside the Case” events in the new year.
Thanks for reading and watching,