The Lead: 18th Time’s the Charm, Uber & Municipal Gov’t, Make Employee’s Lives Easier

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

18th Time’s the Charm

Kikkan Randall has been to five Olympics, and her first attempt to medal in the Winter Games was back in 2002 in Salt Lake City. At 35 years old and on her 18th attempt to medal at the Olympics, Randall won gold in cross-country skiing. She and Jessica Diggins won the United States’ first ever cross-country skiing gold medal in the women’s team sprint at the Winter Olympics that just concluded last Sunday in Pyeongchang.

Our View: Persistence is important for athletes and leaders. Persistent leaders set a strong example that encourages persistent employees. When leaders demonstrate persistence, everyone works harder to seek solutions to problems because there is the belief that success is always possible. Persistence it the trait that allows people, regardless of their positional power, to meet every new challenge with the same intensity and determination as before. Further Reading

A Win-Win Collaboration: Uber and Municipal Government

A research study that provided an analysis of ride-sharing data and a variety of surveys from transit and ride-sharing users showed that ride-sharing isn’t replacing other forms of transportation, but instead, it is supplementing it. City governments could partner with ride-sharing companies to create a win-win partnership that benefits both parties and makes transportation easier and more affordable for everyone. There are many ways this partnership could work. In Chicago there is a single metro card that can be used to pay for a variety of different transit options, including trains and buses, and it’s not difficult to imagine a future where this metro card also includes Ubers and Lyfts.

Our View: Public-private partnerships can potentially happen in any sector and can be used creatively to fit a variety of solutions. Leaders can build effective public-private partnerships by bringing private sector competencies, efficiencies, and capital to improving public assets or services when governments lack the upfront cash. Further Reading

Making Employees’ Lives Easier

A startup called Spoke uses artificial intelligence to make onboarding new employees easier and employees’ lives easier in general. Using a chatbot, Spoke’s A.I. answers employees’ internal office questions and requests, making life easier for HR departments, IT departments, and office managers. Spoke’s co-founder Jay Srinivasan said, “we’re trying to take a design-first, lightweight A.I. approach to a common problem that every company faces. I think the design and usability are as important as the machine learning itself. So that’s our emphasis right now.”

Our View: Using A.I. as a tool to answer common questions helps employees get back to the work that really matters. Great leaders help their followers gain ownership of ideas and create aha moments themselves. When people are able to make their own connections and find solutions independently, they gain inertia and reach achievements faster. Find ways to enable employees to utilize resources like A.I. to solve problems and answer questions. Further Reading

Black Panther has the Highest-Grossing First Week of Any Marvel Movie

Black Panther had the best first week of any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie ever when it took in $292 million domestically ($22 million more than the previous record holder, The Avengers). After a huge second weekend, Black Panther is on track to rank among the highest-grossing films ever, because it grossed $400 million domestically and $704 million worldwide in two weeks.

Our View: In addition to its box office success, Black Panther has a lot to teach about leadership. The characters in the movie work together to challenge old ways of thinking and doing things in order to make the world a better place. Leadership is demonstrated throughout the movie and embodied the traits of humility, empathy, and generosity. When you see a policy or strategy in need of change, have the courage to act despite your fear of possible outcomes. Even if it’s difficult, find ways to leverage your organization to improve the lives of those around you, including everyone from customers to shareholders to the families of your employees. Further Reading

Modern Workplace Trends

The workplace is continuing to trend towards fostering collaborative environments where office interiors are designed in an open-concept format to encourage teamwork. Private offices are being moved off window lines to the interiors of offices and are becoming smaller. Some companies have even moved leadership into workstations sitting next to or with their teams.

Our View: Habits for productivity are especially important in a collaborative work environment where it can be a challenge to balance concentration and conversation. Simple techniques like the “five-minute-rule,” where tasks that take less than five minutes to complete should be completed immediately, is a great practice to make a habit. Setting appointments with yourself that you keep, building your day around your toughest tasks, and making sure you add tasks that you love to do throughout your day are other useful productivity techniques. Further Reading

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