Time-maximizing strategies of highly successful people

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 day ago

Bob Pozen on maximizing productivity

There are few executives today who don't wish they could be more productive. Even the most successful individuals are looking for new and better ways to get more accomplished while maintaining or increasing their quality of life.

"Regardless of location, industry, or occupation, productivity is a challenge faced by every professional," says Bob Pozen, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan and author of the bestselling book, Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours. Pozen was Executive Chairman of MFS Investment Management and previously President of Fidelity Management & Research Company (while a full-time lecturer at Harvard Business School and frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review). In other words, he knows a thing or two about time management.

Nonetheless, Pozen still finds himself working to improve his own skills, both at work and at home, to get the most out of each day. He also believes that staying tuned into the perspectives of other productivity experts is critical to a well-rounded outlook.

With that in mind, here are some tips from Pozen and other highly successful people who do their best to keep time on their side.

Get your priorities straight
"Most professionals have not taken the time to write down their goals and prioritize them," says Pozen. "Without a specific set of goals to pursue, many ambitious people devote insufficient time to activities that actually support their highest professional priorities." This discrepancy between top priorities and time allocations can happen to anyone, in any field, at any level of an organization.

His MIT Sloan Executive Education course, Maximizing Your Personal Productivity: How to Become an Efficient and Effective Executive, begins with an important session on goal setting that forces participants to reflect on their core values and professional priorities. "No matter what your career aspirations are, you should begin by thinking carefully about why you are engaging in any activity and what you expect to get out of it." Pozen takes participants though a six-step exercise to establish their highest-ranking goals and to better match their time allocations with these top goals. Learn more about these steps in a previous post.

Pozen also reminds us that time, in and of itself, is not the best measure of your productivity or of your employees' commitment. "“The key metric is what you get accomplished, not how many hours you’re in [the office].” Read more in this recent Talent Economy article, "Is Time Still the Best Measure of Work in the Knowledge Economy?"

Manage your energy level--and get more sleep
Kat Cole, the president of Cinnabon, has figured out how to monitor her energy in order to get things done. "I'm pretty religious about my sleep," she says, in this Oprah.com article. "I don't give it up easily. I just am so much less effective at time management if I haven't managed the sleep part."

According to MIT Sloan Lecturer and neuroscientist Tara Swart, many people claim they only "need" a handful of hours of sleep each night to be productive, but science proves them wrong: 98-99% of people do physically require the seven to nine hours of sleep that doctors recommend. In fact, testing has proven that most people will lose five to eight IQ points after just one bad night's sleep. While we assume we're not being productive during sleep, our brains are actually going through an important cleansing process that shouldn't be skipped.

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Making sense of IoT with the best of MIT

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 days ago

Contributed by Peter Hirst, Associate Dean, MIT Sloan Executive Education

Making Sense of IoT with the Best of MIT

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) in London, and participating in several conference events as a speaker. One panel in particular--"IoT in Society," which focused on the intersections of various areas of life and work—brought the idea of interconnectedness into high relief. The Internet of Things is--of course--not limited to "things" or just to the Internet or even to the tech sector. As business leaders grapple with the IoT reality and prepare their organizations and themselves for the future, understanding the importance of interconnectedness among different sectors of business and life is essential.

Here at MIT, we have a long history of different kinds of thinkers collaborating, which is just what organizations need to be doing, and which makes the Institute a naturally appealing place for managers to learn how to develop the skills needed to lead in the era of IoT. We have faculty members in engineering and technology, and science and social science, as well as business--all at the cutting edge of their fields, but also used to actually interact with each other and collaborating both in research and teaching. And so the ability to bring all of those resources into an executive education program, for example, and collaborate with partners from across departments, is unusual for a business school. MIT's Sloan School of Management is in a fortunate position to tap into the whole of MIT.

The executive education programs that we offer--in partnership with the School of Engineering, the Office of Digital Learning, MIT Media Lab, and the Computational Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL)--are about "demystifying" IoT, as our Digital Capability Leader Paul McDonagh-Smith puts it. A tech industry veteran, McDonagh-Smith knows where we need to shed the light. Prior to working with us, he spent decades at companies like Nortel and Avaya, and now is driving a lot of the development of our IoT-focused programs and making sure that we engage the best partners from across MIT.

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Leading at a new level: An executive's takeaways from MIT

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 days ago

For Tom Cahill, Senior Director of Global Compensation and Equity at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, executive education programs are and will continue to be the "cornerstone of my external learning for the balance of my career." Cahill recently earned an MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership and had high expectations for the programs--expectations that he says were consistently exceeded.

"MIT Sloan Executive Education is a truly immersive experience that delivers on its promise to teach, challenge, and engage in ways that produce real development in your capacity and capability as a leader and practitioner." To date, Cahill has completed six programs, including Strategies for Sustainable Business, Maximizing Your Personal Productivity, Neuroscience for Leadership, and Building Game-Changing Organizations.

Tools for reducing his organization's carbon footprint
Strategies for Sustainable Business, taught by John Sterman and Jason Jay, applies MIT frameworks to the topic of sustainability so participants can return to their organizations with practical strategies to incorporate change. As a result of taking the course, Cahill says he has broadened his thinking about sustainability issues and embraced certain sustainability efforts, which are at the forefront of his company's agenda.

In fact, The Connecticut Green Building Council (CTGBC) recently announced that Alexion's global headquarters achieved LEED Platinum certification for Commercial Interiors--the highest level of green building certification through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Alexion is one of fewer than 15 buildings in Connecticut to earn this prestigious certification. Alexion achieved the certification for implementing a variety of green solutions, including a green roof top, renewable energy sources, high-performance fixtures designed to save water, and materials such as paints and adhesives that provide increased air quality for building occupants. Cahill says he would like to see Alexion continue to push the boundaries in reducing their carbon footprint, become more "green," and also drive employee awareness of how "each of us can effect change for the better."

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Visual persuasion in the digital age: Tips to improve your LinkedIn profile

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 14 days ago

Whether you're a power user or a casual participant, LinkedIn is a great place to research people and companies, expand and leverage your network, and find new opportunities. It's also the first place people go to learn about you.

So what does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Are you making a good impression? Here are some tips for optimizing your profile.

  • Think carefully about your title ("headline"). Be specific and include keywords.
  • Don't skip the summary! Make it detailed but keep it warm, inviting, and in your own voice (first person).
  • Include a complete career history.
  • Take advantage of the Projects section. This is an area where you can expand on professional work you have done, and it's great for keywords, making you more likely to surface in someone's search results.
  • Keep your contact information--email, phone numbers, job title--up to date. This shows you are accessible and active within your network.
  • Include original, published content to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
  • Strengthen your profile with third-party recommendations (as opposed to endorsements) that support your professional efforts.
  • Don't over post. Studies suggest a good rule of thumb is 20 posts a month.
  • Proofread your content and posts (or ask someone else to help)--typos in your profile will keep people from taking you seriously. A tip: type your information into Microsoft Word first (or any software with a spellcheck function), then copy and paste it into your profile.

Visual components are important, too

Your LinkedIn image is a crucial part of your online presence, and may play a larger role in how your profile is received than you realize. In the MIT Sloan Executive Education webinar, Visual Persuasion in the Digital Age, MIT Sloan Professor Ed Schiappa discusses the importance of visual impressions in today’s digitally based society and how a visual message can often be more persuasive than a verbal one. An expert in the field of digital communications, Schiappa says that different parts of our brain decode verbal and visual stimuli (a concept known as dual coding) and we typically decode visual stimuli very rapidly and without much thought. In other words, "We are hard-wired for quick judgements," says Schiappa.

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Entrepreneurship Development Program brings focus to 8D Technologies

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 22 days ago

Isabelle Bettez accepts the Mercuriades award for web and mobile technology development

Guest post by Isabelle Bettez, President and CEO of 8D Technologies, Inc. Bettez was a participant in MIT Sloan's Entrepreneurship Development Program in 2008. Her company, which she co-founded with her brother Jean-Sebastien Bettez, develops hardware and software that has formed the backbone of some of the most popular bike sharing systems worldwide. The Montreal-based company has received numerous awards for its solution; most recently the company was awarded the 2017 Mercuriades award for web and mobile technology development.

As a busy executive of a startup technology company, it's "easy" to say there's simply not enough time to invest in professional development programs that take me out of the office, away from my team, and away from customer engagements. But as an alumna of the renowned Marketing and International Management programs at Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commercials (HEC) in Montreal, I understand the value of continuing to learn about new strategies and techniques that can help grow our company. That's why I decided to continue my learning through MIT Sloan’s Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP).

I was intrigued by the opportunity to learn from peers, particularly individuals who had achieved the level of success I envisioned for myself and the team at 8D. The week in Boston, which drew entrepreneurs and leaders from around the world, was an unbelievable experience. One aspect of the program was building a project with a very diversified group of people from different cultures; that was both a surprising and enriching experience. Since then, we have deployed 8D's solutions on four continents, and the takeaways from that week were extremely useful in getting to where we are today.

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7 systems principles you need to know before implementing IIoT

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 27 days ago

The system principles you need to know before implementing IIoT

The use of Internet of Things technologies in manufacturing--known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)--has been heralded as a way to improve operational efficiency by correcting inefficiencies and identifying problems sooner. Ultimately, this will also lead to more rapid supply chains and greatly enhanced customer satisfaction. In many ways, the IIoT stands to revolutionize manufacturing, from behemoth organizations down to "mom-and-pop" manufacturing shops. This is why IIoT is often referred to as the "4th Industrial Revolution."

However, before any facility, plant, or organization starts down the path of implementing IIoT, there are a number of factors to examine and consider. Dr. John Carrier, Senior Lecturer of System Dynamics at MIT Sloan, detailed these steps in the recent MIT Sloan Executive Education webinar, "The 7 System Principles You Need to Know Before Implementing IIoT." Carrier takes an even deeper dive into system dynamics as applied to the industrial Internet in his new Executive Education program, Implementing Industry 4.0: Leading Change in Manufacturing and Operations.

If you want to understand a system, try and change it

The seven principles Carrier presents in his webinar can serve as a checklist of what to assess, analyze, and potentially adjust before implementing any aspect of IIoT. He likens this process to preparing to move to a new home. If you take the time to assess, examine, and identify which belongings are worth keeping and which should be tossed, your new home will have less clutter and contain more items of value, instead of just "stuff." In theory, your move should also take less time and money. In the words of Kurt Lewin, the late German social psychologist, "If you want to understand a system, try and change it."

Carrier also points out that implementing IIoT can help expose the "hidden factories" within manufacturing operations--a chaotic mix of unstable and ad hoc procedures and norms.

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Taking #OurAccord personally for Earth Day

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 7 days ago

Taking #OurAccord personally for Earth Day

People often think of climate change as a policy issue, one that is best dealt with through legislation and mandates. In fact, when MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman presented a webinar on the topic, The Dynamics of Climate Change—from the Political to the Personal, one of the questions asked by the audience was how they can take political action to help solve the climate change problem. Sterman reminded them that solving the climate change problem does not have to be something only addressed on the scale of the Paris Accord. Local governments and even individuals can play a role in changing day-to-day behaviors that ultimately impact the world in which we live.

"In the face of uncertainty, it's all the more important to express and act on support for #OurAccord at individual, relational, and organizational levels," said MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Jason Jay in a recent post, referring to current politics. "At the individual level, we can all work toward a healthy, vibrant, low-carbon lifestyle. At the relational level, we must build our skills in going beyond the choir and having conversations about climate change and sustainability with people who don't agree with us." Jay's most recent book, Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World, offers tools for conducting the difficult conversations we must have about climate change.

The Greenovate Awards

Take, for example, the 10th Annual Greenovate Boston Awards. Coinciding with Earth Day, this year's awards will recognize outstanding achievement in climate action and environmental sustainability in the Boston community. Award categories include waste reduction, sustainable food, alternative transportation, and community engagement, among others.

While finalists for these awards feature corporate initiatives, government officials, and nonprofits focused on environmental issues, they also include many individuals from various Boston neighborhoods. Here are just a few.

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Hot off the presses: The latest books by MIT Sloan faculty

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 10 days ago

Learn new strategies for starting companies, solving conflicts, and harnessing the digital revolution. Check out these recent titles, written by our faculty.

Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook by MIT Sloan's Bill Aulet

Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook
By Bill Aulet

A companion piece to MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Bill Aulet’s Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup—a book that transformed the way professionals think about starting a company—the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook demonstrates ways to implement practical steps in the entrepreneurship process, such as how to conduct research or interact with customers. It also includes worksheets, a visual dashboard to track progress, creativity tools, and real-world examples that help entrepreneurs set their businesses up for success. Aulet teaches in the Entrepreneurship Development Program and the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program and is Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship at MIT.

Breaking Through the Gridlock

Breaking through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World
By Jason Jay and Gabriel Grant

You probably recall the last time you had a disagreement with someone, possibly about a political, social, or environmental issue. Did you have a breakthrough? Or did you get stuck and retreat to your own camp? Breaking through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World, is a new book co-authored by MIT Sloan Lecturer Jason Jay that offers ways to turn difficult confrontations into positive dialogue. Through practical exercises and examples, this book explains how to communicate when you are on opposite sides of an issue. Jay, who is Director of the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, teaches in Strategies for Sustainable Business.

Handbook of Collective Intelligence edited by Thomas Malone

Handbook of Collective Intelligence
Edited by Thomas W. Malone and Michael S. Bernstein

Selected by Choice magazine as an “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2016, The Handbook of Collective Intelligence, edited by MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Malone, includes essays by various authors who examine interconnected groups of people and computers doing intelligent things collectively and cover disciplines such as artificial intelligence, cognitive and social psychology, and organization theory. Malone is Director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.Learn new strategies for starting companies, solving conflicts, and harnessing the digital revolution. Check out these recent titles, written by our faculty.

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