This week we battled with our brains and willpower while giving up on work-life balance.
Sometimes it seems like much of work life is spent trying to find a balance that is always just out of reach: coming up with great ideas, and having the willpower to follow through, staying both productive and healthy, networking without being annoying.
While we can’t solve all of you problems, we explored ways to bring a little more balance into your work life this week.
Here are the stories you loved in Leadership, for the week of August 18.
Grounded leaders are able to do away with traditional leadership stereotypes based in gender roles.
We’re all familiar with the phrase “men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” In the business world, this has had unfortunate consequences for male and female leaders.
Male leaders were typecast as dominant competitors who played politics inside hierarchies and were great at leading with power, while female leaders were expected to understand connection and communication and lead people and teams better.
With this lens, the business world developed a whole theory of preconceived notions and biases about what to expect from men and women leaders. And like most assumptions, these supposed differences took on a life of their own. Over time, we became experts at typecasting people and, ultimately, shackling men and women to these stereotypes.
It’s time to put an end to this preoccupation with gender differences. It represents an old way of thinking and does a real disservice to both men and women.
Over the past decade, categories such as yogurt, chocolate, and juice have made this leap from commodity to mass delicacy. Some consumers no longer blanch at a $9 bar of chocolate half the size of a Snickers or $11 for a cold-pressed juice. Not only have these become the fastest-growing segments in their respective categories, they’ve created multimillion-dollar markets that never before existed. Greek yogurt was an obscure 1% of U.S. yogurt sales in 2007. Then Chobani entered the scene, luring consumers away from their sugary-sweet Yoplaits. Now Greek yogurt accounts for 40% of the $7.4 billion U.S. yogurt market, while industry heavyweights like Danone and General Mills are racing to catch up.
Coffee crusaders are convinced that they are on the verge of a similar disruption, and they’ve got deep-pocketed investors cheering them on. After Starbucks’s 20-year reign as coffee’s dominant force, this once fringe group is launching a culinary, cultural, and financial battle to get a piece of the $30 billion U.S. coffee market.
These are the purists who aim to persuade us to convert our morning ritual to a $7 cup of black gold.
Here’s how to keep in touch with your connections, without becoming a stalker.
From finding a job to meeting your next business partner or new client, you know that there are countless ways that your network can help you when you need it.
The problem is that reaching out, especially out of the blue, can feel awkward and inauthentic. You want to establish regular communication so that any requests are just part of the conversation.
So how do you reach out without feeling sketchy about the whole thing? “The key is if you strive to provide real value in your outreach, people will look forward to hearing from you, every time,” says Jenny Powers, founder of the professional women’s networking group, Running With Heels. “Soon enough, they’ll be reaching out to you as well and it won’t feel like a one way street.”
When your boss isn’t in the office, it’s easy to let communication slip down the priorities list. Here’s how to stay in touch and on task.
The workplace today is much different from the workplace of 30, 20, and even 10 years ago. Open office designs, in-house baristas, and for many organizations bosses managing from across the country are now the norm. Between video conferencing, email, and instant messaging, physical proximity to the office is no longer a requirement. Companies are hiring based on talent and fit, not if someone can be in their chair 24/7. This change has led to entire teams being spread across time zones, states, and even countries. While it can be tricky to report to a remote manager, I’m here to tell you it’s possible.
I work for a non-profit in Washington, D.C., but my manager works from her home in southern California. I’ve been working with her remotely for over a year, and in that time have expanded the responsibilities of my role and received a salary increase. Here are the tips that have helped me succeed:
When your days already feel jam-packed, how can you afford to experiment with productivity? Get to the bottom of time-wasting habits.
It’s classic productivity advice: Match your most important work to your most productive hours. If you do that, you’ll get a lot more done.
But this advice assumes you know when your most productive hours are. Many people don’t, says Daniel Gold, a productivity specialist and author of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, among other life management books. “We’re too often stuck without thinking about the bigger picture,” he says. If you’re constantly in reactive mode, or your life features irregular hours or travel, you may not be familiar with your own internal rhythms. Getting there is “really just about taking that uncomfortable step inwards,” he says. Here are strategies for paying attention.
It’s that time again. Y Combinator, one of the most coveted accelerators in the country, is hosting a demo day for its graduating batch of startups.
Expect a marathon of pitches. Eighty-five companies will present on stage for a few minutes apiece, hoping to convince investors to bank on their ideas to transform X, Y, or Z.
The accelerator is best known for its tightly knit network and breakout startups, such as Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitch—all three of which are in the billion-dollar-valuation club. Earlier this summer, president Sam Altman said Y Combinator’s portfolio of more than 400 active companies exceeds $30 billion in value.
Fast Company’s Alice Truong will report live from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The event begins at 10 a.m. PT.
A Dutch designer imagines a better way to brand the Korean giant.
For 21 years, the Samsung name as served as the company logo, occasionally superimposed over a wobbly blue oval. It’s the kind of logo that’s fine on washing machines and televisions, but incredibly boring on something personal, like a smartphone. Never is this more apparent than when compared to the branding of Samsung’s arch-enemy in Cupertino, which is simply the silhouette of an apple.
Square just posted the “Top 10 Myths About Square.” Jack Dorsey and his superstar investors respond to the six they really care about.
Lately, Square CEO Jack Dorsey has been binge watching Friday Night Lights. The uplifting TV series, about a high school football team called the Dillon Panthers, is centrally themed around underdog comebacks. And after the week Dorsey has just endured—during which Amazon launched a product aimed at stealing away Square’s customers, a move that compelled the startup to publish a blog post debunking the “10 myths” about Square, including whether its business is struggling—one might think Dorsey is due for a Panthers-style comeback of his own.
Based on the time I spent with Square, including interviews with Dorsey, his investors, and his key lieutenants, here are their flesh-and-blood responses to the myths they really care about: