Author: Dr. Dana

Resilience: Is it happiness, optimism, or a fad?

No matter where you stand in the political spectrum, if you work in the government you are surrounded by uncertainty and ambiguity. And it’s no wonder why you might be seeking an answer to the question: What is resilience? Is it just another word for happiness? Can it be learned? Is it just another fad? Take just a few of government employee worries. Will there be mass layoffs or reductions in force (RIFs)? Will our agency remain without a formal leader? Are we facing another shutdown in October? Are changes in government benefits going to further delay retirement? Will...

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Customer service: It’s not a synonym for door mat

The only thing worse than having your teeth pulled is having to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV holds the reputation for being among the top worst customer service components of the government. But, if we’re being honest here, the government is not known for its customer service. Why is this? Probably because the government doesn’t have any real competitors. Take the DMV. There’s no other way to get a drivers’ license. It doesn’t matter how rude they are, you still have to go there if you want to drive a car. Conversely, the postal...

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Boundary spanning: Value of weak connections in leadership

What if I told you that leadership isn’t just who you know, it’s about whether you introduce people? One of the most under-discussed components of leadership is boundary spanning. That is, the ability to bring together seemingly disparate people and information to create better outcomes. In Kare Anderson’s TEDTalk, she called this being an opportunity maker by connecting people in unexpected ways. To keep a mutuality mindset in which you seek out and connect those with complementary talents and a strong sweet spot of mutual interest. There is a line of research called social network analysis that studies the...

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Lunch and learn meetings: Should we stick a fork in them?

Lunch and learn meetings are simultaneously popular to host and poorly attended. The intent behind a lunch and learn is usually valiant. They are also seldom well executed. In this post, we’ll cover the biggest mistakes people make when hosting a lunch and learn meeting. What is a lunch and learn? First, let’s be clear about what is meant by ‘a lunch and learn meeting’. They are sometimes called brown bag meetings because they occur during lunch hours. Employees are encouraged to bring something to eat with them. If you do a search on these kinds of meetings, there’s...

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Synthetic happiness: Accepting what cannot be changed

At the opening of his talk, Gilbert asks the audience who would be happier one year from now: Those who won the lottery or those who became paraplegic. The audience predicted the lottery winners would be happiest – but it turns out that that isn’t the case. The answer was that those who chose to be happy were the happiest a year later. He argues that synthetic happiness feels as good as happiness as happiness that occurs naturally. Even more intriguing, he argues that synthetic happiness is best when you have no choice but to accept your current situation....

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