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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

This article is one part of a series on my leadership values, which form the basis of my leadership blueprint, a tool that I use to accelerate my integration into new teams by helping them understand who I am, what I value, and how it shows up in the work I do every day.

Although the article is short, it contains many links to books and reference materials that flesh out particular concepts. …


This year's list focuses on leadership, management, startups, strategy, and job transitions.

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Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

It takes me time to read books. I treat them like textbooks and make notes by highlighting intriguing passages, capturing my thoughts in the margins, dog-earring pages, and capturing critical takeaways on the blank pages at the beginning of the books.

I find ways to apply the concepts contained in the pages to the context of my life, often pausing my reading until I’ve tested concepts in the real world.

When something produces a better outcome by simplifying my work, clarifying my thinking, or making the work more joyful, I weave it into my leadership and management practices as part of my learning process. …


Tips from my first day plotting generative artwork.

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Get the Gravity Assist Working

Problem: The Axidraw V3 relies on the weight of the pen to drop the pen holder assembly from the up position onto the drawing surface when the servo releases the pen slide.

Unfortunately, the Pentel Energel 0.7 mm Metal Tip pen (Black) didn’t have enough mass to overcome the friction created by the vertical slide—the pen would stay in the up position.

Solution: Strap a couple of AA batteries to the pen using a rubber band.


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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This article is one part of a series on my leadership values, which form the basis of my leadership blueprint, a tool that I use to accelerate my integration into new teams by helping them understand who I am, what I value, and how it shows up in the work I do every day.

Although the article is short, it contains many links to books and reference materials that flesh out particular concepts. …


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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

This article is one part of a series on my leadership values, which form the basis of my leadership blueprint, a tool that I use to accelerate my integration into new teams by helping them understand who I am, what I value, and how it shows up in the work I do every day.

Although the article is short, it contains many links to books and reference materials that flesh out particular concepts. …


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Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

This article is one part of a series on my leadership values, which form the basis of my leadership blueprint, a tool that I use to accelerate my integration into new teams by helping them understand who I am, what I value, and how it shows up in the work I do every day.

Although the article is short, it contains many links to books and reference materials that flesh out particular concepts. …


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Photo by GoodEats YQR on Unsplash

What’s that secret sauce that transforms a 360 from a generic process into a performance management powerhouse? You’ll likely find the answer on beautifully designed posters hanging in your company’s office. You got it; it’s your company’s core values. Knowing how to apply company values to your management practices will let you deepen the culture and impact your team creates for the company and customers.

There’s a reason CEO’s and leadership spend months crafting values. They are integral to building a culture that drives the success of a business. They give companies a competitive edge and create market differentiation. …


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Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

If you’re a manager, reports have come to you asking for help to develop a skill. If that skill is one of your core skills, you take on the role of coach. Your goal is to condense your years of experience, hard lessons learned, tips, tricks, and tactics to accelerate your report’s development. You set up a coaching session, or a workshop that you’re confident will help.

You don’t even realize that you’ve made a significant error. The error is taking the ask at face-value. …


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Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

It doesn’t feel great when we miss a deadline or have tasks left on our todo list. It creates stress. But falling behind isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be a sign that things need to change. Falling behind signals an opportunity to step back, to re-evaluate how we spend our time, manage our energy, and figure out what’s most important.

When we’re behind we try and catch up, squeezing more into our days in the hope we’ll gain the ground we’ve lost. We start spending extra time at work to catch up. The list of todo’s keep piling up. More and more of what we hoped to accomplish doesn’t get done. We fall further and further behind. …


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Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

People leave teams unexpectedly. It causes disruption. Projects are impacted, culture is impacted. You may lose a unique perspective, valuable skillset, and contextual knowledge that is difficult to rebuild.

Managers are blind-sided and scramble to figure out how to fill the gap in the team, understand why someone left, why they didn’t see it coming, and how they can minimize turn-over in the future.

People avoid discussing leaving with their managers. They don’t view you as being on their side and fear for their current job security. This problem is two-fold. Lack of trust and lack of support.

Why do people leave?

There is a lot of reasons, the one I hear most is because of a bad manager, closely followed by a lack of professional growth. …

About

Chris Caldwell

I help businesses build, lead, and manage design teams.

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