Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker

All posts in June, 2015

Truth or mythMyths. Beliefs. Conventional wisdom. Even our own eyes get in our way. Consider what happened to Galileo. In 1589, he gathered the world’s most learned professors to the Leaning Tower of Pisa for a demonstration to disprove a 2,000 year old physics principle of Aristotle’s: the heavier an object is, the faster it will fall to earth.

From the top of the tower, Galileo simultaneously dropped a ten pound and a one pound weight, which landed at the same time. But conventional wisdom was so powerful, change so threatening, and herd mentality so prevalent, all the scholars denied the truth they’d just seen demonstrated.

Today, over four hundred years later, people who manage and lead in workplaces across the country are doing the 21st-century equivalent of not believing what’s happening in front of their eyes. And they’re not alone.

At every level, perpetuated mistruths linger. From hourly staff to individual contributions and senior leaders, too many people still operate as if the workplace hasn’t changed, managing philosophies from last century still apply, and research on performance, motivation, and trust hasn’t evolved in 50 years.

Consider a few myths from last century that continue to thrive: Change must start from the top; money is (continue reading →)

Winning at Working 

28eb105f2f33b9635d7f603894ac92bdAs a colleague of Nan’s I regularly post here about work and sometimes life. My family and friends have been known to describe me as a people watcher. Take me to a sporting event and I’m checking out the fans, at a concert I’m scanning for the groupies and in a busy airport my head is on a high speed wobble! This time of a year happens to be my favorite for people watching. I love observing excited vacationers for hours on the beach and the boardwalk. You can learn quite a bit. In the same way, I’ve learned the value of watching myself. It’s a bit harder than watching others but here are three ways I do it:

Schedule Self-Appointments

I schedule dedicated time on my calendar every week to think, plan and analyze. I review my to-do list. I check my progress on projects. Assess my someday-maybe list. I ask myself questions like: What is working? What isn’t? What do I need to move forward? How should I do that? Focused attention brings real results.

Listen to Your Words 

Our words matter. The connections between words (continue reading →)


Planting Seeds BingImageAs the school year ends, I’m reminded of the teachers, in various roles, who positively impacted my life far beyond our encounters. These thoughts are for them, and people like them, who touch our lives and never know the lasting impact they have. Often, we don’t even know ourselves until years later.

For example, I don’t know if my eighth grade social studies teacher is the person who helped me become a writer, but I do know his encouraging words planted possibility seeds that enabled me to harbor the thought that I could. While Mr. Jones intimidated me at the time, I worked harder in his class than any. At some point, I started to love it; not because of the topic, but because of how he made me feel – smart, curious, and eager to learn. My intimidation quietly morphed into feelings of inspiration by the end of the year.

I had a similar experience as a young professional (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things