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Previous Work Archive


Winning at Working began as a blog, and a way to enhance platform building for my book, Hitting Your Stride, Your Work, Your Way. It morphed into a centerpiece of a monthly newsletter and served as foundational thinking for my later non-fiction books: The Titleless Leader, Trust, Inc., and It’s Not About Time.

Winning at Working columns have also appeared in various workplace publications and online information hubs for over fifteen years. These archive pages represent a small portion of that work.

Nan Russell

Sep 30, 2019

What Does It Look Like?

Seated at the table next to me at a fast food restaurant, I couldn't help hearing the lack of conversation between a young woman and a younger ...

Nan Russell

Nov 14, 2018


When young children misbehave, parents, teachers, and caregivers frequently insist on a time-out. Think how much better your workplace would be if ...

Nan Russell

May 16, 2018

So You Were Wrong

I once worked for a boss who was never wrong, never made a mistake or a bad decision. All you had to do was ask him. To his staff he was Teflon-man. ...

Nan Russell

Nov 15, 2017

Those Crazy People

The man in front of me in the breakfast order line at the food court, in one of the busiest airports in the country, wanted a "full" cup of coffee. ...

Nan Russell

Jul 16, 2017

What You Control

During The Great Recession, thanks to frequent-flyer points and a vacation club exchange, we spent a week in Hawaii for the cost of a rental car and ...

Nan Russell

Aug 18, 2016

Progress Over Perfection

In the late 17th-century, Lord Chesterfield, an English writer and politician, wrote to his son, "Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing ...

Nan Russell

Mar 21, 2016

But, What Are You For?

Against. Against. Against. It seems that's the political model of late. What one party is for, the other is against. Even before an idea makes it to ...

Nan Russell

Nov 18, 2015

It Started With a Turkey

In the early days of a start-up company I once worked for, a plump turkey was a small thank you token given to employees around the holidays. The ...

Nan Russell

Aug 29, 2015

The Not-Me-Syndrome

A common pastime at work, it seems, is pointing out flaws, missteps, and problems -- especially the boss's, a coworker's down the hall, or that ...

Nan Russell

May 19, 2015

The Next Essential Skill

"Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running." Those words from ...

Nan Russell

Feb 16, 2015

Blurred Lines Require New Skills

Instead of an early start, with time to read the news, check key messages, and write uninterruptedly for a pending project, I spent it down a rabbit ...

Nan Russell

May 20, 2014

The Things We Say

A three hour delayed connecting flight in Minneapolis created headaches for me and other business travelers seeking to still reach their destinations ...

Nan Russell

Jun 14, 2019

Serving Company Politics

I once had a boss who informed me there was no such thing as company politics. At the time, I decided that depended on whether you were the person ...

Nan Russell

Sep 23, 2018

What Are We Busy About?

Once upon a time, a prince and princess lived in stressful palace, surrounded by a stressful village, inside a stressful land. They knew it was ...

Nan Russell

Mar 20, 2018

Being Present

It was a dimly lit restaurant. Still she was dressed in pink, and while I admit it's hard to tell the gender of babies, clothing color is a ...

Nan Russell

Oct 26, 2017

Simple Things

I still have the email. It's been years since a highly placed corporate boss, who had the reputation and approach that things were never quite good ...

Nan Russell

Oct 25, 2016

Bad Drum?

"He who cannot dance will say: the drum is bad." Too many people I've encountered use a philosophy akin to this African proverb to navigate ...

Nan Russell

Jul 28, 2016

Get the Facts

It was his perception that caused the outburst. "Why aren't there any managers in these sessions? Why aren't they required to attend, too?" ...

Nan Russell

Feb 23, 2016

Grow Thick Skin

There's a line in the movie Gracie that I love. Gracie is a teenager in the 70s who is competing for a spot on the boy's high school varsity ...

Nan Russell

Oct 20, 2015

Convenient Mistruths

The subject line of the email read: "We met at ..." and the name of a conference where I'd recently spoken. Thinking it was from someone who attended ...

Nan Russell

Jul 22, 2015

Getting Past the Hurdles

One of my work favorites is crossing items off my to-do list. At the end of the day, it feels great to know you've made progress, resolved a problem, ...

Nan Russell

Apr 16, 2015

Off Track

Unfamiliar with the city and location where I was to speak, I added the address to the GPS before leaving home. Arriving in the conference city hours ...

Nan Russell

Jan 25, 2015

What Do You See?

Based on dozens of articles that arrived in my inbox in a single week, one might think that the majority of people work in difficult work-cultures ...

Nan Russell

Feb 28, 2014

Check Your Words

They're only words. Some believe the school-yard taunt: "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." They're wrong. Words can ...

Nan Russell

Mar 18, 2019

Working for the Right Person

"I don't know," a young acquaintance mused. "I'm thinking about grad school, but it's more work than I thought to prepare for the GREs. Then, if I do ...

Nan Russell

Jul 24, 2018

Workplace Ladder Fuel

Maybe you read on Facebook that Dollar General Stores were celebrating their anniversary by giving out $150 shopping coupons to those who liked and ...

Nan Russell

Jan 23, 2018

Wishing and Hoping

After the completion of Walt Disney World, the story goes that someone went up to Mike Vance, Creative Director for Walt Disney Studios and said, ...

Nan Russell

Sep 18, 2017

Two Kinds of People

Twelve minutes before I was to speak to a large group in a hotel ballroom, I was struggling with A/V equipment. With hundreds of presentations under ...

Nan Russell

Sep 22, 2016

About Your Future

When faced with catching a fly ball, Lucy missed again. "The past got in my eyes," she told Charlie Brown, "I thought I had it, but suddenly I ...

Nan Russell

Jun 23, 2016

Choosing a Path

Reading in the airport while waiting for a flight, a housekeeper was tidying around me when approached by another facilities employee. After a few ...

Nan Russell

Jan 26, 2016

Lying on a Nail

Once there was a young woman who didn't like her job. Everyday when she came home from work, she told her husband how terrible her day had been, how ...

Nan Russell

Sep 26, 2015

Simple Solutions

On our first morning of vacation, we were pleased to find open tables when we arrived for breakfast at a popular and highly recommended cafe. With ...

Nan Russell

Jun 20, 2015

Perpetuated Myths

Myths. Beliefs. Conventional wisdom. Even our own eyes get in our way. Consider what happened to Galileo. In 1589, he gathered the world's most ...

Nan Russell

Mar 20, 2015

Which Clock?

I hesitated before I answered the question. It was just a slight hesitation, but the question took me by surprise. Someone asked me how could they ...

Nan Russell

Dec 10, 2014

Incremental Action Trumps New Year's Resolutions

A recent study found that nearly half of us will make New Year's resolutions in 2015, but only eight percent of us will reach the goals or keep the ...

Nan Russell

Nov 9, 2013

What Do You Expect?

I like teaching workshops. On one hand, I'm humbled by the knowledge, insights, and challenges of those attending. I'm invigorated by the persistence ...

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