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Continuum Insights

Our weekly blog posts provide actionable insights for leaders, teams and organizations during these challenging times.

Resources for Leading Self, Team and Organization

Featured Article: Week of April 26, 2021

The Little Things that Make Employees Feel Appreciated


In the new hybrid workplace, do you want people to feel more connected and included? Everyday personal recognition and appreciation will go a long way. What do you value about the job someone is doing? Tell them.

Leading the Self


Remote work is the cruel new ally in the War on Working Mothers

Fast Company

Women are losing ground in the workplace during the pandemic, exposing a system and society that places more of the responsibility on women to figure out how to care for their children and hold down a job, from factory to boardroom. How might we focus attention on companies and organizations that actually support women in thriving as parents and professionals? What companies do you think are doing a great job of it? Let us know.

How Can Being Isolated Affect You?


Winter can be toughest to bear in February, and so can isolation. Companies with staff working virtually should redouble their efforts to maintain warm human connections and sense of team. Don't let anyone fall through the cracks.

These are the 3 skills you need to succeed in 2021

Fast Company

An assessment of three leadership competencie needed for this year: data science, managing crises, and a grasp of the global economy. We're especially interested in studiying and guiding leaders learning to get comfortable with the phases of crisis management, especialy facing multiple crises on multiple levels. Think about what you're learning and applying from this turbulent time.

Why It's So Lonely at the Top

The Atlantic

People at the top often miss out on workplace friendships, and they may suffer mightily as a result.

Our Definition of 'Success' Is Holding Business Back--It's Time for a New One

Fast Company

A good reminder: The idea of winning may be the ultimate self-limiting strategy for companies. We're defining success more broadly now, with an orientation toward employee, customer and environmental well-being, not just profit.

The Sources of Resilience

Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham's latest research on resilience is illuminating. It is the ecosystem of our own feelings, combined with how our team leader and our senior leaders behave, that creates our overall sense of resilience. In the workplace, is that true for you?

Business Life during COVID-19: How to Survive and Thrive during an Economic Downturn, Episode 40


 As small-business owners continue to weather the coronavirus pandemic, many innovators are creating unique strategies to survive in this current economic enviro

Why Some People Get Burned Out and Others Don't

Harvard Business Review

Managing stress with an approach centered on emotional-awareness can help prevent burnout.

How to Find and Practice Courage

Harvard Business Review

What makes a person courageous is a combination of genetic predisposition, acquired psychological characteristics, social norms, and the context of the decision requiring courage. Courageous behavior can be learned through a number of techniques presented here.

How History's Great Leaders Managed Anxiety

Harvard Business Review

Amid so much uncertainty about Covid-19, how can leaders inspire their anxious colleagues and constituents? And how can they manage their own anxieties in the process?

Our Leaders of Tomorrow Are Going to Need These 4 Rare Skills


We need to prioritze the following rare skills in our leaders: systems thinking, intellectual honesty, intellectual humility, and empathy and charity.

Farewell, Office. You Were the Last Boundary Between Work and Home.

The New York Times

Your workplace shaped your identity in ways you never knew.

If There Was Ever a Time to Activate the Vagus Nerve, It is Now

Emerging research on the vagus nerve, a major nerve in the parasympathetic nervous system, sheds light on how people can tune in to their nervous systems and find ways back to a “rest and digest” state amidst the chronic stress.

The Toughest Leadership Test

McKinsey & Company

Many leaders told us about the micro habits—daily routines and ways of working—that they have adopted to help them and their companies weather this crisis and emerge stronger from it.

Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful

Here’s how to pull yourself out of despair and live your life

Three Ways to Sharpen Your Empathy and Lead People through Existential Crises


Empathic skills are critical now because they are key to aligning the actions of groups of people with divergent feelings and motivations at a time when they are more divergent than ever. The good news is that empathy is a skill, not a trait. Although some people have traits that make it easier to empathize, the skill can be improved by almost anyone, with any set of traits.

Psychological Safety, Emotional Intelligence, and Leadership in a Time of Flux

McKinsey & Company

Two McKinsey experts interview two scholars and share ideas on the leadership imperatives of our time: bringing people together, energizing forward progress and reimagining normalcy.

Medical Exercise Trainer Creates Desk Workout to Help Your Body Recover from Sitting All Day

Center for Values-Driven Leadership

Long days spent at our desks can damage the body. Download a .pdf guide.

Four Simple Ways to Combat the Loneliness Caused by COVID-19


Why Our Brains are Hardwired to Focus on the Negative

Negative events abound and have a greater impact on your brain than positive ones, and impact your behavior (and not in a good way). But you can change that. This article shows you how.


Another Workplace Crisis: Loneliness [Episode 737]

HBR Ideacast

How to ward off loneliness at work, during the coronavirus and beyond.

Reasons to Be Cheerful

Freakonomics Radio

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency?

Dear HBR: Challenging the Boss

Harvard Business Review

Do you fear to speak frankly with your supervisor? Dan and Alison answer your questions with the help of Liz Kislik, a management consultant and executive coach. They talk through what to do when your boss micromanages your output, you want to set boundaries for better work-life balance, or your new supervisor is eagerly volunteering your team for too many projects.

Leading the Team


Onboarding a New Leader — Remotely


Paying attention to a fuller onboarding process, rather than just orienting new leaders, has taken on greater importance with remote work. Making sure new leaders spend time with stakeholders, know what's expected and how to get things done pays off. Here's what else works.

Good Leadership Is About Asking Good Questions


Powerful, inspiring questions are a sign of good leadership, inviting others into conversations about new opportunities and possibilities. Our upcoming workshop on Appreciative Inquiry is all about the art of powerful questions.

7 Reasons why 2021 will be even bigger and better for remote worker

Fast Company

2021 may be a bonanza for remote workers, bringing more attention and options for this growing segment of the workforce. What might get better?

Onboarding a New Leader-Remotely

Harvard Business Review

Onboarding a new manager remotely requires careful planning. The authors offer six steps to take.

From a Room Called Fear to a Room Called Hope: A Leadership Agenda for Troubled Times

McKinsey & Company

Leadership during trying times requires building cultural and psychological protections for employees.

An Exercise to Help Your Team Overcome the Trauma of the Pandemic

Harvard Business Review

One strategy for growing from this trauma comes out of storytelling for posttraumatic growth. This strategy, which can be done on teams with high psychological safety, encourage growth by helping people acknowledge the grief and loss caused by adversity, analyze its effect and meaning, and internalize a positive resolution that activates self-transformation. In the end, participants come up with a two-word narrative compass that serves to instill new insights and meaning.

The Hacker Culture at This Company Saved a Co-Founder's Life


When an MX executive was given a Stage IV cancer diagnosis, the whole company self-organized to get him the best treatment possible. They created it!

How to Brainstorm--Remotely

Harvard Business Review

In the age of Covid-19, many of us are not working together in the same rooms as we were in the past, but we still need to generate ideas. There are both disadvantages and advantages to brainstorming remotely but you can make the most of the advantages to come up with new solutions.

This Is a Difficult Time for New Managers: Here's How to Build Trust and Thrive


Five strategies for a new manager to thrive while teams are working remotely

I spent a Year Leading a Team in Complete Isolation in Antarctica. Here Are the 4 Strategies You Need Right Now.

Fast Company

How we manage the reset and reintegration of our people post-pandemic will be remembered for a long time. The mantra for our team was “respect trumps harmony.”

How to Play to Your Strengths


This article presents a tool to help you understand and leverage your strengths. Called the Reflected Best Self (RBS) exercise, it offers a unique feedback experience that counterbalances negative input.

The Power of Hidden Teams

Harvard Business Review

Part of a series on employee engagement, it shows that a person's team, rather than organzational culture or individual performance, make the difference in engagement.

The Psychology Behind Effective Crisis Leadership

Harvard Business Review

In a crisis, people don’t need the vision to inspire them–they’re already raring to act. Instead, they need what psychologists call “holding”–leaders who acknowledge their emotions and give them a sense of context and reality. Holding allows people to channel their desire to act into something purposeful, and it allows them to more fully be themselves (and thus to be more mentally healthy). It is leaders who hold through this crisis, the author believes, who will keep their organizations afloat and to whom we’ll turn when the time comes to articulate a vision for the future.

Leading the Organization


Featured Article: Week of April 19, 2021

Four Ways Businesses Can Maximize Productivity for the Hybrid Workforce


Companies, how can you make it easier on yourselves during this interesting time when new ways of working long-term are taking form? Connect up and be more inclusive with your employees to find out where and how they work best, what they need, and yes, how deep their burnout is. Oh, and contact us for some quick, high connection micro-engagements that will move the needle.

Why Universal Childcare Is the Crucial Infrastructure the Economy Needs


The double whammy of high childcare costs and the gender pay gap makes it too expensive for almost a million women to return to the workplace during the pandemic, and it looks like the New American Jobs Plan doesn’t include measures for childcare. We support the search for better answers for families.

People’s words and actions can actually shape your brain — a neuroscientist explains how

Ultimately, your family, friends, neighbors and even strangers contribute to your brain’s structure and function and help your brain keep your body humming along or faltering. Your best holiday gift to those around you? Be careful with your words.

Empathy, the Glue We Need to Fix a Fractured World


When employees believe their boss or organization is empathic, the productivity, loyalty, morale and creativity rise. Empathy breeds community at work and at home. Take it with you everywhere during the holidays.

How to Reduce Divisiveness and Build Trust and Unity in Our Workplaces

Thrive Global

Reducing divisiveness and recreating a sense of trust and unity needs to be at the top of the list for us. We can each positively influence our work cultures and personal environments more than we know. What might we do for ourselves and others?

50+ Surprising Stats on Remote Work Burnout

Fingerprint for Success

Burnout destroys productivity, creativity and mental health — not to mention staff retention. But how does it play out in the world of remote work?

Thinking Productively about the Future


No one really knows what's going to happen next. How do you prepare for an unknowable future? Our mindset and genuine curiosity into what is emerging can guide us.

The Pandemic Proves We All Should Know 'Psychological' First Aid. Here Are the Basics

Washington Post

 If ever there were a time for people to know the important skills that make up what mental health experts refer to as “psychological first aid,” a pandemic is it.

The Pandemic's Lessons for Managing Uncertainty


While each company’s experience is unique, common themes are emerging that are proving crucial to their journeys: the importance of project management; the need to embrace trial and error; the floating of big, long-term questions; and excitement to build on the upsides of this moment.

Experts Knew a Pandemic Was Coming. Here's What They're Worried about Next.


Nine disasters we still aren't ready for that may threaten us over the next 30-50 years.

Coronavirus: Leading through the Crisis

McKinsey & Company

Ongoing, updated insights on how organizations can respond, and what happens next.

We Ignored Pandemic Warnings: Will the Next Catastrophe Take Us by Surprise?


The pandemic has been compared to a “black swan” event, a danger so rare that it catches people unawares. But given that experts predicted a pandemic was bound to happen eventually, such a disaster is better described as a “gray rhino” — a highly likely an obvious danger that gets ignored.

From Surviving to Thriving: Reimagining the Post-COVID-19 Return

McKinsey & Company

The toughest leadership challenge is already looming: how to bring a business back in an environment where a vaccine has yet to be found and economies are still reeling.

Millennials Are the New Lost Generation

The Atlantic

Millennials are facing yet another once-in-a-lifetime downturn at crucial times in their lives.

The 'War' on COVID-19: What Real Wars Do and Don't Teach Us about the Economic Impact of the Pandemic

McKinsey & Company

Seven lessons taken from past conflicts may provide economic insights in a time of crisis, from government spending to sectoral implications

Big Tech Is Telling Employees to Stay Home Longer. Why You Should Too.


Facebook and Google are making remote work a more permanent option, and it's a lesson for every business.

When Your Boss Doesn’t Respect Your Family Commitments


With so many schools still closed, families continue to deal with the stressors of work vs. home. How might you handle a boss who's not supportive of the dual demands on your time?

Coronavirus May Prompt Migration Out of American Cities


Nearly one-third of Americans are considering moving to a less densely populated area because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

How Adopting An Explorers Mindset Can Help You To Lead Innovation


As the pace of change increases, the great companies will be the ones who can explore new opportunities, while running their current business. This ability to live in the two worlds of explore and exploit will be the true test of corporate leadership. Even within business education, how to run an ambidextrous organization will become Management 101.

The CEO Moment: Leadership for A New Era

McKinsey & Company

In this article, we explore four shifts in how CEOs are leading that are also better ways to lead a company: unlocking bolder (“10x”) aspirations, elevating their “to be” list to the same level as “to do” in their operating models, fully embracing stakeholder capitalism, and harnessing the full power of their CEO peer networks.

How Fiction Can Help Us Imagine the Future

Scientific American

How can reading fiction equip us with decision making in the face of radical uncertainty? Read fiction and open your imagination to new possible futures!

The Biggest Psychological Experiment in History Is Running Now

Scientific American

What can the pandemic teach us about how people respond to adversity? Life has been upended at an unprecedented rate, and researchers see an opportunity to investigate the science of resilience in new ways.

After the Pandemic, Writing the Stories of the future


The Institute for the Future has put together a guide for creating new visions of a common future. Their scenario planning format works for organizations, too.

COVID-19: Win the Fight, Win the Future


In the wake of so much uncertainty, we should instead focus on framing potential scenarios and use them to develop a robust plan of action.

Pivoting in the Face of the Pandemic: How One CEO Moved His Company to an Entirely New Industry

Center for Values-Driven Leadership

From travel contracts and machine parts manufacturing, a Sri Lankan CEO shifted his employees to greenhouse farming within two weeks.

Get a Comfortable Chair: Permanent Work from Home Is Coming


Have you gotten used to working at home? That may be a good thing. Indeed, as more companies announce long-term shifts in office space use, work and home may merge permanently. 

To Emerge from the COVID-19 Crisis, Companies Should Start Reskilling Their Workforces Now

McKinsey & Company 

The toughest leadership challenge is already looming: how to bring a business back in an environment where a vaccine has yet to be found and economies are still reeling.

The Evolution of the Employee

The concept of what an employee should be has been evolving. This change has been quite slow but COVID-19 has made this evolution a present-day reality.

Pride and the Pandemic


Will your company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic create institutional pride or destroy it? 

The future is not what it used to be: Thoughts on the shape of the next normal 

McKinsey & Company

The coronavirus crisis is a world-changing event. Here are seven elements for business leaders to consider as they plan for the next normal.



Family as the Ultimate Team


Flexible work programs can help retain working women if designed thoughtfully


2019 statistics showing major improvements for women in the workplace have now plummeted. Women leaving their jobs to care for their children is bad for companies and the economy. It's also pushing families into poverty. Part of the answer is improved flexible work arrangements that help keep women in their jobs and in the loop of recognition and engagement. It matters.

5 fundamental steps to supporting (and retaining) working parents

Fast Company

Parents working from home have a great deal to manage along with their job responsibilities, and it's been going on for almost a year. It's in employers' interests to be as helpful, flexible and family-friendly as possible. Or, you might risk losing some of your best people..

Talking to Kids about the Election

National Geographic

The current presidential election in the US has brought up strong emotions and some questionable behaviors that can be difficult for children to understand. Finding ways to talk with kids about campaign issues and preferences can help teach them to respect differing points of view. No matter what party we support, isn't that important?

The Pandemic Is Taking an Enormous Toll on Working Moms--But Here's How Employers Can Help with Gender Equity


A new study finds that working moms have reduced work hours four to five times more than dads. Experts warn this imbalance could have significant adverse consequences for gender equity in the workplace.


McKinsey & Company

What we’ve learned being together, being apart, and being virtual

How 'Social Pods' Can Help Families Find Joy Again


In areas where the coronavirus pandemic has waned enough for real reopenings, families are trying to bring some happiness back into their lives



Helping Kids Think About the Good, Episode 25

The Science of Happiness

Sheltering at home with kids? These questions can help them, and us, reflect on the good things in life. A great exercise and conversation starter at home.

Remembering to Breathe, Episode 24

The Science of Happiness

How a Doctor uses very easy, in-the-moment breathing exercises to stay calm and centered during times of uncertainty, one breath at a time. They’re great for the family as well.

Covid Toolkit ARCHIVE


Part of a series on employee engagement, it shows that a person's team, rather than organizational culture or individual performance, make the difference in engagement.