From Fast Company

7 Hard-Earned Lessons In Leading A Dysfunctional Team

My most brutal adventure at work was also most brag-worthy. I was in charge of turning around a team that was highly talented but consistently, and mysteriously, underperforming. High turnover rates and missed deadlines were problems we tried to address with different leaders over a span of three years. At the end of 36 months of trial and error, I was offered the opportunity to take a fresh perspective on this puzzle. Among others, my challenge, however, was that this department operated outside my area of expertise: I led business designers and product managers, and this was a team of…

What Fifth-Graders Can Teach Us About Problem-Solving

“Have you ever invented anything for people who have nothing?” a fifth-grader asked me at the end of my presentation on how to design new businesses. Half-touched, and half-surprised by the probing question, I choked as I offered an answer to my audience, the elementary school students of P.S. 56 in Brooklyn. It was my first day as one of the mentors who participated in Big Idea Week in May. Schools in Brooklyn and Queens had invited product people from New York-based tech shops — including General Assembly, Etsy, Facebook, and Pensa — to coach their students on entrepreneurship and problem-solving. As an instructor…

Timeless Lessons from Brilliant Careers of Women from Another Era

This article was first published on FastCompany.Com. In her book Her Brilliant Career, journalist and author Rachel Cooke offers an alternative view of the 1950s woman that counters the cultural symbol of supplicant domesticity we’ve come to accept. As she narrates the stories of pioneering women whose work paved the way for future generations, Cooke applauds these women’s “sly kind of feminism” and celebrates their struggles. “They doubted themselves, they got in muddles, they made mistakes; feeling defensive, they sometimes seemed difficult and distant even to those who loved them.” While we may have never heard their stories before, the…

Proof That Your Moonlighting Gigs Can Earn You More Than Just Extra Cash

A version of this article was first published on FastCompany.Com I am on a quest to stay passionate and productive in my day job. By day I am a business consultant, but by night—not to mention during the wee hours of the morning and on weekends—I become a freelance writer, yoga teacher, and photographer. On my journey I have met a number of inquisitors who ask why I toil away the hours before and after work to master crafts that are seemingly unrelated to my day job. For instance, I work in consulting, so my pursuit of an MBA was…