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Creativity and the Role of the Leader – Harvard Business Review

The folks at the Harvard Business Review recently convened a large group of highly motivated and intelligent individuals to discuss and promote best practices in the area of fostering creativity at work and the role of leadership in doing so.

Although we sometimes feel that our work environments demand so much focus on ongoing deadlines and desired outcomes that there is little time for stepping back and reflecting, taking chances on new ideas or even finding time to discuss and contemplate alternatives can be possible.   It’s nice to see that leading thought places like HBR are promoting initiatives, concepts and activities in the workplace that allow for consideration of priorities that include some of our most intimate personal needs.  These needs include our ability to think and contribute in creative ways; which is ideal for us in terms of our careers and self actualization, and for the organizations we work to improve.

The article in HBR addresses important conditions for allowing creativity to flow in the workplace:

“Three conditions seemed to him to be necessary for novelty—slack, hubris, and optimism …”

via Creativity and the Role of the Leader – Harvard Business Review.

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The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970 | Pew Research Center

There is no larger, more monolithic group in the US with less power and with less representation at all levels of the civic and private sectors of American society.  Of the 53 million hispanics, a whopping 33 million plus are Mexican American.  This means that the current immigration impasse is largely, both internally and externally, a Mexican problem.  You can think of it as a “Mexican American Problem” or as purely a Mexican problem but in any case, Mexican Americans are a relatively monolithic community with a strong sense of their past, and an ongoing connection to the mother land (incidentally, Mexican Americans do not have to divide their loyalties between North America, i.e., the USA, and modern day Mexico, because the lands between the Rio Grande and the territories beyond the Alamo have largely been one continuous playground to a Mexican community that can easily claim to be Native American.  The so called “pilgrims” have a weaker claim.

Answering the question “Why have Hispanics/Latinos been in the US for so long and achieved so relatively little?” would go a long way towards unlocking America’s potential and promise of another American century of success.  The clock is ticking and American leadership and policy makers are asleep at the wheel.  The Latino community leadership is asleep as well…

“The Hispanic population grew to 53 million in 2012, a 50% increase since 2000 and nearly six times the population in 1970, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, the overall U.S. population increased by only 12% from 2000 to 2012. Hispanic population growth accounted for more than half of the country’s growth in this time period.

U.S. Hispanic Population in 2012

Much of the growth is occurring in a relatively small geographic area. A Pew Research Center analysis last year found that the 10 largest counties by Hispanic population accounted for 22% of the national Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2011. Half of these counties are located in California.

Nationally, Mexicans are the largest Hispanic origin group but the composition of origin groups varies by geographic area. For example, while Mexicans represent a majority of Hispanics in all but 11 states, Puerto Ricans are the largest group in New York and New Jersey and Cubans are most populous in Florida.”

More via The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970 | Pew Research Center.

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How to Get Your Employees to Think Strategically | Inc.com

Today’s economic challenges have stressed organizational budgets, personnel departments, changed the skill set mix needed to move an organization forward, and have left smaller workforces to take on a seemingly larger and more complex workload.

This means you have to lead better, work smarter and be more strategic.  But you cannot do it alone.  Delegation is still a critical success factor in your own leadership success and delegating to someone who is not capable of understanding your strategy or in helping you further develop, tweak and implement it, is unacceptable in this new brave work environment of scarce resources and perhaps opportunities.   You get one team and limited resources…. You need to promote your strategy and you cannot afford to miss your mark.

The Policy ThinkShop provides you with the following article to help you in your leadership success journey….

From the Harvard Business Review we recommend:

Develop Strategic Thinkers Throughout Your Organization

“In study after study, strategic thinkers are found to be among the most highly effective leaders. And while there is an abundance of courses, books, articles and opinions on the process of strategic planning, the focus is typically on an isolated process that might happen once or twice per year. In contrast, a true strategic leader thinks and acts strategically every day.

So is there a way to encourage routine strategic thinking throughout the organization?”

More via: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/02/develop-strategic-thinkers-throughout-your-organization/

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“Below, read his five tips for how to carry out this process.”

Dish out information.

Kabacoff says that you need to encourage managers to set aside time to thinking strategically until it becomes part of their job. He suggests you provide them with information on your company’s market, industry, customers, competitors, and emerging technologies. “One of the key prerequisites of strategic leadership is having relevant and broad business information that helps leaders elevate their thinking beyond the day-to-day,” he writes.

Create a mentor program.

Every manager in your company should have a mentor. “One of the most effective ways to develop your strategic skills is to be mentored by someone who is highly strategic,” Kabacoff says. “The ideal mentor is someone who is widely known for his/her ability to keep people focused on strategic objectives and the impact of their actions.”

Create a philosophy.

As the leader, you need to communicate a well-articulated philosophy, a mission statement, and achievable goals throughout your company. “Individuals and groups need to understand the broader organizational strategy in order to stay focused and incorporate it into their own plans and strategies,” Kabacoff writes.

Reward thinking, not reaction.

Whenever possible, try to promote foresight and long-term thinking. Kabacoff says you should reward your managers for the “evidence of thinking, not just reacting,” and for “being able to quickly generate several solutions to a given problem and identifying the solution with the greatest long-term benefit for the organization.”

Ask “why” and “when.”

Kabacoff says you need to promote a “future perspective” in your company. If a manager suggests a course of action, you need to him or her ask two questions: First, what underlying strategic goal does this action serve, and why? And second, what kind of impact will this have on internal and external stakeholders? “Consistently asking these two questions whenever action is considered will go a long way towards developing strategic leaders,” he writes.

More via How to Get Your Employees to Think Strategically | Inc.com.

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5 facts about Hispanics for Hispanic Heritage Month | Pew Research Center

In a world that is being made smaller everyday by advances in travel and technology, culture and language remain significant causes of distance between people.  America has a tremendous treasure in its diversity and in the muscle of its young and growing Hispanic/Latino population.   The Policy ThinkShop brings you the following facts to get you thinking about America’s future and its role in a multicultural and multilingual world…

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, a period chosen because it bookends the independence days of five Central American nations (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica, Sept. 15), Mexico (Sept. 16) and Chile (Sept. 18), as well as Columbus Day/Dia de la Raza (Oct. 14 this year in the United States). In honor of the event, here are five key facts about U.S. Hispanics:

1. Geography: Although there’s been some dispersion in recent years, the Hispanic population remains highly concentrated. More than half (55%) of the nation’s Hispanics live in just three states — California, Texas and Florida — and 71% live in just 100 of the nation’s 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

2. Population size: According to the Census Bureau, there were 51.9 million U.S. Hispanics in 2011 (its latest estimate, for 2012, is just over 53 million). The Hispanic population grew 47.5% between 2000 and 2011, according to a Pew Research analysis, and accounted for more than half (55%) of total population growth over that period.

3. Countries of origin: The umbrella term “Hispanic” embraces a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. However, nearly two-thirds of U.S. Hispanics trace their family origins to Mexico; Puerto Ricans, the nation’s second-largest Hispanic-origin group, make up 9.5% of the total Hispanic population.

4. Educational attainment: College enrollment among Hispanic high school graduates has risen over the past decade: According to the Census Bureau, 49% of young Hispanic high-school graduates were enrolled in college in 2012, surpassing the rate for white (47%) and black (45%) high-school grads.

5. Language usage: A record 35 million (74%) Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home. Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the United States. Nearly all U.S. Hispanics say it’s important that future generations speak Spanish.

More via 5 facts about Hispanics for Hispanic Heritage Month | Pew Research Center.

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Donald Trump’s full inauguration speech transcript, annotated – The Washington Post

In seemingly endless times of “trash talk” that led to an improbable and unpopular political victory, the newly minted president clamors: “Now arrives the hour of action.” Fleeting relief comes to the nation as the transition […]

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