Creativity and Taking Breaks

So here’s the scenario: you are asked to solve two problems that require creative thinking. What approach do you take to get the best results?

  • Break up the time in two separate intervals, solve one problem, and ultimately move onto the second.
  • At regular, predetermined intervals alternate between the two problems.
  • Or ping pong between the two problems at your discretion.

Harvard Business Review posed this scenario to hundreds of people and found that most would choose to switch between the two problems at their discretion.

But if coming up with creative answers, is your goal, this approach, according to their research, may produce less desirable results.

Here’s why: When attempting problems that require creativity, we often reach a dead creative end without realizing it. Their research found that regularly switching back and forth between two tasks at a set interval can reset your thinking, enabling you to approach each task from fresh angles and creativity. Other studies have found that brief breaks during idea generation can increase creativity and the variety of ideas generated.

Try it out! The next time you’re working on tasks that require some creative thinking, consciously insert breaks at regular intervals. Remember, if you’re hesitant to break away because you feel like you’re in the zone, be mindful that it might be a false impression.

Take breaks, your creative juices will thank you.




5 Lessons on Success from Michael Jordan in ‘The Last Dance’

Michael Jordan’s epic career is a master class on the mindset necessary to achieve extraordinary success. ESPN’s sports documentary miniseries, The Last Dance, dives deeply into the mindset of the legendary Michael Jordan and the championship Chicago Bulls teams that he led.

The series didn’t just resonate with sports fans; many wore their Air Jordans the Nike signature shoe while watching (not naming any names here); it is also full of vital lessons on success. Here are our top five takeaways from the show:

Success requires total and complete dedication to your craft.
It becomes apparent early on in the series that while Michael Jordan has incredible athletic ability, he improved dramatically throughout his career. Even after winning a national championship with North Carolina, being named the NBA Rookie of the year, and reaching the NBA finals, Jordan always wanted more and was willing to do whatever it took to improve. One example: when the Bulls were eliminated from the NBA Championships by the Detroit Pistons, Jordan immediately went to the gym instead of taking a vacation and put on 15 pounds of muscle in the off-season. His teammates followed his lead.

To be successful, you need this same constant drive for improvement. Jordan could have been complacent with all he had achieved at that point in his career, but instead, he went back to work. Growing complacent or settling not allows others to catch up and eventually surpass you but limits your potential.

Team First
In his early years, Michael Jordan focused heavily on his play. It got him a high stat line, but he couldn’t cross that threshold to win a championship. Ultimately, Jordan realized that achieving team success was the only way he would be considered the greatest of all time. When Jordan set aside his ego, and the Bulls emphasized teamwork over dominance by one superstar, the real magic happened.

No matter how much of a superstar you are, you can never do it alone. Success for any leader depends on the ability to surround yourself with team players you trust to take the last shot.

Be Willing to Push Others Around You
One theory on why it took over 20 years to release this documentary was that it showcased how Michael Jordan treated his teammates. He wasn’t always the most approachable, friendliest, or most understanding leader. He expected his teammates to perform at their personal highest level, the same standard he held himself. Jordan pushed his teammates out of their comfort zones, even if they didn’t like it.

The same lessons apply to leaders. Influential leaders know how to challenge those around them to become the best versions of themselves. It wasn’t always pleasant, but Jordan forced his teammates to accomplish more collectively.

Know When to Take a Break
At the height of his career, Jordan walked away from basketball and turned to his first love, baseball. Even the greatest basketball player of all time needed to take a break.

Burnout can be personally or professionally ruinous if you don’t listen to your body and take time off when needed.

The Mindset of a Champion
As physically gifted as his body was, the secret weapon Michael Jordan possessed was his mind. Nobody in the world could compete with him. He believed he was the best and committed to the idea that he would overcome all competitors.

Leaders and entrepreneurs require that same tenacious mindset to grow companies and achieve success. What separates the best from the rest of the crowd is that commitment and unflappable belief in themselves, their mission, and organization.


Tech Companies Move to Work from Home Permanently

As states begin the reopening process, most companies are evaluating their work from home policies. Many big-tech companies are leading the way in assuring employees they can work from home until the coronavirus clears up. 


Google has extended its work from home limit for the remainder of 2020. Those employees who need to return to the office would be able to do so in June or July, with specific safety measures. Contrary to its original plan in April, where Google told employees it was extending work from home to June 1 and planned to “stagger” a return to the office. 


Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, told employees that the company had updated its remote working policy to allow most of them to work from home permanently. However, offices will reopen on July 6 after the Independence Day long weekend for those who need to return. The company will also begin taking job applications for remote positions later this year and start allowing most of its employees to request a permanent change in their jobs to remote work.  


The social media giant has more than 48,000 employees working in 70 offices worldwide, is the largest company yet to move aggressively into remote work in the wake of the pandemic.


Zuckerberg said in a live stream on his personal page this week that he guesses as much as 50 percent of the company workforce could be working entirely remotely in the next five to 10 years. 


“The reality is that I don’t think it’s going to be that we wake up one day on January 1, and nobody has any more concerns about this,” said Zuckerberg on the live stream about the lasting impact of Covid-19 on office employees. Zuckerberg went on to lay out immediate and gradual shifts the company will be making to how it manages and hires new workers.


The announcement comes after Twitter announced it would allow its entire workforce to permanently work remotely, along with other tech companies like Shopify and Coinbase. Up the West Coast, Amazon headquartered in Seattle, currently allows corporate employees to work remotely until at least October, the company said earlier this month.


Still, many questions remain about the shift to remote work. Will collaboration be the same? What about the perks and the lure of a modern campus? What about diversity and inclusion? 


One sure thing; these moves illustrate how swiftly the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the global economy and will be a part of the American landscape for the foreseeable future.  

Not sure which direction to go in regards to letting employees going back to the office? Contact our HR experts to help guide you.

Record Spike in Demand and Pay for Nurses

If there wasn’t already a demand for nurses, the Covid-19 pandemic has created a critical nationwide call. The highly skilled are earning record compensation. INNOVA people have crisis response and permanent positions available throughout the country with a range in contract lengths. Log in to view salaries and hospitals or contact us today.

Hospitals need your help now!

The average weekly pay for Registered Nurse (RN) jobs was $1,700 nationwide in January 2020. As of March 2020, the average salary for COVID-19 related RN jobs jumped to over $3,000 – with specific locations and specialties seeing increases even higher than 100 percent.

In California, there was more than a 60 percent increase in average weekly pay, while the state of Washington saw more than a 90 percent increase in the same timeframe for RN jobs.

Roles that are currently in high demand are Staffing at Intensive Care Units (ICUs), emergency departments (EDs), and nurses who specialize in Infection Control.

At INNOVA People, our clinicians are our heroes every day. We’re focused on you and your future.  Talk to a recruiter today to streamline what your vision is for your future employment.

How to Harness Grit to Get Through this Pandemic

Angela Duckworth, the bestselling author of “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” talked to Harvard Business Review recently during their HBR Quarantine podcast about how we can best stay positive and productive as we cope with Covid-19.

Understanding our Bodies Response to Stress

When you experience adversity, defined as a challenge that’s threatening and new, and that could do you harm, our bodies have a partly physical response. We all feel stress: your sleep is disrupted; you may feel muscular tension; you may have an elevated heart rate; your mind gets focused on threats, and you keep thinking about them.

Duckworth explains how psychological science can help us understand those feelings; this is not an inadequate response to adversity. It’s part of resilience and grit, actually to have all of those reactions. Duckworth says what’s important is how do you manage them, “In a way, how do you optimize them? How do you make sure that you learn something in all of this? That’s the big lesson, and if you don’t learn something in this crisis, then you aren’t paying attention.”

It’s exhausting having all of those emotions, especially Duckworth says if you have this secondary response, which is, “Oh my gosh, I shouldn’t have those emotions.” or “I don’t want to feel these emotions.” You double the work when you lay upon your stress response like a meta response that you’re not supposed to have a stress response. Duckworth emphasizes that you are supposed to be stressed right now.

“If you are not even slightly stressed during this global pandemic, then you are not alive,” Duckworth added.

While we’ve been given the green light to feel stress while navigating Covid-19, Duckworth says this is an opportunity to think about the stories you want to tell about the pandemic of 2020 and how you managed it.

“You might wish to at; first say, ‘I was just totally sideswiped, I couldn’t get my life together all my routines fell out the window, I wasn’t myself. I’m not proud of that, but here’s what I’m proud of how I responded and how I learned and grew through these weeks.'”

One of the significant ways we achieve meaning in life is our response to adversity. And Duckworth says that turns this narrative into an opportunity to demonstrate and develop character.

How do you discuss resilience and grit with your team remotely? Or create a culture where an institution collectively has grit, drive, and perseverance. 

When you look at a gritty individual, they have a very aerodynamic hierarchy of goals. What they do during the day, these low-level goals match up nicely with mid-level goals and the ultimate top-level goals. All the goals align in a hierarchy that tells you, ‘this is who I am.’

That’s also true at the macro level when you think of an organization. A great organization, whether it’s a private sector company, a non-profit, or a government, they have clarity about what their mission is. And this is why companies have mission statements, and then they have strategic plans to get you to fulfill that mission using tactile objectives like KPIs, etc. As a leader, if you want to maintain or build that kind of clarity during a crisis, like Covid-19, in addition to being a great role model and having a clear mission, that vision needs to be consistently communicated.

“Motivation for an organization is like a half-filled helium balloon; you gotta keep batting it back up in the air. Don’t be so naive to think that, well, you had the annual meeting, or you even had the weekly Zoom call. I think people need constant reminding of how their part fits into the greater whole.”

Do you want to see your level of grit? Take Duckworth’s Grit Scale quiz here.

All of us at INNOVA People hope you are staying well during this trying time.


Simon Sinek Interview Tips

Simon Sinek, the inspiring, life-changing, bestselling author of “Leaders Eat Last” and “Together Is Better” recently launched a live book club Q&A to discuss his first bestseller, “Starts with Why.”


Here’s a little backstory if you’re not familiar with Sinek’s work: 


In 2009 Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work and, in turn, inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 40 million who’ve watched his TED Talk based on “Start with Why” – the third most popular TED video of all time.


During Start With Why: Part 2 Book Club with Simon, Sinek offered some valuable interview tips to help determine a good culture fit, how well a candidate or company knows their why, and how you can help to uncover yours.   


During an interview, Sinek says he always asks the interviewer these questions:


What’s the company’s cause? 

What do you stand for? 

Do you love your job? 

What are you hoping to build that’s bigger than the money you make?

What’s the vision of the company? 


If you ask multiple people within the same company these questions, do you get the same answer? If not, Sinek says the “why” of that organization may not be clearly defined or practiced. 


If you’re the interviewer, Sinek says the same rules apply. “Tell me what you stand for. Tell me what you hope to advance in your life more significant than the money you make.” And see if people can articulate that. Their answers are a key indicator of a potential good culture fit.


Sinek’s favorite interview question is less about tangible results and more about showcasing your passion, “Tell me a story of something you did in your career that you absolutely loved being a part of whether it was commercially successful or not.” Sinek says the story that somebody proceeds to tell is going to be something that is emotional and uses the word love and is based on their why, and you’re going to find out a lot about them from that response about who they are not just what they can do.


It’s also essential to keep in mind when you interview that you’re not working for a company you are working for people. And it’s more important to work for a great leader than it is to work for a great company.


“I’ve worked for some okay companies, but I had some fantastic leaders early in my career. I remember when I was junior in my career and some HR person interviewing me would ask, ‘What are you looking for?’ I would say, ‘What I’m looking for is a lot like looking for love, but I’m looking for a mentor.’ I kept looking for a boss that I believed in and who got a kick out of me and wanted to help foster my career,” Sinek said.


And in case you were wondering Sinek, says you can’t have two whys, one for your professional life and one for your personal life. You are who you are. “The reason your friends love you is the same reason your colleagues, your clients, and your customers love you. If you are acting differently in one of those two places, then on one of those two places, you’re lying.” The opportunity is bringing your why to life personally and professionally while keeping in mind it’s not about what you do, it’s why you do it.  


You only have one why, and it never changes your whole life regardless of the role you play. The opportunity your life affords you is all the choices you make to bring your why to life. So the question is, is what you’re doing and why you’re doing it consistently. Because only when why, how, and what are in perfect balance do we “know who we are.”


Just like a company, our why is our origin story. It’s where we come from; it’s who we are; it’s how we were raised, and the rest of our lives are an opportunity to live our lives in balance or not. 


Photo Credit: Simon Sinek.com