Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

A few months ago, I organized my team’s first fully virtual “homesite” — an offsite held remotely from home.

We used the same format that we had for past in-person meetings. We set objectives, generated powerful discussion questions, and spun up a collaborative Google Doc. We booked the better part of a day on our calendars and set up a nice, long Zoom.

And while it seemed like everything was set up for success, discussion had slowed to a crawl by the second hour of the offsite. …


Building a career you love is in your hands. By focusing on the 5 Flow Coaching™ Dimensions, you can spend more time at work feeling satisfied.

The first Flow Coaching™ Dimension is Self-Graded Goaling. Self-Graded Goaling happens when success is so crisply defined that you can give yourself accurate feedback on how you’re doing.

Remember the last time you were very stressed while working on a project at work? You were likely unsure if you were on the right track. Even worse, perhaps you thought you were succeeding only to find out later that you were far from meeting your…


We spend a lot of our lives working. Our lives matter, and we all deserve to feel professional satisfaction.

However, obstacles to fulfillment and productivity at work are all too common. Endless meetings, constant interruptions, and bad relationships can drain you. But, work doesn’t have to be this way.

As humans, we want to build and organize and play. When we’re engaged in a task that really matters, we enter a state of flow.

Flow, coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is a universal experience that’s been observed in all kinds of populations doing all kinds of tasks. …


Incentives are everywhere: our workplaces, our homes, our communities.

As leaders, when we understand what’s driving decisions, we can effectively guide teams towards outcomes that are good for the organization and customers.

What are the types of incentives?

Incentives come in two types: implicit and explicit.

Explicit incentives are those which are publicly recognized by the organization and often touted by leadership. (i.e. promotions, awards, OKRs, goals, etc.)

Implicit incentives are the “unspoken” pressures about how the organization works. (i.e. …


I love my job. Every day I work with people who build amazing products, processes, and experiences. As masters of their crafts, each member of my team prides themselves on the quality of their work. Without a doubt, this has made us great as an organization.

However, there’s a shadow side to perfection. The pursuit of excellence can cause paralysis. It can lead us to cook up complex solutions, long project plans, and resource-hungry designs. Work becomes a drag, and priorities become fuzzy as time distances us from the project’s inception.

Given the growth of our organization, my team can’t…


PC: Founder Factory 2017 in Philadelphia

In a startup, life comes at you fast. With a blink, what was once important becomes irrelevant. The pace quickens with each stride, like a marathoner exceeding a personal best.

In the heat of the chase, I’ve heard busy startup leaders describe learning as “a luxury,” “fluff,” or “something mature companies do.” I’d argue this is a critical miscalculation.

When a startup stops learning; it starts dying.

A culture that craves learning is adaptable, flexible, and resilient. In short, it’s more likely to succeed (all other things considered equal). …


“And now.. again. But this time it’ll be same, same, different.”

These words, spoken often by a favorite teacher, have always served as a personal reminder that unfamiliar things are merely new expressions of what’s been practiced before.

Now, it’s my turn to say “same, same, different.”

My windy career has led me to a fast-growing technology start up where I solve learning design and organizational development problems every day.

The approaches I learned as an educator, school leader, and Edcamper will remain the same. The infusion and discovery of research and best practices will remain the same.

The environment, however, will be different. Instead of kids and teachers, I have managers and amazing team members. Instead of schools and parents, I have customers and learning bots.

Educators, readers, colleagues, and friends, thanks for coming along for the ride.

Kristen Swanson

Organizational Development Nerd, Edcamp Co-Founder, & Learning Scientist

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