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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

In his 2008 book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi investigates what makes an experience or task particularly satisfying. He describes the ideal state of work, which he calls “flow.”

His description of flow is very similar to the idea of an athlete being in “the zone.” People in the zone describe it as being fully engaged in an activity to the point of ignoring all distractions because they are so absorbed.

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Using the Four Styles of Decision-Making to Influence Decisions

There's a sales pitch or a big meeting coming up, and you're preparing. You probably know some of the people in the meeting, but you may not know them that well. In fact, you may not know some of them at all. How do you make sure that your pitch will be well-received?

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Effective Managing Techniques: The One-Minute Manager

It's hard to imagine, but once upon a time, “managerial best practices” were a foreign concept. Management in itself was not an area of focus and improvement. In 1982, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson wrote The One Minute Manager, a short book that revolutionized the way people thought about the skills and effort needed to be a good manager.

Faculty Profile: Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt, who earned his MBA from Marquette University, is VP of Operations at Midtown Crossing, as part of Mutual of Omaha, in Omaha, Nebraska. Joe teaches Managerial Accounting in the Midland MBA program.

Hi, Joe. To start, please tell us about your background.

Corporate-building

How to Create a Successful Strategic Plan

As the old saying goes, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” A strategic plan for your business or your team is critical to ensure your long-term success. A basic strategic plan can be created in a couple of concentrated afternoons or evenings, and can help keep you on the right course as you execute the daily tasks necessary to your business.

When creating a basic strategic plan you must consider, document, and share the following items with your team: (If you’re an individual entrepreneur, a strategic plan is still important)

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Four Must-Watch TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

For those of you unfamiliar with TED, the name of the organization is derived from the acronym “Technology, Entertainment, Design.” TED started way back in 1984 as a standalone conference. The conferences continued and, in 2000, TED was acquired by the non-profit Sapling Foundation–whose motto is “fostering the spread of great ideas.”

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Visionary Leaders and Enduring Companies: Built to Last

In a previous post, we looked at Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, a classic book showing the traits and practices that successful people are continually looking to improve. While it hasn't been around as long, the book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, has drawn just as many accolades as Covey's long-admired classic.

Here’s Why Startups Fail (According to the Entrepreneurs)

No one ever said that starting a business is easy. According to a recent article in Forbes, eight out of 10 small businesses will fail within the first 18 months. The author of that article, Eric Wagner, lays out his opinion on why the failure rate is so high.

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Being Decisive: Avoiding Common Decision-Making Traps

Every day you’re faced with dozens of decisions—some big and some small. There’s no magic formula for making good decisions. Some people use a simple pros and cons checklist, while others try to weigh the best-and worst-case outcomes.

However, in their recent book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath describe the “four villains” of decision-making.

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Student Profile: Jessica Janssen, Midland MBA Class of 2014

Jessica has been promoted since the publication of this post, and is now the Vice President of Development at Midland University.


Hi, Jessica. Tell us about your background.

I graduated from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln with a degree in business administration and have been in philanthropic roles most of my career. Most recently, I was Executive Director of the Fremont Area Community Foundation from 2010-2013, until I took a leap into the finance world with a job at First National Bank in Fremont.

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