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Stop Getting Between Your Team and Meaningful Work

William Coyne headed R&D at 3M, the company that makes Scotch tape and Post-it Notes for over a decade. But he started as a research scientist there, and he knew that managers could get in the way of employees’ ability to get strategic creative work done. There’d be meetings that would suck away time and status checks which would break his concentration. When he became a manager and later an executive, he made it a priority to allow his team to have long stretches of time to work and think. During his tenure, the 3M R&Dteam was hugely successful. They developed everything from a circuit used in printers and cell phones all over the world, to one of the most reflective materials on the planet, and it’s largely because William Coyne set up his team to achieve deep work.

Stop Getting Between Your Team and Meaningful Work

About This Course

A manager has a responsibility to protect their team’s time. Give your team members the time to do deep work.

“Deep work” is a term coined by Georgetown professor

Cal Newport to describe work that requires thought, concentration, and time.

Whether it’s strategic planning, creative thinking, or problem-solving, the ability to do deep work during normal work hours is what sets your best people apart.

And it helps them avoid the burnout that comes with working late to do their best work.

You can set your people up to achieve deep work in the office, during regular work hours, by being the guardian of their time and concentration.



Deep work refers to strategic or creative work that

A. must be done after standard office hours
B. only a few people in your organization should be doing
C. only managers can do
D. requires long stretches of uninterrupted time to be successful

Correct Answer:
D. requires long stretches of uninterrupted time to be successful


Take a look at one of your team members’ calendars. Then ask yourself: does that person have time to do deep work?

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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