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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Search Inside Yourself: : Post #4--Mental Habits

Creating Useful Mental Habits
a.    Triggers. Simple comments by our boss or spouse can trigger an emotional response from the amygdala that sends a message to the upper, cognitive brain for help in adapting to a stressor. Sometimes the response is appropriate and proportionate, other times, not so much. The trick is to take enough time before responding to process it more cognitively and less emotionally.
b.    Coping practice. Try using the pneumonic Siberian North Railroad (SBNRR): Stop (find the “sacred pause”). Breathe (reinforce the pause). Notice (recognize and name the physical bodily reaction). Reflect (figure out where the emotion is coming from). Respond (in a way that ends positively).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Search Inside Yourself: Post #3--Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence. The fathers of emotional intelligence (EI), John Mayer and Peter Salovey, define it this way: “The ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions…” Further, Daniel Goleman later popularized emotional intelligence by adding a useful structure to EI: Self Awareness, Self–Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills. 

a.    Self-Awareness. Goleman identified three elements of self-awareness: 1) Emotional awareness—understanding the effects of emotions on yourself. 2) Self-assessment—understanding your strengths and challenges. 3) Self-confidence—understanding your self-worth.

b.    Self-Mastery. Goleman identified five elements: 1) Self-control—keeping emotions in control; 2) Trustworthiness—being honest and having integrity; 3) Conscientiousness—being responsible for our actions; 4) Adaptability—handling change well; and, 5) Innovation—initiating change.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Search Inside Yourself: Post #2--Attention Getting

Attention Getting:
--Response-pause. Victor Frankl, famed psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, teaches that between the external stimulus and our response to it rests a potential pause, a space in which we choose how to react. To respond to others in an emotionally appropriate way, we need to practice and develop this “sacred pause”; moreover, mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to develop the sacred pause.
--Mindfulness meditation, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, is about “paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment—nonjudgmentally.”  In essence, concentrating on our breathing slows down the brain’s fire alarm, the amygdala, and thus opens up the brain to being fully present and aware. Simply labeling your emotions can slow down and manage that emotion (Lieberman).
-- Paying attention to other people, especially in conversation, is at the heart of the discussion about attention. Giving others our attention is the greatest of all gifts. We show how we value others by how well we listen and put them first in the conversation.  ‘The most precious gift we can give others is our presence (Thich Nhat Hanh).’

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Search Inside Yourself: Post #1--Overview

Overview Google asked what would happen if people practiced contemplative practices
in their work lives. From that thought grew a mindfulness-based, emotional-intelligence focused program, which now stands at the center of Google’s employee development. That new program is called Search Inside Yourself. This program focuses on three steps: Attention getting, self-knowledge and self-mastery, and creating useful mental habits. Attention getting focuses on mindfulness training—calming the mind to prepare it for higher-order problem solving. Self-knowledge and self-mastery are the core elements of emotional intelligence that separate the good from the great leaders. Creating useful mental habits focuses on developing positive habits like kindness, optimism and empathy. Google’s “jolly good fellow” Chade-Meng Tan has written the book that might just revolutionize corporate America—and even change the world.

Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan (HarperOne, 2014), reviewed by Steve Gladis, September 2015.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Team of Teams: FINAL Post

Final Word on the author: I had the opportunity to chat with Stan

McChrystal while writing in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, one Saturday morning. I had just posted his TED talk when he came into the coffee shop and sat down at a table next to mine. An intelligent and gracious guy, Stan is a true national treasure. In fact, his work with the Aspen Institute to create a year of national service for young Americans is something I’ve philosophically supported for many years. I just hope that he’ll be as successful at this endeavor as he was at his military career. I congratulate him on a fine book.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Team of Teams: Post #6-- Engineering isn't Leadership

Engineering is Not Leading. For engineers, problem solving is often
the Holy Grail. A set of inputs and expected outputs, a formula, a way to solve it and voila—problem solved.  And if you spot any new problem that looks like the old one, simply apply the same old solution. However, when the problem morphs from day to day, traditional engineers, such as commanders hatched at West Point, had to adapt their problem-solving skills to successfully lead. This is from an insightful foreword to Team of Teams by the author of The Innovators, Walter Isaacson: “Efficiency remains important, but the ability to adapt to complexity and continual change has become an imperative.”

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Team of Teams: Post #5--Delegate, not Micromanage

Delegate but Don’t Micromanage. Intuitive to many of us today but less obvious years ago while under the Taylor efficiency shadow, micromanagement of every step in a process is a ticket to frustration and disengagement. McChrystal and his commanders learned that the more delegation down the chain of command a commander allowed, the more likely the decisions made were equally as good as if being made by commanders themselves.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Team of Teams: Post #4--Space

Space Makes a Difference.  Indeed, the physical layout of an enterprise can make a big difference in how the organizational culture grows.  More open and fluid workspaces allow leaders to communicate more openly and efficiently than in an isolated atmosphere. “Serendipitous interaction” takes place when people hang out near each other and can literally bump into each other and share ideas.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Team of Teams: Post #3 Trust and Communcation

Teams, Trust, and Communication. For teams to be effective, there must be a sense of trust among team members as well as a shared common purpose. Moreover, successful enterprises must be made up of a “team of teams,” which also shares trust between and among teams as well as an enterprise-wide sense of purpose and meaning. Trust is built by collaboration and communication, not on competition between members of a single team or between teams. When team members and teams of teams have high trust, they’re more likely to share resources in service of the greater good. On the other hand, rigid command structures tend to lead to “tribalism” and distrust.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Team of Teams: Post #2--Efficient, not Effective?

Efficient is Not Always Effective. The authors dedicate a lot of space to Frederick Taylor’s reductionist theories of efficiency, which argue for step-by-step processes for products and service that are designed for maximum optimization and efficiency. Designed around reducing workers to near-robots with little say in how things get done, Taylor’s theories dominated at one time both industry and the military and in its day met a need to solve complicated problems; however, those theories were less effective years later when engaged workers and adaptive thinking were required for highly complex problems and in more unpredictable circumstances.

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