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Monday, January 30, 2012

Immunity to Change: Post #4--Fearless Inventory

Column 2: The Fearless Inventory
a. What are you doing (behavior) or not doing instead that keeps you from getting to your goal?
b. Four criteria for Column 2: 1) Don’t use generalities, rather what specifically do you do that makes you, for example, impatient or a poor listener? People should be able to “observe” what you do; 2) The more items in this column, the better. The deeper the dive, the better the x-ray; 3) Everything in this column should be what works against you to accomplish Column #1, not what you’re doing to overcome it; 4) Don’t tell why you do them (trying to explain or rationalize them) or what you plan to do; just list things working against you.
c. Write down what you’re doing/not doing in Column #2 that prevents you from reaching your goal (in Column #1).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Immunity to Change: Post #3--Your Improvement Goal

3. Column 1: Your Improvement Goal
a. Construct a 4-column Grid to develop an X-ray of your own immunity to change.
b. Make sure it meets *criteria (see 2b above) or start over.
b. Need to get this goal right before proceeding with the x-ray.
c. Write down “the big thing” in Column #1.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Immunity to Change: Post #2--Getting Started

1. Getting Started
a. To help evaluations be more meaningful, especially for professional growth, ask: What’s the “one big thing” or one single goal that if you improved would help you add value to your company or team? This should not be anything technical, like learning a new skill. Rather it should be more adaptive—a change you make in yourself that leads to real change and growth.
b. Before a management retreat or evaluation, get feedback from three levels
i. Your boss: Here’s the one important goal/behavior that will make the big difference in his/her evaluation of you for the year.
ii. Your Peers: Here’s the one goal/behavior that will make you a better team member.
iii. Your direct report(s): Here’s the one goal/behavior that would enable you to serve them better as their boss.
c. Members of the team confront each other about how their “one big thing” would be best for the team and the company.
d. Each talks with family and friends. Important to vet this one big thing if you’re going to make it your quest for the next year.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Immunity to Change: Post #1--Overview

Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (Harvard Business Press, 2009) reviewed by Steve Gladis, PhD, January 2012.
Overview: “Adapt or Become Irrelevant” should be the title of this book, although I do like the actual title: Immunity to Change by Harvard professors Kegan and Lashey. All of us have something that we wish we could change about ourselves or our teams at work. As individuals, maybe we want to be less thoughtless, lose weight, or change a habit that’s nagged us for years, like procrastinating or interrupting people. Groups or teams also get stuck in patterns of “anxiety management behavior” (immunity to change) that don’t work, such as not changing a process, a product or service when we know the world has moved on. So, we adopt a philosophy of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” even when we know “it” is no longer relevant. Building on the work of two other Harvard professors, Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky’s theory of adaptive change, Kegan and Lahey have given us a great diagnostic tool to help us “x-ray” our own situation and test our assumptions that often lead to the exact opposite of what we say we really want to change. Their diagnostic tool is simple but elegant and composed of four steps captured in the form of four columns. Column #1: Our improvement goal (What do we want to do?); Column #2: Our fearless inventory (What are we doing or not doing instead of Column #1?); Column #3: Our hidden competing commitments (What are we secretly committed to that makes us do the stuff in Column #2, which competes directly with Column #1 desire(s)?; and, Column #4: Our assumptions (What big assumption(s) are we making that support our Column #3 hidden commitments?). To make real change happen, the authors instruct us to attack our assumptions. They suggest we conduct small, incremental experiments, collect data that runs contrary to our big assumptions, deconstruct them, and eventually clearly evaluate their accuracy and relevance. In short, we must test our assumptions for their validity. People and teams who can resist the easy temptation to just do the opposite of things in Column #2 (merely make technical, surface changes) and instead take on the adaptive changes (more comprehensive and difficult experimental changes) will find a better world to live in. This is the kind of a book that an entire company should read and practice over a year. This is a very important book—BIG stuff between these covers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jobs War: Post #10--Final Words

Conclusion: Here is an abbreviated list of Clifton’s key findings:
a. The #1 social value in the world is to have a good job. Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough of such jobs. Cities are the #1 location for job creation, especially through entrepreneurship. Key sources of job creation: Top 100 cities (regions); top 100 universities; top 10,000 (top 100 cities X 100 key leaders) tribal leaders. Entrepreneurship drives the economy more than innovation. Invest in entrepreneurship. Small to medium-sized companies will drive job growth, not the big companies.
b. Other findings: Healthcare cost will bankrupt us unless we switch to a wellbeing mentality. The high school dropout rate, especially among minorities, is astronomical and debilitating for any economy. America has to engage its workforce. Well less than a third of our workforce is engaged enough to fight for jobs. And about one fifth is actively disengaged—actually a toxic drain on business and the economy.
c. BIG thanks to Jim Clifton and Gallup for writing this book!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jobs War: Post #10--Healthcare

a. Healthcare costs will bankrupt America. The cost of the healthcare stranglehold on the economy threatens to drain our entrepreneurial will and our economic leadership in the world. Bottom Line: We don’t have the money to sustain fat, unhealthy, smoking, excessive drinking Americans. Unfit Americans will bankrupt us.
b. The scope of the issue: We spend $2.5 trillion on healthcare, and the GDP of the entire countries of India and Russia are each only $1.5 trillion! And if that’s not bad enough, the estimates in 10 years are that healthcare in America will hit $4.5 trillion. This effect is greater by far than any subprime loan scandals, than the cost of higher education, than the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, than any gas crisis—healthcare is the BIG Kahuna of the economy mess we’re in today.
c. Roughly 70% of the $2.5 trillion healthcare tab is because of obesity. Fat people get sick and cost a bunch. Last-year-of-life costs run roughly 25% of all Medicare/Medicaid expenses. And studied estimates are that roughly 1/3 of all healthcare expenditures are wasteful. Finally, according to the author, hospitals are among the unsafest places in the world. While we lost 6,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past 8 years, hospitals lost 800,000 patients and injured 8 million others!
d. Wellbeing: Unless our attitudes about obesity (roughly 2/3 of the country), healthcare, and wellbeing change, we’re doomed to escalating, bankrupting costs. And behavioral economics can work to cure the issue. When people don’t get hired based on their poor health, or their risks because of obesity, things will start to change. Gallup has looked at other factors for wellbeing such as: Career Wellbeing—doing something you love every day; Social Wellbeing—having strong, interpersonal relationships in your life; Financial Wellbeing—being in charge of your financial life; Physical Wellbeing—being in good health; Community Wellbeing—your engagement with the town/area in which you live.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jobs War: Post #9--Schools

a. These numbers are scary: 30% of American students drop out or don’t graduate on schedule. And 50% of minorities drop out. Moreover, 43% of African American males drop out and about 21% go to prison. These staggering numbers spell out a potentially tragic future for the country.
b. Why? Gallup’s research found that kids drop out for one compelling reason: Loss of hope. They’re not excited about what comes next in their lives, and they start dropping out mentally while in high school.
c. Increasing hope. What leaders must do:
i. Grow engaged teachers—teachers matter most in student confidence and thus staying in school.
ii. Use Gallup’s Student poll. See pp. 137-38.
iii. Reduce the dropout rate by 50%.
iv. Involve the entire community. It’s not just a school problem but a community one—one that has a huge, expensive, lasting impact.
d. Summary of schools: There’s no national silver bullet to fix this one. We can’t toss money at it. It’s a community issue that everyone has to weigh in on. Student graduation is a predictor of community health. The entrepreneurial spirit of kids in school (5th-12th graders) is trending up, we have a real shot at a vital economy (see The Gallup-HOPE index, a sample of which is on pp. 141-42).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jobs War: Post #8--Customers

a. The battle for customers is worldwide, not just local. There is a worldwide market of 7 billion customers. America has to get 10% consumer growth (by using smart customer science) per year to stay ahead of the Chinese. We must be the best at understanding the minds of worldwide customers or suffer the economic consequences.
b. One painful example of that negative consequence of slipping behind China and India is found in the automotive industry. Detroit lost sight of what customers wanted—affordable, efficient transportation. But Honda and Toyota, among others, got the message and produced cars that Americans bought and bought. The U.S. took its sights off what customers want and lost that race.
c. Customers want companies that understand their needs, satisfy those needs, and become trusted partners in their lives and businesses. Gallup has come up with an excellent customer engagement survey (see pp. 122-23). This is worth reviewing in terms of your own organization.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jobs War: Post #7--Workers

a. Disengaged workers make for unhappy customers, who stop buying the product, which causes layoffs or company failures. It’s that simple—that disturbing.
b. Gallup has been researching engagement and found that around 20% of the 100 million U.S. workers are disengaged. That’s 20 million workers who are slowly but surely destroying our nation’s companies. Consider that economic impact. It’s like a form of terrorism, only worse!
c. Gallup stats: 28% of the American workforce is engaged; 53% is not engaged; and, 19% is actively disengaged. Engaged employees have the following stats working for them: 12% higher customer metrics; 18% more productivity, 16% more profitability, 37% lower absenteeism, 25%-49% lower turnover, 27% less theft, and 60% fewer quality defects.
d. Gallup Path: 1. Identify a worker’s strengths; 2. Right fit them into a job that takes advantage of those strengths; 3. Provide a manager/leader who cares about the employee; 4. You’ll get an engaged worker; 5. Engaged workers who produce happy, engaged customers; 6. All this leading to sustainable growth and profitability.
e. Managers are Job #1: Managers are the most important choice in a company. Why? The level of engagement of employees depends on their manager. There is, on average, 1 manager to 10 employees, and 1 in 5 managers stink. That means such sub-par managers turn off 20% of employees. That’s staggering when you review the stats that disengaged employees produce.
f. Leaders have to understand what motivates people (behavioral economics) if we are to continue to prosper and lead the world. And not doing so sets up a negative dynamic—a movie with an ending none of us wants to see.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jobs War: Post #6--Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation and Entrepreneurship
a. We have a lot of innovation in America. Ideas proliferate. What’s lacking are great new business models that allow us to monetize those ideas.
b. Innovation must be bridged to the customer by the entrepreneur. And the entrepreneur builds that bridge by using a sustainable business model. Worldwide, the U.S. has commercialized 30-40% of the business breakthroughs for about as long as it’s been around as a nation. Henry Ford did not invent the car; rather, he commercialized and mass produced it. He created the business model to make it work. However, entrepreneurs are rare birds and need to be supported and developed because they create the all important jobs that people want and need.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jobs War: Post #5--Job Creation

Sources of Job Creation
a. The author points to three critical components of the next great breakthrough (like the Internet) that will create jobs. Those components are big cities, powerful local leaders, and great universities.
b. Cities: Several factors: 1) All important solutions are local—especially places like New York, Palo Alto, Seattle, Boston, Austin, etc. Young, smart talent gets drawn to cities with the right atmosphere for them, and they stay and make things happen; 2) The whole city gets involved in the effort; 3) Align efforts—need a regional or citywide strategic plan; 4) Don’t look to Washington for solutions. Its purpose was not intended for that reason. National leadership—regardless of party—doesn’t create sustainable policies for creativity and competition. Just the opposite.
c. Local Tribal Leaders: All prosperous cities have self-appointed talented people who get things done—call them Tribal Leaders. They’re philanthropists, social activists, business owners—all of whom step up and “do the right thing.” Note that they’re not elected or government officials. The real power comes from the Tribal Leaders. Think about what Warren Buffet means to Omaha or Bill Gates to Seattle. There are roughly 100 Tribal Leaders in a city and 100 of the most powerful cities in the country. Thus, there are 10,000 Tribal Leaders who will have to make the change in jobs or whatever becomes important to America in the future. Tribal leaders are responsible for electing strong, local political leaders. Weak local, state, and federal leaders = weak tribal leaders. Super mentors ignite entrepreneurs and innovators. Al Gore is a great example. While a Senator, he pushed the Internet through policies to become the massive economic boom for America.
d. Universities: Knowledge creation is at the core of a university. Also, universities create the right ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship. And if you look at the top 100 universities, you’ll find super mentors and job creation swirling around them.
e. The simple economic formula: 100 tribal leaders, 100 key cities, and 100 top universities will make most of the difference in the Job Wars!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jobs War: Post #4--Behavioral Economics

The War of Behavioral Economics
a. American “world” Wars: The fight of the Greatest Generation in World War II saved Americans from domination (political and economic) by Japan and/or Germany. The Baby Boomers won the technical and economic war (1970s-1990s) through the tech revolution, and the Internet and entrepreneurship saved the country again. Now it’s up to the Gen X and millennials (with backing and help from Boomers) to keep the U.S. economic engine powering forward—especially by way of entrepreneurship and innovation. But if you have to pick one, go for entrepreneurship.
b. Classical economics is about measuring the “transactions” of life. Behavioral economics is about the state of mind (the intent) that precipitates those choices. And those states of minds are connected—think Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. The author tells a compelling story of this linkage that led to the fall of the Tunisian government and eventually Egypt (the Arab Spring). The chain reaction (with modern reporting…think Twitter) of such intentions and states of mind isstaggering. Gallup now studies the behavioral economics—the states of mind before transactions that get counted by classical economists—in about 100 key areas (including job creation, global migration, health, community, etc.). The author argues that behavioral economics is the “New Secret Weapon.” Look toward guys like Daniel Kahneman (Princeton) and Richard Thaler (Univ. of Chicago).
c. Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The core of GDP growth is job creation. And at the core of job creation is entrepreneurship and innovation. Americans have the “freedom” edge on the Chinese…freedom of speech, choice, etc. But leaders need to consider the states of mind of their consumers. Behavioral economics: Decision making is 70% emotional and 30% rational. America requires a 5% or better GDP growth pattern to thrive, grow new jobs, and sustain its economic leadership in the world. This kind of growth comes only from small and medium-sized companies. And the best place for growth is cities.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jobs War: Post #3--The Threat

The Threat
a. The current world Gross Domestic Product (GDP—the total value of goods and services provided by a county in a year) is approximately $60 trillion. The U.S. runs about $15 trillion and China’s GDP is nearly $6 trillion. However, U.S. GDP growth is about 2% whereas China’s is 10%. At that rate of compounding, in 30 years the U.S. will be eating China’s dust—and that means a lot more cities looking like Detroit than boomtowns. When you’re the economic leader of the world, you have greater say in just about everything from domestic to foreign policy. When you’re in second place, the whole game changes.
b. And at the heart of GDP is job growth—the greater the job growth, the greater the GDP. Small to medium-sized companies, not big companies, grow 99% of the jobs. You need big companies for lots of reasons, but the real job growth comes from companies of less than 500 and even more so from companies of less than 100.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jobs War: Post #2--What people want

What people want: Jobs
a. Gallup conducts a World Poll to determine what is on the hearts and minds of the 7 billion people on earth. One of the most startling and consistent answers over the last few years is that what people want most is a good job. It’s that simple—and that profound.
b. This “good job” is 30+ hours a week of meaningful work. Thus, job creation around the world and especially in the U.S. should be central to our social and economic policies. While unemployment might be at 9%, Gallup also considers “underemployment” and their definition nearly doubles the rate of the economic threat.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jobs War: Post #1--Overview

The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton (Gallup Press, 2011). Reviewed/summarized by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., January 2012.
Overview: The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton (Chairman of Gallup) is a very sober and instructive read. An organization with Gallup’s reputation has to be taken seriously, and their numbers about the economy are very serious. Here’s the cliff-notes summary: Currently the U.S. has the leading economy (GDP), with China #2. However, our GDP is only growing at 2% a year, China’s at 10%. Do the math, and the story’s more than sobering in the coming decades. According to Gallup’s research, job creation remains THE critical answer to the GDP growth problem. Also, small to medium-sized companies, not large companies, grow 99% of the jobs. The author argues that entrepreneurism and innovation are the very lifeblood of job creation and the economy. Clifton cites three key elements of such job creation: Cities, local tribal leaders, and key universities. To win the jobs and economic war, we need employees who are engaged. Currently, less than 1/3 of US workers are truly engaged, and 19% are actively (toxically) disengaged. Also, we need to view global, not just domestic, customers as our target market. We must get our arms around our schools, where 30% of K-12 students leave or delay graduation and where 50% of minorities drop out. Finally, we must fix healthcare, which is about to break the American economy—70% of the $2.5 trillion healthcare problem orbits around obesity-related disease! Note the entire GDP of Russia and India is only $1.5 trillion each. However, here’s the hope: We can win this jobs/ economic war, just like the Greatest Generation won World War II in the 1940s against Japan and Germany; just like the Baby Boomers won the technical economic wars in the 1970s-90s; and hopefully just like we will win the job wars in the 21st century. Clifton argues that will happen if we focus on our secret weapons: Behavioral economics (understanding what motivates people to act), entrepreneurship, and innovation. Job creation and entrepreneurship live together like twins, and anything we can do to cultivate entrepreneurs helps not only local cities, but also the nation, and the world—our new playing field.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #10--Final Words

Happiness starts in the brain, radiates throughout the person, jumps the track to another person, then to a group, a community, and beyond. It’s infectious because of “mirror neurons” that compel us to copy others, especially people we’re deeply connected to, love, or who are authority figures. While the investments in happiness can be small, the dividends of happiness are enormous.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #9--Social Investment

Principle #7. Social Investment: Why Social Support is Your Single Greatest Asset
a. The Harvard Men Study: Researchers followed 268 men (all Harvard graduates) since the late 1930’s for 70+ years and looked at what distinguished the happiest and most successful from the rest. The chief researcher offered one word that made the difference: Love! The findings led to the simple, powerful fact that our social relationships with other people matter more than anything else in the world! It’s that simple. In fact, happiness predicted career achievement and income. The deeper and wider our “communities” of friends, colleagues at work, relatives, and others, the more resilient, productive, and happy we are. The need for social support is as vital as water and air to our surviving and thriving in a productive, happy world. For example, heart attack victims with social support are three times more likely to survive. Talk about an insurance policy.
b. Socially bonded employees work harder, have greater focus, can endure more, and are immune to turmoil. The positively interactive social group acts like a team turbo-booster. The more employees interact socially, the more energy teams and individuals have. MIT researchers studied a large population of IBM employees and found that the more socially connected ones performed better.
c. Vertical Couple: The most important work /social connection is between boss and employee (I’m guessing also the client-consultant relationship). Daniel Goleman calls this relationship the “vertical couple.” This basic unit of the organization makes the difference in whether an employee is happy, engaged, and productive. It should be call the vital couple!
d. Investing in social capital at work—introduce people around to each other. Ask “what’s on the other side of your business card? What are you known for? Being a catalyst, the get it done guy, the inspirer, etc?” Send a “thank you” email to someone at work every day. Keep a gratitude journal. After a month it will become a positive habit…visible and infectious.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #8--Barriers

Principle #6. The 20-Second Rule: How to Turn Bad Habits into Good Ones by Minimizing Barriers to Change
a. “Common sense is not common action.” Though doctors know better, over 44% of them are overweight. It’s not enough to know something, but we have to DO it as well.
b. Bundle of Habits: William James, father of modern psychology, said, “we are ‘mere bundles of habit…’” We all have a series of habits or routines in our lives. Our bedtime or morning routines might serve as examples. And that cuts both ways: Our habits keep us doing things both good and bad.
c. The trick is to interrupt our path and not just rely on willpower. Will power is a limited fount. If we go to it too often, we wear it out. On the other hand, unconscious habit taps into a huge reservoir of energy to sustain real change.
d. Passive leisure activities like trolling Facebook or watching TV are good for about 30 minutes…then apathy or “psychic entropy” sets in. However, “active leisure” like biking, sports, and games help us be 2.5 times happier when engaged than in a passive activity.
e. The 20-Second Rule: Put things in your path, not out of ready access. Even an extra 20 seconds of hunting for something can impede your progress. So make it harder to find bad habits (like food) and easier to find good habits (like your running shoes). Also creating barriers can make a big difference. If you often stop at an ice cream shop, take a different route home…that one is autobiographical!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #7--Start Small

Principle #5. The Zorro Circle: How Limiting Your Focus to Small, Manageable Goals Can Expand Your Sphere of Power
a. Zorro learned to become a great swordsman by mastering small circles (small chunks of learning) and then expanding his circles. The old adage applies here: How do you eat an elephant—one bite at a time!
b. Feeling in control is a great motivator/driver of success and performance. Mindset is how we interpret the world. The more we believe we have internal say over our world, the greater our achievement and the happier we are. A study of 7,400 people showed 50% higher risk of heart attack in people who felt they had little control over their deadlines.
c. Emotional Hijack: Fight between our reactionary (“jerk”) brain and our rational (“thinker”) brain. Our “jerk” brain takes over when fight-flight situation hits. Need to “think, then react.” Easier said than done. Financial losses are processed in same part of the brain as mortal danger.
d. Daniel Kahneman (Noble Prize winner) discovered that counter to classical economics, humans do not make rational, but rather emotional economic decisions. We have a deep sense of fairness and when that’s assaulted, we react emotionally, not rationally. Kahneman proves this in his “Ultimatum Game.”
e. How to deal with emotional hijack: Write it down or speak with a friend about it. By submitting the situation to language, we automatically defuse it. Then separate things you can and can’t control. Finally, attack things you can control—one bite at a time. Coaching uses this principle very well. Start the long journey with the first step.
f. Avoid reaching for the stars—rather go one step at a time. Choosing manageable but challenging goals seems to work best. Once those goals are complete, expand to the next level, and so on.
g. Bottom Line: “Small successes can add up to major accomplishments. All it takes is drawing the first [Zorro] circle in the sand.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #6--Post Trauma Growth

Principle #4. Falling Up: Capitalizing on the Downs to Create Upward Momentum
a. After-crisis (or adversity) “mental maps.” We respond to crisis or adversity in three ways: 1) Neutral Effect: Current state—following a crisis, you end up essentially where you started before the crisis; 2) Negative Effect—you end up much worse off after a crisis—you feel hopeless and helpless; 3) “The Third Path” Positive Effect—you actually rise above the crisis.
b. Post-Traumatic Growth—if people experience a trauma subjectively and positively, they can actually grow from it. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” seems to be a scientific truism according to research.
c. Real stories of Michael Jordan getting cut from his high school team and Walt Disney getting fired from a newspaper for not being creative, along with rafts of stories about Kennedy, Lincoln, etc., demonstrate this phenomenon.
d. Learned Helplessness—people see futility and give up/quit forming a mental map of hope, then they close off any capacity to meet the challenge in front of them. This sense of helplessness can spread to other facets of life. So a bad time at work can spread to relationships all around.
e. Find the Path Up—crisis creates opportunities to move up. “Counterfacts” create an alternative to a misfortune—and can help us keep a positive mental map. A job loss looks awful, but not compared to serious illness. Of course, it looks worse when you compare it to gainful employment—but putting things in big-picture perspective helps us find the path up. Explanatory Style: Optimists interpret adversity as temporary and local, and fare better than pessimists, who see adversity as permanent and global. “Falling up” is about using the momentum of the fall down to propel a bounce back up!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #5--Possiblities

Principle #3. The Tetris Effect: Training Your Brain to Capitalize on Possibility
a. Tetris gamers start to “see” the world around them like Tetris shapes. Our mind shapes how we see the world. Scanning the world for threats or negative impacts creates a worldview that screens out positives and creates a “negative” mindset…undercuts creativity, motivation, and goal accomplishment—thus keeping us from our potential.
b. A person’s “cognitive pattern” has real effects. For example, accountants and lawyers constantly look for errors…problems. Their days are filled with audits or trial defenses. And it affects their relationships…like looking for C’s, not A’s, on their kids’ report cards. It also affects them personally.
c. Lawyers experience 3.6 times the depression as the rest of workers…it’s an occupational hazard. But no one is immune from this “tetris” or cognitive pattern effect. Athletes become “competitive” with their relationships and it changes them, not always for the better. Social workers who see a lot of male-on-female abuse start seeing all men as potential abusers.
d. “Selective Perception” is seeing what we’re looking for. When we hear a new word or buy a new car, we hear and see the same all around us. Heightened selective perception creates a filter to see the world through. This can be negative if your lens is one of distrust, or it can be positive if based on trust. Two people can look at the same person and construct totally different meanings about that person’s words and actions.
e. Positive Tetris Effect: Two big ones—Gratitude and Optimism. Psychologist Robert Emmons has studied the power of gratitude for years and found it fundamental to happiness, energy, productivity, etc. People can be trained to be grateful by using a gratitude journal.
f. Optimism: Predicts job performance. Optimists set more and higher goals and tend to hit them. Richard Wiseman studied luck and found that if people expect good things to happen to them, they will. Something about how thinking optimistically reframes your brain. Latent opportunity is always there but optimists tap into it…pessimists miss such opportunity a LOT.
g. Rose-Tinted glasses: The author suggests rose-tinted glasses that will allow the Big Problems in but will filter out the many little ones, which if we focus on them, will pull us down. Better to see the world as positive, which helps us find even more positivity.
h. “In business and in life, the ‘reasonable optimist’ will win every time.”

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #4--The Fulcrum

Principle #2. The Fulcrum and the Lever: Changing Your Performance by Changing Your Mindset
a. With a big enough lever, you can lift most anything. Just remember the seesaw in the schoolyard.
b. The “fulcrum” of your mindset allows you to lift yourself into happiness.
c. An experiment with 75-year old men on a retreat for a week: They were asked to act as if they were 20 years younger. All surroundings, even their own ID’s, were of 20 years ago. Results: Almost every measurement (strength, eyesight, posture and flexibility) increased.
d. Mindset: Placebos are 55-60% as effective as codeine and aspirin for controlling pain. The poison ivy experiment: Blindfolded and highly allergic people were told that a leaf was poison ivy and then their arms were rubbed with the leaf. While the leaf was not poison ivy, ALL 13 test subjects broke out in a rash.
e. Your mindset creates your world: Rather than be bored at a meeting, recast it into a “what can I learn” meeting. Reframe work, turn it into play and the world changes. Simply believing in our abilities changes our mindset and happiness. Identifying with our profession, not stereotypes of gender or ethnicity, can improve results. And identifying with the best of our profession or our highest attributes changes who we become.
f. Carol Dweck at Stanford found that people have either a fixed or growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset do better in school and in the future. When you believe that things will get better, you work harder and they do! It’s like the children’s story about the little engine that could.
g. Anne Wrzesniewski from Yale discovered that we have three mindsets about work: Job, Career, and a Calling. People with “Job” mindsets see it as work…plain and simple. “Career” folks see work as an opportunity to advance and succeed. But, those with a “Calling” mindset see work as something that draws on their personal strengths, contributes to the greater good, and is a purpose in and of itself. Reminding people about the meaning of their work moves them from being workers to stakeholders. Don’t ever forget this one if you want to maximize engagement and profit.
h. “Priming” people prepares them for success. In studies, maids who were reminded of the physical workout they get while cleaning lost more weight than other maids not similarly “primed.” Students reminded or “primed” about their intelligence do much better on tests. In one experiment, teachers were told that certain students were exceptional (but these students were actually average). At the end of the year, those average students tested off the charts as exceptional. The Pygmalion Effect is our belief in another person’s potential and actually helps make that potential become reality. Cultivate a positive (growth) mindset and watch your world change!

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