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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sleep: FINAL Post--Mental health and sleep disruption

Mental health and sleep disruption: Mentally ill people always have sleep disruption. Often, sleep deprivation precedes mental illness—neural networks that give normal sleep and normal mental health are linked. Sleep disruption could be a marker for potential mental illness.

 Link to Russell Foster’s TED Talk

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sleep: Post #9--Getting Sleep

Getting Sleep: Do you feel tired, do people say you look tired, need an alarm clock, need stimulants?? Best sleep comes when it’s cool, dark, quiet (like a cave). Don’t overstimulate before sleep, avoid caffeine, avoid harsh lights…wind down.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sleep: Post #8--Tired Brain

A Tired Brain wants caffeine, drugs, nicotine, alcohol—a vicious cycle. Weight gain: if you get less than 5 hours of sleep, the body produces ghrelin—a hunger hormone—and you’re 50% more likely to be overweight. Sustained stress due to sleep loss can lead to cancer, diabetes, CV disease.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sleep: Post #7--Sleep deprivation.

Sleep Deprivation:  In 1950, we got 8 hours, but today we sleep only 6.5. Teens need 9 hours, but only get 5.  Shift work: Body clock does not adapt—quality of sleep is poor—simulates jet lag. A result can be micro-sleep—involuntary sleep. Thirty-one percent (31%) of drivers will fall asleep at the wheel in their lifetime, and over 100,000 accidents a year are associated with sleep at the wheel. Poor judgment due to sleep deprivation contributed to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Sleep deficits account for impulsivity, poor judgment, poor memory and poor creativity.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sleep: Post #6--Russel Foster--Summary of his TED Talk

Why do we sleep? ~Russell Foster (2103 TED Talk)

We treat sleep lightly. Sleep was once revered—Shakespeare called it “the sweet honey-dew of sleep.” But later, people like Edison had a dimmer view—“Sleep is a criminal waste of time!” We spend 1/3 of our time sleeping. But you don’t eat, work, or do much of anything while sleeping, so we sometimes consider it a waste of time. BUT: The brain does not shut down when we sleep—it does important things: 1) Restoration—a host of genes are only turned on during sleep for restoration; 2) Sleep enhances both learning and memory consolidation—hard to learn when you’re tired; 3) Innovation is enhanced by 3 times with proper sleep. Neural connections that are important are strengthened and others loosened—basic consolidation.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sleep: Post #5--Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's: What gets cleared—Amyloid-beta—a waste protein made in the brain. In Alzheimer patients, amyloid-beta builds up and gets backed up (acts like a pollutant). Clearance of this protein is rapid in sleep. Sleep problems often precede and may contribute to development of Alzheimer’s. Sleep keeps our brain clean and ready for important mental activity when we’re awake.

Link to Jeff Iliff’s TED Talk:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sleep: Post #4--Brain Restoration

Brain Restoration: MOST Surprising Finding: CSF flushing and restoring of the
brain only takes place during sleep! When you sleep, your brain cells shrink and CSF gets pumped down along the circulatory system to flush out waste. But when you’re awake, the brain puts off restoration and clearing. It waits until, and only until, you’re asleep.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sleep: Post #3--Brain Waste Clearance

Brain Waste Clearance: The brain is surrounded by a large supply of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF)—blood dumps waste into the CSF. A specialized plumbing system is at work in the brain. CSF gets pumped down into the brain alongside the blood vessels. It’s an elegant and clever design due to the confined size of the skull and compactness of the brain—it replaces the lymphatic system. NO other organ uses this system

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sleep: Post #2--Nutrients and Waste

Circulatory System solves the nutrient supply issue—gets nutrients and oxygen to every cell in our body. The lymphatic system (a parallel system) solves the waste-removal problem from our cellular activity. However, lymphatic vessels are not in the brain.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sleep: Post #1--Brain Nutrients and Waste

The Importance of Sleep
One more reason to get a good night’s sleep. ~Jeff Iliff (2014 TED Talk) Summary

Brain Nutrients and Waste--Sleep is an elegant design to solve one of  two problems that every organ in the body has to solve: 1) How to get nutrients to the organ and 2) How to get waste away from the organ. These are especially important tasks for the brain, which is only 2%of our body mass but uses 25% of its energy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Innovator's Method: Post #7--Conclusion

Conclusion. Evidence—it works. Intuit increased its revenues tenfold using experimentation and rapid prototyping. Regeneron (biotech) reduces go-to- market for pharma from $4.3 B to $.07 B—18% of the usual cost. Increase the number of experiments if you want to get more ideas to market faster. Business schools don’t have courses on product development, but business should be about “creating a customer” (Drucker). Bottom line: If you have high certainty, write a business plan, but if you’re in uncertain times or industry, become an innovator and experiment like hell!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Innovator's Method: Post #6--Innovative Companies

Innovative Companies: Research on Forbes list of most innovative companies—authors established several categories:
--Established corps that maintain innovation—Amazon, Salesforce, Google, Valve Software, Starbucks, W.L. Gore, IDEO. 
--Established corps that reignite innovation—Intuit, Unilever, P&G, AT&T.
--And, start-up innovators—Rent the Runway, Qualitics, Motive Communications.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Innovator's Model: Post #5--Four Steps

Innovator’s Method. Engineering uses “design thinking.” Entrepreneurship
uses “lean start up.” Computer Science uses “agile software.” Authors synthesized these models and came up with “innovator’s method”: Insight-Problem-Solution-Business Model.
a.    Step 1: Insight. ”Savor Surprises.” Associative thinking combines things that don’t usually go together to create something new. Creativity is connecting things. Triggering new ideas (from Innovator’s DNA): Observe, Network, Experiment, and Ask Questions to get to Associative Thinking.
b.    Step 2: Problem. Find out if you’re solving a problem that customers need/care about. Look at symptoms and get to the root cause of those symptoms. Discover the job to be done. Why would a customer hire your product?  Look at functional, social, and emotional issues. Example: Digital watches did not totally displace mechanical watches. Why? Social reasons—high-end watches lend prestige and appeal to emotions.
c.    Step 3: Solution. Develop a prototype of minimum awesome product. Series of prototypes—viable to awesome product. 1. Go broad with possible solutions; 2. Theoretical prototype—conceptual model of your solution, use “wow” test with customers; 3. Virtual prototype—Mock-up and wow test; 4. Minimum viable awesome prototype. Theoretical and virtual are fast—you can create a lot of them in a short period of time.
d.    Step 4: Business Model.  Discover a low-cost, go-to-market strategy. Use Business Model Canvas by Osterwalder to consider major business assumptions. Example: Indian company (Godrej) found that 80% of Indian houses don’t have a refrigerator. Godrej did not leap to a conclusion, but answered the “job to be done?” Small refrigerator would not work. No consistent power in rural India. Rapid prototyping produced more of a cooler, less of a refrigerator and a battery to deal with intermittent power.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Innovator's Model: Post #4--Different Models

Different Models. Certain and uncertain markets require different models to succeed. Mature companies want to make a better, cheaper, more efficient product. High uncertainty problems require a faster, more adaptive model born from experiments rather than a business plan.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Innovator's Method: Post #3--Case Study

Case Study. Rent the Runway—Jennifer Hyman, Harvard MBA student. What to wear
to a formal event? Women do not want to be seen in same dress, but can’t afford to buy designer dresses. Would the Netflix model work for renting formal, designer dresses? In the past, when markets were more certain, people wrote business plans. Now—with uncertainty—answering key questions with experiments gets us to market sooner and cheaper. Three questions and experiments used: Experiment #1—Will women rent and return the dresses? #2—Will they rent a dress they can’t try on—as seen only on the Web? #3—Will the Netflix model work? Outcome: She determined that the Netflix model would work.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Innovator's Method: Post #2--Uncertainty

Uncertainty. Since 1983, patents have increased from 100,000 to 600,000. Standard & Poor’s corp life expectancy in 1937 was 75 years, in 2011 only 18 years! Scott Cook, Intuit CEO: “As a successful, scaled company, you cannot run the ship the way you used to. You’ll get run over by a swarm of startups.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

Innovator's Method: Post #1--Overview

 Overview.  This book describes how, in uncertain times, innovators can experiment, test, and validate insights without spending a ton of money on something customers might never buy! The Innovator’s Method has 4 steps: Insight—savor surprises; Problem—discover the job to be done; Solution—make rapid prototype to get to a minimum awesome product; Business Model—validate go-to-market strategy.
The Innovator's Method: Bringing the Lean Start-up into Your Organization by Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer (Harvard Business Press, 2014), reviewed by Steve Gladis.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #11--Spiritual

Spiritual: Reflection is the “killer app” for spiritual, mindful awareness. Figure out your purpose—What am I trying to do and how do I need to show up to be that best self? Becoming intentional about creating space and time to reflect allows you to assess your direction in life. Meditation, prayer, quiet time, and journaling are a few habits that help us create mindful space in our lives to reflect on our purpose in life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #10--Relational Killer App

Relational: Listening is the “killer app” for stronger relationships. We’re social animals, relying on relationships to nurture us. To instill a sense of caring with another person, just listen in a caring and attentive way. Eblin describes three types of listening: Transient (me-focused, distracted listening); Transactional (you-focused, problem-solving listening); and Transformational (us-focused, relationship-building listening).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelemed: Post #9--Mental Killer App

Mental  Breathing is the “killer app” for mindful thinking. Breathe slowly (deep, belly breathing) and even when your mind wanders, come back to focusing on your breathing. It improves memory, retention, and calms the brain, allowing it to focus 10 times better. Focus on the present, not the past (can bring regret) or future (can bring anxiety). 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #8--Physical Domain--Movement

Four Mindful Domains: Physical, Mental, Relational, Spiritual. Create routines that are simple, regular, and reinforce your best self. To become more mindful (present, aware, and intentional), imbed routines in the four domains of your life:

#1. Physical: Movement is the “killer app” for mindful physical activity. It calms the flight/fright state, it’s free, and you can take it wherever you go. Walk, run, swim, do yoga—but DO something, regularly. Habit is king.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #7

Make a list of when you were at your best in each place and then look for common denominators to find your GPS. For example, maybe you were teaching, sharing, and learning. So, create an environment that allows those activities to flourish. Become thoughtful and act accordingly—do first things first, meditate, set boundaries, and be strategic.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #6--Best Self.

Your Life GPS ® —Personal Planning Model—Best Self
Ask yourself: when in my life was I my best, happiest self—when was I really in the zone? Often making time to do what it takes to be your best self is not that difficult: Taking time to walk, to read, to meditate. Eblin talks about your personal life GPS. Developing habits that are physical, mental, relational, and spiritual will help set patterns that support your showing up as your best self and doing these in key places—at home, at work and in the community.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Overwhorkd and Overwhelmed: Post #5--Meditation

Meditation—mindful, deep, belly breathing (sometimes called the relaxation response) is like the switching station between flight/flight and rest/digest—it ‘slows your roll,’ calms you, and helps you think more clearly and make better decisions.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #4--Fight-Flight or Rest-Digest

Fight-Flight or Rest-Digest SNS (sympathetic nervous system) controls fight/flight reactions—it’s automatic. The amygdala, hypothalamus, and brain stem prepare us for action. The PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) focuses us on the physical and switches off the SNS emotional surge, allowing us to consider options under pressure. Psychologist Rich Hanson says, “SNS is the accelerator and the PNS is the brake.” Chronic stress (SNS state) leads to thinning of the executive function of the brain that helps us make good decisions and exacerbates the amygdala that triggers more stress—elevates BP, increases stress hormones, hurts the immune system, and much more.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #3--Mindfulness

Mindfulness = Awareness and Intention. Awareness means objectively, not judgmentally, focused on the present—not focused on the past or the future. Intention is sorting out external interference vs. our own internal chatter, self-talk. Mindfulness helps us manage the “gap” between our thoughts and how we act on them. Moreover, distractions keep us from mindfulness. One study suggests that we get distracted every 11 minutes!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #2--Smartphones

Your Brain Overworked and Overwhelmed
Smartphones and other technologies keep us tethered to work, which overworks, overwhelms and exhausts most of us. In fact, Americans are in contact with work 72 hours a week; 33% of us report extreme stress—pointed right at work—and most of our visits to the doctor are stress-related complaints.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Overworked and Overwhelmed: Post #1--Overview

Overview In a world where most of us are more connected to work than any other part of our lives, this book offers an escape hatch: Mindfulness—the intersection of awareness and intention. Mindful attention to our physical, mental, psychological and spiritual domains when we’re at home, at work and in the community acts as a kind of North Star for us all.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Preview of September's HBR: Post #9 - Cybercrime

The Danger Within: 20% of all cyber attacks are from employees or vendors and can be thwarted by some simple but effective methods (p. 94).

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Preview of September's HBR: Post #8 - Work-Life Balance?

Work+Home+Community+Self: Work-Life Balance is baloney. Rather than balance, we need to integrate these four domains for a richer life by being whole, real and innovative the author suggests (p. 111).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Preview of September's HBR: Post #7 - Bring Out the Best

Bring Out the Best in Your Team: Ask new team members to discuss their knowledge with the task at hand; it makes a big performance difference. Influence moves from social to informational (p. 26).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Preveiw of September's HBR: Post #6 - Chinese Management

The Chinese Approach to Management: Chinese entrepreneurs are perfect profiles of “lean startup” types. They focus on adaptation and context (p.103).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Preview of September's HBR: Post #5 - Org Chart Origin

The Chart that Organized the 20th Century: Invented by the Pennsylvania Railroad system in 1870, the “org chart” has influenced us all (p. 32).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Preview of September's HBR: Post#4 - M&A

Leaders Who Make M&A Work: Both acquiring- and target-company leaders who were socially and emotionally attuned fared better in such transactions (p.28).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Preview of September's HBR: Post #3 - Global Issues

Voices from the Front Lines: Four global leaders tell their stories—Luc Minguet (Michelin), Eduardo  Caride (Telefonica), Takeo Yamaguchi (Hitachi), and Shane Tedjarati (Honeywell) (p. 77).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Preview of September's HBR: Post #2 - Language

What’s Your Language Strategy: If you’re going to do business in a lot of locations, consider the impact of language on hiring, training, promotions (p. 70).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Preveiw of September's HBR: Post #1-Context

Contextual Intelligence: Not all good ideas and best practices work well in different countries. Learning how to adapt to a different context helps (p. 58).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Collective Genius: FINAL Post--Leaders of Tomorrow

Finding the Leaders of Tomorrow. 
Innovative leaders aren’t “take-charge” types; rather, they are creators of an environment where others are willing and able to innovate. A couple of examples: Steve Kloeblen at IBM and Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen. Both are great examples to build leaders of the future for any company.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Collective Genius: Post #5--Collective Genius 2.0

Collective Genius 2.0.
a.    Problems have become so complex and global that leaders have to reach across institutional, corporate, and national boundaries to build innovative ecosystems to solve them. Unfortunately, competing values, interests, and cultures often war against such necessary innovation.
b.    Authors use two different examples: Calit2—a collaboration of two California universities; also,  as well as the legal department at Pfizer that collaborated with its partners in an innovative way to make a big difference—using community along with a willingness and ability to innovate.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Collective Genius: Post #4--Making a Team "Able"

How Leaders Create a Team Able to Innovate.
Leaders have to balance paradoxes. Authors use a “harness and unleash” metaphor—balancing order and creativity. Several other paradoxes: Patience vs. urgency, iterative learning vs. performance, and bottom-up ideas vs. top-down controls. Three ways leaders create an ecosystem for creativity and innovation:
a.    Collaboration ~ Using Creative Abrasion. Creativity comes from ideas from diverse people colliding and combining to find something new. Options emerge “through discourse, debate and even conflict,” not through a flash of individual genius.
b.    Discovery-driven learning ~Using Creative Agility. The ability to test and experiment through quick pursuit, reflection, and adjustment. Innovation comes from experimentation, failure, dead ends, learning, and revision.
c.    Integrative Decision Making ~ Using Creative Resolution. The ability to integrate decisions that combine disparate or even opposing ideas. Innovative leaders neither dominate nor simply compromise—neither approach produces the best creativity. Rather, innovators find a third way of integrating ideas—fusing them to synthesize something new.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Collective Genius:Post #3--A Willing Team

How Leaders Create a Team Willing to Innovate.
a.    Shared Common Purpose: Why we exist. An overarching purpose unites people. Such a vision is not just set by the leader but also bubbles from the bottom on up. Shared purpose creates the atmosphere for innovation to thrive.
b.    Shared Values: What we agree on is important. Studies by the authors show that key shared values in innovative companies are: boldness, ambition, learning, and responsibility.
c.    Shared Rules of Engagement. How we interact with each other and think about problems. Two big categories:
i.    How people in the group interact: Support safety for people to challenge, innovate, and fail without fear. All employees engage in mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual influence.
ii.    How people in the group think: Question everything, be data driven deciders, and “see the whole.” Experiment and focus on clients.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Collective Genius: Post #2--Case Studies

Collective Genius at Work.
Case studies of firms that innovate and thrive:
a.    Ed Catmull (Pixar)—Catmull created an environment that enabled creativity and produced amazing success. Hundreds of people work on a film, and Catmull allowed them all to have a voice in each film—pulling together individual slices of genius into the “collective genius” that is Pixar. The focus was revision (iteration) of the story.
b.    Vineet Nayar: The president and CEO of Indian computer giant HCL worked to use IT to become a transformative partner with clients. Employees were unwilling and unable to innovate; however, he thought the value zone was between employees and customers. Using transparency, engagement, shared purpose, values, and rules of engagement, he became the “social architect” who had all the questions, not all the answers…”transferring ownership of the organization’s growth [to employees].”

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Collective Genius: Post #1--Overview

Overview:  Most leaders know that innovation is the key to success, even survival, in a competitive global environment, but we don’t know how to do innovation! This book answers the “how to” question. The book offers not only an innovation formula but also explicit case studies of innovation in practice. Rather than create innovative vision themselves, innovative leaders create an ecosystem that allows the collective innovative vision to emerge from hard work. Leaders “set the stage” but aren’t actors on that stage. They create a “willing” team by forging a common purpose, shared values, and mutual rules. Leaders develop their teams by using techniques to implement the innovation process: Collaboration (uses the collaborative abrasion technique), discovery-driven learning (uses the creative agility technique), and integrative decision making (uses the creative resolution technique). Everyone has a slice of genius. Great leaders figure out how to find that genius and get it to play well with others.

Friday, August 22, 2014

FINAL Post #8--Parenting

Wholehearted Parenting. Joseph Pearce writes: “What we are teaches the child more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.” Amen!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Daring Greatly: Post #7--Work and School

Re-humanize work and school. Leaders are those who hold themselves accountable for finding potential in people and process. It’s not about position but attitude and behavior. Leading in a culture of scarcity—“never enough”—is tough. Fear of failure and rejection inhibits innovation at school and work. “Blaming, gossiping, name-calling and harassment are all behavioral clues that shame has permeated a culture.” Often kids are shamed at school about something they created (writing, drawing, art, etc.) and it can scar them for a LONG time. Same at work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Daring Greatly: Post #6--The Gap

Mind the Gap. “The gap” is the distance between our aspirational and practiced values. We often say one thing but do another, and that creates a credibility and vulnerability value gap. Parents and bosses lose credibility when the say-do gap is large.  When our practiced values conflict regularly with our cultural values and aspirations, disengagement is inevitable. Engagement doesn’t come from compliance but from connection, love and vulnerability.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Daring Greatly: Post #5--Vulnerablity Armor

Vulnerability Armor: “Vulnerability is the last thing I want to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.” A scarcity mentality leads to shame, comparison (with others), and disengagement (pulling away). An “enough” mindset brings a sense of worthiness, boundaries and engagement. When we were kids, we started to build shields to protect ourselves. Bravado, perfectionism, being cool, critical and more became our armor—the wall we put around ourselves—our protective mask, a persona. Some ways we armor up:
a.    Numbing is an addiction shield (anything to dull the pain of being "less than"): Workaholics, alcohol, drugs, sex, eating disorders, bullying, violence, even suicide. Setting up boundaries helps us deal with the numbing of trying to be everything to everyone, all the time.
b.    Cynicism, Criticism, Cool, and Cruelty are shields used to protect us from vulnerability: Name calling, putting others down, being too cool. These are all defenses against being seen as vulnerable. Mean-spirited folks hide behind the cruelty shield. Pointing out flaws in others is ultimately a dead giveaway that we’re hurting.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Daring Greatly: Post #4--Shame Resilience

Shame Resilience. To be fully engaged (wholehearted), you have to be vulnerable—resilient to shame.  To become shame resilient, we have to name our shame and reach out to others with it—get vulnerable—and then shame dissipates. Shame hates the light of day. Shame resistance comes with speaking about shame, reaching out to others, understanding shame triggers. Self-love and compassion help us greatly. Blame is a defensive shield we often put up to discharge our own discomfort. “If blame is driving [the car], shame is riding shotgun.” To become shame-resilient at work: 1. Need leaders who have honest conversations; 2. Root out shame in the organizations; 3. Make people feel normal by giving them examples of how others also had difficulty; 4. Teach people how to give honest, constructive, engaged feedback.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Daring Greatly: Post #3--Gremlins

Gremlins: Our inner voice, our “shame tapes.” Our biggest critic is ourselves.  Guilt—I made a mistake, I’m sorry.  Shame—I AM a mistake. Only sociopaths don’t have shame! We’re wired to be connected, and shame is fear of losing that connection. We often lose our courage to do the right thing to preserve social acceptance. Shame categories include: Body image, money, work, parenting, health, sex, aging and religion. Mental pain, physical pain, and social rejection feel the same
to the brain, based on neuroscience.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Daring Greatly: Post #2--Scarcity

Scarcity: Looking inside a culture of ‘not enough.’ “You can’t swing a cat without hitting a narcissist!” We see a dramatic rise in egomania and narcissism in our country, and our response is to cut it down. But egoism comes from shame, so shaming it doesn’t help and only fuels it. Narcissism is most often a shame-based, scarcity fear— I’m not {smart, attractive, lovable, worthy…} enough. Kids grow up thinking that if they’re not great or extraordinary, they will be “less than” and unworthy of belonging. Such thinking causes shame, comparison, and disengagement—a dangerous trifecta.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Daring Greatly: Post #1--Overview

Overview. Teddy Roosevelt’s speech, “The Man in the Arena,” talks about the critic and the man fighting in the arena and how ‘daring greatly’ beats back the voice of the critic—our  inner voice. By ‘daring greatly’ we dare to try, fail and try again; we beat back the inner critic—shame—our own personal gremlin that says, I’m not {smart, attractive, lovable, worthy…} enough. On the other hand, wholehearted people are willing to try—to be vulnerable, to live life with courage, connection to others, and compassion. Brene Brown teaches us that to be vulnerable is not weakness but courage—‘daring greatly’ in the arena of life. “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences.” If we’re not willing to be vulnerable or to fail, we’ll never learn, create, or innovate.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Gotham Books, 2012) by Brene Brown, reviewed by Steve Gladis, July 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Positive Leadership: Post #7--Diverse Teams

Diverse teams win. Consider how distributed are people along strategy, influence, relatedness, and execution for best team~Gallup's research

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Posiitve Leadership: Post #6--Focus on Bigger

Focus on something bigger than yourself. Research by Lyubomirsky says that when people focus on something bigger than themselves, they get happier

Monday, August 4, 2014

Positive Leadership: Post #5--Goals

Set challenging goals and make them attainable. Research supports that people like attainable but tough challenges but terms like "strectch goals" confuse them

Friday, August 1, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Positive Leadership: Post #3--Diverse Teams

Diverse teams win. Consider how distributed are people along strategy, influence, relatedness, and execution for best team ~Gallup's research

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Positive Leadership: Post #1--Webinar

Video of Steve Gladis conducting an ASTD webinar to hundreds of people--

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Being Coached: Post # 8 FINAL POST

Being Coached provides a road map for both group and team coaching. It's a worthy read for HR VPs, CEOs and anyone who has to deal with a group of people--which is all of us, except hermits!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Being Coached: Post #7--Team Coaching

Team Coaching
Coaching a team you work with that has similar collective goals. Much of the same rules (confidentiality, honesty, and trust) and techniques used in group coaching are also used in team coaching: the meeting rhythm—check-in, discussion, and check-out; meeting with coach prior to team meeting to establish a personal leadership development goal (about how to show up as a leader); and peer coaching. Some differences: Peers also discuss strengths of the team and changes that need to be made to get even better as a team.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Being Coached: Post #6--Confidentiality

Confidentiality is critical on both the part of the coach and all
participants. Participants can share anything about themselves—but what happens in the group and with peer coaches stays with them. Clients are strongly urged to share their developmental plans with their leaders. Finally, the coach will share the general themes with the corporate sponsor—how well the group members are participating—but only in the aggregate. Coaches make this clear up front to the sponsor.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Being Coached: Post #5--Discussion

Discussion: Talk about homework—reading, videos, etc. 3) Check-Out: One word about how you are feeling now.
--First Meeting—After intros (and check-in) and initial stage setting by coach, participants meet and share with peer coaches to work on personal development goals. Later, everyone reveals his/her developmental goal to the group. Then, the group discusses pre-meeting readings or videos. The group ends with a check-out exercise.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Being Coached: Post # 4--Feedback

Feedback. Each participant is required to get 3-5 people they trust to give them feedback

on their leadership (how they show up as leaders) to help their developmental program. Questions can include: What leadership qualities do you admire? How do I stack up? When have you seen me at my best? What is the one thing you’d like me to keep doing? What one thing do you recommend I do differently? After parsing out the top three leader qualities, responders are asked to rank you 1-10….low to high on how participant stacks up. Participants take their direction for change from there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Being Coached: Post #3--The Individual Meeting

Individual Meeting with the coach and each group client. Coaches work with clients by asking questions like: Tell me about yourself—bio from birth to now; having each client take an assessment instrument before meeting, then asking: Does anything stand out? What would you like to work on during the group coaching and how do you want to show up as a leader? How will you describe that goal in your coaching action plan? 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Being Coached: Post #2--Group Coaching

Group Coaching. Essentially, group/peer coaching is about developing high-potential peers who reach their own personal leadership goals and at the same time develop a relationship with their peers. A multiple-month program, the group coaching consists of 3 individual coaching sessions (one at the beginning, middle, and end); group discussions that are based in part on readings or online videos; keeping a reflective coaching journal; and, participation in the all-important peer coaching sessions.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Being Coached: Post #1--Overview

Overview: Being Coached addresses two key elements of any corporate culture: groups
Being Coached: Group and Team Coaching from the Inside by Ann Deaton and Holly Williams (Magnus Group, 2014); reviewed by Steve Gladis, June 2014

and teams. The authors distinguish between these two and offer a comprehensive model of group and team coaching that focuses on confidentiality, honesty, and trust—all at the core of great relationships and organizations. While the book (a business fable) has some issues around flow and structure, it’s a worthy read for CEOs, HR VPs, and Executive Coaches.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Leading Change: FINAL Post--Change and Culture

Step Eight:
 Incorporating Change in the Culture ~ Connect new behavior to success, both personal and organizational. Culture is the last thing to change—it’s cautious—so spend time proving that the new way works. Reinforce the new norms, behaviors and objectives, and how they make life better. Some people will not make it through the transition. “What got them here, won’t get them there,” to quote Marshall Goldsmith. Finally, reinforce the new culture with each new employee.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Leading Change: Post #8--Never Let Up

Step Seven: 
Never Letting up ~ Don’t declare victory too soon! Resistors will tempt you to slow it down and to take a break. Don’t. Stay focused on the vision (target). Hire new people and modify systems and business processes that support the vision. Take on new projects that are in line with the vision to spread influence and engagement. Keep the movement alive by adding more projects, more people, and more proof that it’s working.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Leading Change: Post #7--Short-Term Wins

Step Six: 
Generating Short-term Wins ~ Plan to gather up low hanging fruit. Go after goals that are quickly attainable and have visibility. Recognize those achievements and publicly reward employees who lead those efforts. The goal is to gain momentum and to heighten the sense of not only urgency but also optimism in the future, to blunt resistors to the change, and to sway people who are yet undecided about the change effort.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Leading Change: Post #6--Empowing Action

Step Five: 
Empowering Broad-Based Action ~ Remove obstacles to change—both structural and people. Oftentimes, organizations claim to be customer focused but have systems and processes that work against that focus. Removing poor systems and processes is a must to advance change. Also, just as knowing who the key assistors are, it’s smart to know who the key resistors are. Often direct, honest confrontation with resistors can save time and energy, rather than constructing elaborate campaigns around them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Leading Change: Post #5--Communicate for Buy-in

Step Four
Communicating the Vision for Buy-in ~ Ensure that as many people as possible “get” the vision. To do that, leaders have to over-communicate and make the communication vivid, compelling, and sticky. The vision should be simple (jargon-less), vivid (use metaphors and stories), repeatable (spread the news to everyone) and two way (create dialogs, not monologs about the change).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Leading Change: Post #4--Develop a new Vision

Step Three
Developing a Change Vision ~ The coalition needs to develop a vision and a clear path to get there (a strategy). A clear vision gets people all rowing in the same direction and makes saying yes or no to distractions or crucial issues a lot easier. Kotter outlines 6 characteristics of good visions: Imaginable (future-oriented); Desirable (appealing to people who care about the company); Feasible (realistic and within capabilities of the company); Focused (crystal clear); Flexible (able to adapt to changes); and, Communicable (easy to explain).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Leading Change: Post #3--Creating the Coalition

Step Two
Creating the Guiding Coalition ~ Form a team of change agents—a team large enough to have impact. No leader can make change happen alone. Culture is just too powerful. But with a strong coalition, change can happen. The group has to bond quickly—in both heart and mind—often done at an offsite facilitated by a professional. The team must have leaders with positional power (key corp. leaders); experts who know relevant information about the area being changed; and credible informal leaders in the company whom people respect.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Leading Change: Post #2-Establish Urgency

Step One
Establishing a Sense of Urgency ~ It’s not good enough for leaders alone to feel a sense of urgency. They must convince others why it’s critical and urgent to take action—now. Otherwise, people give lip service change movements but quickly slip back into the comfort of the status quo. Smart leaders aim for the heart (emotional appeal) as well as the head (rational appeal). Leaders need a critical mass of employees to “get it,” or change won’t happen.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Leading Change: Post #1--Overview

 Overview: Harvard professor John Kotter changed the way we first looked at “change” in organizations back in 1996. Known as the father of change management, Kotter’s research developed an 8-step process to help leaders face the challenge of change. Now 16 years later, he has republished the book with updates. Still, it’s worth checking out because most leaders have no change methodology when they introduce change efforts, and most change efforts (70%) fail! Kotter’s 8 steps are methodical and provide a comprehensive, dependable, repeatable process for leaders. Read it, heed it. By the way, if you want to read a shorter version, read Kotter’s 1995 article in the Harvard Business Review, also called “Leading Change.”
Leading Change by John Kotter (Harvard Business Press, 2012), reviewed by Steve Gladis, June 2014

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Social Physics: FINAL Post

More Cool Stuff: The greater idea flow through diversity, the better the performance. Influence the network, not the person…it’s the network relationship that has the power. Avoid “echo chambers”—always talking to people just like you. “Learning ensembles” produce better results than learning individuals. Better data, better life!

Final Thoughts: The implications of Pentland’s research for individuals, teams, organizations, communities and countries are staggering. I highly recommend the book. You will learn just how powerful basic human interaction is on teams/tribes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Social Physics: Post #8--Teams (continued)

How Great Teams Interact: Pentland’s data also revealed that successful teams share several defining characteristics: “1) Everyone on the team talks and listens in roughly equal measure, keeping contributions short and sweet; 2) Members face one another, and their conversations and gestures are energetic; 3) Members connect directly with one another—not just with the team leader; 4) Members carry on back-channel or side conversations within the team; 5) Members periodically break, go exploring outside the team and bringing back info.”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Social Physics: Post #7--Teams

The New Science of Teams: Pentland’s research revealed that by monitoring the sociometric interactions of people (not including recording conversations),
he could determine a formula for predicting highly successful and creative people and teams based on tracking face-to-face engagement and exploration. High performing groups 1) produced a large number of ideas; 2) had dense interactions (overlapping, brief discussion contributions and encouraging comments); 3) produced a diversity of ideas.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Social Physics: Post #6--Star Performers

Star Group Performers: Standouts in groups engage in active exploration with very diverse outside groups and strong engagement within their own group. In short, super stars are energetic communicators, strongly engaged in their groups and explorative by nature…seeking diversity in ideas that they can bring back to influence their tribe.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Social Physics: Post #5--Social Learning

Social Learning: Acquiring new strategies by observing the behavior and stories of others creates social learning and innovation. Social pressure describes the influence one person has on another, and social network incentive is a force applied to alter the interactions between people—like propaganda. Social norms get established as the best way to exchange value—a relationship satisfying mutual goals, curiosity and social support. Fundamental to successful social interactions is trust—“the expectation of continued, stable, exchange value.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Social Physics: Post #4--Idea Flow

Idea Flow: This concept is critical to Social Physics and describes how ideas move through social networks by exploration and engagement. Exploration is how people find new creative ideas, behaviors and strategies to solve/adapt to life issues. Engagement “sells” the ideas to others to change behavior of the group. Such idea flow can be used to track, predict, and influence behavior to avoid market crashes, stampedes and panics, even government corruption.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Social Physics: Post #3--Big Data

Big Data: We all leave increasingly larger digital “breadcrumbs” behind us as we wander through the digital forest—GPS, credit card info, Facebook posts, and more, much more. Better ways of collecting an immense volume of data are emerging, and Pentland’s MIT teams of doctoral students are scooping up those crumbs, analyzing them and developing a robust theory of how humans behave called “reality mining.” Correlations among the data can predict patterns of illness spread in a population or financial trends and crashes, all by studying “living laboratories” of real people, in real time, with real reactions. Collecting zillions of data sets for the past decade—balanced with a rigorous privacy policy—Pentland’s teams have been able to place society under a “socioscope” to study its social DNA.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Social Physics: Post #2--Definition

Social Physics Defined: This predictive, quantitative social science tracks how ideas flow among people and how individual behavior changes—as well as the behavior of teams, organizations and communities. The flow of ideas comes from patterns of telephone calls, emails, and especially personal contact. This spread or flow of ideas forms the foundation for adaptation and innovation. And just as physics is about how the flow of energy changes motion, social physics is about how the flow of ideas changes behavior.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Social Physics: Post #1--Overview

Overview: Sandy Pentland is the BIG daddy of BIG data! Using new sophisticated technology (sociometers) that track primal interactions between people and their networks, Pentland and his legion of MIT doctoral students have given us something akin to the Rosetta Stone for understanding how ideas spread, how people thrive, and how teams and organizations excel. Using his research-based theory “social physics,” we can actually see how ideas flow, who influences decisions, and how simple interactions like facing people, gesturing, being engaged and exploring the world can make us and those around us successful, influential, creative, and innovative.

Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread—The Lessons from a New Science (The Penguin Press, 2014), by Alex “Sandy” Pentland, reviewed by Steve Gladis

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Preview of the Review: Post #10--FINAL

Research, Essays, and More
  • In The Afternoon, the Moral Slope Gets Slipperier: Due to "psychological depletion," people lie/are unethical more often later in the day than earlier. Take a break (p. 34).
  • Leaving it All on the Field: If world class athletes use a coach, why shouldn't executives? A compelling essay that argues for executive coaching (p. 40).
  • More in May Issue: “Freemium” Work; Volunteer-Staffed Company; Outsmarting Activist Investors; Going Global; Training Buyers...and more.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Preview of the Review: Post #9--Humor

Leadership Issues:Humor
  • Leading with Humor by Alison Beard: Laughter is good for business. HBR Senior Editor reviews two new books on the subject (p. 130).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Preview of the Review: Post #8--Next Big Thing

Leadership Issues: Next Big Thing--Caution
  •  Beware of the Next Big Thing: Management ideas (like TQM and Six Sigma) come and go. Two techniques work best: 1) Observe & Apply; 2) Extract the Essential Principle and Test (p. 50).

Preview of the Review: Post #7--Culture

Leadership Issues: Culture
  • Navigating the Cultural Minefield: A Cultural Map can help leaders dealing with people from other countries. Eight scales: communicating, evaluating persuading, leading, deciding, trusting, disagreeing, and scheduling (p. 119).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Preview of the Review: Post #6--The Invisibles

Leadership Issues: The Invisibles
  • Managing the Invisibles: In an age of self-promotion, many high achievers are quietly, competently working below the radar (p. 96).

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Preview of the Review: Post #5--Finding Purpose

Leadership Issues: Finding Purpose
  •  From Purpose to Impact: Lots written on purpose-driven leadership. Authors outline the process to get to true purpose and how to execute on it (p. 104).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Preview of the Review: Post #4--Say-Do

New Blue Ocean Focus: Editor Adi Ignatius frames this month’s HBR—focused on organizational leadership (p. 16).
  •  Get Your Team to Do What it Says it's Going to Do: How leaders can narrow the vision-to-execution gap...the say-do gap (p. 82).

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Preview of the Review: Post #3--Time Management

Time Management
New Blue Ocean Focus: Editor Adi Ignatius frames this month’s HBR—focused on organizational leadership (p. 16).  

  • Your Scarcest Resource: Time management has become the bane of our existence. Three Bain consultants offer some solutions (p. 74).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Preview of the Review--Post #2--Blue Ocean

New Blue Ocean Focus:  Editor Adi Ignatius frames this month’s
HBR—focused on organizational leadership (p. 16).

  • Blue Ocean Leadership: by the two authors of Blue Ocean Strategy. Describes what leaders can do to develop employee potential (p. 60).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Preview of the Review: Post #1--Introduction

Preview of the Review
—Harvard Business Review—May 2014
Every month, I eagerly await my Harvard Business Review. It’s the best investment I make, outside of sending unexpected flowers to my wife. I recommend it to every one of my executive coaching clients and their teams. If you don’t get it, you’re losing a critical competitive advantage. Here’s this month’s new “Preview of the Review.”
Will also be posting on my Twitter feed: SteveGladis.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Trust: FINAL--Competence

Testing for Competence: Since trust is about honesty and competence, the authors also tested for competency.  Findings: 1) The expressions for pride and status cued well for competence. 2) Such gestures as expanded posture, head tilted upwards, arms open and raised and decreased gazing at others demonstrated competency, just as pride did. 3) Pride can push people to get better. 4) Hubris—undeserved pride—gets rejected.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Trust: Post #7--Truth Telling

The Truth Telling Trust Experiment: Researchers set out to find baseline gestures that signaled trust. Subjects played a “trust” game with other people and a sophisticated robot. Analyzing the videos, researchers discovered four (4) cues that, when in a constellation (together), determined if someone was untrustworthy: 1) Crossed Arms; 2) Leaning Away; 3) Face Touching; and 4) Hand Touching. Crossed arms and leaning away means “I don’t like you.” Face and hand touching means “I’m thinking about how to screw you over!” When people saw clusters of these nonverbals in their partners, they tended to predict distrust well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Turst: Post #6--Trust or Not

To Trust or Not to Trust: We detect deception at about a 54% level—a bit better than flipping a coin. Despite previous research to the contrary, there’s no “golden cue” to detect deception—not smirks, shifty eyes, or sneers—especially in isolation. However, context does matter—configural and situational context. Configural context means that we have to see an array of gestures to properly interpret veracity. Situational context deals with circumstances or with people expressing the gesture. For example, a smile by someone similar to us (gender, race, class) will be considered support, whereas a similar smile by someone in a different social category may not be.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Trust: Post #5--Money, Power, Trust

Money, Power and Trust: More money can make us feel like we don’t need others; thus, we become less trustworthy because we don’t have to worry about the future relationship with such people. Power’s the same. Not needing people can make you look at them as expendable. Power is a drug that can make you a better liar because it holds sway over people. But it can backfire—ask any politician who has strayed from trust. Also, avoid focus on money; it makes us selfish.  Abundance can make you feel like you don’t need others, and you are more likely to cheat or misuse them.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Trust: Post #4--Biology

The Biology of Trust: “In the end, biology all comes down to protecting and providing resources for people on your own team.” We give off the drug oxytocin when we trust, and we trust more when we give it off. Understanding the polyvagal theory helps. The vagus nerve controls the heart and other organs. Calm, deep breathing can add vagal tone, slow down the heart, and give off oxytocin, and it causes trust to soar.  More primitive connections to our threat center can turn our minds into distrustful reptiles, which run either to avoid being eaten or to eat the threat! Caution: Oxytocin can help your in-group (family and friends) but act as a threat to out-groups. Keep in mind that “biology is about optimization, not virtue.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Truth: Post #3--Basics

The Basics: Trust is about competing interests between you and another and being able to predict what someone (even you) will do in the future. We need to trust to achieve more together than we ever could alone—we prosper when we collaborate.  Being trustworthy isn’t etched in stone; rather it’s subject to timing, risks, and circumstances—often invisible to us. Trust is both situational and temporal—tradeoffs between now and the future. The question is, will someone cheat you in the moment for immediate gain or remain trustworthy for long-term gain? We even do this with ourselves—believing that we will be better in the future than in the present (I’ll start my diet on Monday). Self-regulation stands at the center of trust. Two factors of trust are integrity and competence.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Trust: Post #2--How honest?

How Honest Are We? In an experiment, subjects were asked to flip a coin and make a choice. Heads: You get an easy assignment; tails you get a much tougher assignment. Subjects were surveyed before the experiment about staying true to flipping a coin and being honest about it—100% agreed. However, 90% lied about the results when left alone. Many did not flip it at all, and some kept flipping until they got the results they wanted!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Trust: Post #1--Overview

Overview: David DeSteno's six rules of trust founded in experimentation: 1) Trust is risky but necessary. We need to use trust every day and rely on our instincts. 2) Trust permeates our lives. Trust is about integrity and competence, at work, with friends and at home. 3) Consider motives, not just reputation. One’s motivations in the instant are a more reliable predictor of trustworthiness than reputation of past. 4) Pay attention to clusters of nonverbals. Using the cues of crossed arms, leaning away, touching the face and hands—in constellation—can reliably predict untrustworthiness. 5) Appreciate the benefits of illusion. Best to err on the side of trusting your loved ones—though not always accurate, it preserves long-term relationship. 6) Cultivate trust from the bottom up. Most of us rely on top-down “willpower” to resist untrustworthy behavior. We also need to learn to read nonverbals—trust from the bottom up.

The Truth About Trust: How it Determines Success in Life, Love, Learning, and More (Hudson Street Press/Penguin Group, NY, 2014) by David DeSteno and reviewed by Steve Gladis.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Quiet: Post #9--FINAL

Some Concluding Thoughts: “Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.” When it comes to relationships, think quality over quantity. When networking, go deep not wide…one great conversation vs. a ton of hellos. When teaching, remember both gregarious and quiet kids have LOTS to offer the class. Remember the New Groupthink, therefore allow employees and students to think first and then share. And finally, remember that an eloquent presentation doesn’t mean it contains deep ideas.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Quiet: Post #8--Kids

Kids in School: How do you raise your introverted child in an extroverted world? Some thoughts: Introversion isn’t a disease that needs curing. About 30% of any class is introverted—more than most teachers think. Introverts have one or two very deep interests. Some, but not too much, collaborative work suits introverts. Teach all kids—introverts and extroverts—to work independently. Pushing introverts into extroverted areas only shuts them down more. Introverts are not fans of crowds—gym, recess, or the lunchroom.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quiet: Post #7--Types

Communication of Types: Big Five Personality Traits—Introversion/Extroversion, Agreeableness, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Emotional Stability. The more extroverted you are, the more friends you have, but that says nothing about how good a friend you are. Introverts need downtime to re-energize and be their “best selves.” Extroverts need contact with other people to recharge. Neither should judge the other by their own needs.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Quiet: Post #6--Soft Power

Soft Power: “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”—Mahatma Gandhi. Parents are leaving Cupertino, California, because Asian kids are outstudying and outperforming the other children. These parents feel that their kids can’t compete in a world that values learning over athletics. Introverts thrive in a learning environment but extroverts suffer. Asian kids value humility, altruism, honesty and hard work; typical American kids value cheerfulness, sociability, and enthusiasm. Free Trait Theory says that learning to act into the situation can be socially advantageous to introverts.

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