Saturday, August 24, 2013




Resist the “Us vs. Them” Mindset


“Proactive bonding is a mindset. You actively look for the common goal between yourself and the other person or team. This helps eliminate any built-in adversarial filter you bring to a meeting or project. It stops that inner-dialogue of tribal seeking. The brain is looking for tribal behavior: you’re like my tribe or you're different from my tribe. You're a friend or an enemy. It's you or us. Looking for the common goal, or a positive outcome, can also help you feel open minded and calm – an ideal state for finding creative solutions.


Fueling negative anticipation can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if you look for the differences to help you isolate where we are together or similar, you’ll be able to narrow those differences. That can help dissolve any potential conflict. You’re making every effort to make that personal connection and stay focused on the goal.


Video: Inside HR: Mark Stelzner on How Big Data is Changing HR

Monster Thinking

Mark Stelzner, the founder of Inflexion Advisors, said a rush toward analytics and “big data” is changing how businesses are making decisions. It will be critical for HR professionals to have immediate access to relevant information in real time. Organizations can no longer assume they have time to carefully discuss decisions over the course of a year. “They no longer have those luxuries,” he said.


Gamification of Employee Engagement


In a recent study conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), employee engagement was identified as the “most important challenge facing HR organizations.” Some interesting applications of neuroscience to the study of engagement have yielded promising results, by tapping into the brain’s reward response system.

But reward programs can be expensive, leading many budget-strapped human capital managers to seek other options. In fact, there is evidence that monetary rewards, in absence of other cues that put that reward in context, may not even be the most effective option for stimulating and sustaining employee engagement. 


What can the study of game design teach us about engagement in the workplace? After all, you might be thinking, games are games and work is, well, work. The truth is, many organizations have already found ways to “gamify” the workplace, yielding measurable results in terms of employee engagement, which drives productivity and retention.  A recent study pointed to the trend toward the gamification of work, in an effort to make coming to work and doing a great job as addictive and self-motivating as the best video games. According to Gartner, more than 50 percent of companies that manage innovation processes will implement gamification in the workplace by 2015. Google is actually experimenting with turning engagement into an algorithm.


Vulnerability Makes You a Better Leader


Often the image of a leader is a figure of strength - all powerful and all knowing. Personally speaking, I have found this to be a flawed leadership construct. My personal experience suggests that people prefer their leaders with an appropriate balance of confidence and humility. Yet, one of the greatest challenges many leaders struggle with is embracing (and revealing) their own vulnerabilities. I have found that showing vulnerability does not undercut a leader’s capacity to inspire teams, but rather it enhances it. Role modeling that life is an experiment, openly admitting and learning from your own shortcomings and mistakes creates an environment for others to do the same. It is one of the ways we move forward and grow as individuals, and as teams.

TEDxSeattle talks online

YouTube and

All 18 talks and three performance pieces from TEDxSeattle 2013 are up on the TEDx YouTube channel. Here is a link to the playlist. Each talk and performance is on the list in order of how you saw them at the event. PLEASE watch, share and comment! We’ve had over 12,000 views already and we'd love to see the impact spread and grow over the coming months.

Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer

Prof. Michael Roberto ß Recommended

Here's a fun video that we produced to introduce readers to the new edition of my book, Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer.   Enjoy!

Rational about superstition

Financial Times

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Many businesspeople will admit privately to luck playing a part in their careers. A token is a way of giving good fortune a helping hand. “A lot of entrepreneurs do this sort of thing, but few of them of them talk about it. They will have an object or a piece of clothing that is essential to their persona,” says Mr Paugh.


Even if you do not bel­ieve in luck, it may be that people you work with or do business with do – in which case, the beliefs of others may affect both your own behaviour and general outcomes anyway.


Leadership Development “MoneyBall”

SmartBlog on Leadership

Moneyball” was a book and movie based on Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and his use of statistics (sabermetrics, to be precise) to get the most production out of his team by spending the least amount of money.

Here’s some statistics on leadership development based on what I’d consider highly credible research. Use it to outfox your competition or to sound like a smarty-pants at your next networking event.

“Only 7% of high-potential employees are not currently high performers. Performance is a prerequisite for potential.”

Only 29% of high performers are also high-potential employees. While having what it takes to achieve top performance today, the remaining 71% of high performers are missing something needed to excel at the next level of the organization. Source for Nos. 1 and 2: Corporate Leadership Council High-Potential Management Survey, 2005

An executive development survey found that 43% of CEOs and 71% of senior executives reported that they had worked with a coach. “Most telling, 92% of leaders being coached say they plan to use a coach again.” Source: Fast Company

“Organizations with the highest quality leaders were 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in key bottom-line metrics such as financial performance, quality of products and services, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.” Source: Great Leadership

DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2011 notes that barely more than 1 in 3 organizations report that leaders have high-quality, effective development plans, despite the fact that having effective plans is related to the quality of leadership development.

Yelling improves employee performance

Sami Honkonen

“If you yell at resources (e.g. people) when they perform poorly, they will perform better next time.


This is easy to demonstrate. Take a normal 6-sided die and throw it. When you get a 1 or a 2, yell at the die and make it understand how worthless it is. Then throw again, and observe how most of the time the results improve after yelling.

With the dice example it’s easy to understand that there is a correlation, but no causality. … The phenomenon we’re witnessing is called regression to the mean.


Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

Yale School of Management  ß Recommended

Trust, Beginner’s Mind, and Innovation

Kick Up Kiss Down

Thought Leaders

As a leader, you have to be willing to kick the people above you when they make decisions that adversely affect your people. Your job is to protect your organization as best you can. Occasionally that requires reminding those above you that their decisions affect peoples’ lives and often in a negative way.”  Be careful how often and when you do it. It’s always in private. It’s always about the decision, not about the decision maker. Offer solutions and rationale as to why your answer is better. And always be prepared to get marching orders you might not agree with.

Top 5 Self Esteem Activities To Improve Your Life

Richard Krawczyk

In today’s high stress lifestyle, its important to use self esteem activities to help improve yourself. It’s no secret that in order to become a top performer in your field, you need to get to and stay at a high level all while maintaining balance in your life.

Never Compare Yourself With Other People

Be Proud of Your Own Successes

Constantly Feed Your Brain

Surround Yourself With Successful People

Take Massive Inspired Action