Monday, September 1, 2014


Why Humility Pays Off

Busy Building Things  and The Next Web

Increased motivation, better teams, and fewer mistakes

In an age where social media runs rampant with humblebrags and constant barking, humility grows scarcer every day.

Embracing humility, and being humble, doesn’t mean never talking about your achievements and accomplishments. As 19th century author and preacher Charles Spurgeon eloquently explains it:

Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self. It is no humility for a man to think less of himself than he ought, though it might rather puzzle him to do that


Human Language Is Biased Towards Happiness, Say Computational Linguists

Back in 1969, a couple of psychologists from the University of Illinois began studying the way people in different cultures use words. Their conclusion was that whatever their culture, people tended to use positive words more often the negative ones.

This finding is now known as the Pollyanna hypothesis, after a 1913 novel by Eleanor Porter about a girl who tries to find something to be glad about in every situation.

These guys have measured the frequency of positive and negative words in a corpus of 100,000 words from 24 languages representing different cultures around the world. And their happy conclusion is that the data backs up the Pollyanna hypothesis. “The words of natural human language possess a universal positivity bias,” they say.


India swaps ice for rice in new bucket challenge


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has morphed into a considerably warmer and drier alternative in India.

Enter the "Rice Bucket Challenge." #RiceBucketChallenge

Indian journalist Manju Latha Kalanidhi, who works for the U.S.-based rice research website, says when she first heard about the ice bucket challenge, she got thinking.

"Why waste water?" she asks. "I felt like doing something more locally tangible. Rice is a staple here. We eat it every day, we can store it for months. Why not donate rice to someone who is hungry?"

And it rhymes with ice. So Kalanidhi started her own challenge: Donate a bucket of rice to someone in need, post a photo online, and challenge your friends to do the same.

The original version, designed to raise funds to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease and motor neurone disease (MND) -- is a global viral phenomenon.


The Changing Nature of Privacy Practice

Brookings Institute

Crafting privacy policies has been an exercise in drafting to describe uses of information in enough depth and detail to provide full disclosure but enough breadth and generality to leave room for other conceivable uses and also (as data use evolves rapidly) some not yet conceived. Facebook’s terms of service allow data use “for internal operations," including "data analysis, testing, research and service improvement,” so users who consent to these terms arguably consent to being research subjects.


Your Child's Next Field Trip May be a Virtual One

ABC News

Your child's next field trip may not require a permission slip or a brightly-colored t-shirt that matches his classmates. It may not require any traveling at all, and yet he or she might be interacting with people and places on the other side of the world.

Skype in the Classroom uses technology to bring students -- some less fortunate -- on virtual field trips or to hear lessons from noteworthy people in various career fields. Classrooms in the U.S. have interacted with classrooms in New Zealand; had the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America as a guest speaker; and taken virtual field trip to Biscayne National Park to learn about sea turtles plus hundreds of other experiences.


Louie Schwartzberg: Hidden miracles of the natural world


We live in a world of unseeable beauty, so subtle and delicate that it is imperceptible to the human eye. To bring this invisible world to light, filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg bends the boundaries of time and space with high-speed cameras, time lapses and microscopes. At TED2014, he shares highlights from his latest project, a 3D film titled "Mysteries of the Unseen World," which slows down, speeds up, and magnifies the astonishing wonders of nature.


Delta Innovation Class

Delta  Delta and Forbes

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) is partnering with LinkedIn to connect today's high-profile influencers with the business leaders of tomorrow at 35,000 feet. Through a unique program called "Innovation Class," Delta is offering its LinkedIn community the opportunity to meet with leaders from different fields on a designated flight. The airline will preview the concept at the TED2014 conference in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 17-21.

Individuals interested in the opportunity to fly with a titan in their industry, sharing ideas and discussing goals and future projects, may submit an application at Delta will select and pair applicants with industry leaders.

Delta's first Innovation Class in-flight pairing occurred enroute to TED2014: James Patten, CEO of Patten Studio, was awarded the opportunity to fly with influential technologist Eric Migicovsky, CEO of Pebble Technology, from Salt Lake City to Vancouver. Delta will host additional Innovation Class flights throughout 2014, including the next enroute pairing featuring Sean Brock, an Outstanding Chef finalist for The James Beard Awards in New York City on May 5. Future events and influencer pairings will be announced later this year.


Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg ”No One Can Have it All”  

McKinsey and YouTube

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has emerged as a leading voice for gender equality since she delivered, in late 2010, a provocative TEDWomen address on why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top.

In this interview—available here as both a video and an edited transcript—with McKinsey's Joanna Barsh, Sandberg (an alumnus of McKinsey, the US Treasury Department, and Google) expands on issues from her new book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" (Knopf, March 2013), and explains why women need to "lean in" to gain confidence, develop skills, and become more comfortable as leaders—herself included.

Find the full transcript of this interview as well as links to McKinsey's wealth of research on the topic of executive women on the McKinsey Quarterly site:


This is Water – How to Live a Compassionate Life


David Foster Wallace‘s “This Is Water,” an essay derived from his 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College, has become one of the most famous pieces of 21st-century writing on living a compassionate life. Over at Medium, illustrator Jessica Hagy has boiled down one of the most moving aspects of the essay into this poetic cyclical flowchart:

The section she illustrates is toward the middle of the essay, where, without an ounce of preachiness, Wallace considers the value of taking time to recognize the humanity of strangers in a crowd. These strangers might be in your way at a grocery store checkout line or in a traffic jam. They might appear, on the surface, ‘stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman,’ he writes. Such an effort requires challenging ‘the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the center of the world, and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world’s priorities.'”


Local, National Efforts Aim to Draw Girls Into STEM Fields


Educators and community leaders in Spokane, WA, and across the United States, are working to encourage girls to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Washington has one of the U.S.'s fastest growing STEM workforces and Grant Forsyth, chief economist with Avista Corp., says failing to engage women in STEM fields is "leaving a lot of human capital on the table." The Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho are working to kindle interest in STEM among girls from an early age by making use of a space where they can be exposed to science in a fun way without boys to compete against. The program proceeds up into scouts' teens and includes access to STEM mentors. Spokane Public Schools also seeks to install early interest in STEM and breakdown perceptions that such subjects are only for boys. The schools host STEM summer camps led by female high school and college students who act as role models for the younger girls. At the college level, Gonzaga University professor Joanne Smieja is leading a national effort supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation to help female STEM professors at U.S. colleges and universities to advance and secure their careers so they can act as role models for undergraduate students.


What Happens To The Human Brain If You Try To Watch Every ‘Simpsons’ Ever

Last Thursday, FXX began its “Every Simpsons Ever” promotion. The network’s airing “The Simpsons” — all 552 episodes — over 12 consecutive days, and Season 11’s “Missionary: Impossible,” at 10 a.m. Tuesday, marked the end of hour No. 120.

As with any ludicrous television marathon — especially with a show as popular as “The Simpsons” — there are going to be a few ambitious individuals who try to watch as long as they can. I’d bet that some writer somewhere is working on a stunt piece titled “I Tried To Watch Every Simpsons Ever And Here’s What Happened.”

So, what’s happening to these poor souls? I reached out to my friend Olivia Walch, a mathematics doctoral student at the University of Michigan. Walch made the sleep-repair app Entrain, so she sent us a pile of sleep deprivation studies so we could find out what people trying to mainline “The Simpsons” are going through.


Who Knew? The Wearable Chair Was Actually Invented 37 Years Ago


So it looks like the honor of Design Crossover Hit of the Week goes to Noonee's Chairless Chair, and while the mainstream media took to hailing it as a futuristic exoskeletal paramedical breakthrough, it so happens that the basic idea dates back to the late 70's. Upon seeing my post about it earlier this week, eagle-eyed reader Gary Cruce sent a note with a photo from an old exhibition catalog, indicating that the product may well have been invented several decades ago. Along with the image and anecdote, Cruce provided an all-important snapshot of the caption from the catalog; crediting the "Wearable Chair (1977)" to Darcy Robert Bonner Jr.


Everywhere Johnny Cash went, man

Flowing Data

Johnny Cash says he went to a lot of places in his song, "I've Been Everywhere." Iain Mullan had some fun with the location list for Music Hack Day London and mapped each place as the song plays


First Rule of Management: Take Care of Your People


It is a person's moral obligation and social responsibility to protect a culture that provides an honorable and dignified place in which to work." - Arthur T. Demoulas, CEO Market Basket, August 28, 2014

I had the honor and privilege of serving local governments in Massachusetts for nearly 12 years. While serving, I observed, learned, grew into and finally became part of that region. And I learned (or relearned) many important life lessons. The golden rule always applies, we have far more in common with each other than we have differences, and my grandfather's first (and only) rule of management: Take Care of Your People.

Characteristics of a Strategic Leader

Leadership Done Right

What Is Strategic Leadership Style?

Strategic leadership actually means employing strategy in the employee management. Generally the core strategy employed is to inspire and stimulate employees to take decisions and measures to ameliorate their prolific input into the organization. Strategy requires critical thinking as well as planning skills, whereas leadership motivates others to take the right measures. This is a model of management that trains and motivates workers to best prepare the organization to get success.

Progressive Thinking

Focus on Productivity

Motivate Employees

Be Practical


Four Qualities of People Who Change the World

Leadership Freak

Jobs are boring dead things that suck the life out of you, but a person with a mission has found a new lens for life. The greater the thing you live for the richer life becomes.

The top four:

#1. Curiosity – persistent learning. What are you learning? What are you reading? How do you process feedback?  Curiosity is probably the most important one of the four. Claudio Fernández-Aráoz

#2. Insight – the ability to connect the dots. Can you determine what really matters and put together a vision that makes sense, one that others can follow? Can you keep your feet on the ground and see possibilities at the same time?

#3. Engagement – the ability to convince and persuade others about the vision. Can you touch minds and hearts? Are you influencing without authority?

#4. Determination – the ability to continue striving toward high and challenging objectives regardless of the circumstances.


Make It A Habit To Ask Your Employees These 6 Questions

Eric Jacobsen

As explained in John Baldoni's, book, Lead With Purpose, Marshall Goldsmith suggests all leaders make it a habit to regularly ask their employees these six questions:

1.     Where do you think we should be going?

2.     Where do you think you and your part of the business should be going?

3.     What do you think you're doing well?

4.     If you were the leader, what ideas would you have for you?

5.     How can I help?

6.     What suggestions or ideas do you have for me?


Question For Leaders: What's Your Value?


What do you think the biggest problem facing leaders today is?

When it comes to big issues, good leaders ask themselves: am I delivering value to my people, my team, and my organization? Businesses wrestle with value daily in everything from customer offering to process improvement. Leaders too need to find ways that they deliver value to their stakeholders.

The value proposition for a leader is the means of finding balance between what you can do and what you ought to do. So there is an element of time as well as resources. But the question goes deeper into what a leader delivers. Certainly a leader’s job is to provide direction as well as guidance. Leaders must also enable others to do their jobs better and that requires a mixture of development as well as equipping them resources and tools as well as support in the form of training.

Intention + Diligence + Attentiveness = Leadership Value


The Story Behind: You Must Be The Change You Wish To See In The World


So many of us have heard and been moved by Gandhi's quote. But even as we have quoted, cited, coached it and counseled with it, we don’t often hear the story behind it.

Among the hundreds of people were waiting to visit with Mahatma Gandhi were a mother and her young son. When it was their turn, the woman asked Gandhi to speak with her son about eating sugar.

Gandhi asked her to come back in two weeks and said he would talk to the boy then. She wondered why he didn’t just speak to her son when he was already there, but she complied with his request.

In two weeks they returned, and after waiting for a couple of hours, she was able to approach Gandhi once again.

Hearing her repeated request, Gandhi immediately spoke with the boy, who agreed to begin working to eliminate sweets. After thanking Gandhi for his wise and compassionate words, the mother asked him why he wanted them to return instead of offering his advice the first time.

Gandhi replied, “Upon your visit two weeks ago I too was eating sugar.” He explained that he could not speak of or teach her son to not eat sugar if he himself had not taken that journey.


Leading light

The Economist

The man who invented the study of corporate leadership, Warren Bennis, died on July 31st aged 89

WARREN BENNIS was the world’s most important thinker on the subject that business leaders care about more than any other: themselves. When he started writing about leadership in the 1950s the subject was a back road. When he died on July 31st it was an eight-lane highway crowded with superstar professors whizzing along in multi-million-dollar muscle cars.


Mr Bennis produced about 30 books on leadership. Some of them are classics, such as “On Becoming a Leader” (1989). All are surprisingly readable, stuffed with anecdotes, examples and literary references. He offered advice to leaders from all walks of life. Howard Schultz, the chairman of Starbucks, regarded him as a mentor. Presidents from both sides of the aisle—John Kennedy and Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan—sought his advice. If Peter Drucker was the man who invented management (as a book about him claimed), then Warren Bennis was the man who invented leadership as a business idea.u


How Effective Change Leaders Build Trust

Switch and Shift

Editor’s Note: This post is part of the series “Return on Trust,” a weeklong effort provided by some very special invited guests. Be sure to keep track of the series here and check out our daily e-mail newsletter.

…one of the absolute foundations of effective leadership is: TRUST. But how do you build trust? What can you actively do to increase the level of trust that people extend to you? In this video I will share with you two “Trust Formulas” that will help you be a more trusted person and leader. I hope you find them of value.