Because we need to avoid the things in life that will kill us, the role of rapidly learned avoidance in human survival is critical. Early on we are conditioned (taught) about what to avoid. As life goes on the trick is to understand when avoidance makes good sense and when it prevents us from developing the capability of doing good things and more »
What to know about thinking in the workplace.
How many jobs in your company require the use of the job holder’s brain? Is that a trick question or an insult? It’s neither. I ask because in harsh reality most jobs get filled and reviewed with no systematic assessment of “brain power”. How can business be so “thoughtless”?
The answer lies in the history of American psychology and in current knowledge from cognitive psychology regarding how people think. The 20th century saw U.S. mainstream psychology shun “thinking” as a viable area for scientific study, preferring instead the verifiable domain of observable behavior. With no representation for workplace thinking it’s not surprising that the business world became biased towards observing workplace behavior, bottom-line results and MBO methodologies. Psychology offered little other choice.
It’s not that psychological testing didn’t try to create a workplace niche for the world of mental capabilities. Test builders developed intelligence tests for use in WWI inductee screening. Post-war variations were built for more »
By Allen Raffetto*
Have you ever hired someone who performed better in the interview than on the job? Did you ever figure out what you did wrong in the hiring process? And did you ever estimate what each wrong hiring decision costs your company?
Let’s consider dollar costs. Some estimates are that the process for a new hire costs $8,000 on average – and the higher the position is on the organization chart, the more that cost increases. However, more than money is involved. The intangible costs can run somewhere between huge and priceless. What’s included in those intangibles? more »
By David Byrd*
Training and development are vital functions for any organization. The purpose of training is to impart knowledge and skills necessary to effectively fulfill the everyday operations of the organization. The purpose of development, on the other hand, is to enhance the use of the organization’s untapped, human potential. Increased productivity is directly related to the development of the organization’s untapped, human potential.
Many organizations unwittingly spend a lot of money on training while ignoring development; then ask the question more »
By Richard J. Hohmann Jr.*, (October, 2008)
Companies are saying that executive coaching has become their secret weapon when it comes to acquiring talent. BMW of Canada recently introduced a program that included the hiring of coaches to incorporate training into a leadership – development program.
Coaching can certainly compliment leadership training in any organization and it can be a needed incentive to elevate performance and provide a competitive edge by providing another perk or reason to join. In my experience, I have found Coaching to be a key component to retaining a good to great manager or leader. Coaches can be the link between personal direction and work/life balance while more »
Competitive Culture Features
Self-interest to have authority, power, pay and position. Self-interest totally overshadows identification with organization. “What’s in it for me?”
Specialists are hired, paid and expected to be the innovators. Everyone else is expected to stick to their own tasks. The classic “Silo Mentality!” more »
By Patrick J. Below
Patrick Below has been a colleague of Dr. Al’s for over 15 years. He not only understands the principles of planning in any size business, but also stresses with his clients that “planning” has to be developed by using an “Integrated Planning System.” He is the author of The Executive Guide to Strategic Planning and also The Executive Guide to Operational Planning. He now resides in Madison Wisconsin.
Reprinted with permission of Patrick J. Below
What does it take to successfully operate and grow a small business in today’s challenging economic times? The answers to this question more »
Entertaining seminars don’t need repetition or feedback, just right-brain emotional engagement. Training requires the brain’s other hemisphere and the willingness to practice, practice, and repetitively practice to some level of competence. Feedback relies on a mutually-agreed upon competence criterion.
Feedback won’t work if it’s not based on valid standards/benchmarks. Development somehow goes beyond effective training and transforms individuals and their actions forever. To read more »
Here’s the main thing: Whatever rewards you depends upon whatever it is that drives you to do the things you do.
Psychology is full of materials on the topic of drives, and a single page will be inadequate to address all of it. For the interested person most of the research and writing can be found under the heading of “Theories of Motivation”. A basic theory, drive reduction, states that certain deficits produce drives inside you that you then do things to reduce. This theory works well on the basics, called primary drives, specifically hunger, thirst and sex. You haven’t eaten (deficit) and so you experience a hunger drive that you more »
In the physical world inertia and resistance are perpetually operating on our behalf. Because objects in inertia retain their “states of rest” we usually find things where we left them, unless of course they were acted upon by an “external force”. Because an object opposes or withstands a force passing through it, electricity, for example, lights and heats our world. Generally speaking, we live safer and more »
We oversimplify rewards in our lives, letting others and circumstances tell us (implicitly and explicitly) what should be rewarding to us. We would be far better off if we learned how to tell ourselves and the world what rewards us, satisfies us, and (yes) even annoys/frustrates us. It’s bad enough that life has conditioned us not to openly share this information with others. What’s worse is that more »
Do you believe for a strategic plan to be worth its expense, that it has to be as big as a major city’s phone book. Add an operational plan and you may have two phone books! Results management for those plans might look like the instrument panel of a 747. You know the captain can’t more »
If it weren’t for illusions, we’d all behave like lab rats. Back in the day, laboratory rats were the vehicle by which psychology was going to understand all the “rules” of human behavior. Behaviorism is still a powerful perspective, but today it is us who might be the “lab rats.”
Through the miracle of modern technology, all of us are being watched like lab rats. That sort of statement used to more »
* Based on “The Upside of Acute Stress” by Kristin Sainani, Ph.D. Stanford Magazine, May/June 2014, pp 50-53
Stress stories almost always begin with “There you are stuck in traffic. You can feel your blood pressure rise and hear your rapid pulse thumping in your ears.” Traffic, Ha! Here in the Northland we are blessed with scenic Lake Superior and an absence of traffic stressors. We think we are much better off without stress. But not so fast! Recent scholarly research portrays stress more »
The busier you are, the more important it is to stop now and read this story.
One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers, he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” He then pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of him.
Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one by one, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the space between the big rock. Then he asked the group once more. “Is this jar full?” By this time the class was on to him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. He reached under the table more »
That’s what a client said about our Effective Personal Leadership (EPL) program. If you’re unfamiliar with ISO (International Organization for Standardization), it is a worldwide organization that promotes a stringent certification for best manufacturing practices.
ISO history stretches back more than fifty years to military necessities. Successful manufacturers that meet or exceed their guidelines receive ISO-9000 certification. Today companies can also apply for an ISO-9001 certification which spells out specific operational standards for organizations to meet.
Currently there are a series of ISO certifications that have evolved over the last three decades. Leadership Management Intl., owner of the EPL programs, successfully secured an ISO certification at the start of the new millennium. ISO is an ongoing rating system, not just a one-time award to hang on your wall. ISO basically does what? It requires a company to document and prove exactly how it provides more »
Who hasn’t ever asked “Why don’t they do what I want?” Because you ask this question rhetorically, you are sure you already know the answers and you don’t like any of them. There is another less stressful, more useful way to get real answers.
This “Why don’t they” question doesn’t spill from your brain with neutral affect. Usually frustration and oftentimes anger will add emotional “bite” to the utterance. To move beyond this point more »
The usual response is “Well, our program is different!” followed by lists or spreadsheets of features, advantages and benefits that are supposed to answer the question. But they never answer the question! Just because “stuff” is different, even better, does not guarantee that people will magically change into stronger, more effective leaders. Then again, maybe I’m a different trainer with the slight edge of considerable knowledge, skill and 45 years of experience as trainer and coach in leadership. While a broad background may be an advantage, it is not sufficient to succeed at the task. So what does it take for someone to be a game-changer? more »
We have been training a disengaged workforce for decades. Remember the ‘60s? I began my 20s in the ‘60s. And for the first half of that decade I had the privilege of living in my hometown, San Francisco, where “hippies and the counter-culture” grew into an awesome force. Free Love, birth control pills and the mantra, “If it feels good, do it” typified the 60s zeitgeist.
Then with a little help from more »
Wayne Van Zwoll, long-time competitive shooter, made a remarkable observation when he wrote: “One important trait shared by amazing shooters like Annie Oakley was their supreme confidence. Neither arrogant nor naïve, they knew they could hit their targets. More to the point, they knew they would hit. They earned this level of self-assurance by hitting repeatedly. They hit repeatedly without missing because they fired many thousands of cartridges, training themselves to execute only good shots. Most importantly, they fired each round to hit, rather than not to miss.”
This quote speaks to many aspects of developing the habit of a winning attitude. However, the last sentence introduces a seldom-mentioned factor beyond supreme confidence and exceptional practice: the detrimental motivation to not do something. This becomes negative energy that makes a huge difference! more »
In our Rotary Club (Superior Club #40, Wednesdays Noon, Barker’s Island) we have memorized a few punch lines, and we use one of them so often that we’re thinking of giving it a number so it’s less difficult to deliver. The punch line is: “It runs itself.” We haven’t decided on which number yet.
Everyone who anticipates the joke laughs on cue because more »