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Our civilization has long understood the meaning of ‘trust’. Its ancient root meaning is ‘dru’ for tree. In medieval England, the word for ‘tree’ and ‘true’ were the same: triewe. In this light, the old English expression ‘steadfast as an oak’ takes on new significance. It’s also worth nothing the peace tree traditions of several societies. For example, the Six Nations Confederacy in North America used the peace tree to seal treaties between enemies. Weapons would be ritually buried under the tree. A similar tradition exists among the “three great traditions of East Africa – the Bantu conglomerate of cultures originating from West Africa, the Nilotic from the Nile corridor and the Cushitic groups from the Red Sea region…These trees fostered civil values in a variety of contexts … Till today, groups from each of these three streams evoke the olive tree, the fig tree and the acacia in their prayers for peace” (Sultan Somjee, 2001). Putnam (Bowling Alone) undertook a comprehensive study of the relationship between trust within communities and their ethnic diversity (2007). He found that as trust goes down so does empathy, philanthropy, volunteering, and cooperation. Perhaps it’s time to for us all to take a walk in the woods and touch a tree together …
The Myers Briggs Temperament Indicator and the iStar share deep roots. Both self-assessment tools are informed, in spirit and design, by an ancient but still vital current of thought and practice. It’s called “the four-fold model of personality” and was first developed 5000 years ago. This model correlates the elements with corresponding human character trait: Fire – Choleric, Air – Sanguine, Water – Melancholic, and Earth – Phlegmatic. This is why an MBTI Report and an iStar Report offer comparable insights.
The Myers Briggs Temperament Indicator (MBTI) is used in over 10,000 companies, 2,500 colleges and universities and 200 USA government agencies. As well, tens of thousands of coaches and consultants hold MBTI certification. It’s been administered to about 50 million people since the 1960s, which is about 1 million annually. While not an immense number, this is a disproportionately influential user base.
Yet academics and psychologists continue to disparage MBTI as a ‘sacred cow’ with ‘cult status’. “It’s about belief much more than scientific evidence,” says Adam Grant, a professor of industrial psychology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Professor Grant is concerned by “the cultlike devotion of many consultants and practitioners to do it without the examination of the evidence.” This concern is echoed by Brian Little a Cambridge professor of psychology.“ “To raise questions about [Myers-Briggs’s] reliability and validity is like commenting on the tastiness of communion wine. Or how good a yarmulke is at protecting your head.” “It’s like religion. Believe what you want. Get out of it what you want” notes Barry Edwards, a senior training manager at government contractor CACI. Professor Grant decries “the taboos about MBTI in academia – don’t praise it – and in corporate America – don’t criticize it. One “can’t poke a hole in their sacred cow.” “There is almost a ‘rite de passage’ to taking the Myers-Briggs, and it’s becoming a very symbolic thing,” says Professor Little.
This critical language is loaded with spiritual terminology i.e. rite of passage, faith, devotion, communion, cult,and sacred cow. Why so? What is it about MBTI that provokes this particular criticism? Let’s examine what lies beneath this charged dichotomy and debate. In doing so, we will unearth the primal roots from which MBTI has sprung and is still nurtured.
For more read the White Paper: MBTI Roots Unearthed
All fields using virtual teaming – Corporate, Medicine, Military, etc – have developed best practices for virtual teaming and leadership. Our research has identified twenty emerging best practices in virtual team management drawn from several fields and academic studies. They are about engaging and connecting the whole person and team emotionally in an integral way at the very start of a project. To accomplish this, these best practices employ the transformative power of play, games, and creativity. http://playprelude.com/V2/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/20-Virtual-Teams-Best-Practices-1-Serious-Game.pdf
The five-point star is a universal symbol of excellence. Over 35 nations – Islamic, Communist, and Democratic – fly flags with such stars. Police wear stars to uphold the law. Heroes get them as medals for courage and sacrifice. Children receive report cards with gold stars for good behaviour.
We all intuitively understand the star represents excellence. However, we’ve forgotten why this is so over centuries. The reason is rooted in antiquity. Ancient philosophers, like Pythagoras, believed the world was made up of the four elements. They also believed that when these elements are in harmony a fifth element appears. These early mathematicians used a geometric five-point star as its symbol. To them, the apex represented Quinta Essentia, or Quintessence. This represents the purest concentrated absolute best something can be. It is the epitome of human imagination, intelligence, striving, and attainment….
The news media regularly reports on yet another famous individual caught out in inappropriate, injudicious behavior. This includes leaders in industry and government as well as ‘stars’ in entertainment and sports. These individuals, despite their brilliance, talent, wealth and power, are shown to have feet of clay. This metaphor is from the Book of Daniel, written over 2000 years ago. Clearly we’ve known about our self-destructive capacity for a very long time. These dramatic instances of poor behaviour are both fodder for tabloids and for great enduring literature. Today we ascribe this self-defeating behaviour as a lack of social and emotional intelligence.
EQ, also known as Emotional Intelligence, has four broad dimensions – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. It’s a natural complement to Cognitive Intelligence, or IQ (Intellectual Quotient). Like IQ, EQ is also needed at all life stages. EQ has four broad dimensions – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
Our collective “EQ Gap” plays out in our own lives at school, work, and the community. While it usually doesn’t become a news story, the consequences are just as dramatic and destructive….
"When teams are diverse, meaningful innovation is more likely to happen."
"We know intuitively that innovation goals are well served by cross-functional “SWAT” teams that are diverse in their membership. As Andy Zynga argued in an earlier post, diversity is a means to overcome the cognitive biases that prevent people from seeing new approaches or engaging them when found. But while this seems only logical, is there empirical evidence to support it? When such diversity is enforced can we expect it to produce results? How do we know “more is better”?
Stanford professor Lee Fleming and his colleagues have been working on these questions by looking for patterns in the teams behind patents. They find that higher-valued industrial innovation (by its nature also riskier) is more likely to arise when diverse teams are assembled of people with deep subject matter expertise in their areas. Other interesting findings in Fleming’s body of work include the observation of a bimodal distribution of outcomes for diverse teams (that is, a relatively high rate of failure and high rate of big successes, with not much middle ground); and the discovery that different kinds of communications networks foster different levels of diffusion of innovation. Fleming focuses on cross-pollination in the context of “big D” Development, which often involves recombination of existing knowledge to serve commercial goals.
Along similar lines, Ben Jones and colleagues at the Kellogg Business School of Northwestern University published a paper in Science last year focusing on diversity in the production of new knowledge, as reflected in the research literature. Looking for patterns across some 17.9 million papers indexed in Thomson Reuter’s Web of Science, they demonstrated that the most influential papers (most highly cited) were those that exhibited an intrusion of interdisciplinary information. They also found that groups were more likely to foster these intrusions than solo researchers. This is entirely consistent with Fleming’s findings for industry, and his attempts to dispel some of themythology around lone inventors. (One difference in the studies is that, thus far, Jones hasn’t observed the bimodal distribution that Fleming does; there is apparently no cluster of papers with abnormally low citations which also feature intrusions of outside knowledge.)
Taken together, the studies led by Fleming and Jones make a good case for assembling that SWAT team that can bring multiple disciplinary perspectives to bear on a problem. It isn’t always obvious how to do so, but we at NineSigma can point to an instructive example at AkzoNobel. AkzoNobel is a multi-national, multi-divisional manufacturer and distributor of coatings systems, or more simply put, paint. But paint is really not as simple as just paint; for example, coatings for automotive applications are very different from decorative finishes. Among AkzoNobel’s divisions are more and less conventional manufacturers of chemicals and polymers. Having grown by acquisition, the company has the typical silos, with organizational and geographic boundaries inhibiting the diffusion of knowledge…."
To be original, you need messiness and magic, serendipity and insanity.
Here’s how John Lennon wrote “Nowhere Man,” as he recalled it in an interview that ran just before he was murdered in 1980: After working five hours trying to craft a song, he had nothing to show for it. “Then, ‘Nowhere Man’ came, words and music, the whole damn thing as I lay down.”
Here’s how Steve Jobs came up with the groundbreaking font selection when Apple designed the Mac: He had taken a class in the lost art of calligraphy and found it “beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture.” Ten years later, it paid off when Apple ushered in a typeface renaissance.
And here’s how Oscar Wilde defined his profession: “A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.”
We’ve bottled lust. We’ve refined political analysis so that nearly every election can be accurately forecast. And we’ve compressed the sum of education for an average American 17-year-old into the bloodless numbers of standardized test scores. What still eludes the captors of knowledge is creativity, even though colleges are trying to teach it, corporations are trying to own it, and Apple has a “creativity app.”
But perhaps because creativity remains so unquantifiable, it’s still getting shortchanged by educators, new journalistic ventures, Hollywood and the company that aspires to be the earth’s largest retailer, Amazon.com.
An original work, an aha! product or a fresh insight is rarely the result of precise calculation at one end producing genius at the other. You need messiness and magic, serendipity and insanity. Creativity comes from time off, and time out. There is no recipe for “Nowhere Man,” other than showing up, and then, maybe lying down.
The push for Common Core standards in the schools came from colleges and employers who complained that high schools were turning out too many graduates unprepared for the modern world. That legitimate criticism prompted a massive overhaul affecting every part of the country. Now, the pushback, in part, is coming from people who feel that music, art and other unmeasured values got left behind — that the Common Core stifles creativity. Educators teach for the test, but not for the messy brains of the kids in the back rows.
At Amazon, the quants rule. Daydreaming, pie-in-the-sky time and giving people room to fail — the vital ingredients of creativity — are costly, the first things to go at a data-driven company. As a business model, Amazon is a huge success. As a regular generator of culture-altering material, it’s a bit player.
"We just completed a major study of human capital trends around the world (Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 2500 organizations in 90 countries) and the message is clear: companies are struggling to engage our modern, 21st century workforce.
This is a worldwide issue. Gallup research shows that only 13% of employees around the world are actively engaged at work, and more than twice that number are so disengaged they are likely to spread negativity to others.
...And when we asked companies to evaluate their management practices they were particularly critical of the way they manage performance, leading us to the conclusion that performance management is broken. (Read The Myth of the Bell Curve for more on this topic)…"
People don't underperform because they lack technical skills. People underperform because they lack soft skills.
"A few years ago, a senior engineering executive at a high-tech Silicon Valley company asked me to teach a two-hour course on assessing "soft skills". His company had mastered the art of judging candidates' technical skills. It conducted day-long interviews focused on programming languages, server skills, and data analysis. Then, in the final 45 minutes, the hiring manager would turn his attention to the soft skills. If felt like an afterthought, perhaps because it was.
...His immediate response was a stunned silence; the expanse and impact of a candidate's soft skills had perhaps not occurred to him before. I think he realized quite quickly that 45 minutes tacked on the end of an all-day interview was not enough."
“MaRS is a Toronto based business incubator that works with an extensive network of partners to help entrepreneurs launch and grow the innovative companies that are building the future…
MaRS Future Leaders is a unique immersive and experiential program for 13- to 18-year-olds who are interested in both learning about entrepreneurship and gaining hands-on experience. This week long program enables high school students to invent, test and pitch an original business idea, supported by one-on-one mentors, successful entrepreneurs and dynamic teachers. Students learn skills critical for future success while in a cohort of peers their own age.
Collaborating and Communicating
As we journey through our day, we are engulfed by waves of social and mass media. It is easy to get lost in this ocean of noise while moments in time drifts past, unnoticed. At 10seconds.nl, we capture slices of life, blended together into an experience for the eyes, ears, and soul.
“When it comes to creativity two facts are clear. First, it tops nearly every “Twenty First Century Skills” list ever made. The skills our children need to thrive in the future? According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills—a collection of 250 researchers at 60 institutions—creativity. The quality most desirable in a CEO? According to a global survey conducted by IBM of 1500 top executives in 60 countries, creativity is again the answer."
Author Sarah Lewis discusses some counterintuitive pathways to breakthroughs.
Overcoming failure is the subject of bromides and commencement speeches. At FailCon events, startup founders swap tales of not succeeding. So what’s different about your discussion of failure?
There are failures of very different magnitudes; I’m not even sure I would call some Silicon Valley failures failures. I think of failure as the gap between where you are and where you want to go. The larger it is, the more you call it failure, and the smaller it is, the more you call it having something to improve upon, or needing to pivot. You can have a series of failed entrepreneurial feats, and that feels very different from having your entire life feel like a failure.
I’m thinking [instead] of the importance of structures that let people go deep with their failure while letting it be an entrepreneurial endeavor if they like, or an innovative discovery
What’s an example?
Andre Geim, a physicist who is based at the University of Manchester, was not seen as someone who would ever win the Nobel Prize, because his experiments could be so outlandish. He won theIgNobel Award in 2000 for levitating a live frog with magnets—and then [won the Nobel] for isolating graphene 10 years later. He was dealing with failure: the psychological frustration that can come when people don’t quite take you seriously was difficult for him to endure, required a kind of courage. And he did [the graphene work] through a process of Friday-night experiments: times where, in the laboratory, they felt free enough to fail, and therefore made these groundbreaking discoveries. He’s a good example of what it means to allow the generative process of failure to help you, through these Friday-night experiments.
“Making eye contact even with a character on a cereal box inspires powerful feelings of connection,” said Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the director of the school’s Food and Brand Lab, and one of the study’s authors.
This follows a flurry of recent research on the magnetic and mesmeric nature of eye contact and its essential role in developing emotional stability and social fluency. Studies show that newborns, even with their blurry infant vision, instinctively lock eyes with their caregivers.'
… Even the brains of legally blind people have been shown to light up when someone looks them in the eye. It’s a sort of primal awareness and why you sometimes feel someone is looking at you before you turn and see them.
… In other words, eye contact makes us more socially aware and empathetic. It allows us to make sense of our relationships and social orientation. So avoiding eye contact out of fear or insecurity, or breaking eye contact to read a text, check email or play Candy Crush degrades your social facility and emotional intelligence…."
The goal of the Venture Hack Network is to provide a collaborative environment for entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of their new ventures, working together to develop them into full business plans via “Hackaplans”.
This is a listing for all the active venture projects so you can browse through them and reach out with partnership offers.
Once you join the Meetup group you can also join in the discussion list, to help collaborate on business ideas, by sending emails to:
"Leo Tolstoy, the Russian novelist, famously wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
"Aided by technology, telecommuting is becoming more common, and while it has its challenges, studies show that it tends to create happier, better workers….And the phenomenon appears to be growing. The annual survey last year by the Society for Human Resource Management found a greater increase in the number of companies planning to offer telecommuting in 2014 than those offering just about any other new benefit."
It’sreported that several hundered million people use PowerPoint. This includes 6 million teachers. This Microosft product has garnered 95% of the presentation software market. However, a great many users dislike PowerPoint; hence popular expressions like ‘Death by PowerPoint’ and ‘PowerPoint Hell’. However in many cases this is due to a lack of design skills…