In 1990, Jon Huntsman, Sr. made a business decision that most in corporate America would probably have called insane. He was intensely negotiating the biggest business deal of his life with Charles Miller Smith, the head of a British chemical company. Deep into the negotiations over the acquisition, Smith's wife died. She had been suffering from terminal cancer. It was unfortunate, but business is business and the negotiation was incomplete. On top of that, Huntsman had millions of dollars on the line -- money that would be his if he just pushed Smith further.
But he didn't.
"I decided the fine points of the last 20 percent of the deal would stand as they were proposed," he later wrote. "I probably could have clawed another $200 million out of the deal, but it would have come at the expense of Charles' emotional state. The agreement as it stood was good enough."
When people are stressed out, their first instinct is to protect themselves -- or to retreat into a taker mentality. But operating like a giver may actually be more effective in buffering against stress and enhancing well-being.
In his 2008 book Winners Never Cheat, Huntsman summarized his philosophy on business and life, writing, "Monetarily, the most satisfying moments in my life have not been the excitement of closing a great deal or the reaping of profits from it. They have been when I was able to help others in need ... There's no denying that I am a deal junkie, but I also have developed an addiction for giving. The more one gives, the better one feels; and the better one feels about it, the easier it becomes to give."
Huntsman is what organizational psychologist Adam Grant calls, in his provocative new book, a "giver." In Give and Take, Grant, the youngest tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, wields a large body of social science research, much of it his own, to challenge the idea that career success is a zero-sum game in which your gains equal my losses, a harmful idea that discourages people from helping each other out at work.
In Grant's book, the reader encounters three types of people: givers, takers, and matchers. Matchers reciprocate favors and good deeds tit-for-tat. Takers try to tilt the balance of a transaction in their own favor, hoping to get more than they give -- the type of person who takes credit for someone else's work. Givers are the opposite. Their hallmark is generosity. Crudely put, givers are focused on others, takers are focused on themselves, and matchers care above all about fairness.
Most people are givers in their personal relationships. They act selflessly and try to contribute more than they take with those they love. But when these people enter the workforce, their style of interacting with others changes dramatically. As Grant told me in an interview, "There is an extraordinary number of people who are in a giver mindset at home and a matcher or taker mindset in the work setting." Only 8 percent of people describe themselves as givers at work. That's because most people think it's safer to operate like a taker or matcher at work; givers, they think, are chumps who will fall behind in the game of life.
Across four other studies, researchers found that giving time away -- in the form of volunteering -- makes people feel like they actually have more time than if they spent time on themselves, wasted time, or got a random bit of free time.
Grant explodes that myth in his book, showing that givers are among the most successful people in business. They may also be the happiest. "There is powerful evidence," Grant tells me "that givers experience more meaning in their work than takers or matchers."
This is important considering that Americans spend most of their waking hours -- most of their lives -- at work. The average American man works 8.4 hours per day and the average American woman works 7.7 hours a day. How they feel in those hours is a major determinant of their well-being. But, according to the American Psychological Association, nearly 70 percent of Americans cite work as a major source of stress in their lives and four out of ten say that they experience stress at work on a daily basis. One report indicates that over half of working Americans are unsatisfied and unhappy with their jobs. The top person people don't like being around is, according to the National Time Use survey, their boss. Bosses and work seem to be significant sources of unhappiness for many people.
When people are stressed out, their first instinct is to protect themselves -- or to retreat into a taker mentality. But operating like a giver may actually be more effective in buffering against stress and enhancing well-being. On its face, this is counter-intuitive. Time is a scarce resource, especially for people who are stressed. Being a giver involves taking time away from yourself to help someone else. This could seemingly aggravate stress levels, but it actually alleviates them.
In one study, Grant and a colleague found that givers who were high school teachers were less vulnerable to stress and exhaustion if they saw the impact their giving was having on their students. Across four other studies, researchers found that giving time away -- in the form of volunteering -- makes people feel like they actually have more time than if they spent time on themselves, wasted time, or got a random bit of free time.
Not only does being a giver protect against stress, but it also has lasting benefits on well-being outside of work. In a study of 68 firefighters, Grant and a colleague found that those who helped others on the job felt happier at home at bedtime than those who did not. Interestingly, the increase in happiness from giving was delayed. The firefighters were not any happier at the end of the working day, but only after they had been at home for several hours.
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Another study, led by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, shows that the more giving an individual is, the happier he becomes. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: Over a six-week period, they would either perform five random acts of kindness all in one day or to do one act of kindness across five different days. Those who fit all five acts of giving into one day were happier at the end of the study than those who thinly spread their giving out.
Being a giver is a principle many of us apply -- or at least try to -- in our personal lives. It's also one we should internalize in the workplace. As Grant puts it, "Let's ignore the evidence that givers often outperform matchers and takers. Let's say their scores are even. Given that, here is the question I would ask takers: Would you rather achieve success in ways that come at the expense of others or in ways the lift other people up?" He also points out that if you try to be a giver just to get ahead, it probably won't work.
An expert in the field of positive psychology explores the perks of bonding -- with everyone around you.
By Nicole Frehsée
Here's some simple advice: Spread the love. Not just with your partner, family, and friends but with people you hardly know, because the more loving you are in everyday life, the healthier you could be. In her new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., suggests that true love isn't just about romance, companionship, or fondness; fundamentally, it springs from something she calls "micromoments of shared positive emotion." Fredrickson's research has found that such moments have the potential to lower our risk for disease and may even influence how our cells regenerate. We asked her to tell us more.
Q: How did you arrive at your definition of love? BF: I look at it from the body's point of view. When the brain registers love, it triggers the release of the hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin. This happens as long as three things occur: First, a warm feeling must be shared -- say, the barista at your café comps your latte after noticing you've had a rough day. Second, your brain activity has to sync up with the other person's, as when you laugh at the same joke. Third, there's a mutual motivation to invest in each other's well-being.
Q: But can you really be invested in a stranger's well-being? BF: Yes. Say you have a friendly chat with a guy in line at the post office, and then you see a package fall on his foot. You'll have more concern for him than for a person you'd never connected with. It's not something we think about consciously, but these fleeting connections happen more often than we realize.
Q: If the connections are so short-lived, why should we care about them? BF: They can help improve something called cardiac vagal tone, which reflects how much your heart rate is influenced by your breathing. It's an indication of your body's capacity to regain calm after you've been in a stressful situation. Low vagal tone has been linked to chronic inflammation throughout the body, which is a known risk factor for heart failure, stroke, and diabetes. In our research, we found that the more positive social connections people had over a nine-week period, the more their vagal tone increased.
Q: You say these micromoments of love can also change our cells. How does that work? BF: Your emotions can trigger hormones that influence the way genes are expressed in the body. We know this happens with negative emotions: Stress releases adrenaline, which can prime cells for inflammation, causing disease. I believe that positive feelings, which can trigger the release of oxytocin, have the opposite effect and set us up for a healthier life.
Q: How can we add more micromoments to our lives? BF: Simply get out and be more social! That's what's really promising about our research. Getting the benefits of love doesn't require being in a romantic relationship or living near family and friends. Just make sure you're connecting with others, whether it's through conversation or eye contact. We tend to trivialize these interactions, but they're just as important to your health as eating well or going for a run.
Jim Manske's insight:
A deep bow of gratitude to Barbara for her groundbreaking work in positivity and Love.
Sam Parnia helps bring people back from the dead -- and some return with stories that could challenge traditional scientific ideas about the nature of consciousness
Jim Manske's insight:
Although I have the same childhood amnesia most people report, I do have strong and comforting recollections of my own near death experience. At the age of five, on my first camping trip, I stepped on a venomous Copperhead snake. He expressed his objection by biting me on the foot. What followed was a harrowing adventure across huge lakes and windy back country roads, until several hours later I finally received medical care. At one point, I had a classic NDE, complete with reassurance that it was "not my time". I emerged from the experience generally calm in the face of death, even as I live life as fully as possible.
A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has successfully shown that human stem cells can implant themselves into the brain and heal neurological problems. The experiment was conducted using mice, and it showed that implanted stem cells ended up forming two vital types of neurons, which are involved in different kinds of human behavior, such as emotions, learning, memory, addiction, etc.
Su-Chun Zhang, a professor of neuroscience and neurology at UW-Madison, is the lead author of the study, and he has been working in the stem cell field for 15 years now, and is said to be one of the pioneers behind some of the findings. The human embryonic stem cells used in the experiment were cultured in a lab using chemicals that developed them into nerve cells.
The mice first experienced deliberate brain damage that affected the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain dealing with memory and learning. After the transplant, the mice scored significantly better on tests involving learning and memory. The mice were much better in the common maze test, resulting in conclusive results that the transplants worked wonders.
Brain damage repair using cell replacement is huge in the stem cell transplant field, and in the future, Zhang says that it could be used to treat humans that have Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and addiction. However, Zhang also notes that it’s hard to tell exactly which part of the brain has gone wrong for many psychiatric disorders, so the new findings are more likely to see application in creating models for drug screening and discovery in the near future.
Constant comparison only makes us feel like failures: No matter what, there will always be someone who's at least one step ahead us; and the perfect job, spouse, salary, etc., will always remain elusive.
Elizabeth Weil recently interviewed University of California psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky about this phenomenon for The New York Times. In her article, "Happiness Inc.," she writes that, "As Dr. Lyubomirsky has found in her lab (and many of us find around the office or at a bar), unhappy people compare a lot and care about the results."
In a study, "Hedonic consequences of social comparison," Lyubomirsky and her co-author Lee Ross from Stanford University looked at how happy and unhappy people respond differently to feedback, both positive and negative, on a teaching exercise. Happy participants' self-confidence was enhanced by positive feedback, no matter if they also learned that their peers got better results. On the other hand, confidence levels for unhappy people soared when they received positive feedback alone, but only increased minimally when they learned their peers did better.
This might appear to be utopian thinking, but we need to dream and we will get there! If we instill pride in being non-violent, in being compassionate, in being helpful to others, our lives will take a new direction.
March 20, 2013, marks the first ever International Day of Happiness. This was decreed last year by the United Nations following a meeting on well-being attended by government officials, economists, scholars, and business and spiritual leaders from around the world. It was hosted by Bhutan, a small but visionary country which famously uses Gross National Happiness (GNH) instead of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to index its progress.
The King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar, has described GNH as "the bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and the necessary pursuit of economic growth." He's talking, of course, about the well-documented connection between well-being and productivity — an interplay that should interest business leaders as much as it does political ones. As this issue of HBR makes clear, happy, engaged employees are good for the organization. Research shows they have better health, are more creative, produce better results, and are willing to go the extra mile. What's more, happiness is contagious; it creates a virtuous spiral that leads to further engagement.
So how can leaders create happier organizations?
Perhaps the first step is to clarify what we mean by "happy". Psychologists typically identify happiness by three distinct pathways. The first is the pleasant life, which involves positive experiences including contentment, hope, and sensory enjoyment. This kind of well-being is often referred to as hedonia, based on the Greek term for pleasure. The second is the engaged life, oreudaimonia. The ancient Greeks believed in a "daimon", or guardian spirit, that would guide you toward your destiny; the word also means genius.
The engaged life thus refers to a person's ability to deploy his personal genius — to use his unique strengths and talents in a way that engages and absorbs him. The third pathway is the meaningful life, which relates to the desire to be part of something bigger than oneself — to belong and contribute to an institution that has purpose.
All three of these pathways — pleasure, engagement, and meaning — are important. And business leaders can use this knowledge to ask some important questions about their organizations:
Do my employees enjoy their relationships and their environment at work?
Do they laugh?Are my people in the right roles — ones that fit their skill sets and offer appropriate challenge?
Do they get to use their genius?
Do they understand the purpose of the organization?
Do they feel they're a part of something that matters?
On this first International Day of Happiness, it's worth pausing to consider what contributes to happiness in your organization — your own happiness, as well as that of the people around you. I hope you will share what you discover.
Restorative justice is a relatively newly coined school of thought in the approach to seeking justice in a crime ridden world and subsequently reducing the amount of existing crime. Van Ness & Strong (2010) purports that Johnstone and Van Ness view the term as “complex” and that it is widely seen as good but to give a definition to it is not readily available off the tongues.
Its complexity is due to its development especially in the latter years which is when it has begun to be looked at critically. In breaking up the term, restorative, from the root word restore, refers to getting something or in this case someone, back to a previous state. It is also synonymous to words such as heal, curate, renovate and repair. Justice refers to a state of fairness, being treated with equality and equity and in the process having the display of integrity, honesty and with respect. According to Zehr (2002) restorative justice is “a process to involve to the extent possible those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms needs and obligations in order to heal and put things as right as possible.”
There are numerous established practices of restorative justice all over the world. One reason for this is that the raw practice of restorative justice has been in existence long before the modern world as it was in this method that tribes and villages used to resolve matters that were deemed “criminal”. It has been in existence since the time of aborigines such as those tribes in places such as Africa, North America (including Canada), Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe. To go beyond that, evidence of the practice in its unnamed format can be found having biblical roots (Van Ness & Zehr, 2007). Restorative justice in its current modern form is about 30 years old. The practices have transcended time to the modern world and have been proven to still work today.
Recent happiness studies indicate that popularity, influence, and money do not make people happiest – even as our culture suggests otherwise.
Autonomy, life purpose and relationships are found at the top of the list. In her new book, “The Happiness Choice: The Five Decisions that Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” Marilyn Tam communicates what she learned, in research and through painful experiences, on how to be happy, healthy, and have a balanced life.
What are the five decisions that can make you happier?
Marilyn: Research has shown that a person is happiest, healthiest and most successful when he/she is making a positive difference; taking care of himself or herself physically, mentally, spiritually and has loving relationships.
There are five decisions we make every day to bring us either more happiness or less -- what we choose to do with, and how we treat our: Body, relationships, money, spiritual life and community.
Knowing your life purpose will help guide you in allocating the proper amount of energy and attention to each of these five key aspects of your life. Dynamic balance is what we strive for -- we can’t do it all but we can adjust the resources we dedicate toward each part of our life at each stage of our life. Situations and priorities change over time but knowing our reasons for being will guide us along the way. By being conscious about what we choose to do, we can get buy-in and cooperation from others more easily than when we are acting without awareness.
We can make purposeful decisions and plans when we are aware of our own values instead of simply reacting to outside blandishments and events. Knowing your personal priorities, you can take the steps to gain your dynamic balance and the life you’ve always dreamed of. Happiness and inner peace are yours when you choose what is in alignment with your life’s mission.
What are five decisions that can make you unhappy?
Marilyn: Conversely if we ignore or over emphasize one or more of the five primary components of our life, there will be imbalance and negative consequences -- unhappiness is sure to follow. The neglect or abuse of our body, relationships, money, spiritual life or community over time will result in illness, emotional distress, financial problems and a feeling of emptiness.
What are three ways you can shrug off impossible expectations?
Marilyn: We are suffering from the stress of trying to live up to the impossible expectations of a fantasy life as depicted in the media. There we see how the rich, famous and privileged supposedly live charmed, beautiful and worry free lives with nothing as mundane as laundry to do or bills to pay.
Yet these same celebrities are actually dealing with many of the same challenges we have –- health issues, relationships conflicts and, yes, even money problems. Real life is not TV or the Internet; question the incessant drumbeat of what is purportedly going to make us happy. Here’s three simple ways to shift from feeling that you have to achieve the outside-imposed expectations.
Use your life purpose to guide your decisions and include your own wellbeing in the equation. Question the outside assumptions; are they really the best for me?
Pause before you jump into doing what you feel pressured to do. Take some deep breaths, shrug your shoulders and move your arms and legs to loosen your body’s tightness, then ask yourself, what would happen if I didn’t do this now? You will realize that there are other options instead of meekly doing the expected.
Laugh! Look for the humor in the impossible expectation, and that will reduce your anxiety. Review the situation with more perspective and make the choice(s) that will get you what you really want in the long term.
Ultimately we all know what is for our highest good; that wisdom is inside of us all along. Take some quiet time to listen to your own inner voice. Turn off all the outside “shoulds”. Spend time in nature, meditate and journal your thoughts. Remember what is most important to you. And in letting go of the impossible outside expectations you will exceed your own idea of how happy you can be!
This article originally appeared on Everyday Health.
We do not think about our brains enough. We think about things like eating foods that are gentle on our digestive tract or exercising to keep our hearts healthy, but our brains often get neglected. Your brain is an organ like any other, so you need to treat it right by maintaining healthy habits that improve your mind and brain function. Here are 5 daily habits you can start today to improve your mind.
Do you ever notice that you receive a burst of pleasure and satisfaction when you are looking at something, tasting something or smelling something? Think about the things that give you pleasure and engage in something that makes you happy every day. Perhaps you love playing guitar, walking outdoors with your friends, or even talking with your friends or family members on the phone. Keep you and your brain happy by doing something you love every day. It will improve your mood and your day.
Write and Make Lists
Writing in a journal is a great way to preserve memories and learn more about yourself. A journal provides a way to understand more about yourself and thoughts patterns. It also allows you to find solutions to the problems life throws at you on a daily basis. Rustic leather products like leather journals are a great way to record your feelings and thoughts.
There is also nothing more frustrating than knowing that you have forgotten about something that you wanted to remember to do. If you want to make sure that your brain remembers the things that you need it to, give it a little hint by making a list in your journal. Sometimes just making the list is enough to help you remember.
Just like your heart benefits from exercise, your brain can as well. Exercise releases endorphins, which are essentially chemicals that make you feel happy and at peace. Endorphins are good for your brain, and they can keep you calm and feeling good. Exercise can improve your physical body and your mind. A recent study by the university of Illinois showed that there is a link between exercise and improved brain function. So help your mind out by taking a walk or going for a hike. Who knew that exercise could make you smarter?
Your body needs to dream, and your brain needs to rest. When you sleep, you allow your body to repair the damage that it incurs during the day. When you sleep, essentially your body heals itself. Have you ever noticed how awake and alert you feel after a good night’s sleep? If you go too long without good sleep, your ability to function will start to decrease. To make sure that you are treating your brain right, stick to a schedule for waking up and going to bed. Creating a pattern helps you get the best sleep possible. Make sure that you are comfortable in bed, and consider a white noise filter if noise bothers you.
Talk to People
People are meant to be social creatures, so get out and talk to people. Online interaction works to some extent, but our brains crave face to face communication. Make sure that you make time to talk with your friends or loved ones every day if you can. It will invigorate your mind with ideas and increased happiness as you develop and strengthen relationships.
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO- "Restorative Circles are facilitated in 3 stages designed to identity the key factors in the conflict, reach agreements on next steps, & evaluate the results. As circles form, they invite shared power, mutual understanding, self-responsibility and effective actions,” says Dominic Barter, Co-Founder of Restorative Circles with shanty town drug gangs, & Brazilian Ministry of Justice. Dominic serves on the Board of Directors for the Center For Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) headquartered here in New Mexico's biggest city, Albuquerque, and shares Restorative Circles mainly in Brazil as well as in 22 countries world wide as the coordinator of theCNVC Restorative Justice Project. Here in Northern New Mexico we've been "chopping a lot of wood & carrying a lot of water", co-creating the conversations, foundations, and logistics for honing the principles of nonviolence, building Restorative Circle Systems (informed by Nonviolent Communication but not dependent on it) and practicing facilitation for practical applications of compassionate response to conflicts & crimes with people in 6 schools in Taos, Angel Fire, Penasco & Mora, New Mexico since 2007.
We've been following local dreams of how conflict could be and held pilot restorative circle practice groups in Taos, Santa Fe, and Angel Fire and we are starting a 4th in Penasco, this spring. We've been staying in touch with key people who have apprenticed Restorative Circles in Albuquerque and the inspiring work of William Poehner, Jori Manske, Jim Manske & Jiva Manske who've been honing nonviolence & restorative justice with Comienzos in Bernallio County Jail & the Juvenile Detention Center. Delighted to hear the visions for Restorative Justice that have been activated here and looking forward to ongoing learning. We've been building restorative justice conversations in alliances and relationships with over 360 human beings in Mora, Taos, Angel Fire, & Penasco who come from all walks of life and are Indigenous leaders, school superintendents, administrators, therapeutic agency staff, teachers, students, restorative justice practitioners, school board members, parents, mediators, University of New Mexico deans, juvenile justice board members, retired Sheriff deputies, local police, social workers, gang members, school principals, community organizations, judges, LGTBQ advocates, parole officers, lawyers, and juvenile detention center workers. Here in New Mexico, we also have experimental & strategic Restorative Circle sister co-learning relationships slowly forming at snail's pace with communities in India, which is exactly straight through and on the other side of the Earth, from NM. Please be in touch if you'd like to talk about Restorative Circles and the interconnected realities between structural violence, conflict, crime, and ecocide in local, regional, national, intercontinental, & global justice systems. This local emergence of Restorative Circles Systems in a global Restorative Justice movement is profound given that Taos Pueblo is the oldest most continuously occupied dwelling in North America, Santa Fe is the oldest State Capital, Albuquerque has the highest per capita gang violence, Espanola has the highest per capita heroine violence, and Los Alamos has the biggest Nuclear weapons facility in the USA. Restorative Justice is ancient and can be re-awakened to respond to modern violence, consciously. How can we think consciously about compassionate responses to all this and the opportunities in the development of local & global Restorative Systems that honor the next seven generations, our unique strands in the web of life, and the real needs of the whole? If you'd like to co-learn about Restorative Circles, it's potential, and practical application to respond nonviolently and systemically to conflict & violence in our local communities in New Mexico, throughout North America, and around the world, please contact Srinath Barker email@example.com, check out the international Restorative Circle practice group directory, and email Dominic Barter atDominic@RestorativeCircles.org. For more information, videos, press, updates on apprenticeship & co-learning events with Dominic Barter, to ask us questions, and to read evidence based reports on the radical efficiency of Restorative Circles, please visit us at temporary homes, on the web at: www.RestorativeCircles.orgwww.Facebook.com/RestorativeCircleswww.Twitter.com/RestoraCircleswww.formspring.me/RestoraCircles
If you had told me, when I was attending college during the height of the Vietnam War, and the heyday of the counterculture, that several of the most inspiring days of my life would someday be spent with a group of CEOs of large companies, I would have said you were nuts. But that's exactly what I experienced last week, at a small gathering sponsored by an organization called Conscious Capitalism Inc. and held at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.
Even today, "conscious" and "capitalism" remain unlikely bedfellows. Both are freighted words that have come to stand for fundamentally different worldviews. Capitalism is associated with individualism, personal ambition, the accumulation of wealth and power, and an identity grounded in external accomplishment. The word conscious, or more specifically consciousness, is associated with self-awareness, personal development, the greater good, and a worldview that eschews competition, hierarchy, and materialism.
The thesis of conscious capitalism — outlined in a new book of the same title by John Mackey, founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods, and his thought partner, Raj Sisodia, a business professor — is that capitalism can be a force both for economic and social good. Or as Bill George, former CEO of Medtronics, puts it in the book's introduction: "Well run, values-centered businesses can contribute to humankind in more tangible ways than any other organization in society."
I don't kid myself about the unenlightened and even cruel ways capitalism has been practiced by many companies: accumulating wealth for a few while paying most employees subsistence wages; fighting regulation while blithely degrading the environment; avoiding taxes and ignoring responsibilities for the communities in which they're based. The truth is I meet few CEOs or senior executives at large companies who seem to have a vision much beyond the next quarter's earnings, or a sense of responsibility and commitment to their employees, customers, suppliers, and communities that equals their focus on their shareholders.
But I did last week. Even more than anything the eight CEOs I met had to say — and much of it was inspiring — I felt moved by them as people. They made no demands to be treated as "special" during the conference. We all stayed in simple quarters, with no access to cell phone service. They listened when others spoke. And they invested three days with one another for no other reason I could discern than to learn, and build a community of like-minded colleagues.
At the most basic level, consciousness simply means being conscious of more. That begins with self-awareness — the willingness to look inside, to acknowledge our limitations, uncertainties and fears, and to take responsibility for our actions. Mackey has drawn some critical attention for his libertarian views, and I found myself debating with him frequently over the three days. But I also found him to be open, real, vulnerable, and deeply committed to growing and becoming more conscious. How many leaders would be willing to say, as Mackey does: "The company was unable to grow until I was able to evolve — in other words I was holding the company back. My personal growth enabled the company also to evolve."
I also admire leaders who put their money where their mouths are. The Container Store's CEO Kip Tindell explained why he pays full-time sales employees a minimum of nearly $50,000 a year — approximately double the average for retail stores. Put simply, Tindell believes the best and most motivated employees, which he says the store is consistently able to attract, are three times as productive as an average worker. One of the payoffs is a turnover rate under 20 percent — a fraction of the turnover that most of his retail competitors endure.
Consciousness is also about being socially conscious — recognizing and taking responsibility for the needs of the larger community. Blake Mycoskie, who founded Tom's Shoes at age 26, talked about the profitable business he's built on a model of giving a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of shoes the company sells. Shubhro Sen, who leads people development for Tata, the huge, privately-owned Indian conglomerate, described the founding tenet of the company that endures to this day: "We earn our profits from society and they should go back into society." Most of the company today is owned by philanthropic trusts.
I took away from these three days a very clear and inspiring message. It's not necessary to choose up sides between consciousness and capitalism, self-interest and the broader interest, or personal development and service to others. Rather, they're each inextricably connected, and they all serve one another.
Raj Sisodia looked at 28 companies he identified as the most conscious — "firms of endearment" as he terms them — based on characteristics such as their stated purpose, generosity of compensation, quality of customer service, investment in their communities, and impact on the environment.
The 18 publicly traded companies out of the 28 outperformed the S&P 500 index by a factor of 10.5 over the years 1996-2011. And why, in the end, should that be a surprise? Conscious companies treat their stakeholders better. As a consequence, their suppliers are happier to do business with them. Employees are more engaged, productive, and likely to stay. These companies are more welcome in their communities and their customers are more satisfied and loyal. The most conscious companies give more, and they get more in return. The inescapable conclusion: it pays to care, widely and deeply.
Jim Manske's insight:
I'm not surprised by this, are you? And yet, the "old" pattern of domination and exploitation seems so firmly entrenched... How about you forward this article to every business executive you know?
When my parents responded to a drunk, despondent and aggravated old woman with compassion and respect, they did not know that this kindness would reach the child quietly listening in the next room, plant seeds in his soul, and continue to grow...
2. Audio- or Video-Taping of Encounters with Patients:
3. Exposure to Role Models:
4. Role Playing (Aging Games):
5. Shadowing a Patient (Patient Navigator):
6. Hospitalization Experiences:
7. The Study of Literature and the Arts:
8. Improving Narrative Skills:
9. Theatrical Performances:
10. Balint Method:
"Empathy has been considered as far too important to be taught only to health professionals (Ivey, 1971; 1974). Others have suggested that the capacity for empathy in people in general can serve as a foundation for building interpersonal relationships that have a buffering effect against stress and can be an essential step in conflict resolution (Kremer & Dietzen, 1991). As the author has noted "empathy can be viewed as a remedy for the psyche and soul of human kind...And may be it can serve as a means of achieving a global peace here, there, everywhere on earth."
To enhance empathic understanding in health and human services, we need not only a broad reform in the health and human services education at undergraduate and graduate levels, but also in training the hospital staff, staff of the assisted-living environment, as well as health services administrators and executives. Clinical and organizational managers in health care institutions and human services organizations should develop well-designed and effective institutional-wide programs to retain, cultivate, and enhance a culture of empathic understanding based on approaches described in this article and other innovative approaches."
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