German novelist and playwright Gustav Freytag wanted to understand how storytelling impacted the human psyche. He wondered, “What makes a story so engaging that it changes a person’s behavior?” After studying William Shakespeare’s work, Freytag designed a map of storytelling—a key that explained why the man considered ‘the greatest writer [...]
As we approach the end of January, a time when you might begin to feel discouraged about lack of progress toward your New Year's Resolutions, I'd like to share some of my favorite quotes on goals and planning. If we want to succeed with our resolutions, we need to make them measurable and attainable. Breaking them down into specific goals allows us to do that.
Good time to be reviewing your objectives for not only this year, but the next three to five...
This is a fascinating 'classic' HBR article from 2002, written by Diane Coutu on the rather elusive (but highly valued) quality of resilience.
Coutu suggests that resilience can be learned (although its not straightforward) and she identified that three qualities that help to define people's abilities to be able to get through periods of great adversity and bounce back after major setbacks:
The ability to Face Down Reality and see things as they really are rather than with rose-tint
Finding meaning and purpose in times of adversity that building a bridge to a better imagine future state
A habit of ritualised ingenuity - being able to improvise solutions and workarounds when presented with challenges
According to one of her interviewees, "More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.”
For busy entrepreneurs, here are the top four habits that need to go on your “stop doing” list if you want to see more productivity, innovation and success. When a company owner decides what he or she is going to stop doing, the results quickly become apparent. There’s more time and energy for the things that grow the business and inspire workers and leaders and less time spent on those things that are old, stagnant habits. Start with just one thing that you’re going to stop doing and work your way from there to create an even better business in the new year.
It’s a decision that almost everyone finds themselves faced with at some point – accept a job that pays more money even though it requires a longer commute or stay in your current job. It’s easy be tempted by a lucrative opportunity that appears to be the key to success and happiness, but research shows the detriment of a longer commute may outweigh the benefits of earning more money.
Stress is affecting your brain much more than you think. Sure, you've experienced the distraction, forgetfulness, negativity or anxiety that comes from stressful situations, but did you know it's also shrinking your brain? Hormones released in response to stress not only affect brain function, they also change the physical structure of your brain.
The stress hormone cortisol can kill, shrink, and stop the generation of new neurons in a portion of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is critical for learning, memory and emotional regulation, as well as shutting off the stress response after a stressful event is over: all much-needed processes in both our professional and personal lives.
“Critical thinking.” It’s a phrase as vague as “results-oriented individual” or “problem-solver.” Companies call for job applicants that are both worker bees and world-class innovators, prepared to paint outside the lines--but only in the brand’s monochromatic colors.
According to an American Management Association survey, 72% of employers feel that critical thinking is key to their organization’s success, but only half of those surveyed said their employees actually show this skill.
Great marketers have great guts. Leo Burnett didn’t need a legion of focus groups to come up with the Marlboro Man. Steve Jobs, arguably the greatest marketing mind ever, famously eschewed market research because he didn’t think customers knew what they wanted until he showed it to them.
Yet big data and technology are clearly revolutionizing marketing. Gartner predicts that CMO’s will soon be spending more on IT than CIO’s. VentureBeat recently reported that marketing technology companies have attracted a hefty $50 billion in investment.
Increasingly, business consultants, scholars, and executives are coming to the conclusion that culture is the prime driver of organizational performance. Despite the prevalence of that point of view, however, there’s little agreement about what culture is or what it entails.
You can’t see it, touch it, or measure it, yet culture is said to explain why some companies fare better than others. The authors of the year’s three best business books on culture, one of which is a novel, explore the elusive subject from widely divergent perspectives, but all end up confirming that it is the single most powerful influence on how people behave in organizations.
The anti-bullying laws policed by the Fair Work Commission mean your staff can literally never be left to their own device at your business’s Christmas party, writes DLA Piper partner Rick Catanzariti.
I visit a local bakery every Friday afternoon to purchase Challa bread, a sweet egg bread that just seems to go well with just about every meal. I've been buying a loaf there, each week, for years. Unfortunately, of late, the quality just hasn't been there. We've noticed the bread is not as it should be — and oddly doughy at the center. It was such a surprise when this began to occur. We realized this was a sign that something was off-track.
The root of the problem began with a personnel change in the bakery — as a highly experienced baker left quite suddenly. With her, left all of the subtleties of the trade that were so important to continued excellence. Sadly, her legacy was lost.
This is an issue that organizations both large and small, must address. How do we effectively capture all of what our valued employees know — all of the strategies and nuances that set them apart as contributors? How do we ensure that this information can be shared going forward? How do we, as individuals, leave our own mark?
He was once regarded as one of the best business leaders in the world. At the end of his career, he was disgraced and, by some measures, considered one of the worst business leaders of all time.
Al Dunlap believed that the primary goal of a company was to make money for its shareholders. To that end, he would lead an organization to massive layoffs and plant closings. The short-term profits would soar, and so would the value of the company.
He led Scott Paper with that ruthless behavior. Thousands of employees lost their jobs. Plants were closed. But it seemed like he had the formula for success when he sold Scott Paper to Kimberly-Clark for $2.8 billion and walked away with his own $100 million golden parachute.
Over time, Dunlap’s true colors began to become clear. He would become CEO of Sunbeam in 1996. He took measures to make the company profitable at all costs, even if they were unethical or illegal. He eventually led the company to bankruptcy.
The cloud has taken on mythical proportions these days, which is causing huge frustration for IT pros. Why? They are often working in an environment in which business leaders, eager to move applications to the cloud, are making big decisions based on misconceptions and tidbits of information.
Jayson Boyers argues that behind every successful business, you are likely to find a leader who has mastered the skill of empathy. One of the hallmarks of a successful business is its ability to harness creativity to constantly push into new territory.
First published over a year ago, but never hurts to have a reminder....