Gratitude changed my life

September 11, 2017

By Leslie Turnbull via theweek.com   Article

I skeptically tried practicing gratitude. It completely changed my life.

“Supported by solid research and ultimately confirmed by numerous longer-term studies, the [positive psychology] field had burgeoned by the time I learned about it. ‘The gratitude thing,’ as I had called it, was but one small and simple element of the practice. Kind of like training the brain to focus on joy, my friend Heidi explained.

‘It’s only a week,’ she urged.  ‘Try it.’ I did. And guess what? It worked.

Every day for a week, I found five distinct things for which I was thankful. They had to be different every day. I couldn’t get away with just being grateful for my wonderful husband. But I could, suggested Collie Conoley, another colleague and noted positive psychologist, express my gratitude for specific aspects of a certain person each day.

He’s a great cook. He always puts our family first. He’s a stone-cold fox.

By the end of that week, I found myself slowing down a little. Taking time to notice things I might have walked past before, like a monarch butterfly or a bunch of students laughing together in the quad. One good thought led to another. These kids are so smart. And optimistic. It gives me so much hope for the future!

… I read a glowing review of business executive and lecturer Sheryl Sandberg’s latest book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding JoyIn it, Sandberg — a tragically young widow — outlines how the practices I’ve come to identify with positive psychology helped her emerge from the crippling morass of grief and reclaim a measure of joy in her life. I thought, If she can do it, so can I.

I started looking for my five moments of gratitude in each day. Like riding the proverbial two-wheeler, it wasn’t hard to get back in the swing of it once I got started.

I am surrounded by love.

Friends brought meals every day this week.

My oldest son took his vacation to come and help out at home. He took me to all my medical appointments, and made me laugh by titling his spring break, “Driving Miss Leslie.”

An unexpectedly wet spring and the quiet kindness of a colleague with a green thumb made sure my plants stayed alive until I could care for them again.

… and he may be more  gray than not, but my wonderful husband is still a stone-cold fox.

Life will never be perfect. I still see news stories that distress me. The traffic in my city is maddening. I wish I could speed up my recovery. But with just one simple exercise, I’m rediscovering the serenity of that old prayer: accepting the things I can change, working without complaint to change what I can, and being wise enough to know the difference.

And all it took was a little gratitude.”

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What is the purpose?

September 4, 2017

By Alan Murray, Geoffrey Smith via fortune.com   Article

“What is the purpose of a corporation? That’s a question we explore frequently in CEO Daily. And now our friends at EY have offered up some interesting data on the answer.

 They went to 1,470 top executives in ten different industries and 12 different countries, and asked a simple question: “Which of these best characterizes your organization’s purpose?” Respondents were given the following options to choose one answer from:

-Maximizing shareholder value

-Bringing value to customers

-Creating value for employees

-Creating value for a broad set of stakeholders, including society and the environment

-An aspirational reason for being that is grounded in humanity and that inspires a call to action

Let’s leave aside that last option for a moment. While it sounds lofty, I’m not entirely sure what it means, and I wonder how well it traveled across cultural borders. It seemed to resonate most in the U.S. (where 12% chose it), Japan (10%) and South Africa (11%), and scored worst in China (less than 1%). But in every country, it was an also-ran.

The stakeholder approach, on the other hand, was the hands-down favorite in China (67%) and Brazil (60%), and did reasonably well in Japan (37%). In the U.S., it was chosen by 27% of respondents.

At the other end of the capitalist spectrum, shareholder value came out strongest, not in the U.S. (16%), but in Singapore (28%), Hong Kong (25%), the U.K. (21%), and, surprisingly, France (21%). Who knew?

Employees fared best in Australia (25%), Hong Kong (22%), and India (22%). They fared dismally in the U.S. (4%).

So what do American executives see as the main purpose of their organizations? Bringing value to customers, which was chosen by 41% of U.S. respondents, more than in any other country except South Africa (45%) and India (41%).

These ‘forced choice’ survey questions are a bit artificial, since every company must at some level satisfy shareholders, customers, employees and society, or risk going out of business. But it’s an interesting exercise in priorities. And it’s worth pointing out that the Milton Friedman view of shareholder primacy came out on top in only one country: Singapore. The current system may be tilted toward shareholders, but if so, the people running businesses don’t acknowledge it.”

 

 


A frog, a housefly, and a dog

September 4, 2017

By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/   Article

A shared and useful illusion

“Ask a frog or a housefly or a dog to describe the world around us and they’ll give you the wrong answer. The frog will talk about moving objects, the housefly will describe things repeated hundreds of times and the dog only sees in black and white.

Of course, our vision of the world is just as flawed, just as fake. We can’t see the smells, as the dog does, nor can we visualize things on the edges of the spectrum. We make up a reality based on our particular way of seeing the world.

But, here’s the good part: That made-up reality is shared by many people around us, and it’s useful. We can use it to make predictions about what’s next, we can avoid bumping into people, we can appreciate a sunset.

If the illusion is working for you, stick with it.

Where we run into trouble is when the vision isn’t shared, when we assume others can and must see what we’re seeing, but they don’t. And worse, when the vision isn’t actually useful, when our narrative of the world around us isn’t working, when it’s merely a fantasy, not a tool.

If the way you see the world isn’t helping you make the changes you seek to make, consider seeing the world differently.”


Employees come before customers

September 4, 2017

By Marcel Schwantes via inc.com   Article

Why Do Employees Quit Their Managers? Here’s the No. 1 Reason in a Short Sentence

Hard Fact: Employees Come Before CustomersAnd therein lies the problem for managers still operating in traditional hierarchies, which represents the majority to this day. They have it all backwards.

Blanchard is famous for teaching the concept of an ‘upside down pyramid,’ where leaders serve the employees, who are closest to the customer experience, first. He says:

Great leaders realize that their No. 1 customer is their people. If they take care of their people, train them, and empower them, those people will become fully engaged and gung-ho about what they do. In turn, they will reach out and take care of their second most important customer–the people who buy their products or services–and turn them into raving fans.

Case in point, in my most recent interview, profiling the CEO of The Melting Pot restaurant chain (who rose to the top from his lowly beginnings as a dishwasher), Bob Johnston revealed that the premise for the success behind his global fondue franchise comes down to an unwavering focus on ‘treating our employees well, so they’ll treat our customers well.’ He adds, ‘If you ignore the first part of the equation, you’ll never get to the second.’

But first, employees need to feel like they belong, and trust, not fear, their leaders. This is about the emotional currency that leads to high performance.

In Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last, he talks about the concept of the ‘circle of safety.’ The world is filled with danger, things that are trying to frustrate our lives, reduce our success, or reduce our opportunity for success. The only variables, says Sinek in this TED Talk, are the conditions inside the organization, and that’s where leadership matters, because it’s the leader who sets the tone to make sure there’s trust and cooperation, and that employees’ needs are being met.

He brings the point home: ‘When a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people inside the organization first, to sacrifice their comforts and sacrifice the tangible results, so that the people remain and feel safe and feel like they belong, remarkable things happen.'”


I’m here to bring out the best in others

September 4, 2017

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blog   Article

The 7 Biggest Blunders Of The Experienced Leader

#1. Forgetting who serves who. Leaders serve others so others can serve others. It’s easy to begin thinking the people around you are there to serve you.

Repeat to yourself, ‘I’m here to bring out the best in others.’

#2. Blaming rather than taking ownership. The first question real leaders ask when someone under-performs is, ‘What will I do to maximize their performance next time?’

#3. Thinking that self-perception is accurate. I’ve read that only about a third of us see ourselves the way others see us. You think you’re nice. Others think you’re a jerk. You see yourself as open to feedback and suggestions. Others see you as closed and rigid.

Hire a coach to perform a narrative 360 review. This process goes beyond filling out questionnaires. All participants are interviewed. To be effective, make this a forward-facing activity, not simply a backward-facing witch hunt.

#4. Hanging on to poor performers. Ask, ‘Would I hire this person knowing what I know now?’ If the answer is no, reassign, re-train, redesign their job, or manage them out.

When performance is below the bar and there are no signs of improvement, help them find a better fit somewhere else.

#5. Getting stuff done while neglecting people development. Chances are you need to offer more feedback to your team members. Only the worst employees don’t want to know how they’re doing.

#6. Stretching others, but not pushing yourself. Exception is the end of excellence. You haven’t arrived. Continue to stretch others, just keep pushing yourself.

Push yourself more than you stretch others.

#7. Getting lost in the weeds. Daily pressures cause leaders to lose sight of the big picture. The end result is frustration and fatigue.

At the beginning of the day, ask yourself, ‘What are we really doing here?'”


Big money and big bluster

August 28, 2017

By Adam Lashinsky via fortune.com   Article

Big Money and Big Bluster Couldn’t Save Jawbone

“I wrote a feature in early 2015 about a peculiar ‘unicorn’—a private company valued at more than $1 billion—called Jawbone. Jawbone was peculiar for several reasons. At 16 years of age, still private, still essentially a startup in that it didn’t make money, the company already was on its third product line. It pioneered Bluetooth headsets for phones. Then it created a niche for Internet-connected speakers. Finally, it made stylish ‘wearables,’ a step counter masquerading as jewelry.

Jawbone had all the elements of Silicon Valley legend. Its CEO was a larger-than-life fellow named Hosain Rahman, who talked big and was a master at raising (and spending) money. Its top designer was a Jony Ive wannabe named Yves Behar, a stylish guy popular on the conference circuit. It products were popular in conference schwag bags and on retail shelves.

Jawbone had great investors too: Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz. They remained publicly enthusiastic, despite Jawbone’s inability to convert its buzzy products into profits. ‘It’s a unique company that has a unique set of capabilities,’ Ben Horowitz told me. As an example, he offered Jawbone’s intellectual property assets, a strange attribute for a would-be high-growth prospect.

In the end, neither brash talk nor savvy investors were enough for Jawbone. It spent too much, paid its bills too infrequently, missed too many product deadlines, and entered too many faddish markets where bigger players reaped whatever gains were to be had. In a move first reported by the scrappy subscription newsletter The Information, Jawbone has begun to liquidate its assets. Its $3 billion-valuation is now a thing of the past. Equity investors likely will be wiped out.

This startup thing is harder than it looks. What’s more, execution is as important as product innovation. Jawbone deserves credit for lasting as long as it did. Now it joins a long list of Silicon Valley might-have-beens that will be forgotten relatively quickly.”


Listen, learn, empower… lead!

August 28, 2017

By  via linkedin.com   Article

1. Hear Every Voice

We often assume that all voices in the room are being heard because our teams are so talented, outspoken, and accomplished. But we may miss a key voice, hiding in the back, who could offer a key insight or an important dissent, if only we had asked, or enabled them to speak up. Good leaders should look out for the missing voice, making sure that everyone feels part of the team. Not only will this empower your team, it can also help you become a more successful leader. You can learn an awful lot from other people if you are willing to listen.

2. Learn from Failure

When I was not admitted to the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, the French civil service academy, I was disappointed. But then I decided to accept it, reflect on why it did not work out and move on. That setback helped me focus on my strengths and the issues I cared most about. It led to a career journey full of changes and new challenges I could not have imagined. From my legal career, to serving in the French government, to now leading the IMF. You will be a stronger leader because of the setbacks in your life. It will allow you to appreciate the journey of your career and empathize with colleagues when they struggle.

3. Empower Women

The glass ceiling still exists and it is everyone’s mission to make sure it goes away. The economic case is clear. IMF research has shown that adding one more woman in senior management or on the corporate board, while keeping the size of the board unchanged, is associated with 8-13 basis points higher return on assets. Despite this, women, who make up 44% of the labor force of the S&P 500, only hold 25% of senior manager positions. So, it’s time to let women shine, remove barriers, and in the process, build better businesses and a better world.

These are leadership principles that can be universally applied, no matter your field or profession.”