Going at the Speed of the Body

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal was a story about chronobiology or what we use to call “circadian rhythms” relates to the 24 hour cycle our bodies experience and how our  internal clock drives a great deal of our behavior. While I am a big believer in our ability to address our behaviors, over the years I’ve developed a healthy respect for biology. Examples of how powerful this biological imperative is on our bodies include the facts that acid production peaks at nighttime to help digest our evening meal.  The morning sunlight mobilizes cortisol which is the stress hormone that readies us for the day and our body sends out a blood clotting chemical which is thought to have been helpful Read More

They’re Not The Soft Skills; They are The Essential Skills

Time and again, I hear leaders in organization refer to listening, ethics, patience, humor and understanding (among many others) as the “soft skills”. They are referencing them in comparison to data driven quantifiable skills such as creating a spread sheet, analyzing productions schedules, and tracking sales projections. While their intent may not be to demean human relations skills, the net result is usually that people see these people skills as less important than the quantitative  skills. Nothing could be further from the truth. The feedback from the CEO was that one of his team leaders was a great technical leader but that he approached everything in his work with “pointy elbows” and a desire to always get his way. When I Read More

Do Really Want to Hear My Comments?

I was invited out to lunch the other day by a friend who wanted to talk to me about his career. After ordering my usual luncheon salad I listened intensely to his description of concerns about his business. After about 20 minutes he seemed to have finished up and just as I was ready to give him some feedback, I stopped myself and asked him…”now exactly what is it that I can do to be helpful to you?” Of course, as a psychologist people are always asking me for advice or ideas about their work or professional matters and for many years I freely gave them my opinion, whether they wanted it or not. Recently however, I’ve become much more Read More

My 1% Learning

I had the opportunity for a small group meeting yesterday with Dan Pink, best selling author of the books, To Sell is Human, Drive, and Free Agent Nation at a Thought Leadership Conference sponsored by my mentor, Alan Weiss down at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. Dan spent several a day with us and provided some amazing insights about how he develops his ideas for his books, his thoughts about the future of publishing and what he believes his readers want from his work; and none of that was the biggest take away for me during the day. Dan described himself as naturally curious and has a thirst for understanding cutting edge research from the lab and field. As Read More

Are You a Trustworthy Leader?

In conducting some workplace interviews recently several members of this organization told me that they did not trust their managers or theleadership of the organization. Their concerns focused on their bosses: Lack of transparency Shifting priorities that could never be nailed down. Lack of commitment to the overall mission of the organization. Not helping them develop as professionals The result for these staff members were that they did not feel very engaged or committed to the company and were planning their strategy of how to get out. A recent survey by Interaction Associates reported on trust in organizations and showed that High Performing Organizations (HPOs) which had high scores in trust and leadership outperformed Low Performing Organizations (LPOs) in everything Read More

Conflict…Yikes!

How would you handle this situation…. You and a business colleague agreed to work together for your mutual benefit. Your work and his work complimented each other and you both believed that you could help your clients and yourselves by cross referring some business. It is now 4 months after your agreement and you’ve referred three clients to this fellow that has resulted in $50,000 worth of business for them. But to date, your “colleague” has not referred a single person to you. You have a meeting this coming week and you want to have a further discussion about the arrangement…oh by the way…you are really pissed! This is the discussion several of my colleagues and I had at our Read More

Let’s hear it for Sensibility!

In a recent blog post, I wrote about the “Rope to Nowhere” where I described how airlines attempt to reward their best customers by having them walk on the left side of a rope calling them “preferred customers”. While the practice of allowing them on board earlier is clearly an advantage, is it a good business practice. Yesterday I flew up to Boston for a business meeting and arranged my flight on Jet Blue. Now I usually enjoy JetBlue because of their in-flight video capability and 2 by 2 seating in comfortable leather seats. But yesterday’s flight pointed out a great business process that rewards customers and helps improve their operational efficiency. It was a throwback to an old era Read More

Tying It All Together

Earlier in my career, when I wore more suits and ties then I did today, I always had a lot of trouble coordinating colors and outfits.  I could never tell if the blue shirt was too blue for the gray suit or if the striped tie clashed or complimented the jacket I was wearing. It got so bad that my son Ken, who knew fashion, gave me a birthday gift one year by sewing little pieces of colored threads into my shirts, suits, sports coats, ties and slacks so that I could see merely look at the colored threads and know (with some measure of confidence) that my clothing selection would always work. This helped immediately relieve some stress and anxiety Read More

Tiny Habits

I’ve enrolled in a new program this week called Tiny Habits (www.tinyhabits.com). Started by a Stanford psychologist named BJ Fogg. He is promoting the idea that by taking small steps and setting up certain cues, we can modify our habits to do more of the things we want to do. From a resilience point of view, improving our habits is critical since habits create efficiencies that create less stress in our lives and give us more time for joy. The experiment for the week is to identify 3 behaviors we want to improve and to be something we can do in 30 seconds. BJ’s prime example is that if you want to start flossing your teeth, just begin by flossing Read More

Get Involved

Maybe it’s not surprising to you that only a third of employees are engaged in what they are doing. They love their jobs and for many of them, they will approach it with a missionary zeal. For another 25%, work sucks, their job sucks and your organization sucks…I guess they are not engaged. And then there is the great 50% in the middle, all of whom are more or less engaged in what they are doing. Engagement is important not only in the quality and efficiency of the work being produced but even more importantly in how your team approaches customers. And as you know as a customer of the products you buy, if the person you are not interacting Read More