Executives and staff alike have informed us…
3 Maggio 2023 § Lascia un commento
Respectful greetings and best wishes. Most organizations are marrying policies and processes for internal decision making around technology goals and business goals. The 2020s are the culmination of this trend, which began with the advent of the internet and online businesses.
25 giugno 2017 § Lascia un commento
Stress become a powerful tool
16 agosto 2016 § Lascia un commento
Thanks to Susan David, we could have a different view of the Stress
Frankly speaking, everybody talk about stress as a Bad thing, but try to remember when you are under stress how you feel? if you are able to think positive, of course the stress become an important resources of you.
Please check and have a nice reading
How to Use Stress to Your Advantage
by Susan David
You can’t go more than five minutes these days without hearing about stress: stress tests, stress management, how everyone’s eventual cause of death will probably be — you guessed it — stress. We humblebrag about stress, we complain about it, we take yoga classes and meditate to get rid of it. We’re obsessed.
But I’m about to propose something that might sound crazy: You don’t need to get rid of stress to live a happy, fulfilling life.
Many self-help models suggest that a satisfying life can only be found when you get rid of negative thoughts and feelings. But in my work on “emotional agility,” I’ve found that attempting to get rid of stress can actually make you more stressed. It’s better to acknowledge the power of emotion and ride the waves, so to speak, coming out stronger on the other side so you can make decisions that aren’t stress-based.
Think of your stress as a radio station you want to turn off. You wouldn’t try to drown out the bad station by playing other music on top of it, would you? Of course not. You’d find the dial button and move to another channel, not eliminating the first station but choosing the second station instead. Similarly, trying to cover up stress with positive thoughts or behaviors usually does nothing to drown out the stress. And when we fail to eliminate it, we feel more anxious. We get stuck in a never-ending stress cycle.
In the larger scheme of things, stress is incredibly useful. It’s an important evolutionary response to danger, an automatic tool that takes over in the event of an emergency. At the sight of something dangerous (or worrisome), your stress responses activate, helping you run faster, jump higher, see better, and think quicker. Stress is the body’s best weapon; it’s what kept us alive for years, taking us from prey to predator. We can’t quash our stress response no matter how hard we try — we need it.
But the question, then, is how we can use stress for good. If we can’t get rid of it, what should we do with it? Here are some of my favorite strategies.
Pick a lens. Research from Health Psychology tells us that the way we think about our bodily stress responses can improve physical health. In the study sample, people who construed their symptoms of stress in positive or benign ways exhibited better health and longevity than anyone else. So thinking of your stress as a built-in pump-up mechanism, one that prepares you for challenging situations, can help you move forward rather than get bogged down. When your heart starts beating fast and your palms get sweaty, thank your body: Now you can walk into the meeting or interaction feeling ready for anything. This strategy isn’t denial or “thinking positively”; it is engaging with our evolutionary reality.
Unhook. I often teach my clients about what it means to get hooked. In this case, it means moving from “I feel stressed” to “I am stressed.” When we identify strongly with an emotion, it can become our definition of self, a terrifying reality that we must face every day. But what we have to remember is that stress is a bodily response to a feeling about our view of the world. Stress is not always reality. So try rephrasing your anxiety in your head: “I’m stressed” becomes “I’m in a situation that requires me to make a big presentation, so I am having the feeling that I am stressed and my body is responding accordingly.” Once you step back, even just a bit, you’ll gain the perspective needed to move forward.
Cultivate curiosity. Why are you stressed? To unhook, we have to understand where our stress comes from. We can’t do that unless we curiously interrogate the feeling, considering the reasons behind our stress, the people who might be causing it, and the qualities of the stress experience. How do you behave when you’re stressed? What do you tell yourself when you’re feeling anxious? Recognize the patterns in your responses.
Contrary to popular belief, “stress relief” may not be as easy as we think it should be. So rather than fighting our natural responses to the world, try wrapping your arms around the feeling and integrating it into your response to the world. Stress prepares you for battle, pumping you up, increasing levels of success, and keeping you alive.
To Be Resilient you need to relax your Brain
26 luglio 2016 § Lascia un commento
Thanks to HBR, when i’ve read the article below i open my eyes…
Then i’m start to think about how i can take time to relax, because i recognize myself in the description of an workaholics person, but you know, how you can relax when your work is your hobby and your sport and you can have fun in what you do everyday?!
have a nice reading…
Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure
Shawn AchorMichelle Gielan
As constant travelers and parents of a 2-year-old, we sometimes fantasize about how much work we can do when one of us gets on a plane, undistracted by phones, friends, and Finding Nemo. We race to get all our ground work done: packing, going through TSA, doing a last-minute work call, calling each other, then boarding the plane. Then, when we try to have that amazing work session in flight, we get nothing done. Even worse, after refreshing our email or reading the same studies over and over, we are too exhausted when we land to soldier on with the emails that have inevitably still piled up.
Why should flying deplete us? We’re just sitting there doing nothing. Why can’t we be tougher — more resilient and determined in our work – so we can accomplish all of the goals we set for ourselves? Based on our current research, we have come to realize that the problem is not our hectic schedule or the plane travel itself; the problem comes from a misunderstanding of what it means to be resilient, and the resulting impact of overworking.
We often take a militaristic, “tough” approach to resilience and grit. We imagine a Marine slogging through the mud, a boxer going one more round, or a football player picking himself up off the turf for one more play. We believe that longer we tough it out, the tougher we are, and therefore the more successful we will be. However, this entire conception is scientifically inaccurate.
The very lack of a recovery period is dramatically holding back our collective ability to be resilient and successful. Research has found that there is a direct correlation between lack of recovery and increased incidence of health and safety problems. And lack of recovery — whether by disrupting sleep with thoughts of work or having continuous cognitive arousal by watching our phones — is costing our companies $62 billion a year (that’s billion, not million) in lost productivity.
And just because work stops, it doesn’t mean we are recovering. We “stop” work sometimes at 5PM, but then we spend the night wrestling with solutions to work problems, talking about our work over dinner, and falling asleep thinking about how much work we’ll do tomorrow. In a study released last month, researchers from Norway found that 7.8% of Norwegians have become workaholics. The scientists cite a definition of “workaholism” as “being overly concerned about work, driven by an uncontrollable work motivation, and investing so much time and effort to work that it impairs other important life areas.”
We believe that the number of people who fit that definition includes the majority of American workers, including those who read HBR, which prompted us to begin a study of workaholism in the U.S. Our study will use a large corporate dataset from a major medical company to examine how technology extends our working hours and thus interferes with necessary cognitive recovery, resulting in huge health care costs and turnover costs for employers.
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The misconception of resilience is often bred from an early age. Parents trying to teach their children resilience might celebrate a high school student staying up until 3AM to finish a science fair project. What a distortion of resilience! A resilient child is a well-rested one. When an exhausted student goes to school, he risks hurting everyone on the road with his impaired driving; he doesn’t have the cognitive resources to do well on his English test; he has lower self-control with his friends; and at home, he is moody with his parents. Overwork and exhaustion are the opposite of resilience. And the bad habits we learn when we’re young only magnify when we hit the workforce.
In her excellent book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington wrote, “We sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity, but ironically our loss of sleep, despite the extra hours we spend at work, adds up to 11 days of lost productivity per year per worker, or about $2,280.”
The key to resilience is trying really hard, then stopping, recovering, and then trying again. This conclusion is based on biology. Homeostasis is a fundamental biological concept describing the ability of the brain to continuously restore and sustain well-being. Positive neuroscientist Brent Furl from Texas A&M University coined the term “homeostatic value” to describe the value that certain actions have for creating equilibrium, and thus wellbeing, in the body. When the body is out of alignment from overworking, we waste a vast amount of mental and physical resources trying to return to balance before we can move forward.
As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz have written, if you have too much time in the performance zone, you need more time in the recovery zone, otherwise you risk burnout. Mustering your resources to “try hard” requires burning energy in order to overcome your currently low arousal level. This is called upregulation. It also exacerbates exhaustion. Thus the more imbalanced we become due to overworking, the more value there is in activities that allow us to return to a state of balance. The value of a recovery period rises in proportion to the amount of work required of us.
So how do we recover and build resilience? Most people assume that if you stop doing a task like answering emails or writing a paper, that your brain will naturally recover, such that when you start again later in the day or the next morning, you’ll have your energy back. But surely everyone reading this has had times where you lie in bed for hours, unable to fall asleep because your brain is thinking about work. If you lie in bed for eight hours, you may have rested, but you can still feel exhausted the next day. That’s because rest and recovery are not the same thing. Stopping does not equal recovering.
If you’re trying to build resilience at work, you need adequate internal and external recovery periods. As researchers Zijlstra, Cropley and Rydstedt write in their 2014 paper: “Internal recovery refers to the shorter periods of relaxation that take place within the frames of the workday or the work setting in the form of short scheduled or unscheduled breaks, by shifting attention or changing to other work tasks when the mental or physical resources required for the initial task are temporarily depleted or exhausted. External recovery refers to actions that take place outside of work—e.g. in the free time between the workdays, and during weekends, holidays or vacations.” If after work you lie around on your bed and get riled up by political commentary on your phone or get stressed thinking about decisions about how to renovate your home, your brain has not received a break from high mental arousal states. Our brains need a rest as much as our bodies do.
If you really want to build resilience, you can start by strategically stopping. Give yourself the resources to be tough by creating internal and external recovery periods. In her upcoming book The Future of Happiness, based on her work at Yale Business School, Amy Blankson describes how to strategically stop during the day by using technology to control overworking. She suggests downloading the Instant or Moment apps to see how many times you turn on your phone each day. The average person turns on their phone 150 times every day. If every distraction took only 1 minute (which would be seriously optimistic), that would account for 2.5 hours of every day.
You can use apps like Offtime or Unplugged to create tech free zones by strategically scheduling automatic airplane modes. In addition, you can take a cognitive break every 90 minutes to recharge your batteries. Try to not have lunch at your desk, but instead spend time outside or with your friends — not talking about work. Take all of your paid time off, which not only gives you recovery periods, but raises your productivity and likelihood of promotion.
As for us, we’ve started using our plane time as a work-free zone, and thus time to dip into the recovery phase. The results have been fantastic. We are usually tired already by the time we get on a plane, and the cramped space and spotty internet connection make work more challenging. Now, instead of swimming upstream, we relax, meditate, sleep, watch movies, journal, or listen to entertaining podcasts. And when we get off the plane, instead of being depleted, we feel rejuvenated and ready to return to the performance zone
Going to ZERO E-mail in office
4 luglio 2016 § Lascia un commento
the Email in my opinion are the BIGGEST WASTE inside the business, doesn’t matter the size of the business ,the email always occupy a biggest part of the working time and most of the time do not add value.
Define Rules and the policy and respect that it can reduce the number of unnecessary email of 30% to 50%, because the problem coming from the unnecessary email or the email where you in CC when is not necessary
Below and interesting article about the reduction of email.
Please let us your feedback
Email fills up a lot of time and often results in little real work getting done. It’s not just me that thinks so, many enterprises are finding the less it’s used for office communication, the less time gets wasted. Productivity goes up and stress goes down.
I’ve been on an email diet for two years now, where I only check my email three times a day. All other times Outlook remains closed. No pings or pop-ups means no distractions.
When we tuck away email, we stop reacting to it, and are able to focus on the project in front of us. I found I got more done; rather than reacting to every email ping of a new message, I was engaging in the conversation when I was ready.
Harvard Business Review highlighted a “zero email” policy put in place by Thierry Breton, CEO of the information technology firm Atos Origin. Back in 2011, his company of 70,000 employees were averaging 100 messages per week per person. “We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives,” Breton said in a press release.
Since the policy, the average has gone down to 40 emails per employee per week. The results from the move seems positive, but it’s difficult to say whether a reduction in email use is the cause. However, a number of internet experts and studies would say it has a major affect on the bottom line.
Email can be a great productivity tool, but when it’s always on, it messes with our heads. Study, after study has found this to be the case. By rethinking how we prioritize our work day (i.e. limiting email use), we may find ourselves less stressed from having had a more fulfilled work day.
what’s up EU?
1 luglio 2016 § Lascia un commento
By taking inspiration from HBR – below an article of Fernando Fernandez – i would like to share some thoughts:
- What’s up next?
- The BREXIT is a fault or is an opportunity?
In my personal opinion, in the next few month nobody will talk again and the UK will continue to leave and growth without any problem; right now there’s so much interest in Financial and taxes level in UK that nobody in EU are able to sustain, only Netherland can offer the same level.
About Germany as indicated to Mr Fernandez, is ore in trouble then what they show and say they have:
- Greece debit on their back – Bailout Greece=bailout of Germany and France
- Deuthbank – billions of debit
- the level of the debit of the people are very high.
Then, i would to invite some Expert to evaluate and make a simulation of the new Scenario.
have good day
For the first time ever, a member state of the European Union has decided to leave. Beyond Brexit’s dire implications for the British economy – a prolonged recession is a good bet, and London’s future as a global financial center is uncertain — four main questions puzzle investors and politicians around the world:
What will Europe look like?
The first question involves both political and economic risks. The European Union is a fundamental ingredient of the institutional framework put in place after World War II. The Union has unquestionably been instrumental in a very long period of peace, stability, and growth grounded in economic interdependence, open markets, and international cooperation.
But now there is a chance that nationalism, isolation, and confrontation will replace the existing world order. Brexit may only be a sign of more to come. Europe is clearly having a hard time dealing with the consequences of globalization and the loss of its exceptionalism. Anti-establishment political parties seem to thrive everywhere, from supposedly stable and successful states like Germany and the Netherlands, to countries facing economic difficulties, like Italy and Spain. In this context, there are plenty of other candidates who might leave the Union. And the United States has its own problems with populism and isolation.
Can the euro survive?
Although the United Kingdom did not use the euro, the viability of the currency is still affected by Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Brexit reopens the possibility of a euro breakup, because it highlights the loss of sovereignty implied by European Monetary Union (EMU) and the remaining requirements on monetary, fiscal, and financial union. In the current political climate, with German and French leaders struggling for popularity, it is difficult to envisage a renewed commitment to deepen economic and political integration within the EMU. And without this deepening, market doubts on the sustainability of the euro can only grow.
The idea of a “two-speed Europe” is lethal to the economic recovery and growth of periphery countries, where any doubt about the continued support of the European Central Bank — and an eventual resolution to the debt crisis through an Euro Area fiscal backstop– can only bring further difficulties.
Will this uncertainty bring an abrupt end to the mild economic recovery?
The short answer is that Brexit has made recession in the UK and in Europe both more likely. The two-year period to negotiate a new agreement with a departing country stipulated in Article 50 of the European Treaty makes no sense to financial markets. They will not wait for European leaders to make up their minds — as we already witnessed Friday, where stock markets in periphery countries fell more than any day in the 2008 crisis. The thought that such uncertainty may not affect the U.S. or the global economy is pure fiction; after all, Europe amounts to about a third of global GDP.
If recession is now in the cards, how can policy makers react?
Central bankers around the world are monitoring events closely, and their policy tools — swaps, liquidity, further quantitative easing — are ready to be implemented. It seems likely that the Federal Reserve may put its rate hike on hold.
But there is only a limited impact monetary policy can have in the current circumstances. The problem is political, the uncertainty is fundamentally political, and the solutions need to be political. Postponing hard choices does not appear a reasonable strategy.
How many meeting are effective
7 giugno 2016 § Lascia un commento
We’ve all been invited to meetings with agendas so long that it’s impossible to cover every item on them. The early speakers drone on. The early proposals get debated. But those at the end get short shrift or are tabled until the next gathering, even if they’re equally important.
How can you avoid this problem? One option is to limit your ambitions, to be more realistic about what you can get done in the hour or hours you’re meeting and simply resign yourself to covering less. In our view, however, there’s a better solution, one that allows you to accomplish more while still ensuring that each person or topic gets adequate time. As crazy as it sounds, the answer is a shot clock. Yes, an actual shot clock, like the ones they use in high school, college, and professional basketball games. The NBA and the NCAA put the shot clock in place years ago to quicken the pace of play, because some teams (especially when leading near the end) passed the ball endlessly without penalty. Now there’s a limit on the time a team has to shoot — 24 seconds in the NBA, 30 seconds in the NCAA — and if that time runs out, the ball goes to the opponent.
We’ve experimented with the same system in business meetings, especially when fair process is important to uphold, and had great success. Although most attendees tend to be a bit skeptical at first, they quickly recognize the purpose and value of the shot clock: it ensures that all agenda items are covered and that time allocated to each is appropriate.
Here’s how it works: Before a meeting, explain that you want to devote a certain amount of time to each topic. For example, if you’re leading an annual budget review and have 40 investment proposals on the table, you might say, “We’re going to spend exactly 10 minutes to discuss each topic. Speakers will have three minutes to present, followed by seven minutes of discussion.”
Sometimes different topics will require different amounts of discussion time. A relatively straightforward issue might warrant five minutes, while a more contentious one merits 20. If you can decide this ahead of time, great. If not, consider using a few minutes at the start of a meeting to determine how much time each agenda item deserves. One organization we worked with listed topics on a wall chart and asked attendees to put a green, yellow, or red dot next to each one to signify whether it deserved seven, 10, or 15 minutes of discussion, respectively. To limit the number of 15-minute conversations, each person only had three red dots to dole out.
Once you’ve determined appropriate time allocations, set up the “shot clock.” A smartphone stopwatch works nicely. It should buzz — loudly — when time runs out and keep buzzing until the person or people stop talking.
Typically, when people are introduced to this tool, they both love and hate it. They like the fact that it limits others from commandeering too much time, overanalyzing decisions, and beating dead horses in debates, but they don’t enjoy getting cut off themselves. Still, we often find that by the end of that first meeting, everyone has grown more comfortable with (and even fond of) it. The shot clock is impersonal — even obnoxious — but that’s what makes it effective. It’s fair. Everyone is guaranteed to get a turn, and each issue is given the attention it needs. No one gets to “buy” extra floor time because of his or her status. It grants no wiggle room.
The shot clock also keeps meetings lively, focused, and sharp. And it’s a great training tool. At several meetings, we’ve observed executives who are tasked with speaking on multiple agenda items get progressively better at managing the clock. The first time they might run a tad over. The second time they come in right at the buzzer. By the third or fourth time, they’re expressing themselves much more succinctly and wrapping up well before their minutes run out. They are more careful with their time because they know it’s fixed — just like the best basketball players.
True Change or Fake Change
18 Maggio 2016 § Lascia un commento
Right now there is a common method well know as LEAN, and so many talk about that is a system able to change the companies….i can say that it depend from different element introduced; it’s true that the LEAN APPROACH are able to trasform in better the companies, but it’s true as well that if we do not use the right tools, the right person, the right support the result is FAKE.
But how many really know what it means? how many have really applicate the system and applied over and over again? who are able to deeply understand the meaning of this METHOD or as I like to call PHILOSOPHY?
First, I want to highlight the fact that everyone is talking constantly of LEAN PRODUCTION, while we should talk about LEAN ORGANIZATION, the production is only a part of it, and often it’s only a smallest part of the waste of the company, the question is…what’s happend before?
Today, the companies do not need only application of the method, or only training session in the room, or just technical feat., but they need people able to show a different vision, able to offer different overview of the way to follow.
This info can coming only from different experiences, but with technical basis ( I don’t speak of mechanical engineer, accounting, lawyer .. ..) are able to give a concrete support based on “numbers”(data) and demonstrations that the actions and the change can be done, and why not this person should be able to “play the game” and take the necessary responsibility.
Why I write this? Because right now, there’s a real need to change, to follow the rhythm of the World; I like to use this sentence:
It’s necessary to change as fast as the World change
Based on this senteces we cannot make mistakes or waste too much time to test different ways, but we need define clear improvement plan, follow it and check periodically if we collect positive results, the risk is:
- Lose time
- Lose confidence
- Lose Positive approach
- Lose Money
- Lose market
Well, continuous improvement WORKS, and it works in working life and in personal life, we need to use ALL the correct ingredients not only an easiest, trivial analysis and development of the process … there is much more then that; there’s:
We must give to the customer, what they need, when they need with the right quality and price with a Team of persons involved to develop a perfect product/Service with a smooth and correct process.
Live the Change, live the improvement, bring it with you, and you will live the best experience of your life.
That’s makes a good Leader
30 marzo 2016 § Lascia un commento
A great Leader is a person able to sustain the others in order to develop himself, he’s able to develop the company through the development of his/her people.
Be open and honest, in 21th century is the most productive strategy
What makes an effective leader? This question is a focus of my research as an organizational scientist, executive coach, and leadership development consultant. Looking for answers, I recently completed the first round of a study of 195 leaders in 15 countries over 30 global organizations. Participants were asked to choose the 15 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74. I’ve grouped the top ones into five major themes that suggest a set of priorities for leaders and leadership development programs. While some may not surprise you, they’re all difficult to master, in part because improving them requires acting against our nature.
Demonstrates strong ethics and provides a sense of safety.
This theme combines two of the three most highly rated attributes: “high ethical and moral standards” (67% selected it as one of the most important) and “communicating clear expectations” (56%).
Taken together, these attributes are all about creating a safe and trusting environment. A leader with high ethical standards conveys a commitment to fairness, instilling confidence that both they and their employees will honor the rules of the game. Similarly, when leaders clearly communicate their expectations, they avoid blindsiding people and ensure that everyone is on the same page. In a safe environment employees can relax, invoking the brain’s higher capacity for social engagement, innovation, creativity, and ambition.
Neuroscience corroborates this point. When the amygdala registers a threat to our safety, arteries harden and thicken to handle an increased blood flow to our limbs in preparation for a fight-or-flight response. In this state, we lose access to the social engagement system of the limbic brain and the executive function of the prefrontal cortex, inhibiting creativity and the drive for excellence. From a neuroscience perspective, making sure that people feel safe on a deep level should be job #1 for leaders.
But how? This competency is all about behaving in a way that is consistent with your values. If you find yourself making decisions that feel at odds with your principles or justifying actions in spite of a nagging sense of discomfort, you probably need to reconnect with your core values. I facilitate a simple exercise with my clients called “Deep Fast Forwarding” to help with this. Envision your funeral and what people say about you in a eulogy. Is it what you want to hear? This exercise will give you a clearer sense of what’s important to you, which will then help guide daily decision making.
To increase feelings of safety, work on communicating with the specific intent of making people feel safe. One way to accomplish this is to acknowledge and neutralize feared results or consequences from the outset. I call this “clearing the air.” For example, you might approach a conversation about a project gone wrong by saying, “I’m not trying to blame you. I just want to understand what happened.”
Empowers others to self-organize.
Providing clear direction while allowing employees to organize their own time and work was identified as the next most important leadership competency.
No leader can do everything themselves. Therefore, it’s critical to distribute power throughout the organization and to rely on decision making from those who are closest to the action.
Research has repeatedly shown that empowered teams are more productive and proactive, provide better customer service, and show higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment to their team and organization. And yet many leaders struggle to let people self-organize. They resist because they believe that power is a zero-sum game, they are reluctant to allow others to make mistakes, and they fear facing negative consequences from subordinates’ decisions.
To overcome the fear of relinquishing power, start by increasing awareness of physical tension that arises when you feel your position is being challenged. As discussed above, perceived threats activate a fight, flight, or freeze response in the amygdala. The good news is that we can train our bodies to experience relaxation instead of defensiveness when stress runs high. Try to separate the current situation from the past, share the outcome you fear most with others instead of trying to hold on to control, and remember that giving power up is a great way to increase influence — which builds power over time.
Fosters a sense of connection and belonging.
Leaders who “communicate often and openly” (competency #6) and “create a feeling of succeeding and failing together as a pack” (#8) build a strong foundation for connection.
We are a social species — we want to connect and feel a sense of belonging. From an evolutionary perspective, attachment is important because it improves our chances of survival in a world full of predators. Research suggests that a sense of connection could also impact productivity and emotional well-being. For example, scientists have found that emotions are contagious in the workplace: Employees feel emotionally depleted just by watching unpleasant interactions between coworkers.
From a neuroscience perspective, creating connection is a leader’s second most important job. Once we feel safe (a sensation that is registered in the reptilian brain), we also have to feel cared for (which activates the limbic brain) in order to unleash the full potential of our higher functioning prefrontal cortex.
There are some simple ways to promote belonging among employees: Smile at people, call them by name, and remember their interests and family members’ names. Pay focused attention when speaking to them, and clearly set the tone of the members of your team having each other’s backs. Using a song, motto, symbol, chant, or ritual that uniquely identifies your team can also strengthen this sense of connection.
Shows openness to new ideas and fosters organizational learning.
What do “flexibility to change opinions” (competency #4), “being open to new ideas and approaches” (#7), and “provides safety for trial and error” (#10) have in common? If a leader has these strengths, they encourage learning; if they don’t, they risk stifling it.
Admitting we’re wrong isn’t easy. Once again, the negative effects of stress on brain function are partly to blame — in this case they impede learning. Researchers have found that reduced blood flow to our brains under threat reduces peripheral vision, ostensibly so we can deal with the immediate danger. For instance, they have observed a significant reduction in athletes’ peripheral vision before competition. While tunnel vision helps athletes focus, it closes the rest of us off to new ideas and approaches. Our opinions are more inflexible even when we’re presented with contradicting evidence, which makes learning almost impossible.
To encourage learning among employees, leaders must first ensure that they are open to learning (and changing course) themselves. Try to approach problem-solving discussions without a specific agenda or outcome. Withhold judgment until everyone has spoken, and let people know that all ideas will be considered. A greater diversity of ideas will emerge.
Failure is required for learning, but our relentless pursuit of results can also discourage employees from taking chances. To resolve this conflict, leaders must create a culture that supports risk-taking. One way of doing this is to use controlled experiments — think A/B testing — that allow for small failures and require rapid feedback and correction. This provides a platform for building collective intelligence so that employees learn from each other’s mistakes, too.
“Being committed to my ongoing training” (competency #5) and “helping me grow into a next-generation leader” (#9) make up the final category.
All living organisms have an innate need to leave copies of their genes. They maximize their offspring’s chances of success by nurturing and teaching them. In turn, those on the receiving end feel a sense of gratitude and loyalty. Think of the people to whom you’re most grateful — parents, teachers, friends, mentors. Chances are, they’ve cared for you or taught you something important.
When leaders show a commitment to our growth, the same primal emotions are tapped. Employees are motivated to reciprocate, expressing their gratitude or loyalty by going the extra mile. While managing through fear generates stress, which impairs higher brain function, the quality of work is vastly different when we are compelled by appreciation. If you want to inspire the best from your team, advocate for them, support their training and promotion, and go to bat to sponsor their important projects.
These five areas present significant challenges to leaders due to the natural responses that are hardwired into us. But with deep self-reflection and a shift in perspective (perhaps aided by a coach), there are also enormous opportunities for improving everyone’s performance by focusing on our own.
(thanks to HBR source)
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