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5 posts from February 2012

Finding the appropriate challenge #li

Instead of waiting for your boss to configure your job, you have to hunt for the challenges that will make your job satisfying. Reward yourself.

Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile, 2012-Jan/Feb, Interview of Daniel Gilbert by Gardiner Morse

We know that people are happiest when they’re appropriately challenged—when they’re trying to achieve goals that are difficult but not out of reach. Challenge and threat are not the same thing. People blossom when challenged and wither when threatened. Sure, you can get results from threats: Tell someone, “If you don’t get this to me by Friday, you’re fired,” and you’ll probably have it by Friday. But you’ll also have an employee who will thereafter do his best to undermine you, who will feel no loyalty to the organization, and who will never do more than he must. It would be much more effective to tell your employee, “I don’t think most people could get this done by Friday. But I have full faith and confidence that you can. And it’s hugely important to the entire team.” Psychologists have studied reward and punishment for a century, and the bottom line is perfectly clear: Reward works better


Follow the Story of a retail chameleon #li

At the GEL Conference one year, I took a NYC retail tour with Rachel Shechtman. Retail innovation is alive and well, even with high-priced real estate. Of course, New Yorkers love to shop. It's more integrated into life there. 

Now Rachel and her friends have a fascinating new retail adventure named Story. They intend to completely remake the shop every couple of months. I'm so jealous I could scream. 

Story: A Startup Store

Born from late nights, big dreams, and lots of coffee.  A mix of young New York-based companies present their stories, forged from innovation and crafted in fun.


Interrogation beats affirmation #li

If we want to accomplish extraordinary things, we figure out first what we have to work with.

The Telegraph Business Club: Can we fix it is the right question to ask, 2010-Jun-19, by Daniel Pink

In a nifty set of experiments, three social scientists explored the differences between what they call "declarative" self-talk (I will fix it!) and "interrogative" self-talk (Can I fix it?). They began by presenting a group of participants with some anagrams to solve (for example, rearranging the letters in "sauce" to spell "cause".) But before the participants tackled the problem, the researchers asked one half of them to take a minute to ask themselves whether they would complete the task – and the other half to tell themselves that they would complete the task.

We're always trying to achieve 'free, perfect, now.' #li

Making the customer happy has never been easy. There's no objective answer that will satisfy their contradictory needs. And they really don't expect a final answer. They expect you to pay attention and keep trying.

How we move: The strategic planner's dilemma--find a balance between why and what, 2011-Dec-29, by Carolin Dahlman

Through my side business as a coach, helping people with personal relationships, I´ve seen how often we say one thing and mean another; how we are complex and how we want a lot of things at the same time, whether they can be combined or not. I´ve learned that we self sabotage and can hurt others in order to be loved. We are confused and wonderful, lost and found. There are so many layers. Quant studies just can´t see them; they only become visible when the tea is finished...

Explaining ideas, from every direction, giving them a life #li

The best ideas do not survive. The ideas which receive the best support survive. I highly recommend this entire article, but the two points that were most powerful for me are below.

Life. Then Strategy: How to explain an idea, 2011-Mar-16, by Mark Pollard

4. Show, pause, repeat your way through
Do not over-speak. Do not speak quickly. Speak less than you think you need to. Take. Your. Time. Repeat a key word several times through the presentation (they say 7 makes it stick).

If possible, show your idea.  Show people (customers) implying, anticipating or explaining the idea. Get out of the way of your idea. It’s not about you. I know, I know: you think it is. It never is.

5. Let other people finish your sentences
Pausing allows people to grasp the idea and process it through their own mental frameworks. You know you’re onto something when someone you’re presenting to says… “And you could then…” That’s what you want. Let them keep talking. Pauses make it happen. Counsellors do it all the time… apparently.