Resilience training – bleeding heart soft or army tough?

I was reading an article that HBR does on leadership lessons from the armed forces and came across this blog on Resilience Training in the U.S. Army. Resilience, optimism and positivity are inter-related and I have personally sponsored such training in the business unit I used to run. Of course hard-nosed commercial business people (they love to describe themselves as that) were questioning such “soft” training. It is a pleasure to see that in the world of armed forces the value of this training is recognised. The HBR blog is replicated below and is worth a read along with Martin Seligman’s book – Learned Optimism.

“I want to be resilient” is a statement I hear a lot lately from fellow soldiers and friends working in the private sector. It makes sense.

While we in the U.S. Army have witnessed steady increases in divorce, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and — most unfortunately — suicide, the vast majority of us serving are strengthened by — and frankly better because of — our experiences of serving in an organization at war for nearly a decade. We grow as leaders and fight on.

People in business have fought battles of a different sort: a weak economy characterized by joblessness, malaise, cynicism, and a general lack of trust has left many bruised and gun-shy. But from Wall Street to Main Street, successful executives dust themselves off and keep moving. They grow as leaders and fight on.

It’s not hard to see why we should be resilient. The challenge is to understand how to become resilient.

Below I briefly describe the Army’s approach, dubbed Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, and draw parallels to the private sector. First, a few key points about our general approach:

Depending on whose research you read, resilience is either a trait (something that is fairly stable over time and rather difficult to develop, similar to personality) or a state (something that one can develop). We believe it is both. That is, some people are more likely to be resilient due to their personality, but most people can become more resilient over time if they employ the skills we teach.

Resilience training is not a medical treatment led at the organizational level by MDs or Ph.Ds. Rather, as with all training in the Army, it is seen as leadership development and taught by soldiers. More on this later.

At its core, resilience training best succeeds by tapping into what many psychologists think of as the Holy Grail: metacognition, or getting people to think about their thinking. If we can encourage soldiers to challenge how and why they think a certain way, then the skills we teach are more likely to take root.

Like any leadership development, learning resilience is a lifelong process: everyone can improve if they put in the work; no one is ever finished. This is why our program is command-directed, meaning that every soldier in the Army, from newest Private to oldest General, takes resilience training.

October 1 marked the first anniversary of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. More than 850,000 soldiers have taken the Global Assessment Tool (GAT), a 105-item questionnaire used to measure resilience in four dimensions: family, social, spiritual, and emotional fitness. Scores are confidential; soldiers may voluntarily share them but they cannot be compelled to do so. After completing the GAT, soldiers take a series of online training modules that teach initial resilience skills (e.g., how to develop a strong social network, find greater meaning in work, strengthen spousal relationships, etc.).

The program doesn’t stop there. Given the Army’s size — more than 1.1 million people in uniform — we recognized a need for a cadre of resilience trainers embedded within units. Therefore, we established the 10-day Master Resilience Trainer Course (MRT) for selected sergeants and junior officers. The intent is for these leaders to return to their units and train their soldiers on what they learned. For reinforcement, the Army Chief of Staff directed that units have a minimum of one-to-two hours of resilience training monthly. Last, beginning in 2011, resilience training will be offered at every level of the Army’s education system, so it begins when a Private arrives at basic training and continues through the senior leader capstone course one takes after becoming a Brigadier General.

So, what resilience skills do we teach in the Army? The short answer is that we train the basics, or the resilience “immutables,” and it is not hard to how this might translate to civilian organizations. Specifically, CSF teaches soldiers:

To identify and leverage their own strengths and the strengths of others to overcome challenges. People are on a team for a reason, so figure out why and let them use their potential to accomplish the mission.

To keep things in the proper perspective. When facing crisis or conflict, identify the best, worst, and most likely scenarios; know what you can and cannot control; and prepare yourself to move past the event.

To recognize the positive outcomes of every event, even the negative ones. Research tells us that focusing on the negative is natural as it is part of our survival mechanism. Perhaps that’s true, but what did you learn? How did your grow as a person? What are you going to do to prepare yourself for the next event?

To reframe the negative energy around them. Research has shown that negativity can be pervasive and contagious, and it can stifle performance. People must recognize the outside influences affecting them and reframe them towards an advantage.

To build strong relationships. Friends, family and colleagues help people facing adversity to be resilient. In other words, your social network is your safety net, so strengthen and nurture it.

To understand that leaders make meaning for followers. In times of trouble, subordinates will look to you for guidance. Help them to understand the problem; know that a plan exists to address it; and know that they are part of the solution.

For more information about Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, visit:
Captain Paul B. Lester, Ph.D, is a research psychologist in the U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Office.

Copyright © 2010 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.

Posted in Behaviour, Happiness, Leadership, Optimism, Positivity, Resilience, Skills | 1 Comment

How can service areas like HR increase their influence?

I know what it’s like to work in a service division (I spent 13 years in Human Resources or Personnel as it was sometimes called back then), rather than in the front line business functions of sales, manufacturing or product. Trying to get senior managers to address issues that seemed so obvious and so important from your perspective can be tremendously I moved into the front line and gained a different perspective.

As a GM or MD of a business you have an expansive range of issues and the issues and challenges come from a multitude of directions. The Board may be making rumblings about your latest acquisition or concern re sales growth so you need to spend time to provide information and comfort that their patience will be rewarded.

Major clients may be querying your pricing in relation to new competitors that have emerged and your high value premium pricing strategy may need revitalising. You need to identify if your sales team are selling the value proposition correctly and managing the client’s expectations for realisation of benefits.

The latest regulatory review has a range of opportunities but also some challenges regarding costs and pricing – can volumes rise fast enough to bring unit cost down or will staff reductions be needed?

You have appointments with the sales director to discuss the key clients approach, the CFO to review unit costs, the Chief Marketing officer regarding new segmentation and direct marketing approaches to increase sales leads and reduce costs per lead. The planning and strategy manager has analysed the regulatory review and has a draft agenda for the planing meeting next week. In the midst of this your PA has slotted in an hour with the Head of HR (is it performance reviews time already?) and you really need that time to think about the strategy and issues – you compromise by changing the HR appointment to 30 mins.

How can the HR manager make an impact in their meeting with the MD that will see HR as a critical part of the business and the MD willing to meet into the future? Consider these six keys to influence and think about the skills you can learn from other areas that are detailed below;


  1. Focus on outcomes that matter for the business
  2. Identify critical issues for the MD and offer solutions
  3. Identify the vital behaviours to achieve those outcomes
  4. Segment your targets (different style managers = different approaches)
  5. Wins drive change – start small, pilot, test, learn and use those small successes
  6. Use stories and examples – persuasive verbal logic is far less effective than you think

The Six Skills you need – some of which you could learn from, or get some help from, other support services;

  1. Segmentation – from marketing. What are the critical elements in differentiating the managers you work with – personality type, functional area, difficulty? Don’t try a one size fits all approach – tailor how, what and why elements to suit. For an insight into segmentation you may want to look at this video from Malcolm Gladwell
  2. Solution Selling – sales people are taught to build a relationship, actively listen to identify the clients needs and wants and to offer solutions that meet those needs – seems pretty relevant to what HR should be doing – you can call it consulting if you have an aversion to “sales”.
  3. Change Management – this is something I am sure HR people will have access to and should be able to identify relevant components. In particular you may want to look at “Positive Deviance” and how it has been used to have huge influence in changing behaviours. The most important aspect is gaining allies and getting evidence of how the change works for the better through the use of opinion leaders.
  4. Facilitation skills – again many HR people will have background as trainers and are well placed to use these great skills to assist with enhancing the effectiveness of business sessions  (planning, problem solving, decision analysis). In my experience well facilitated approaches using good process tools are huge improvements on what most line managers will do in a typical meeting. This skill is so important I had all my line managers trained in facilitation skills (it’s a great leadership tool as well)
  5. Negotiation skills – this is needed in almost all walks of life (actually can’t think of one where it is not!). A win-win approach is a must for long-term benefits and a bit of game theory knowledge would not go astray. The essentials are understanding what your negotiating opposite values most, what they are prepared to concede, and overcoming some of the more common tactics (no budget etc).  Equally you need to assess what you are prepared to concede and when you will walk away.
  6. Project Planning – unless you plan to do all you want in a day and it is easy then you will need to plan. What is the outcome I am seeking? What steps are required to achieve the outcome? What sequence do I need to follow? What contingencies should I have? You can get lots of information on project management from our IT department or web so enough said.

For some additional reading you may want to consider;

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan , Al Switzler

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World’s Toughest Problems by Richard T. Pascale, Jerry Sternin, and Monique Sternin

Posted in Decision Making, Leadership, Management, Motivation, Sales, Skills | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The biggest mistake a leader can make

In this video from a number of leading academics, and posted on HBR site – see they identify what they believe to be the biggest mistakes leaders make.

It is an interesting selection that includes the following;

a) self-interest (it’s all about me, me , me – big pay, lots of options, fly me first class etc)
b) being “too certain” and not recognising the dynamic and changing environment
c) Arrogance
d) Not living to the espoused values (personal or organisational)
e)  Acting too fast – executing before thinking and evaluating – failing to seek advice and input
f) Lack of integrity
g) Over-enamoured with their vision – lose capacity for self-doubt – from passion to obsession
h) Not self-reflective – doesn’t review their behaviours (bulldozer rather than learner)

The failure to recognise their responsibility for staff, shareholders and customers as well as other stakeholders seems to be a critical one that I identified and have experienced from poor leaders.  They focus solely on financial and fail to recognise that a business is a system and without due attention and care to all aspects then the outcomes such as financials will eventually suffer despite some short-term gains. (For an example of poor leaders you may want to check Wikipedia reference for “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap)

What’s on your list?

Posted in Behaviour, Leadership, Skills | Leave a comment

Six Keys to Achieving Excellence

Tony Schwartz is president and CEO of The Energy Project and has written a number of books. In this article he offers his view regarding how to develop skills to an excellent level. This extract from his HBR article includes the six keys he believes will lead to excellent performance. Here, then, are the six keys to achieving excellence he has found are most effective:

  1. Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.
  2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
  3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
  4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously, however, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolise and embed learning. It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.
  6. Ritualise practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualise them — build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

Now developing excellent skills does not mean you will automatically be world no.1 in whatever you may choose to practice but it will be beneficial

Posted in Behaviour, Motivation, Skills | Leave a comment

How do you foster innovation?

How do you foster a culture of innovation? Here’s 50 ways to make a start…from ideas champions at .  Of course the foundation for innovation is the organisational culture which is needed to support the level of creativity and risk taking required.

Staff need to believe that they are valued as innovation requires employees to have intrinsic motivation. Being innovative, developing new approaches, ideas, products etc requires more than the basic – “come to work” reward. It asks us to care enough about who we work with, and who we work for, that we will apply our intellects towards difficult issues, new opportunities or enhanced ways of doing things. Each of these asks us to take a risk and put our ideas out into the public domain.

There are many reasons why innovation is so uncommon but to me the key one is the culture of many businesses that need to change to innovation.

Posted in Creativity, Innovation, Leadership | Leave a comment

Getting Things Done

For those struggling with overload at the moment a you tube video called Getting Things Done by David Allen (author of a book by the same name and a website at ) may hold some ideas on how best to deal with the volume of issues and actions facing you. At a high level he advocates improving productivity by writing things down in a system that the brain is confident will work. This stops the brain from worrying about the item and whether we will forget about it (think of the diary as a reasonably effective system for handling appointments and how we relax once we have it in the diary).

The challenge is often not the emails, memo’s or articles we get but the potential meaning of each of those in terms of what they may need of us and what actions may be required. The thinking process determines the meaning.

Getting Things Done (GTD) asks what do we need to clarify to stay on top of things. He also notes that it is easy to fall off the GTD wagon and easy to get back on.

Of course when we are being very productive many people don’t know what they did to get on top of their work and then what happened to get off that feeling.

He asks the question – when you have felt stressed and then you wrote a list – did it help you feel better. The nub of the solution called “distributed cognition” simply means writing it down distributes it from your brain to an external space as well. There is value in getting things out of the psyche and writing it down. David Allen validates the importance of writing things down but has taken the requirement to a much higher level – framed as a martial art of work & life.  He claims that it facilitates the ability to enhance the 2 aspects of managing yourself – control and perspective.

He use the analogy of a pond of water as pebbles and boulders are thrown into it – the pond just absorbs and gets back to its relaxed state. Can we make our mind like water – respond to what is present, rather than taking work to home, one meeting to the next etc.  Not being fully present to what is in front of you detracts from your productivity.

Your ability to be effective is related to your ability to concentrate. Distraction is a key culprit – and we are our own worst enemies when looking at the source of our distractions.

Our productivity and ability to get things done relates to 2 dimensions – Control and Perspective. If we look at a 2 by 2 matrix of these we get 4 types.

Control and Perspective

Perspective – High Crazy Makers, No consciousness of restraints or resources, don’t like lists Master Commander, Structure and freedom balanced. They see where resources and time should be spent
    • to Low
Reactive to events and issues, poor planning Micro Manager – over-structuring, anal, control from a sense of insecurity

Control – Low to                        High

In Mastering workflow GTD suggests there are 5 keys to gaining control

1. Collect· Capture anything and everything that has your attention in leak proof external “buckets” (your in-baskets, email, notebooks, voice mail etc.) – get them out of your short-term memory.

2. Process· Process the items you have collected (decide what each thing means, specifically).· If it is not actionable – toss it, “tickle” it for possible later action, or file it as reference.· If it is actionable – decide the very next physical action, which you do (if less than two minutes), delegate (and track on “waiting for” list), or defer (put on an action reminder list or in an action folder). If one action will not close the loop, then identify the commitment as a “project” and put it on a reminder list of projects.

3. Organise· Group the results of processing your input into appropriately retrievable and reviewable categories. The four key action categories are:
Projects – (projects you have a commitment to finish) Calendar – (actions that must occur on a specific day or time) Next Actions – (actions to be done as soon as possible) Waiting For – (projects and actions others are supposed to be doing, which you care about)

4. Review· Review calendar and action lists daily (or whenever you could possibly do any of them).· Conduct a customized weekly review to get clean, get current, and get creative (see Weekly Review).· Review the longer-horizon lists of goals, values, and visions as often as required to keep your project list complete and current.

5. Do· Make choices about your actions based upon what you can do (context), how much time you have, how much energy you have, and then your priorities.· Stay flexible by maintaining a “total life” action reminder system, always accessible for review, trusting your intuition in moment-to-moment decision-making.

Choose to:
1- do work you have previously defined or 2- do ad hoc work as it appears or 3- take time to define your work (You must sufficiently process and organize to trust your evaluation of the priority of the ad hoc.) To prioritise work we need to relate it to the “Horizons” we have set – the goals over different time horizons that we set for ourselves and which keep us on track.

Horizons of Focus – the 6 levels of work

Runway – current actions (daily)
· 10,000 level – current projects (weekly)
· 20,000 level – current responsibilities (monthly)
· 30,000 level – 1-2 year goals (quarterly)
· 40,000 level – 3-5 year goals (annually)
· 50,000 level – career, purpose, lifestyle (annually +)

e.g. If your reading material is out of control – box all the information to be read and review and then check for perspective against your horizons – what should you be reading, what subscriptions should you have vs actually have.

There are some interesting concepts here but the most important is developing a system that works for you and that you trust and ensure you use that system to prioritise your time and focus.

Posted in Decision Making, Leadership, Management, Skills | Leave a comment

Why do leaders need to focus on building trust?

A UK study has found as little as 10% of employees trust what senior managers are saying about the performance of their business. In the absence of trust leaders will miss out on so many more aspects of employee engagement, commitment and effort. The absence of trust will set back the robust debate required for high quality decision making. The lack of trust will stifle the confidence staff need to challenge the way things are being done and achieve improvements. If staff fail to identify early issues in customer reactions, supplier approaches, systems errors and capacity constraints because they do not trust how they will be treated as the messengers bearing bad news.

So when things go wrong and managers ask “how did we not identify this earlier?” there will be many ideas put forward – reviews, reports, audits, research, early detection signals for inclusion in strategic planning reviews – but few will identify the lack of trust as one of the areas for improvement.

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Behaviour, Decision Making, Leadership, Management, Teamwork | Leave a comment

Seven Deadly Sins of Setting demands (or goal setting)

During my development as a leader I was urged to set BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and whilst this can be useful in generating new thinking (e.g. a 40% increase in revenue is not going to be achieved with a “business as usual” approach) it can also go too far and disconnect people from the possibility of achievement.

In a HBR (Harvard Business Review article ) the importance of realistic goal setting is discussed and a number of behavioural traps identified,

The first behavioral trap—failing to set proper expectations—includes the following transgressions:

1. Establishing too many goals
2. Not requiring a plan for how and when goals will be achieved
3. Failing to push for significant improvement for fear that people are already overwhelmed
4. Not assigning clear one-person accountability for each key goal
5. Signaling an unspoken “if you possibly can” at the end of a statement of expectation
6. Accepting reverse assignments (“Sure, boss, I can get it done if you will see to it that…”)
7. Stating goals in ways that may not be definable or measurable

Setting goals is a real art of leadership and one that requires leaders to consult widely about yet realise that the final decision rest with them. The most important aspect is setting the right goal areas (e.g. determining the key focus areas to progress the business from where it is to where it needs to be). Is the critical need to gain traction in sales, systems, data mining, service delivery, value proposition, staff skills, attitudes or culture?

Having established where the focus and prioritisation should be what “level” of goal should be set? Think of a rubber band connected to both hands on a table. As we move one hand away from the table the tension increases creating a force that seeks to either lift the other hand off the table or return the first hand back to the table.

In goal setting you are trying to move the level (hand) to a position that maximises the movement away from the table without breaking the connection. It requires that the forces holding the hand on the table are released (via change management) to embrace the new goal.

Of course the setting of goals also relates to resource availability, financial condition of the business and risk appetite of the leadership and Board. Pre-GFC Boards were in a risk-taking growth mood and which quickly turned in the face of financial challenges. Boards, forgetting their earlier enthusiasm for taking risks, cast a severe assessment on management for the risks they took and, as a result, many CEO’s were shown the exit.

So when you set goals for growth that involve risks don’t forget to get your Board sign-on to the challenges and risks as it can get very lonely when things go in the wrong direction.

Posted in Choice, Decision Making, Leadership, Management, Strategic Planning | Leave a comment

Creativity is having great ideas that add value has a number of wonderful presentations and this one from Sir Ken Robinson is “an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.” He challenges the way we’re educating our children and champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

What can business learn from this and how can it address the lack of innovation in many of our companies? Is it leadership, systems, culture?


Posted in Creativity, Decision Making, Innovation, Leadership | Leave a comment

Diversity in decision making is good

On HBR Blogs Tom Davenport asks..Does Better Judgment Come With Age? see
Tuesday August 24, 2010

To quote “Building good judgment in an organization is not as simple as giving our youngest leaders silver-haired counselors. It’s the result of drawing on a much broader base of learning for all decisions — from people up, down, and sideways in the organization; from people outside the organization, including customers, competitors, rivals, and partners; and from other sources of data. And therefore, it’s a question of developing cultures and processes that enable that kind of multi-dimensional learning and allow collective wisdom to emerge.

Old paired with young is a combination that often yields better judgment because it is at least one form of diversity introduced into a leader’s deliberations. But why stop there? The executive or manager who relies too much on a single or small group of advisors ignores the wider diversity of opinion that can shape a better decision. This is particularly true considering the “echo-chamber effect” we have all seen some leaders fall prey to, where advisors are (however unconsciously) selected and endorsed because they already share the same worldview and are likely to go along with the gut reactions of the man or woman holding the power. If the advice put forward has the additional sheen of elder year experience, it may be all the more possible to believe that the “second opinion” is in fact an authoritative reinforcement of what was already decided.

Beware the wise elder. It’s not that he or she can’t offer good advice. It’s just that such experience can sometimes become a false and dangerous substitute for the breadth and diversity of opinion, combined with analytical rigor and shared problem-solving, that together make for great organizational judgment.”

Tom has written a very good book on data use in business called Competing on Analytics and offers a useful view on improving decision-making by collecting a greater diversity of input. This broader basis of consultation has been identified by others such as James Surowiecki in his wonderful book “The Wisdom of Crowds” where he shows the many ways in which a group can achieve better quality decision-making than a small group of experts.

In the business context each of these views supports the notion of a greater level of broad participation in decision-making by staff and stakeholders – a common sense approach really. Of course common sense as they say is not so common!

Posted in Choice, Decision Making, Leadership, Management | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

6 Questions to Help You Build Trust on Your Team

In Patrick Lencioni’s book the Five Dysfunctions of a team his model states that trust is the important foundation for a functional team and I have to agree with him. In a trusting relationship there will be god opportunity to challenge, debate and ensure rigour in decision-making. This article shows how trust has been developed in the military.

Make sharing easier with the AddThis Toolbar:

Posted in Behaviour, Leadership, Teamwork | Leave a comment

Matt Ridley: When ideas meet and mate – video presentation from TED

At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.  Currently also reading his book “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves” – a history of challenges that wo(man)kind has faced over the years and overcome and forms the basis for a optimism into the future.

Posted in Behaviour, Choice, Happiness, Innovation | Tagged | Leave a comment

Reflections on Leadership experiences

Recently I left an organisation after 11 years in a leadership role that included great financial, sales and customer results.

At the end of that time I look back and reflect upon those things that I am most proud of and find an analogy with De Bono’s comments about soup. “Water is necessary for soup but not sufficient”.

Achieving revenue growth, profit growth and building value are all necessary for one to regard a career as successful but they are not sufficient.

A legacy that leaves people who are highly skilled to carry on and continue the growth is also critical. Another issue, however, is foremost in my mind as I calibrate my effectiveness as a leader.

The question that is most critical to me is whether I provided a work environment in which people were able to;
a) be their best
b) develop and grow both personally and professionally
c) participate in the key decisions and directions of the business

From some very kind comments made by my staff in writing and my person reflections I feel pleased that I was able to make some impact across all of those things.

So my challenge to all leaders is what are you doing to enhance the workplace in which you operate and ensure that what you leave behind is a legacy that you will be proud of?

Posted in Behaviour, Happiness, Leadership, Management | Leave a comment

RSA Animate – The Secret Powers of Time

RSA Animate – The Secret Powers of Time.

Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world.

Posted in Behaviour, Happiness | Leave a comment

Chris Anderson talks about free in a digital economy

Have you considered just how much is available free on the internet? We know Google offers searches for free and yet they make a lot of money from ads but can others find a way to convert Free to some commercial gain or will price be stuck at zero (or near zero)?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Innovation, Marketing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dan Ariely shows us how we are “Predictably Irrational”

Dan Ariely is one of my favourite authors and this clip is a good summary of his first book highlighting how we are “Predictably Irrational”.  The clip is from which has an amazing array of wonderful presentation which are also available on youtube.

Posted in Behaviour, Decision Making, Happiness | Leave a comment

Creativity and Innovation as CEO requirements

A global CEO study by IBM discovers from talking one-on-one with 1,130 CEOs, GM’s and business leaders. About 60% of CEOs polled cited creativity as the most important leadership quality, compared with 52% for integrity and 35% for global thinking. Creative leaders are also more prepared to break with the status quo of industry, enterprise and revenue models, and they are 81% more likely to rate innovation as a “crucial capability.”  “Standouts practice and encourage experimentation and innovation throughout their organisations. Creative leaders expect to make deeper business model changes to realise their strategies. To succeed, they take more calculated risks, find new ideas and keep innovating in how they lead and communicate.”

For access to the full study findings and case studies go to

Posted in Creativity, Innovation, Leadership | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation

Ok more from Daniel Pink on what science knows about motivation and what business ignores Check it out on YouTube:

Posted in Leadership | Leave a comment

When estimating even CFAs can get emotional

McKinsey research shows that equity analysts have been overoptimistic for the past 25 years. They have forecast, on average, nearly double the actual earnings-growth rates with their estimates ranging from 10 to 12 percent annually compared with actual growth of 6 percent. Yet the CFA’s (Certified Financial Analysts) who abound in these role are such analytical people who eschew emotion in assessing companies. Who would have thought…see

Posted in Investment | Leave a comment

Cave men traits – hard wired into us as humans

We joke about our cave man heritage, the hunter deep within our genes as well as other characteristics to explain or excuse why we get easily distracted when having conversations with our spouse whilst the TV is on.  It was always a tough sell.

Finally “evolutionary psychology” shows how we are still very connected to those traits that stem from our earlier evolution as cave men.  We are now fully justified in attending to sights and sounds away from the conversations – it could really be a sabre tooth tiger that make us check and ensure we are not in danger.

For more important aspects of what these traits mean for us in dealing with people see the article from Harvard Business Review      To quote “people today still seek those traits that made survival possible then: an instinct to fight furiously when threatened, for instance, and a drive to trade information and share secrets. Human beings are, in other words, hardwired. You can take the person out of the Stone Age, evolutionary psychologists contend, but you can’t take the Stone Age out of the person”

Posted in Behaviour, Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment