Tag Archives: Business

The Dangers of a Growth Mindset

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Carol Dweck is a psychologist who championed the idea where people have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A fixed mindset pertains to a person who believes their talents and abilities are fixed and cannot grow or advance beyond a certain point. A growth mindset pertains to a person that believes their abilities and talents can grow with hard work, persistence, and through rising to a challenge. People with a growth mindset often are leaders and show-runners with incredible amounts of tenacity and fervor.

In other words a growth mindset is good – really good for someone who wants to become a very influential leader. However, I have recently pondered: is there a drawback to having a growth mindset? Is it possible to have such a starving growth mindset that one is almost greedy for more progress and growth – to a fault? Is it possible to ever be satisfied in a growth mindset?

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Filed under change management, leadership, motivation

4 Ways To Lead Change

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There are many ways to bring about change in an organization, team, company, or other group. Here are 4!

1. Highlight the bright spots! It is easy for a leader to feel like they have to reinvent the wheel when major change is the goal. However, usually there are some employees or people already performing the desired behavior, at least to some degree. Highlight this, focus on this, reward this, validate this! Focus on why this is happening in some people and what intrinsic motivation is perpetuating this behavior.

2. Shrink the change! If I asked you to eat a whole pie right now, it would seem intimidating. However, if we divided a pie up into slices, the pie would be easier to consume. Chip and Dan Heath bring this into a context in their book “Switch,” where small victories perpetuate more small victories… instead of just focusing on one huge victory.

3. Choose your tasks wisely! In Kerry Patterson’s book “Influencer,” she urges her readers to focus on changing a maximum of 3 or 4 things. Think of the image of a person spinning a bunch of plates at a time, something that you may have seen on Letterman or in a circus. As the person spins 3 or 4 plates, the task seems relatively easy. However, as more plates are spun simultaneously, the first plates start to wobble. As more and more plates are added, more plates wobble, some may fall, and the plate spinner sweats like crazy trying to make them all spin at once. When you set out to change, spin a few plates and spin them well!

4. Lead from the front! It is one thing to talk about change and another to demonstrate change. Today, my wife and I went to the beach and read for a couple of hours. While at the beach, we saw a bunch of dolphins jumping 30 feet off the shoreline. It is one thing to tell you about this or to even show you a picture, but it’d be a bit more impactful for me to bring you along to the beach so you could see it with your own eyes. Being alongside people to experience change – or to model the behavior to your cohorts around you – shows that you walk the talk that you bring. People follow leaders who lead from the front and experience change alongside their teams. Oh yeah – by the way – leading from the front is a lot more fun than watching from the sidelines!

This list can easily go on to include multiple other things. What do you think? What else would you add? What has worked for you?

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Filed under change management, lists, motivation, Uncategorized

AmygdaLAAAAAAAAAAA! (in an opera voice)

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Srinivasa Pillay wrote  a book relating brain science to the business world. It’s on my long list of books to read… but here’s a cool exerpt from an interivew he did with Business Insider:

“One of the reasons that business strategies are not executed effectively is that they are presented in a way that makes people anxious. This anxiety reduces productivity, undermining the strategy. An organizational psychologist might identify that productivity is affected by the level of your anxiety, but a brain scientist could say, “When you become anxious it activates the fear center in your brain, which can then disrupt the thinking part of the brain, to which it is connected.”

“Moreover, brain science tells us that even when fear is completely outside of conscious awareness, the fear center of the brain still activates. If you’re unable to focus on a project, you may not be feeling anxiety consciously, but anxiety that is active in your brain may be lessening your productivity.”

Agree? Disagree?

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Recognizing and Perpetuating Success

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Ok… Last mention of Daniel Pink (Sorry guys- “Drive” is a really interesting book!)… He argues extrinsic motivation (pay, monetary incentives, etc…) doesn’t typically work over the long haul but intrinsic motivation does. However, I think there can be a way to merge both worlds.

Let’s say you are a manager in a store and you have just witnessed an employee, Sabrina, helping a customer very effectively. Sabrina is an employee who does a solid job but is not someone who necessarily leads others.

Old school extrinsic motivation reward: “Sabrina, I observed you helping that customer effectively. I want to give you a paid day off for helping that customer!” 

My suggested extrinsic/intrinsic reward: “Sabrina, I observed you helping that customer effectively. I want to let you know that your efforts, character, and performance are absolutely appreciated in this place and I am proud to have you on my team. You matter to us and I am proud of you. Here is a paid day off coupon to thank you for contributing to our company’s success in the way you do.”

In my suggestion, the reward is not an end to itself. Instead, it is in response to, not only a specific behavior that was performed, but also references Sabrina’s internal processes, her sense of self, character, and ultimately reinforces Sabrina’s sense of buy-in towards the company. Those latter characteristics are internal conventions that could certainly contribute to further intrinsic motivation – which Pink cites as being a powerful driving force in successul people.

Agree? Disagree? Do you have any experience in situations like this?

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5 Questions with Greg Richardson (from StrategicMonk.com)

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Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. This week we meet Greg Richardson of StrategicMonk.com.

Name: Greg Richardson

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Position/Job: Leadership and Organizational Coach, Spiritual Director, THE Strategic Monk at StrategicMonk.com

1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

There are a couple of things that have been especially motivating for me, and they are both connected to having respect for the leader I could become.
 
For one example, I worked with someone who began our project together by giving me a list of clear, tangible objectives that took us to our goal. I had no question about what they expected, and was confident that each action would be a step toward completing our project well. I set out to make sure that we met each objective ahead of schedule.  The project went extremely well, and we had a great time working hard to stay ahead of each other.
 
For another, I worked with someone who was very good at giving me time to find solutions. We would sit down together and I would describe all of the obstacles, all of the challenges, all of the reasons we were not going to succeed. They would listen, give me some time to catch my breath, and then ask , “So, what are we going to do?” Again and again, their approach gave me the opportunity to examine the pieces of our situation and see the way we could move toward our goals.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

I think the thing that takes away my motivation more than anything else is when someone tries to take away my ability to find my own way of working.
When people micromanage me, when they take away the discretion or authority they had already given me, when they do not listen to what I have to say, I hear them communication that they are not interested in me. They are not aware of what I can contribute, they do not share my values, they are not interested in how they can help me become a stronger leader. Their main concern seems to be getting someone to do something for them.

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

Becoming an effective leader begins with knowing and being your deepest self.
 
The leaders who inspire me do the work it takes to clear away the distractions so they can recognize and appreciate their true selves, then share themselves with the people around them. They are the leaders who have been able to see my true self, even before i could see myself, and guide me toward becoming the leader I can be.

4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

I am a recovering attorney, and used to work as a criminal prosecutor. I learned how to motivate people to do and say what I wanted them to do and say.
Now, as a coach and a spiritual director, I am less directive, less argumentative. I listen more, and try to motivate people to speak and act for themselves. I ask questions that are different from cross-examination. I am not trying to present a persuasive case, more helping people listen to their own deeper stories.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

Spend some time in reflection every day. Set aside the distractions of expectations and urgency. Take a walk or sit in a rocking chair. Get some fresh air and take deep breaths. Spend some time listening to silence.
Give yourself the opportunity to remember your core values; why is what you are doing important, and how does it reflects your deepest self?

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5 Questions with David Hunt

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Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. This week, to change things up a little bit, we’re looking at one of my direct employees as our featured personality.

Name: David Hunt

Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Position/Job: Retail Sales Specialist at REI Santa Barbara

1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

Honestly all of my managers at REI have been amazing in their own way. Matt is terrific at recognizing people who are doing exceptional work and finding ways to increase productivity in less motivated workers. Lindsay puts everyone around her in a better mood by balancing her warm and sincere personality with a work-ethic that everyone respects. Wil is a master at bringing workers together for outside events, and making sure sales and membership goals are emphasized. I could go on and on about my experience with leadership at REI to talk about Dave, Piper, Mitch, Payton, etc (and I am still leaving a lot of people out), who are all stylistically different and yet are unquestioned leaders of their respective departments. They have all taught me to play to my strengths and embrace the leadership qualities I have while building on areas that I am less experienced in with their help.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

At RCC I was involved with a “leadership” group where the executive board was made up of six friends who decided to start a local chapter of an east coast organization. They had big ideas, and exceptional communication skills but never executed any of their goals that they spoke about in their first meeting which hosted over three-hundred students. The three hundred students quickly dwindled when they found out that they would not really be participating in any kind of reputable seminars, and the focus was more on generating profits to pay back the east coast operation. The experience made me realize that it doesn’t matter how excited you are, or how many people you can bring together for a meeting if you don’t deliver a product, or experience people that validates you as a leader. In other words, “Talk is cheap”

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

To me the quality that makes a truly good leader is someone who wants to listen to the concerns of those around them. It’s easy to tell someone what to do, and even to show them how it should be done in your own terms. To create an environment where not only do people feel productive, but also validated with their ideas and contributions is a skill that true leaders always need to master.

4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

I am currently developing a peer recognition program at REI where employees will be able to support each other for the work that we do every day. We experience unexpected challenges on a daily basis and a lot of times recognition for the way we handle those experiences goes unnoticed. When I see someone do a particularly good job, handling a tough customer, or cleaning up after somebody who didn’t do their job correctly etc, I make sure that I praise the effort to ensure they know their actions are appreciated. This helps motivate workers who otherwise might feel that someone else can handle the problem and/or default to calling a manager.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

I will refer back to question 3. Leaders have to be perceptive to what is going on around them and be able to respond with plans and goals that benefit their respective communities/organizations as a whole. If you are a leader people will look to you to help solve their problems and you can’t do that with incomplete information. An isolated leadership style will only allow you to work with the information you already have, but branching out and gathering knowledge from those around you will always help distinguish a true leader from someone in a position of power.

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How Leaders Can Make Ideas Stick (video)

Chip Heath, the author of Made to Stick and other leadership books, provides some cool insight…

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