Monthly Archives: September 2007

Changing Minds

Found a fascinating site tonight – – which humbly boasts “over 2,200 pages on all aspects of how we change what others think, believe, feel and do”. I’m looking forward to making sure I’m across the latest research, courtesy of David Straker and his family.

It sits right up there with the weirdly named which was started by as an experimental online resource by Alan Chapman and now provides learning and development resources, including great summaries of many business theories and processes.

Check them both out, you’ll find lots to apply.

Influencing others – showing that progress is being made

I’ve just read an interesting research study based on Robert Cialdini’s Influence work. Check out his Inside Influence website for the full article.

Testing a car wash loyalty program, researchers gave some customers a loyalty card with 8 boxes to stamp before getting a free wash and gave others a loyalty card with 10 boxes to stamp before the free wash, but two boxes were already pre-stamped. The effort was the same – they had to purchase 8 washes to get a free one.

Their findings were as the researchers hypothesized:
The message is clear: people will be more likely to stick with programs and tasks if you can first offer them some evidence of how they’ve already made progress toward completing them. If you use this strategy, like cars at a carwash, your influence will sparkle.”

Implications for managers: keep looking for instances of where progress is already being made and bring that to people’s attention, so the finish line seems closer.

Spring – Time for Human Flourishing

It’s that time of year again – my birthday – when I think about the year that’s been, celebrate my growth, successes and failures and evaluate the learning from the year. Then I set my intentions for the new year. It’s great because it coincides with spring time and find I gain lots of energy from the warmer weather and spring-time flowering. My favourite tree is a magnolia which has been magnificent in bloom over the past month.

This year’s intention is to focus even more on my passion for supporting human flourishing. From an ‘A Passion’ perspective, it also means we will keep developing and promoting systems that support human flourishing at work (thanks to Elisabeth Gortschacher for insights from her Personal Branding DNA program this year, which contributed to my clarity around this passion).

Sociologist, Corey Keyes, PhD, sums up flourishing very well:
Flourishing happens when people feel high levels of emotional, psychological and social well-being, which can result from experiencing vigor and vitality, self-determination, continuous self-growth, close relationships and a purposeful and meaningful life.”

Flourishing also has hard-nosed work benefits, according to Keyes’ research and my experience:

“Flourishing adults tend to miss fewer days of work, experience fewer physical health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, and are more productive at work than people who are not flourishing.

So if a flourishing life and workplace appeals to you, please contact us at A Passion for Results, we are keen to work with organisations where the environment is rich for planting new seeds i.e. where there is a purpose beyond profit.

Simply Irresistable

Watch out if you have curious employees and managers who become bored.

“When bored, highly curious individuals are oriented to finding novelty and are sensitive to environmental nuances that can increase arousal. Boredom foreshadows impulsive and delinquent behaviors …”

If we ask curious people to toe the “company line” and submit to following boring procedures, the temptation to create a bit of excitement may become irresistable.

However: “When activities are perceived as boring but meaningful, individuals deploy strategies to enhance interest and sustain effort toward goals. High compared to low curious individuals are probably more likely to be able to generate interest in activities that are meaningful or unavoidable” … even if they are boring.

So number one key is make sure the work is meaningful and number two key – if you can – is to allow some variety to spice up work life. Try this link from Robert Palmer:

Source: Character Strengths and Virtues, by Dr Martin Seligman and Dr Chris Peterson, page 130

Leadership Essentials

I thought this was a nice summary of the essentials of Leadership, from Building a Leadership Brand, by Dave Ulrich & Norm Smallwood. | July–August 2007 | Harvard Business Review.

“As a prerequisite to building a leadership brand, firms must master what we call the Leadership Code.
Leaders must master Strategy; they need to have a point of view about the future and be able to position the firm for continued success with customers.
They must be able to Execute, which means they must be able to build organizational systems that work, to deliver results, and to make change happen.
Additionally, they must Manage Talent, knowing how to motivate, engage, and communicate with today’s talent. They must also find ways to develop tomorrow’s talent and groom employees for future leadership.
Finally, they must show Personal Proficiency – demonstrating an ability to learn, act with integrity, exercise social and emotional intelligence, make bold decisions, and engender trust.”

I liked the phrasing of the third point regarding Talent. Great strategy and systems still require great people to execute.

From Doubt to Curiosity with a “Possibility Pill”

I have a client who came to me with a problem – she doubts everything, both her capability and the capabilities of her team. In certain arenas the doubt has served her and the team, but in general, it creates a drag on their collective performance.

We agreed that to shift from doubt to optimism was too big a jump initially, so she has set herself a stepping-stone challenge: to effectively use her doubt by turning it into curiosity. She considers this challenge both achievable and a more positive way of thinking, but not “over the top like optimism”.

To do this she is adding one little word to her thinking and speaking – the word “how”.

Instead of thinking: Can we do this? She now asks “How can we do this?”

Instead of wondering “Is he right for the role? she now thinks “How is he right for the role?

Instead of doubting herself with the question “Am I good enough? she now asks herself “How am I good enough?”

She calls the word her “possibility pill” and her goal is to take one at least three times a day until it becomes a habit.

I’m looking forward to hearing how she’s gotten on when next we meet.