Speed Review: Winning Decisions

Review Tools and a Process For Making Decisions As everyone says, “Work smarter, not harder.” In Winning Decisions: Getting It Right the First Time , authors J. Edward Russo & Paul J.H. Schoemaker, two experts and professors in the field of decision making, provide a direct route to working […]

Interesting New Term – Streaming Analytics

I just learned a new term – Streaming analytics. Apparently streaming analytics is the application of analytics to data while it’s in motion, and before it’s stored – and includes data manipulation, normalization, cleansing and pattern of interest detection. Streaming analytics affords insights into: Social networking activities Data streams […]

7 Simple Keys to Personal Success

At 65 years old, I’ve been fortunate to have worked very closely with many successful people.

These interactions have taught me 7 simple rules to ensure success.

1. Build Two or Three Core Competencies Over Your Lifetime:   The first item on the to-do-list is to build a couple of lifetime core competencies.  Find two or three things that you are really good at, what you like doing, and what you can do your whole life.

2. Grow Good Connections – Starve Bad Connections: As you go through life you will make a lot of connections with all kinds of people.  You need to identify those connections which are good for you and help you grow and thrive, and you need to identify those connections that are not good for you and actually prevent you from achieving success.

3. Do Not Hesitate To Hire Professional Help: One of the biggest factors for failure is not hiring Subject Matter Experts to help you achieve your goals.  Everyone reaches a point where they need professionals with right background and experience to help make key decisions.

4. Keep Asking “What Next”: Anyone, however innovative or successful, will plateau over a period of time. The key to continued success is to have a vision that extends beyond the short term. The question is whether you are prepared for next phase of innovation before happens.

5. Focus on the Intent: You need to keep a laser like focus on what you are trying to achieve.

6. Drive for Consistency: It is critical that you understand that people around you can work with you in more productive ways if they can predict with some certainty what you are going to do.

8. Seek Honesty in all things: Particularly about yourself.


10 Important Ted Talks that Will Help You Change Your Life

The Goal of the Georgia 6th District Learning Community is help us all to learn and grow.  Here are the top Ted Talks we think are helpful to achieve that goal.

The summaries for all of the videos below are just quick introductions to the subject. They can’t really do these speakers’ talks justice, so hopefully you’ll have about 20 minutes to spare for each video (or come back to watch the rest later).

The Action Item for the Learning Community is to describe what are the facts, conclusions, and recommended actions from each of these.  We can then accumulate the facts, conclusions, and recommended actions into the life dashboard.

10. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Change your posture, change your life. Amy Cuddy explains how even faking powerful body language can reduce stress and make you more confident. Adopting a power pose is such a small thing but could make all the difference when you’re in a high-stress situation like a job interview or negotiating a raise.

9. The Power of Vulnerability

We all feel vulnerable and fearful of uncertainty at times, but these situations can be powerful paths to growth. Dr. Brene Brown’s research on human connection finds that happier people tend to accept the unknown and also that being vulnerable made them feel better and beautiful.

8. The Mathematics of Love

Still looking for that special someone? Mathematician Hannah Fry dishes up several math-based tips to find the perfect partner, including not using the perfect online dating photo.

7. Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid

Psychologist Guy Winch argues in his TED talk that too many of us don’t care for our emotional and mental health with the same diligence that we take care of our bodies (and things like brushing our teeth). Loneliness, guilt, and other psychological “injuries” could be even more dangerous than physical traumas. Try to think of emotional wounds as you would physical ones.

6. I Am the Son of a Terrorist. Here’s How I Chose Peace.

“It takes a lot of energy to hold hate inside you.” That’s the message from Zak Ebrahim’s moving TED talk, his story of choosing a different path than the violence and bigotry he was raised in. Though his story is about a very specific subject of terrorism and bullying, Ebrahim shares a few important lessons: You can use your experience to develop better empathy, actually getting to know people of different walks of life will expand your own life, and whatever your environment or family’s ideology, you are not them.

5. How to Speak So That People Want to Listen

Everybody wants to be heard when they speak—not just heard, but listened to. Part of it is we could all use to become better listeners, but another part of it is changing how we communicate with others. Sound consultant Julian Treasure offers the HAIL method of talking to others so they’ll trust what you say and pay attention: Honesty, Authenticity, Integrity, and Love.

4. How to Make Hard Choices

You can’t go through life without making difficult decisions. Philosopher Ruth Change helps us make life-changing decisions by looking within yourself—it’s an opportunity to decide who you want to be.

3. Why We Do What We Do

What motivates you and makes you do the things that you do? What drives you today? Tony Robbins says that emotions are the invisible force of internal drive.” We all have great minds and think intellectually, but it’s our emotions that makes the difference in the quality of our lives. Fulfillment, Robbins says, is an art and it’s all about appreciation and contribution. (Watch it at least 5:30-5:40 for the Al Gore high-five.)

2. You Can Grow New Brain Cells. Here’s How

Who doesn’t want more active brain cells? Neurocscientist Sanrine Thuret points out three things you can do to grow new brain cells through neurogenesis: Learning, sex, and running. Sounds good to us.

1. My Stroke of Insight

Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor’s description of how the brain works and her experience after having a massive stroke is one of the most emotional TED talks you could watch. It’s about self-awareness, a near-death experience, and, most importantly, that we are all energy beings connected to the energy all around us—including each other. Whether or not you appreciate the spiritual undertones, Dr. Taylor’s note that “we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world” is powerful advice.

New Term – Motive Attribution Asymmetry. Add this to “Confirmation Bias,” “Selective Perception,” and “Motivated Reasoning” as Reasons For Our Political Disfunction.

I found a new term, “Political Motive Attribution Asymmetry” that adds to, “Confirmation Bias,” “Selective Perception,” and “Motivated Reasoning” as the reason our political problems seem to be so intractable.  The term came from a Study called “Motive attribution asymmetry for love vs. hate drives intractable conflict.” Click here to see the Study.

It seems obvious to me that there are a lot of reasonable compromise solutions available to us.  Yet, we seem to always end up yelling at each other, rather than work to find solutions to our problems.  The Authors of the Study suggest that “Motive Attribution Asymmetry” means that:

“Adversaries attribute their ingroup’s actions to in-group love more than outgroup hate and attribute their outgroup’s actions to outgroup hate more than ingroup love. This biased attributional pattern increases beliefs and intentions associated with conflict intractability, including unwillingness to negotiate and unwillingness to vote for compromise solutions. … Understanding this bias and how to alleviate it can contribute to conflict resolution on a global scale.”

“Although people find it difficult to explain their adversaries’ actions in terms of love and affiliation, we suggest that recognizing this attributional bias and how to reduce it can contribute to reducing human conflict on a global scale.”

The current position of Senate Conservatives that they will not hold hearings on the US Supreme Court Nominee is a great example of how ideological and Political actors are willing to risk the health of their Country, because they are unwilling to make political compromises.  This is just one recent example.  There are unfortunately too many other world wide examples of political, economic, ethnic, and religious groups across the world rejecting solutions of mutual benefit that involve sharing power, land, or religious sites.

Why are so many conflicts so intractable when people on both sides could gain from a compromise?  I lay the blame for intractability at the foot of “Confirmation Bias,” “Selective Perception,” “Motivated Reasoning,” and now the new term, “Motive Attribution Asymmetry.”

This study supports the notion that:

“A fundamental barrier to conflict resolution may be simple pessimism toward compromise. If adversaries believe inflexibility on the other side renders mutual compromise impossible, they will be unlikely to adopt seemingly rational strategies for conciliation. In other words, the perception of conflict intractability may be an independent cause of a stalemate. Here, we identify a fundamental cognitive bias that contributes to the belief in conflict intractability, and may therefore contribute to conflict spirals.”

“People will attribute ingroup engagement in conflict to love more than hate, but they will attribute outgroup engagement in conflict to hate more than love. We term this pattern the “motive attribution asymmetry.” We use the term “bias” to mean response tendency (rather than error); in this case, a tendency to attribute love vs. hate to one’s in-group to a greater degree than to one’s outgroup and to attribute hate vs. love to one’s outgroup to a greater degree than to one’s in-group.”

The 7 Keys to Being Better Understood

This list of the 7 keys to being better understood is intended help you succeed more by helping you focus more on how you say something than what you actually say.

A fundamental intent of most of us is being better understood.  But, in reality, mutual understanding is a very rare by-product of communication.

Let me give you an example of a sentence taken from a recent article exploring the nature of human consciousness:

“Neuroplastic mechanisms relevant to the growing number of empirical studies of the capacity of directed attention and mental effort systematically alter brain function.”

Exciting?  Hardly!  In fact, most of the words you read barely register in your brain.  And, unless you specifically wanted to know something about neuroplastic mechanisms, you stopped thinking this after the first 2 words.

The fact that the words we actually speak barely register with the listener is not new science.  There is a lot of research demonstrating that the words we speak are the least important part of communication when you have face-to-face conversations with others.

So what should you do?  Try to focus on the list below when you talk to someone one-no-one or to a group of people in a presentation.

  1. Eye contact – try to look in people’s eyes and try to connect saying are you listening to me and do you understand me.  This eye connection is critical to effective connections.
  2. Kind facial expression – People want to be around other people that are kind and nice.
  3. Warm tone of voice – This may be difficult, but you should try to be welcoming and warm in your tone
  4. Expressive hand and body gestures – Don’t speak like your a statue.
  5. Relaxed disposition – Try to be relaxed first, then should come easy
  6. Slow speech rate – A key benefit of this is that the listener has more time to digest what you are staying.
  7. Brevity – My general rule is 2 sentences and than take a pause and see what the listen does.

Effective communication is based on trust, and if we don’t trust the speaker, we’re not going to listen to their words. Trust begins with eye contact because we need to see the person’s face to evaluate if they are being deceitful or not. In fact, when we are being watched, cooperation increases.

Eye contact increases trustworthiness and encourages future cooperation, and a happy gaze will increase emotional trust. However, if we see the slightest bit of anger or fear on the speaker’s face, our trust will rapidly decrease.

A key thing to remember here is that you can’t fake trustworthiness because the muscles around your mouth and eyes that reflect contentment and sincerity are involuntary.  Solution: if you think about someone you love, or an event that brought you deep joy and satisfaction, a “Mona Lisa” smile will appear on your face and the muscles around your eyes will soften.

The tone of your voice is equally important when it comes to understanding what a person is really trying to say. If the facial expression expresses one emotion, but if the tone conveys a different one, neural dissonance takes place in the brain, causing the person confusion. The result: trust erodes, suspicion increases, and cooperation decreases.

If nothing else, I would like to ask you take try and implement the last two keys, slow down and brevity.  When you speak, slow down!  Slow speech rates will increase the ability for the listener to comprehend what you are saying, and this is true for both young and older adults.

Slower speaking will also deepen that person’s respect for you, Speaking slowly is not as natural as it may seem, and as children we automatically speak fast. But you can teach yourself, and your children to slow down by consciously cutting your speech rate in half. A slow voice has a calming effect on a person who is feeling anxious, whereas a loud fast voice will stimulate excitement, anger, or fear.

One excellent way to help you slow down is to follow my simple rule, 2 sentences and shut up. When you construct a message try to figure a way to say it in 2 sentences and then stop and listen to what the audience thinks.

Try this experiment: pair up with a partner and speak so slowly that … you … leave … 5 … seconds … of … silence … between … each … word.  You’ll become aware of your negative inner speech that tells you that you should babble on endlessly and as fast as possible. It’s a trap, because the listener’s brain can only recall about 10 seconds of content!  That’s why, when we train people in Compassionate Communication, we ask participants to speak only one sentence at a time, slowly, and then listen deeply as the other person speaks for ten seconds or less. This exercise will increase your overall consciousness about the importance of the first 7 elements of highly effective communication. Then, and only then, will you truly grasp the deeper meaning that is imparted by each word spoken by others.