Tag Archives: Behavior

Work or Death? Why Our Relationship with Work is Broken (Part 2)

Our relationship with work is broken.

While we may not YET classify work as a disease, mounting evidence suggests that work can make us sick and is often deadly.

Last year, Forbes reported the annual healthcare cost for work related stress had risen to $190B. The number swells to $300B when factoring in lost productivity, absenteeism and related employee turnover. That means for every $1 Americans spend on cancer related healthcare expenses, we spend $3.5 on work related illnesses and it doesn’t stop there, more people die of natural causes (namely heart attacks) during one five hour period each week, year after year, decade after decade… can you guess what part of the week it is? You got it!

Monday morning between the hours of 5AM-10AM, the hours leading into the start of a new work week. It is as if we are visited by a Monday Morning Angel asking each of us a simple question…work or death?

The vast majority of the time we wouldn’t even consider the question, until one darn day, we think — I can’t go into THAT PLACE any more! I choose death today!

Our relationship with work is broken, not only because our jobs have become one of our greatest health risks, but also because the fundamental deal between employee and employer has changed.

No longer are fresh-out-of-college-new-hires just 40 short years away from a gold watch and a funded pension. That deal is no longer on the table. In fact, today’s college graduate is likely to have an average of 12 jobs in a given career. The implications for compensation, health benefits, financial planning and retirement – not to mention retirement age – are very real concerns and just one more reason why our relationship with work is broken.  Next week we’ll examine two more reasons as we ask some tough questions about some strange organizational behavior and discuss why you might want to keep a close eye on your boss…

As always, I look forward to hearing what you think at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Stay connected,


You Know How THEY Are: The Flipside of Stereotypes

From a young age we’re taught that stereotypes are inappropriate, lead us to false conclusions and promote cultural biases that don’t have any place in a progressive society.

However, used correctly, stereotyping can be a powerful tool in your relational development efforts — provided you are willing to shed every part of the stereotypical picture you’d created once presented with the facts.

Stereotyping Best Practices

  1. Prepare. Use stereotypes as a means to prepare yourself for positive and productive interactions.
  2. Research. Create stereotypes through research. Understanding where someone went to school, when they went and what they studied can tell you a great deal about what they value and how they see the world.
  3. Discover. Use your research to find common ground (shared interests or experiences) that will help you begin to see him or her as a person instead of a name or title and allow you to begin the connection process, even before you meet.
  4. Let reality rule. Chances are the stereotype you’ve created isn’t accurate. That’s okay and expected. Start to disassemble your stereotype as you interact and begin to understand your new contact as a unique individual.


You have two job interviews scheduled and of course you do a little research. Here’s what you find:

Interviewer #1
Graduated from Oxford in 1967 with a degree in microeconomics. He’s single and enjoys butterfly collecting.

Interviewer #2
Graduated from Berkley in 1992 with a degree in psychology. She’s married with four kids and plays in a Jazz band on the weekends.

1. If you had to choose only one interview, which would it be?
2. Which interviewer are you most likely to connect with?
3. Would you change your approach in each interview?

Stereotyping is hardwired into each of us, a defense mechanism that helps to keep us safe from the unknown. Learning to use what your brain does naturally can help you rapidly accelerate your relationship development efforts.

As always, I welcome your thoughts at Jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Stay connected,


I Know Who You Are, Saw What You Did and Know What You’re Planning…

Researchers examined 500 million tweets (that’s right a whole day’s worth for Justin Bieber) to develop algorithms with the power to predict behavior–hours in advance.

  1. A standard social media post includes when you posted, who you’re with, where you are, etc.
  2. Algorithms applied to social media data may allow researchers to predict what you are planning next—even before you do it.


There’s always been a fine line between solid, preparatory relational research and being downright creepy but that won’t stop the steady drumbeat of capitalism! Many companies are exploring new ways to capitalize on your social media habits.

  • Data from your toll-way EZ-pass may help predict when and where you’ll be parking your car – or at least the managers of the New York State Thruway think so.
  • Xerox is also working to apply the concept to call center service…“What if you called a help line and they knew why you’d called before you said a word?”

Oh… And don’t even think about that thing – the thing you haven’t thought of yet – the thing you shouldn’t do – because someone, somewhere, may already know what you’ll have in mind…


Always look forward to hearing from you…write me and tell me your thoughts…

Source: http://discovere.binghamton.edu/features/tweets-5853.html

Why We Do What We Do: Habits…Why are They so Hard to Change?

  1. About 40% of what you do every day is pretty much the same things, in the same situations, as you did yesterday… and the day before that… and the day before that.
  2. We establish patterns of behavior that allow us to reach our goals and then we do it again…wash rinse and repeat.
  3. In a recent study participants were given the tough task of tasting popcorn (hard work!), and as expected, preferred fresh popcorn over stale popcorn. However, when given the popcorn in a movie theater they ate just as much of the stale popcorn as they did the fresh.
  4. So if you want to change a bad habit?
    • Change Environmental Cues for Existing Habits: someone who moves or changes jobs has the perfect opportunity to remove old cues, or if eating healthier is the goal – rearrange your fridge so the junk food is somewhere else,
    • Allow for Time to Make the Change, Repetition is Key: it can take up to 254 days to form a new habit; and
    • Link Good Habits Together: if you want to floss more, make brushing your teeth always the cue for flossing after.
Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-08/sfpa-hwf080714.php