Tag Archives: Innovation

Death by PowerPoint and Other Communications Disasters

Ever left a meeting wondering what the heck everyone was talking about?

While a quick wit and a smart turn-of-phrase can get you noticed, the practice does little to advance the cause of effective communication. Worse, the vast majority of our traditional business vocabulary is not generally understood.

My first experience as a post-graduate was an orientation session with 100 fellow learners. The facilitator started the session with an unusual proposition — anyone able to define the term ‘leadership’ and successfully defend their choice, could skip the entire program, save years of work and nearly $100K in expense and receive his or her Doctorate that day!

Three hours later, more confused then when we’d started, nobody was ready to attempt the challenge. The facilitator used the opportunity to introduce our first assigned textbook – all 12 pounds and 1,296 pages of The Bass Handbook of Leadership, which discussed many of the 55,000+ known definitions of leadership!

We use terms like leadership everyday… but what are we really communicating when our meanings are unclear?

Last week, I conducted an interview with a former Fortune 500 CEO and I asked him a direct question, “What does Innovation mean to you?”

He told me it was hard to define (I liked him already) but in his experience, Innovation is about “getting people to think differently”. Now, that’s a definition I can live with… I understand it and I can identify it when I see it…

Anyway, it’s time to get back in the presentation, I think they are on slide 642 by now, but at least I’ll know what they mean when they talk about Innovation

READER CHALLENGE: Can any of you help define Strategy, Tactic, Objective, Goal, Team, Collaboration…or any of the other words we use every day but few really understand?

I feel your pain… now pay me!

Ardent followers of Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence will be delighted to learn that new research suggests emotional intelligence, in the from empathy, may yield more than productivity gains.

The Study:

  1. Psychologists at the University of Bonn conducted an international study exploring people’s ability to recognize emotions,
  2. Participants tasked with recognizing the emotions exhibited in pictures of faces and voice recordings were ranked on a scale,
  3. Coworkers and supervisors also ranked participants as to whether they were socially well-attuned, influential, sincere, good networkers, etc.

The Results:

  1. Data suggested a correlation between high scores on both rankings and higher income levels,
  2. Lower scores tied to lower incomes.


Research continues to link relational competencies to financial success. From the IBM study suggesting each active member of our network equates to $948 in net worth to common sense logic that the more people that know who you are, understand your capabilities and care about your success; the greater the chance you’ll succeed.

Fortune Cookie Bottom Line:

It is better to have more friends about than to be down and out…

Source: http://www3.uni-bonn.de/Press-releases/it-pays-to-have-an-eye-for-emotions

Are you politically correct? It may affect your productivity…

  1. Political correctness sometimes gets a bad rap by people who think that it is just a way to censor their right to free speech; however, Cornell University has proven that it can actually increase the creativity of work teams that are comprised of both men and woman.
  2. This is challenging the idea that in order to have a truly creative team, everyone should be allowed to speak their minds, whatever the consequence.
  3. Political correctness is shown to help people feel more comfortable while sharing their creative ideas, because it reduces the insecurity they might feel while interacting with others, especially those of the opposite sex.
Can you tell the difference between being politically incorrect and being candid? 
Source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/this-just-in-political-correctness-pumps-up-productivity-on-the-job

Multitasking… Bad for you, but good for your kids

  1. It has always been thought that multitasking leads to poor performance, but that idea may now be a thing of the past.  Researchers have found the opposite to be true for adolescents.
  2. During the study, it was found that young high-media multitaskers were better at weeding out distractions but performed worse when asked to focus on a single task. Low multitaskers were less able to filter out distractions but seemed to focus better on single tasks.
  3. The study shows that people who have grown up with a lot of different media devices have developed an improved working memory and seem to perform better in distracting environments.

What do you think this is going to affect as younger generations join the workforce?

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/aaop-rtb100314.php

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

Meditation and Mental Processing

  1. Meditation isn’t just about easing stress
  2. New research shows we actually process more thoughts and feelings during mediation than when we are just relaxing
  3. Although many people attempt to suppress random thoughts during mediation, research suggests that allowing the mind to wander actually increases processing

Source: Jian Xu. Nondirective meditation activates default mode network and areas associated with memory retrieval and emotional processin

Social Networks & Your Network

  1. A new study of social network marketing (think Facebook) illustrates that the larger your network the greater the value generated and the more stable the network…anyone remember MySpace?
  2. In low-intensity networks (like your personal network), effective management can serve as the catalyst for growth…Are you being proactive with your network? Reached out to any long lost contacts lately?
  3. Networking success can be emulated and adapted. If your network isn’t world-class today, it doesn’t have to stay that way… Learn what’s working for others and make it your own!

Reach out with outreach and connect today!

Work and Creativity

  1. A new study suggests that creativity outside of work can enhance job performance
  2. Creative activities outside of work seem to directly enhance the ability of employees to problem solve and help others on the job
  3. Researchers suggest organizations can encourage employees to pursue creative hobbies outside of work by sponsoring contests and offering discounts for supplies

Source: Kevin J. Eschleman, Jamie Madsen, Gene Alarcon, Alex Barelka. Benefiting from creative activity: The positive relationships between creative activity, recovery experiences, and performance-related outcomes. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 2014

Performance and Work Environment

  1. Attempts to change the social or physical workplace environment do have positive effects on work-related outcomes
  2. Changes to the social environment seem to lead to better work performance
  3. Changes in the physical environment seem to help workers concentrate

Source: Effectiveness of a Combined Social and Physical Environmental Intervention on Presenteeism, Absenteeism, Work Performance, and Work Engagement in Office Employees. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2014