November 30, 2010

Who's listening?

I just received one of "those" random calls trying to sell me a service. He put me off straight away by mispronouncing my name. Then, he launched into a litany of the dangers of connecting to the internet through my computer. When I mentioned my live-in technical guru they promptly hung up before the word "husband" left my mouth.

The call had nothing to do with providing me with an essential service. It was about making a sale. I won't bother with the pitfalls of outsourcing telecall agencies that have no understanding of the local culture. I will make note of the context for his call. Sales, versus service. He had no understanding of the impact of his words on me, nor did he care.

Every word we say creates a world out there with whomever hears our message. It's an opportunity to make a positive contribution or damage a relationship. Choose your words with care.

Someone is listening.

November 19, 2010

Can you juggle?

More from the Neuroleadership Summit - Malia Mason and Intentions:

We've all become master jugglers. Emails, phone calls, requests, demands, meetings...the list goes on of the daily balls we have hanging in the air. How do we do it?

The Zeigarnik effect is a phenomenon that explains how our short term memory is able to hold onto multiple items by keeping them as open intentions. So named after the Russion Psychologist who noticed that waiters could keep orders in their minds, only until the food was served. Open intentions enable us to keep a running to-do list in our minds and scan unconsciously for information to help us with them.

Problem is, these days we have literally hundreds of open intentions to juggle - so many that they become distracting and exhausting. What can you do?

Finding one unified system for downloading your intentions will help clear your mind, while enabling you to prioritise and focus on one thing at a time. With a visual list to work from, you can choose to tackle the most important items, the easy ones for quick wins or even the ones to let go of or delegate. Keep it simple and make it easy on yourself.

November 2, 2010

Trust your gut, not the experts

Just back from this year's Neuroleadership Summit in Boston where we heard from leading researchers from Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Cambridge and NYU. The sessions were fascinating and the in-between conversations rich with ideas. I highly recommend attending next years' summit in San Francisco.

On day two, Sandy Pentland and Richard Daft laid out a compelling argument for trusting your gut over the so-called "expert" advice. High status does not necessarily translate into high quality. Often, it is just the opposite.

When we think attentively, we tap into the
millions of bits of information that our unconscious mind takes in and processes from our environment. While we're mostly unaware of this, it adds up to an intuitive understanding of the right course of action, leading to much smarter decisions.

When we lapse into habitual thinking and defer to the experts, we ignore the subtle clues that lead us to the right decision. The results are often worse than if your average person were left to decide.

Bottom line? Trust your gut. Great leaders do time and again. They're rarely wrong