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Baseball bats & knee caps: are you a big hitter?

If I asked you “when was the last time you beat a colleague with a baseball bat?” you would probably answer “Never”. Or at least I would hope you would! What if I told you that you are probably wrong. That unbeknownst to you, you probably did it this today, and several times in the last week. Research Recent studies have shown that social exclusion triggers the same neural pathways as physical pain. fMRI studies published in 2003 first showed that social exclusion uses the same neural pathways as physical pain. People were given a ball to play with and then some were skipped and the effects on the brain were measured. But this is hardly real life, or is it? How DO you test for this in real life? Well, you could ask a bunch of students to split into three groups, one with bats (that beat each other),...
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Feedback, sans Kitchen Sink.

Feedback, feedback, feedback; our lives seem to be permeated with it. If it is not feeling the temperature change and adjusting our clothing, it is our boss telling us what we do wrong. But which types of feedback do we want from people that are important to us; colleagues, parents, bosses and spouses. What do we need from those that matter to us most? The kitchen sinkOften when we get to a feedback conversation we tend to throw everything in there. Because we tend to follow classical feedback models that says we do a performance appraisal once or twice a year, it becomes the de facto “throwing everything including the kitchen sink” at an employee scenario. This does not work! What are we supposed to remember from the conversation? That we felt angry, upset or betrayed? Did you not see all the good I did? Why do I only hear...
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Gratitude, the Impact of “Thank You”

Are you polite? Did your mother teach you to say please and thank you? Do you consider it good manners to be polite? Then why is it that so many of us seldom say it, colleagues? When was the last time you said: “thank you”?Scientists now believe that showing gratitude improves our lives in at least six different ways. New RelationshipsA 2014 study showed that expressing thanks to a new acquaintance makes people seek a continuation of the relationship. This means that thanking someone for a random act of kindness such as holding open the door or thanking that new colleague with the help they provided you leads to new opportunities. Better Psychological HealthRobert Emmons concluded, from his studies into well-being and gratitude; that Gratitude reduces envy, resentment, frustration, regret and a host of other toxic emotions. It also builds optimism and counters pessimism. More Empathy, Less AggressionStudents participating in...
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Friday Afternoon Bravery

It is Friday afternoon. It has been a long week. Some ups and some downs, but finally time to relax and grab a beer with your colleagues. Every Friday after work you get together with some of your colleagues. The question however beckons. How many of them look, sound, think and act like you? Typically, how many of them are burly men? How Different is Different? For instance, if you are in the USA, how many people are Mexican? If in Europe how many are Turkish or Moroccan? And if in Africa how many are Asian? In Japan, how many of them are “gaijin”. Who do you never see in the middle east? In Asia? Do you know any of them? Why are they not with you? Are any gay? How many women are there?Are any of them “different”, ie do not look like you, sound like you or behave...
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1, 2, 3 Exponentially Me: The basics of personal exponential growth

The joy of life is that we are all born with immense potential. Although we do not always find the path we need to tread quickly, there is always hope; not only of finding it but also of rapidly growing into the best person we can be. Finding the Growth hack Over the last 3 years, I have been delving into who I am, who I could be and who I think I should be. It has taken me on a journey of self-discovery. As with most journeys, it has not been without setbacks and struggles. I was confronted with parts of myself which I never thought I had; good and bad. And yet I managed to learn from all of it, or at least tried to. What I discovered though is that when people are on that journey with you they grow with you, others that are not do...
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Kindness Makes you Healthier

Yes, it sounds far fetched, but being kind to others can make you not only happier but also healthier. In this article I’ll explain how it affects brain chemistry that in turn affect your health. So bear with me and I’ll show you how to become healthier through kindness. Ancient Wisdom Most of us have hear the axiom “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This is also known as the Golden Rule. It has various forms, both positively and negatively worded and from various origins. The oldest recorded form dates to c.a. 500BC. So it is nothing new. What we have discovered recently is the impact it has.When we are kind to others, what I like to refer to as “small random acts of human kindness”, we trigger the release of Oxytocin. Not only do we trigger it in ourselves but also in those that “receive”...
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Every CEO needs a Don(na)

Suits, the TV series, has spawned a sleuth of recognizable characters. If it is not Rachel (currently known as the Duchess of Sussex), then it is Donna. Donna is the person that knows everything about everyone. She knows the perfect things to say and do in any situation, is the perfect conscience, understands the spirit of the company and knows people’s desires.  So why does a CEO need a Don or Donna?  Do you know the feeling of it being lonely at the top of the pyramid? How it sometimes feels like you are out of touch with people that you think you should know better? How you don’t always connect with your team and how sometimes it feels like you say one thing and they do another?  Maybe, just maybe, it is because you are not aware of how they react to you. Although we all have the ability...
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Don(na)s and Teams

Do you think your team is lacking in compassion? Compassion is one of three parts of empathy:  Cognitive empathy, the ability to see how others feel – See Affective empathy, the ability to feel what others feel – Feel Compassionate empathy, the willingness to act on what you see and feel. -Do  Compassion is the “action” element, but it starts with seeing. Only when we see how others feel can we “empathize” with them and act upon it. Teams that score low on cognitive empathy also underperform when it comes to ideation, innovation, complex problem solving and connecting with others.  To improve your team’s performance, you need to add a Don(na). You know, someone like Donna from Suits the tv series. Someone that can see how others feel. It may be that you are secretly the Don(na) where you are it is time for you to step up and help the team improve.  So...
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Hope: The missing ingredient for a successful business

Hope is the ingredient that gets many startups and small businesses through the early stage battles for revenue, lack of funding, and the demands any business owner need to address on an ongoing basis.  Anyone who wants to be a leader in today’s world needs hope. Not only to believe in, but to give to others. Studies reveal that if you want loyalty, commitment, or innovation, you need to give hope. In fact, a recent applied positive psychology paper cited hope as the primary driver for innovation, which makes sense, as the purpose of innovation is to make tomorrow better than today.  And in a world that is driven by innovation, a new style of leadership is needed – one where hope leads us to a better future.  Edelman’s latest trust barometer revealed that ethics has superseded competence when it comes to driving trust. It also shows that fear has...
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On being Don(na) – Are you Good or Gifted

Are you a Donna? Are you able to find the right things to say and do almost instinctively? Are you sensitive to how others feel?  If you have not yet guessed we are talking about the character from Suits. Yes, Harvey’s conscience.  Recent research has shown that cognitive empathy is the best predictor for groups to solve complex problems. Not only are Don(na)s good for morale in a company, they are also essential for innovation. Don(na)s notice that people have an idea. If you do not have such a hidden idea spotter, how many ideas do you lose every week? How much is affecting your company growth, innovation and effectiveness? Is one of yours sitting on the idea that will revolutionize your industry? How will you know without a Don(na)?Make no mistake; all organisations need more Don(na)s.  If you are one of the lucky ones, that are good at detecting...
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Overcoming the pitfalls of being a Don(na)

Donna, from Suits the tv series, has a knack for sensing what others need. You may also be a Sensitive, a Don(na). This does not mean you are emotional, but that you can see emotions well. This is an amazing quality to have. It has been shown to be key to innovation, problem-solving and helping teams achieve greatness. It is not always easy to live with. You see how others feel. Completely. It means that their intentions in all their complexity are visible to you. What people say, do and feel are seldom 100% congruent. This can be a struggle in the work environment where people make statements that are politically correct, but you see the disconnect between what is said and what is meant. This also gives you an amazing ability to get to the heart of the organization. You can enquire, discuss and discover how people truly feel....
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1001 Ideas for Acts of Kindness

Doing a kindness for someone releases Oxytocin. It helps us connect with them. The person doing the act of kindness, the recipient and any observers all get a hit of Oxytocin. it helps us all to be more connected and thus more resilient. Please help us take this list to 1001 ideas. Here are 101 ideas to start you off. Criteria: a non-reciprocal act of kindness. This means that it will be weird if someone immediately did it back for you. so it should not be possible to make it transactional. ( ie tit for tat) 1. Leave money on a vending machine for someone 2. Bake cookies for the elderly 3. Serve at a homeless shelter 4. Do a 5k for a good cause 5. Help at a veterinarian office 6. Pick up litter on the beach 7. Let someone go in front of you inline 8. Give a...