Change

by Randy Sabourin

Practice makes perfect.

We have all heard the adage before: it takes time, practice, repetition, exploration, mistakes and successes to master a new skill. Perfect, though, is a rather lofty goal..

“When I was in school the teachers told me practice makes perfect; then they told me nobody’s perfect so I stopped practicing.”   Comedian – Steve Wright

So let’s say practice makes better or perhaps practice makes permanent.

Let’s explore how we generally acquire new business skills. Consider training a large group of sales people on objection handling and cross-selling and their managers on coaching to the new process. Usually the Corporate Learning and Development (L&D) team designs or purchases the training material, which is then incorporated into a workshop and perhaps an e-learning module. The participants are assembled; flights, hotels, venues are booked, and workshops are attended. The feedback from the workshops is outstanding, the e-learning scores are magnificent, and everyone is happy. Mission accomplished. If they were lucky, the Managers received an extra day of training regarding their responsibility to sustain the new sales process through coaching. While this process varies depending on the size of the organization and the commitment to the learning, this approach has been the norm for decades.

The real test of the training is whether the participants change their behavior in the field. If the way to measure ‘lift’ (a change in behavior and results) was part of the design process a key question is whether the Manager will have the skills to recognize any lack of change and then have time to coach to it. Usually, a few months go by and a small percentage of people are using the new content while Managers go back to focusing on their jobs with little time to coach. The status quo wins out and the L&D team goes back to the drawing board to design an even better training and coaching program for next year. Fingers point in both directions and the L&D budget is in jeopardy again next year with little or no evidence of return on training dollars invested. Read the rest of this entry »

By Randy Sabourin & Cameron O. Anderson

Managers understand and appreciate the hard work and long hours their employees put in. Often they will thank staff by setting aside a day of play for activities ranging from golf tournaments to laser tag. But why do we continue to separate play from work? Are they mutually exclusive or can we find a way to connect the two and make play an integral part of the workday?

“The opposite of play is not work, it is depression.” Brian Sutton-Smith

Employee engagement is a sign of a healthy and growing company. When employees clearly see how and why their work matters, they contribute to the overall goals of the company. But often employees come to work and simply function, dreading the next work day knowing they are coming back to do the very same thing again. According to studies on workplace engagement 84% of managers don’t know how to accurately measure their team members, only 7% of employees fully understand their company’s missions and what is expected of them to achieve these goals and 90% of Gen Y-ers say they desire co-workers who make work more fun (socialcast.com). Read the rest of this entry »

Musician and researcher Charles Limb wondered how the brain works during musical improvisation — so he put jazz musicians and rappers in an fMRI to find out. What he and his team found has deep implications for our understanding of creativity of all kinds. Your Brain on Improv

Other articles for Charles Limb:

Music on the Mind – Hopkins Medicine Magazine

Keynote: The Creationist -Johns Hopkins scientist Charles Limb on the music in his mind  – The Urbanite

Your Brain on Jazz: Neural Substrates of Spontaneous Improvisation. – Podcast from the Library of Congress

by Lauren Davey

Organizations often look outside for top talent as a way to “raise the bar” or avert a talent crisis.  There is much being written today about talent shortages among organizations – it is real and prevalent.  Yet, what if we could help our organizations fight the war for talent by taking a more active role in our development?   Could that role reduce the talent shortage by creating opportunity for others and our selves already on the payroll?  After all, the workplace is filled with skilled employees who have accrued countless years of valuable experience.  First, however, a commitment to change is required to meet the new and growing demands of organizations for their leaders today.

Over the years we change our hairstyle, our clothes, the cars we drive, our home furnishings.  We spend time researching and evaluating items such as the latest Smartphone to determine whether we should upgrade our current hardware for the latest version– yet when it comes to an upgrade of our leadership capability, we tend not to invest much thought and even fewer resources. Though leadership may not evolve as quickly as Smartphone technology, the principle remains the same.  Upgrades eventually make previous versions of the same thing obsolete.  Read the rest of this entry »

By Cameron O. Anderson

Investors and Advisors alike have come to accept the efficient market school theory that maintains that market activity is based on people making rational economic choices. But the reality is that people act on their emotions constantly and often unconsciously. We become overconfident or fearful, “irrationally exuberant” or regretful.  Our herd mentality often takes over while we perceive and frame our investing options in unusual ways.  But why? Neurofinance seeks to answer this question.

Neurofinance combines psychology, economics, and neuroscience, to study how people make investment decisions. The goals of neurofinance are to identify the psychological inputs that impact trading behavior and then connect these traits to trading success or failure. It also looks to develop the training methods to improve performance and lower risk.

There are certain behaviors that hold potential implications for investors. The following is an overview of common behaviors demonstrated by both investor and advisor:

  • Overconfidence and Hubris. Individuals generally assume they know more than they actually do. They also tend to remember previous financial decisions in ways that exaggerate their own foresight. This can lead to overly aggressive decisions and a reluctance to admit—and correct—mistakes. The “illusion of control” and “how great gains change the brain” are common themes explored in the field. Effective questioning techniques of investors and/or advisors help to uncover and correct this investment behavior. Read the rest of this entry »

by Randy Sabourin
Over the years both Cam and I have contributed our time and resources to several worthy charities. When we talk about Fairness as a team building attribute in our Team Dynamics Workshops, the subject of philanthropy often comes up. Research on why we volunteer our time to charities can be linked to our sense of fairness and desire to balance the scales. Others who are less fortunate, experiencing social injustice or suffering from a disease need our help. We feel better when we show compassion and help others. Matthieu Ricard has been dubbed the happiest man in the world. In his TED Talk Chade-Meng Tan from Google explains that Ricard’s happiness was measured with an fMRI and that it was the highest ever recorded. Ricard states that he was meditating on compassion at the time. Read the rest of this entry »

By Randy Sabourin

Leading change is one of the most difficult tasks faced by every level in an organization. Traditional ‘carrot & stick’ and humanism behaviour motivation is being replaced by a ‘brain based’ neuropsychology approach. Discussion and research continues on why we resist change and the often predictably irrational opposition seen when an organization adopts new strategies or systems. The placebo effect is a powerful phenomenon that may be an additional tool to assist us in realizing our change objectives.

The placebo effect has been a well documented phenomenon in the medical and scientific community for several decades. It can be defined as “the physiological or psychological response to an inert substance or procedure”. For quite some time, it has been observed that administering a remedy with no medical value (a sugar pill) can have positive results because the patient ‘assumes’ they feel the effect of the drug they believe they are taking. Although employed as a “commonplace method or medicine” as early as the 18th century, it was first brought into modern medicine context by an army nurse during the Second World War who lied about administering pain-killers to wounded soldiers. Read the rest of this entry »

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