Strategies for Improving Workplace Behavior and Performance

From Leadership Expert Dr. Diane Hamilton

Curiosity: The Key to Improving Innovation, Engagement, Creativity, and Productivity

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious” – Albert Einstein

Everyone is born curious. So, what happens? Why do some people become less curious than others? For individuals, leaders, and companies to be successful, they must determine the things that hold curiosity hostage. Think of the most innovative companies, and you will notice they employ people who do not accept the status quo, they are not reluctant to change, they evolve with the times, they look for problems to solve, and focus on asking questions.

Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates held a question and answer session at Columbia University. Just after the 5-minute mark, the moderator asked, “What is it that you two share?” They both answered with the same thing: curiosity. Buffett said, “Well, we both certainly share a curiosity about the world.” Gates said, “I think that curiosity that Warren mentioned, is an amazing thing.”

Continue reading “Curiosity: The Key to Improving Innovation, Engagement, Creativity, and Productivity”

Improving Workplace Conflict Requires Understanding Preferences

How do we know how others would like to be treated if we only look at things from our perspective?  Understanding personality and generational preferences is so important because we learn about opposing or differing perspectives.  To improve some of the key challenges in the workplace requires this understanding.  These challenges include poor soft skills, low emotional intelligence, lack of engagement, and a negative culture.  Many articles address how these problem stem from Boomer and Millennial conflict. Continue reading “Improving Workplace Conflict Requires Understanding Preferences”

Soft Skills: Critical to Employee Success

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Attend any leadership conference, and someone likely will bring up startling statistics regarding how employees and leaders lack something they refer to as soft skills. This term is used to describe many qualities that include interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and other personality-based issues. The problem that many organizations have experienced is that people are hired for their hard skills, or in other words, for what they know (knowledge). Then later, are often fired for their lack of soft skills, or what they do (behaviors). If employers recognize the importance of soft skills, they can avoid costly hiring and training mistakes, improve turnover, and boost productivity. Continue reading “Soft Skills: Critical to Employee Success”

Expert Speaker and Trainer, Dr. Diane Hamilton, Available for Corporate Events

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Generation Ali Passes the Torch to Millennial Generation

 

Muhammad Ali has been called the most recognizable man on earth. While he is still considered the champ from his boxing days, he has continued to inspire people around the world.  His belief that others can achieve greatness led to his most recent venture the Generation Ali Global Citizenship Scholarship Program.  This program, due to launch December 7, 2012, is aimed at the millennial generation. According to the Generation Ali site, the program is about “Fostering tomorrow’s leaders to achieve personal greatness, contribute positively to their communities, and change the world for the better.”

According to Alltech, Donald Lassere, president of the Muhammad Ali Center stated, “Muhammad Ali has proven that one person can be a spark that lights the flame of inspiration and change the world. Generation Ali will take up the torch and continue Muhammad’s legacy by inspiring a new generation of leaders to create better lives, better nations, and a better world.”

In order to apply for this program, applicants must

  • Be a high school senior or graduate or post-secondary undergraduate.
  • Plan to enroll or are currently enrolled in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited United States two- or four-year college, university or vocational technical school.
  • U.S. and international students encouraged to apply.

Ali’s Facebook site shows a graphic that mentions $10,000 scholarships. Ali stated, “This is it! The Greatest Scholarship of All Time is here! Start spreading the word. Online application starts December 7th! U.S. and international students encouraged to apply.”

 

Increasing Motivation, Right vs. Left Brain, MBTI and Who Will Rule the World

Dan Pink, author of several books about motivation and left vs. right brain thinking, presented a very entertaining and informative talk at a TED.com conference called Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation. The premise of his presentation was that there is a mismatch between what science knows about, and what business does, in terms of motivating people.

He made a strong argument for the importance of how having autonomy may help creativity.  A famous example he used is how Google allows employees to spend 20% of their time working on any project they want.  He noted how ½ of all products developed at Google are created during this time.  He argued for something he called ROWE which stands for Results Only Work Environment.  This is when people don’t have to have schedules, attend meetings or do anything specific other than to be sure that they get their work done.  By following these guidelines studies have shown it will increase productivity and reduce turnover.

Two of Pink’s books include:  Drive . . . The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us; and A Whole New Mind . . .Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World.  After looking through his book on “right-brainers”, I found a lot of what he had to say to be quite interesting.  He pointed out the importance of empathy which is a big part of emotional intelligence.  For my dissertation, I studied quite a bit about empathy and the part it plays in one’s emotional intelligence.  Researchers like Daniel Goleman, Ruevan Bar-On and others have shown that emotional intelligence can be developed.  In this respect, what Pink had to say is good news for everyone because we can all work on becoming more empathetic.

The part of Pink’s information that may not be such good news for me and others like me is that he thinks that, as you can see from the title of his book, right-brainers will rule the world.  Before reading any further, you might want to take this right or left brain quiz to find out your type.  I’ll let you know that I received a 2 which means I am strongly left-brained.  Not much right-brained thinking going on here!

 

To define the difference between left and right-brained, think of it this way:  Left-brainers are sequential, logical and analytical.  Right-brainers are non-linear, intuitive and holistic.

His theory supports that those with a high N or Intuitive personality type in the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) may be the ones who rule the world.  The N is the opposite of the S or Sensing personality who uses their senses rather than intuition in their processing of information.  In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, I learned quite a bit about the differences between the personality types assigned by the MBTI. One of the main things researchers have found is that your MBTI results don’t change much over time.  It’s about preferences . . . .like whether you prefer to write with your right or your left hand. Think of the MBTI results as your preferences for how you obtain information and this won’t change.  So if you are an intuitive or an “N”, you will always be an intuitive and if you are a sensor or “S”, you will always be a sensor.  Some people may be very close to the middle of the scale between S and N and so their results won’t be as cut and dry as they may find their type changes slightly when they take the MBTI.

Dichotomies
Extraversion (E) – (I) Introversion
Sensing (S) – (N) Intuition
Thinking (T) – (F) Feeling
Judgment (J) – (P) Perception

In our book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, Toni Rothpletz and I gave several examples of famous people with different MBTI results.  The qualities of the right-brainer, as described by Pink, fall very much into the category of the “N” or intuitive personality portion of the 4 letter type given by MBTI. What is interesting to me is that less than half of people have an “N” or intuitive personality type according to Myers-Briggs MBTI which is close to the about 50% figure experts say are right-brained.

If our type is pretty much set in stone, then 50% of us aren’t going to rule the world!  I guess I am OK with that.  However, I do take solace in knowing that my MBTI personality type, ESTJ, accounts for l0-12% of the population and of that population some very big names also share that type including Sam Walton, creator of WalMart.  He may not have ruled the world, but he came pretty darn close.

Do Introverts Make Good Speakers?

This is a very interesting topic that was recently brought up in one of my foresight in technology courses I teach.  Many of my  technology students are introverts. The Myers Briggs MBTI classifies people as introverts and extroverts.  The introvert tends to think before they speak. The extrovert tends to think as they speak.  Because of this, many may assume, the time lag preferred by an introvert may not make them the most likely candidates to be a good speaker.

However, really good speakers have spent long hours in preparation of their presentations.  This is an ideal way for the introvert to deliver information.  They have time to think and arrange their thoughts in a way that comes across in the way they intended. 

Classic introverts, like Bill Gates, can deliver wonderful speeches.  The problem introverts may experience in the speaking circuit would probably have more to do with the question and answer session at the end of the presentation.  At that point, once questions are asked, the introvert speaker could answer things very quickly if it is something they are familiar with and have answered previously.  However, should a heckler get into the crowd and ask something way off topic, in that case, it might not be the ideal situation for the classic introvert. 

An example of an introverted leader/speaker feeling as if they are under pressure during a Q&A session would be the Mark Zuckerberg video where he had flop sweat.

The Happiness Advantage: Not What I Expected . . . It was Better

I have been reading the new book, The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor. I have read a lot of books about personalities and psychology when doing research for my book: It’s Not You . . .It’s Your Personality. I noticed an ad for this book on AOL and thought I’d check it out. I’m glad I did because if I had seen this book, I may not have picked it up.

The cover does not do it any justice. The plain orange cover, containing what I assume is a partial smiley face, doesn’t really portray how interesting and entertaining this book is. I immediately liked the author’s style and content. He comes across as someone who would be very approachable.

The author, who not only went to Harvard, but taught there as well, comes across as much more of a common-man, than I expected. I mean that in the best of ways. He writes in a light, entertaining way and still educates the reader. Sometimes when you hear big name university instructors have written things, you imagine that their writing might be stuffy, and have too strong of a scholarly or dry tone. This is not the case with this author’s work. Achor has a strong idea of how to connect with the reader. He must have been a wonderful instructor. Perhaps that is why his course in happiness was one of the most popular Harvard course offerings at the time.

The book is about using his 7 principles learned from psychology to be happier and more successful. Filled with anecdotes about his travels and speaking experiences, Achor does a nice job of holding your interest. It is a very optimistic book about how we can all be happier if we follow these 7 principles.

What I really enjoyed about the book, other than the lighter tone, was that he explains some very interesting psychological experiments that are the basis of his work.

I highly suggest checking it out.

50 Famous People Who Failed Before Becoming Successful

In my book, How to Reinvent Your Career, I write about how some things we see as failures may actually lead us to something better.  The following is a list of 50 famous people compiled by Katrina Solomon from onlinecollege.org who failed before they became successes:

  1.  Henry Ford
  2.  R. H. Macy
  3.  F. W. Woolworth
  4.  Soichiro Honda
  5.  Akio Morita (Sony)
  6.  Bill Gates
  7.  Harland David Sanders (KFC)
  8.  Walt Disney
  9.  Albert Einstein
  10.  Charles Darwin
  11.  Robert Goddard (rocket researcher)
  12.  Isaac Newton
  13.  Socrates
  14.  Robert Sternberg (President of APA)
  15.  Thomas Edison
  16.  Orville and Wilbur Wright
  17.  Winston Churchill
  18.  Abraham Lincoln
  19.  Oprah Winfrey
  20.  Harry S. Truman
  21.  Dick Cheney
  22.  Jerry Seinfeld
  23.  Fred Astaire
  24.  Sidney Poitier
  25.  Jeanne Moreau (actress)
  26.  Charlie Chaplin
  27.  Lucille Ball
  28.  Harrison Ford
  29.  Marilyn Monroe
  30.  Oliver Stone
  31.  Vincent Van Gogh
  32.  Emily Dickinson
  33.  Theodore Seuss Giesel (Dr. Seuss)
  34.  Charles Schulz
  35.  Steven Spielberg
  36.  Stephen King
  37.  Zane Grey
  38.  J. K. Rowling
  39.  Monet
  40.  Jack London
  41.  Louisa May Alcott
  42.  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  43.  Elvis Presley
  44.  Ludwig van Beethoven
  45.  Igor Stravinsky
  46.  The Beatles
  47.  Michael Jordan
  48.  Stan Smith
  49.  Babe Ruth
  50.  Tom Landry

Ask Dr. Diane: Do You Have A Question?

I have dedicated  a section of my blog to answering questions about the topics I cover in my books.  If you have a question about online learning, personalities in the workforce, how to get a job or reinvent your career, personal finance, social media or any of the other topics I cover here, please  email me at diane@drdianehamilton.com and I’ll be happy to post it here with my response.