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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Happiness Research

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Levity (not joke telling) increases happiness and happy employees are more productive, innovative and less likely to leave.

Today we’ll take a look at some fascinating “happy” research.

The NY Times runs an opinion column called Happy Days that posts thoughts, research and comments from professionals and regular folks. A recent post by Paul Bloom, a Yale professor of psychology caught my eye. In it he considers whether it is necessary to choose between being a “happy pig or sad Socrates,” in other words, is it necessary to choose between indulging yourself and being a good person. Be sure to check out the comments; they add some excellent thoughts.

Second is a long article, but well worth the time to read it, especially if you are interested in the research being done on social networks.

Social scientists Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler are analyzing data from a study that has followed more than 15,000 Framingham residents and their descendants since it was 1948.

Their finding is that “good behaviors — like quitting smoking or staying slender or being happy — pass from friend to friend almost as if they were contagious viruses,” although not all experts agree.

Next week we’ll explore levity here at MAPpingCompanySuccess starting Monday with a review of the Levity Effect.

Please join us and add your thoughts on the subject.

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Rebecca Saxe On Your Brain

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

I love brain science. Not the neurosurgical kind that McDreamy practices on Gray’s Anatomy, but the research being done into the WHY of what we do and our reactions to others.

And react we do; we also judge both their words and actions.

As a result of my fascination with this, I was delighted by this TED video and thought you would enjoy it, too.

“Rebecca Saxe shares fascinating lab work that uncovers how the brain thinks about other peoples’ thoughts — and judges their actions.”

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr and TED

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Employee Care And Feeding

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Ahh, Saturday. A day to relax, read a few blogs, learn something and maybe take in a flick. And I have it all for you today.

First off we have the yin and yang of employee motivation and retention as brought to you by CIO and HR.BLR.COM.

Let’s start with CIO and an article that explains how corporate policies and procedures kill employee excitement, passion and innovative actions.

Then click over to read a white paper by the University of Scranton’s Sarah K. Yazinski describing how you can minimize turnover and increase positive attitude in the process.

And from a small business owner who grew his business from himself to three companies with combined employment of 104 people, a concise description of how he did it and his four keys to motivating his people. I like his attitude when he says, “There’s an old saying: “A fish rots from the head down.” Corollary: It also rocks from the top.”

Finally, the movie. The NY Times review of Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! is very intriguing, but the reader comments will give you a more diverse view with which to make your final decision.

Enjoy your weekend!

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Entrepreneurs And Culture

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

If there is one thing I have learned in more than two decades of working with entrepreneurs is that there is little that is “typical” about them, contrary to the media and even the scientific research.

How many times have you heard that entrepreneurs are risk takers? That may look true on the outside, but talk to them and you’ll find that most consider the risks minimal—based their own personal definition.

Let’s take a look at some proof of what I’m saying.

Most people think of entrepreneurs as loving a high profile as their success increases, but that isn’t always true. Take a look at this story about 24 year-old twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who, as movie stars, are constantly in the news, but as entrepreneurs don’t even associate their names with their businesses.

Entrepreneurs know their culture is a reflection of them and their people. The smart ones are transparent when it comes to sharing that with potential clients; they let it all hang out as opposed to putting on a show. It’s good business.

Next is an entrepreneur’s take on MBA. After all, who but a serial entrepreneur would think to combine networking with a serious adrenalin rush and call it Maverick Business Adventures?

Last, but certainly not least, are brief profiles of six Pacific Northwest entrepreneurs and the cultures they’ve created, good reading!

Before we close I have a homework assignment for you. Heather Clancy is a very smart lady, but I disagree with her take on great culture; come back Monday and find out why.

Have a terrific weekend!

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Who Got The Money?

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Today I have two offerings about money and those who have it and one sanity update.

Let’s start with the sanity. A couple of months ago I asked if women really were less risk-prone and cited a woman=led startup that was planning on doing geo-thermal drilling in the worst earthquake zone in the country; apparently that project has been delayed.

Next, in case you missed it, is the newest listing of the Top 10 for CEO pay. I couldn’t decide between the two versions, CNN and the NY Times, so here are links to both; each has slightly different peripheral content.

Finally, for 30 years the rich have been getting richer. Think about it, in 1977 the top one ten-thousandth of households took home 0.9 percent of the nation’s income; three short decades later it took home 6 percent, but what’s happening now? Will it bounce back and continue? This analysis offers good information and doesn’t require a degree in economics to understand.

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Stupid Policy And Prejudice

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Today I have some great links to share that should bring a laugh, or at least a chuckle, to anyone who has worked in the cubes of corporatedom.

Of all business actions, the one that people are most prejudiced against is meetings. David Silverman offers a great idea that rings organizational bells in a positive way—sanity via the 50 minute hour.

Next is a question asked by a reader of the Boston Globe. Typically questions asked publicly garner a variety of opinions, but not when the questioner is looking for support for pursuing self-recognized unethical behavior—no matter how stupid the underlying policy.

And speaking of stupid, how ’bout the newest device to deal with interoffice romance? Read all about the love contract (yes, it’s legally binding) that some companies are instituting.

Stupid topping stupid today, but first prize has to go to the Burger King manager who invoked the “no shoes” policy when dealing with a barefoot six month old baby.

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr and YouTube

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Social Saturday

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

I don’t DO social networking, but I read a lot about it and I thought I’d share some of the more interesting items I’ve come across lately.

As I’m sure you all know, more and more companies, such as Ford, Southwest Airlines and Pepsi, are using social media both internally and externally.

When companies use new technologies they need to create policies regarding them for their employees.

And when they write policy they tend to do it in a self-generated vacuum, ignoring the larger world in which they function and the culture that has grown up around them. The result is often a fiasco as CNN recently learned.

Finally, I’d like to introduce you to my buddy Phil Gerbyshak. He’s a social media guru and if you’re interested in learning about stuff like Twitter click the link. Phil explains not only the how but the why behind using social media and can help you keep your cyber foot out of your online mouth.

But Phil isn’t a social media ideologue and is willing to share the other side of the equation—even when he doesn’t agree. Heh heh. I think he was thinking of me when he posted this video.

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Bossy Women

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

As I wrote last week, the days of telling women (or men) to choose between career and life are numbered.

Globally and domestically women are taking the bull by the horns, banding together and forcing change.

It may seem to be at a glacial rate, but change is change and you can see it more clearly in hindsight.

Recent studies show that women may be more likely to blow the whistle, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

But the best news for women is found in numbers crunched in Europe—having them is profitable.

“European firms with the highest proportion of women in power saw their stock value climb by 64 percent over two years, compared with an average of 47 percent, according to a 2007 study by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company.”

That’s good news, because selling management on profit is far easier than selling them on doing something because it’s the right thing to do.

And be sure to check out Forbes list of the most highly paid corporate women, you may find some surprises.

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: A Day Off

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Due to serious computer problems I’m taking today off.

I’m sure you’ll find something interesting to do with the time normally spent here on Saturday.

Jim Gordon’s mYgeneration will grace the blog tomorrow and I’ll be back on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: Two Inspiring Stories

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

I have two special stories for you today, the kind that make you realize that there really are rays of hope piercing the hypocrisy so prevalent these days.

Special because they highlight two very different people and their accomplishments against the odds.

First is the story of a company and its employees who really do live by the professed corporate values. The employee is Jim Sinocchi who broke his neck and was paralyzed from the neck down. Instead of walking away, Sinocchi’s employer created a position for him; he is now director, Workforce Communications at the corporate headquarters. That was 28 years ago, long before passage of the ADA or advent of politically correct actions. The company? IBM.

The second is definitely a story of our times.

Management Today named Kate Craig-Wood one of its 35 Women Under 35 2009: Heroines For Hard Times. Here is what they say about her.

“Craig-Wood began her career at Arthur Andersen. She co-founded web and IT hosting provider Memset with brother Nick in 2002 – it now turns over £2m. In 2008, transsexual Craig-Wood won a NatWest Everywoman award. She was the first woman to tandem skydive onto Everest.”

What’s the big deal?

Kate Craig-Wood was born Robert Hardy Craig-Wood.

If they can do it, so can you!

Image credit: MykReeve on flickr

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