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Fostering a sense of empowerment…

As we continue our exploration into the importance of empowerment in the workplace, I wanted to share one of my favorite TED Talks. Amy Cuddy researches how our body language shapes who we are, she purports that one can actually "Fake it till you become it." In her research, Cuddy discovered that "Our bodies can change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, which will ultimately lead to our behavior changing our outcomes." Her suggestion that we all practice power posing in an effort to change how we interact with others, how confident we feel, and to empower us to be our best selves is backed by her scientific experiments. Take a listen...

How much does feeling empowered matter?

Lately, I have been reading quite a bit about the importance of empowering employees…This notion resonated with me because as consultants we come across many different types of employees in many different roles. The ability to empower employees seems to be a skill that must be honed by leadership. So, I asked myself, ‘How do you empower employees?’ Empowerment is defined as giving someone the authority or power to do something. I am not surprised that a recent report stated that today’s employees want ownership over their roles. In 2006, the Gallup Organization reported that companies who empower their employees experience 50% higher customer loyalty.

I think that most people believe that with clearly identified goals, they should be the architects to design how those goals will be achieved. If we provide flexibility to employees regarding where they work and how they work, will the result be better? I think the research supports that the results will exceed our expectations. Letting go of this type of control is difficult. When we witness other companies embracing a workplace that is freer and encouraging out-of-box thinking, we praise their ability to trust their employees and let them shine. LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, shared some of his career advice recently, “Inspire, empower, listen & appreciate. Practicing any one of these can improve employee engagement; mastering all four can change the game.” Successful leaders are typically good decision-makers, let’s face it, they make a lot of decisions each day, but that doesn’t mean that successful leaders have content employees. A leader who fosters a workplace where happiness, loyalty, and contentment are the desired goals is a leader who has the ability to step back and allow employees to make decisions and explore new ideas without her consent or input. Employees want to feel trusted and valued, so if leaders learn to let go of the reins and empower their employees to be innovative in the workplace, the results will be stellar!

 

https://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/BUS208-5.2-The-Benefits-of-Empowering-Employees-FINAL.pdf

https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/it-took-linkedins-ceo-exactly-2-sentences-to-give-.html

Consistency…How much does it matter?

We are big fans of process improvement, automation, and basically anything that keeps us on track to meet our goals. We aren't just talking about business goals either, we like to apply these principles to our personal lives as well. So, when we stumbled upon this article, Five Tips for Achieving Consistent Success, we were  intrigued and excited to dig in and understand what it takes to achieve success and keep it! To some, the idea of consistently repeating the same process day after day may seem boring, but we know that it garners results. When you create a process for your daily sales activities, your consistent behavior will lead to success. We especially liked the part of the article when the author noted that a "consistently successful people assume a dual responsibility: they are the architects and builders of their lives. Architects create blueprints; consistently successful people develop life-design strategies." You get the picture, you need to design the path to success and then work towards turning that design into a reality.  Click here to read article!

 

Gschwandtner, G. (2017, September). Five Tips for Achieving Consistent Success. Selling Power.

Is Learning Valued?

At Erudite Ingenuity, we believe that learning is key to employee satisfaction and longevity. Forbes published an article, Learning and Development Not Valued by Organizations, that discusses how organizations with a learning culture will be the most successful over the coming years. Click here to read article!

The Importance of The Customer Experience

At Erudite Ingenuity, we believe in creating customer experiences that are responsive to client needs. Our name says it all..we want to be knowledgeable about our client’s business and inventive with our solutions. Forbes recently published a great article, The Importance of Customer Experience in the Age of Instant Gratification, that discusses how {read more} Continue reading

The Importance of Telling a Story

At Erudite Ingenuity, we believe that a good story can turn a boring online class into a stellar student experience. We know how to create engaging online classes utilizing interactive media and powerful discussion launch posts to connect with students in a meaningful way.  Check out this article  Continue reading

Recent Reads…

We recently went on a short weekend holiday to Hilton Head Island, SC. Hilton Head is a wonderful place to relax, the focus is simply on family fun and beach time. One morning after a beach run, I perused the books at the hotel boutique and picked up Sh#t Your Ego Says by James McCrae. After quickly reading the back cover, I knew this was a book that would speak to me. Call it fear, call it ego, call it whatever you like, so often we allow our own minds to stop us from pursuing our dreams. James McCrae's introspective writing really delves into this topic in a fearless way. Most of you know that I love studying philosophy, so when I read McCrae's words, "Results never happen in isolation; they are a mirror reflection of our state of mind. Failure is a habit. So is success." I was hooked. (McCrae, 2017, p. 41). The word 'habit' always hearkens me back to Aristotle's famous quote, “Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” I truly love when philosophy from thousands of years ago can be related to everyday life and current topics. McCrae is purporting that in order for success to happen, we must work hard, have the right mindset, stay in the moment, and not allow the desired end goal to cloud the process. If our state of mind is on the result, we feel pressured to get to the end and our performance suffers. Essentially, our ego takes over and seeks validation for completion, not understanding the importance of enjoying the journey and remaining connected with our present state of mind, moment by moment. Similarly, Aristotle purported that we can only achieve excellence by acting appropriately each and every day. So, if excellence is achieved by acting rightly again and again, then it follows that excellence is actually a habit, not one act, but a habit.  I do believe that McCrae's book makes a similar point, namely that when we remain connected with our thoughts, and do this with intention, again and again, we will achieve success by practicing good, mindful habits.

McCrae, J. (2017). Sh#t Your Ego Says. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.

The 1st Step in Curriculum Design

Atticus Finch said it best in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird when he stated, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…” So, how does this apply to curriculum design, you ask?

Designing a new class can be a daunting task, and the first step is to really consider the audience. We believe in spending the time getting to know the type of person that will be interested in your content, so that as you develop your curriculum, you will understand how to structure lessons to best serve your audience.  Using the Backwards Design model to achieve this goal will provide the framework for your course design. The Backwards Design model focuses on the idea of mastery, so the real goal is that the student walks away with knowledge that can be implemented into real-life situations. The essence of understanding is the desired outcome, so explore with different ways to create an environment that will promote this idea of essential understanding and ultimately change the way a student engages in everyday life!

Ah…The Allure of the Screens

I stumbled upon this TED Talk while searching for some talks to share with my children. I was actually looking for a talk that would confirm that too much screen time is not a good idea. It is summer after all, and I am trying to encourage my children to go outside and enjoy the sun. The allure of the screens is all around us and so darn convenient. I fall prey to this as well… Do you have a question? Look it up on your phone. Need a phone number? Look it up on your phone. Want to book some travel while sitting in the passenger seat of the car? No problem, grab your iPad and book your travel while traveling! It is so easy to spend all of our time staring at a screen and you know what, sometimes it even feels productive. This talk puts things in perspective!

What is your why?

So I think it is pretty evident that I love TED Talks; I find them inspiring and informative. I have been following Simon Sinek for quite a while and he never fails to open my eyes to new ways of thinking. He has written many wonderful books. I particularly like ‘Start with Why,’ which provides insight into how great leaders embolden us to take action. Mr. Sinek delves into the question of why…Why do we do what we do? What makes us buy one product over another? How does our brain work when it comes to decision-making? Mr. Sinek challenges us to lead our lives by looking inward and starting with WHY.


Should we all be gamers?

My fascination with the question, “Should We All Be Gamers?” began when I was trying to make myself feel better that my kids liked to play video games so very much, I was desperate to find a positive in there somewhere. Hopefully their obsession with gaming would help them become smarter, better, and more accomplished; is this too much to ask?  Enter Jane McGonigal and her popular TED Talk titled, 'Gaming Can Make a Better World', now I was onto something...a better world?  Wow, I was only looking for some grain of hope that my kids would turn out okay if they loved video games, but this was too good to be true.  Turns out it wasn't too good to be true, video games are not only very popular, they tend to develop some very important skills along the way.  And gamers, well, they often have a better than average critical reasoning ability. Some researchers have even boasted that gamers are better learners because they have honed their prediction skills, meaning that they are better able to predict what might come next in the world, thereby improving their adaptive skills and reaction to new environments. I feel so much better now, I mean, perhaps I should play games too. The truth is, that is not such a bad idea, and game playing might keep my skills sharp. Ms. McGonigal has written books, given two more TED Talks and generally, been very impressive, I am a fan of her attitude and research. (@avantgame)  Her podcast with Tim Ferris (@tferriss) made me believe that we could all become "stronger, happier, braver and more resilient" if we just played more games! So, full disclosure, I am not very good at games, not even the kind that require you to get off the couch...my kids laugh at my ineptness. However, according to the research, I might just have to get in the game!

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/playing-video-games-could-make-you-smarter/

http://showmethescience.com/

New Year…New You?

Okay, so it is the first month of the year and we are all wildly trying to determine our resolutions. It feels good to make plans and promises, we are on the right track if we have established goals for each day, week, month, etc. If you are a fan of my blog, then you already know that I am all for self help stuff, I just prefer the 3,000 year old variety of help, namely the ancient philosophers. Aristotle stated, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and  wisdom.” It always amazes me that most of our sage advice was written thousands of years ago…so is there anything new out there?  Any new advice to start the year off right? I did a quick search on the daily habits of successful people and I must say most of it was simply a retread. Now Aristotle and Plato may not have said it quite so plainly, but the gist remains the same…Be introspective, rise early, get plenty of rest, exercise your body and mind, practice a charitable approach to life, always show gratitude, and so on, you get the idea.  Continue reading

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

So, you decided you need a new couch...excellent, now just run off to the store and choose from the hundreds of selections or, better yet, jump on the Internet and make a selection from thousands of choices. Isn't it exhausting?  The choice of a new couch is actually one of the smaller decisions you may have to make this coming year...you may be set on hiring a new employee or looking to expand one of your product lines. Perhaps you need to shift your business focus or decide how to spend your marketing dollars. Did you ever ask yourself if options really are a good thing? Is there any way to minimize our choices? Studies have shown that when we have too many options, our happiness is actually affected. Borrow a page from some of the most successful people in business; Mark Zuckerberg is often seen wearing the same outfit. Why?  We have an endless supply of options, yet some of the most successful people limit their choices. Maybe Mr. Zuckerberg is onto something. Tomas Laurinavicius recently wrote an article titled, "How to Master Your Life with the Decision-Making Diet." He notes that we are all suffering from mental fatigue due to the many decisions we must make each day.  While writing this article, my research turned up millions of articles on the notion of decision-making. So now the question becomes, how many articles should I read? How long should I spend on the Internet researching this blog post prior to sitting down to write? We are clearly suffering from information overload. So, what is the best possible decision to make going forward about our decision-making? Barry Schwartz stated it best in his TED Talk, “Adding options to people’s lives can’t help but increase the expectations people have about how good those options will be and what that’s going to produce is less satisfaction with results, even when they are good results.” His point is that our expectations have increased exponentially because we now have so many more choices, however that increase in choices has led to dissatisfaction because all we can think is that perhaps we made the wrong choice or perhaps if we had kept searching, we would have found a better choice. Did I mention exhausting? Okay, we need a plan, a ‘How to Make Decisions and Increase our Happiness in 2016 Plan’. I think we need to stick to our decisions and not look back. First order of business; minimize the clothing choices, stick to a small color palette, create a selection of 'uniforms', and make daily dressing a 'grab and go' experience. Okay, morning routine solved, now onto work life…how might we affect our workday? Perhaps, we decide how to structure each day and we don’t deviate from that structure. Or, we decide that twenty is the right number of sales calls to make each day and we actually make twenty calls each day. Maybe we decide that we will only check email at 8 am and 3 pm each day, allowing only one hour for response time. How many decisions do you think that you make in a day?  I am going to work on increasing my happiness by making a decision and then telling myself over and over again that it was an amazing choice. Want to join me?​


http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomaslaurinavicius/2015/12/10/decision-making-diet/

At Erudite Ingenuity…

We help myriads of businesses and organizations jump start, transform, tweak, refine, rethink, retool, and reposition their strategic efforts to get where they want to be.

Happiness…Is it really that easy?

A great TED Talk to jumpstart the year…Robert Waldinger conducted a study for over 70 years on happiness. In his talk, Waldinger declares unequivocally that it isn’t about money or success, happiness comes from healthy, social relationships. He eloquently states, “So this message, that good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being, this is wisdom that’s as old as the hills. Why is this so hard to get and so easy to ignore? Well, we’re human. What we’d really like is a quick fix, something we can get that’ll make our lives good and keep them that way. Relationships are messy and they’re complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also lifelong. It never ends.” So, when you are writing down those resolutions, perhaps nurturing friends and family should be at the top of the list!