A Simple Habit That Can Boost Productivity

NASA-DC-9-cockpit


Repeat Back
&
Report Back

Here is a simple habit that can boost productivity in your organization. One client credits this technique for an 18% increase in annual revenue with a reduced headcount. It takes practice but quickly becomes second nature.

I brought this method into the workplace from my flight training. Pilots and air traffic controllers (ATC) must communicate precisely and briefly while also executing specialized tasks. Misunderstandings in aircraft can have horrible consequences, so specific communication techniques are required. Many of the most serious accidents are caused by failure to follow these practices, including the 1977’s Tenerife Airport Disaster, commercial aviation’s deadliest incident.

Talk may be cheap but miscommunication is costly.

Have you ever listened to the (more…)

What Evil Lurks in the Design of Public Companies

CofC_milgram

 

Too many jobs are perfectly constructed to elicit inhumane behavior. Read my book to learn how it got this way.
 

The most fundamental lesson of our study:

 

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.

 

Even when asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.

 

—Professor Stanley Milgram, PhD
Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View
Perennial Classics 2009 p. 6.

Professor Milgram was responsible for two psychological studies that became well-known by the general public while having almost no positive influence on government or corporate structures, the “administer a painful shock” compliance experiment and the “Small World” six degrees of separation demonstration.

 


 

Sample Chapter of Crimes of Cunning


Chapter One is below.
Read the Author’s Preface by clicking here.


 

Crimes of Cunning 3D on sale now

Book Sample

Chapter 1
Haunted Hallways

I reminded myself that we were in a well-lit office, not a dark alley. No need to get aggressive yet. I relaxed my jaw and tried to keep the fear out of my voice as I replied, “If you pull my people off your project, there’s no way you’ll meet the delivery date.”

My client looked at me blandly, as if he had delivered a weather forecast. In fact, he had devastated my sales forecast. Five fewer of my consultants billing their time to this client meant there was no way I would meet quota to earn my bonus. I needed him to engage with me. I forced a response with a direct question that was also a threat. “Did Juan approve this staffing cut?”

“Why would I check with Juan?” asked the Director of Information Systems Development (ISD) for Billing Systems. He ran his finger down a page of the MCI internal directory as he spoke, “Nobody (more…)

Author’s Preface to Crimes of Cunning


Author’s Preface is below
Also free: Read Chapter One by clicking here.


 

Crimes of Cunning 3D on sale now

Book Sample

Author’s Preface

Mamas,
don’t let your babies
grow up to be corporate cowboys.
Or make ’em be
bankers and lawyers and such.

In the 1980s, I was a minor participant in major trends that would blow up the world economy in 2008, determine the dehumanizing workplace culture of today, and establish the Wall Street plutocracy that still guides governments and blames the poor for the plight of the middle class. Our descent began in the eighties, from endless e-mails to mind-numbing meetings, deregulated banks to defunded pensions, mortgage-backed securities to job insecurity, hedge fund royalty to vanishing loyalty, private equity to income inequality, even Starbucks ubiquity and business books’ vacuity.

I reluctantly admit that I eagerly supported every aspect of it. I ate the dog food and drank the Kool-Aid™. I believed in and tried to practice the free market economics and financial engineering I had been taught at the University of Chicago. I worked nights and weekends at an investment bank to help create a trading platform for one of the first derivatives. I willfully immersed myself in the toxic corporate culture of MCI. I was a true believer who gave thanks to capitalist economists Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan, cowboy capitalists Bill McGowan and Michael Milken, and most of all to cowboy president Ronald Reagan for making the 1980s “Morning in America.”

I was wrong. Now, I am mourning for America. This novel, detailing a descent and incipient redemption similar to my own, is partial penance and restitution. I hope this story encourages my readers to make better choices and a better world than I did.

After experiencing MCI, I began my search for a way of working that encouraged people to produce results while feeling appreciated, connected, and healthy. That quest made me an executive coach and gave me a life dedicated to workplaces of humanity and prosperity.

Caveat Lector

Lurking amongst the thousands of words in this book are a few dozen that are considered profanity, including certain stalwart Anglo-Saxon four letter words beginning with f and s. Since a major goal of this story is to convey a sense of the time and environment in which events are set, I chose to use herein the exact, if impolite, language I heard and occasionally used. I regret any upset or disturbance this accuracy may cause the sensitive reader but expressing your objection is likely to incite the author to use these very same words in reference to the complainant.

  *  *  *

Get your copy today.

Click here to see it on Amazon.com

Or, here for Barnes & Noble

 


 

The Power of Concentration – New York Times

 


 

The core of mindfulness is the ability to pay attention. …less about spirituality and more about concentration: the ability to quiet your mind, focus your attention on the present, and dismiss any distractions that come your way.

…[Of] those who had received the mindfulness training. Not only did they report fewer negative emotions at the end of the assignment, but their ability to concentrate improved significantly. They could stay on task longer and they switched between tasks less frequently. …They also remembered what they did better than the other participants in the study.

 

The Power of Concentration
By Maria Konnikova
in The New York Times
on December 15, 2012

 


 

See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.

 


Meditation for Managers video


 

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness

 


 

People who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives have the same [inflammatory response] as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity. …

 

Meaning was defined as an orientation to something bigger than the self.

Happiness was defined by feeling good. …

 

“Empty positive emotions are about as good for you for as adversity,” says Dr. Fredrickson. …

 

From the evidence of this study, it seems that feeling good is not enough. People need meaning to thrive. In the words of Carl Jung, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” Jung’s wisdom certainly seems to apply to our bodies, if not also to our hearts and our minds.

 

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness
by Emily Esfahani Smith
The Atlantic Magazine

 


 

Been down so long it looks like up to me


 

The point at which what we are given is difficult beyond endurance is a point that pierces and refines the soul. And (though this may be hard to believe) it is possible to be so fluid and centered, so filled with trust in the intelligence of the universe, that even the horror can pass through us and eventually be transformed into light.

Stephen Mitchell
Genesis: A New Translation of the Classic Bible Stories
Quoted in Psychology Today, December 1, 1996

 


 

A quick and novel technique for integrating difficult moods and experiences is here Resistance is Futile on this blog.

 

See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.

 


Meditation for Managers video


 

How to Increase Employee Cooperation and Collaboration

 


 

Would you like to more than triple the chances that your employees will volunteer to help a colleague or a customer? In just two months. For free.

Easy. Encourage your staff  to meditate for 20 minutes per day. That is the conclusion from a recent study.

The results were striking. Although only 16 percent of the nonmeditators gave up their seats — an admittedly disheartening fact — the proportion rose to 50 percent among those who had meditated. This increase is impressive not solely because it occurred after only eight weeks of meditation, but also because it did so within the context of a situation known to inhibit considerate behavior: witnessing others ignoring a person in distress — what psychologists call the bystander effect — reduces the odds that any single individual will help.

From Grey Matter: The Morality of Meditation
by David DeSteno, Ph. D. in The New York Times
describing research
by Paul Condon, Ph. D., Northeastern University
published in Psychological Science

 


 

See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.

 


Meditation for Managers video


 

When work arises during meditation


Many of my clients have noticed that among the many thoughts intruding upon their meditation are some that appear to be genuinely useful ideas and plans. My suggestion is to treat these like any other ideas that arise and use the opportunity to direct your attention back to the chosen focus of your meditation practice, trusting that ideas are plentiful and over time you will be more prosperous operating with a clear mind day-to-day than by grasping at insights and making plans during the short periods you promised yourself to meditate.

And if your mind is dominated by the idea, feel free to pause to take a note or move into execution. Don’t be a victim of your meditation.

For more, here is an article by a successful artist on her experience with this challenge, Amanda Palmer in The Shambala Sun.

 


 

See free, easy Meditation Instructions on this blog.

 


Meditation for Managers video


 

Slow Death by Stress

 


 

10 most stressful jobsThis clever infographic summarizes some of the research on the negative health effects of job stress. People similar to my clients, “Senior Corporate Executives,” are in the third worst jobs. It does not include the job my nephew had in Afghanistan, removing mines and IEDs, but other than combat the listed jobs do seem very stressful. Plus, soldiers have access to a great stress reducer not often available to business leaders: loyal comrades.