Create A “Go To Hell” Plan to Help Survive Your Next Crisis Reply

PlanningBy Chris Simmons

From my earliest days in the military, I was taught to always have a plan. It made sense. After all, if something is worth the investment of your precious resources (i.e., time, talents, and treasures), it merits a well thought-out roadmap to success.

But it didn’t stop there. “Your adversary has a vote” we were told, or more emphatically – “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” To offset our foe’s “vote,” we needed to create a “Plan B” (also known as a “back-up” or “alternative plan”). The purpose of Plan B was to have a viable option when the unexpected occurred.

Then they forced us to develop a contingency for when the seemingly unimaginable occurred. This contingency, known throughout the military as a “Go To Hell” plan, forced us to consider and plan for nightmare scenarios. Saddam Hussein got schooled in this concept a week into the 2003 invasion of Iraq when, with all his military forces fighting in the south, a brigade of US paratroopers unexpectedly jumped into northern Iraq. He lost control of the entire northern third of the nation immediately.

Note to self — luck and hope are not planning factors.

We enhanced the value of our plans by role playing through all three scenarios: the most likely, the supposedly less likely, and then the improbable. The mere act of visualizing the “what ifs” better prepared us for a range of situations, not just the ideal one. This de facto rehearsal also had a calming effect. When we needed to jump from Plan “A” to Plan “B” (or worse), we already knew the key planning issues: who, what, when, where, why, and how. This familiarity bred confidence and reduced stress.

That said, we always kept in mind that our personal experiences and biases skewed what we considered to be possible and probable. We knew we could still misread our adversary. This awareness helped reduce the impact of the shock anytime we were surprised.

Finally, a plan need not be perfect. A good plan well executed now is infinitely better than the perfect plan too late.

I quickly grasped that this planning methodology wasn’t just for the military. It is applicable and relevant to everyone’s personal and professional lives as well. Job relocations, births, deaths, accidents, illnesses, promotions, marriages, divorces, financial ups & downs….the list is endless. Life is unpredictable and demanding. Planning adds clarity and reduces anxiety. Life happens, be ready for it.

Being Alone Together Reply

ElevatorWhy are humans so reluctant to communicate in public with strangers?

Published on August 4, 2014 by Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D. in Media Spotlight

Why are humans so reluctant to communicate in public?

Yes, we’re all social creatures with friends and family that we interact with on a daily basis, but what happens when you’re surrounded by strangers? Every day, we find ourselves in public settings with countless people around us.  Whether it’s shopping in a mall, being on a crowded subway, walking down a busy street, or even in an elevator fillled with people. How social are we then?

Once in a long while, we may strike up a conversation with someone while waiting to board a plane or in a doctor’s office, though this tends to be rare. More often than not, we consider any attempt to talk to a stranger as being awkward, and even unwelcome depending on how uncomfortable this makes us feel (especially if you’re a woman being approached by a strange man). For the most part, the strangers around us go on being strangers.

At least in terms of face-to-face interaction. Communicating with strangers online is a critical part of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Casual conversations that might seem unthinkable in a crowded room seem much easier when there is no physical contact involved. I have numerous Facebook and Twitter acquaintances that I interact with on a regular basis that I’ve never met in person and I am hardly unique.

But why are ordinarily social humans so unsocial in situations involving face-to-face interaction? Do we prefer being isolated when physically surrounded by strangers? Or do we feel that the consequences of connecting with people we don’t know are too risky to want to take a chance? Research studies looking at how we are affected by social interactions typically find that connecting with people who are close to us (friends and family) are more important than how often we interact with strangers. Since we tend not to regard strangers, or even distant acquaintances, as being a good source of social support (except in extraordinary circumstances), we’re less likely to try interacting with them.

Or is it simply the physical location that makes a difference? A survey of 203 participants using Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk marketplace were asked about the likelihood that they would talk to a friend or a stranger in a waiting room, a train, an airplane, or a cab. Virtually all the participants agreed that they would talk to a friend in any one of those settings. For strangers however, the numbers were very different. Ranging from 93 percent saying they would avoid talking in a waiting room to 51 percent saying they would avoid talking in a cab, most people apparently prefer to sit in silence rather than chatting with a stranger.

A new research study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General presents the results of nine field and laboratory experiments exploring why people apparently prefer to remain isolated among strangers. Conducted by Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder of the University of Chicago, the experiments explored some of the underlying beliefs that might explain this strange need for solitude in public places.

Feature continues here:   Being Alone Together

 

91% of Executives Mismanage Their Time – At What Cost? Reply

wasted timeBy Chris Simmons

In March, Inc magazine ran a very interesting feature called “Time Troubles.” This article claimed that only 9% of executives are satisfied with their seemingly optimal time-management skills. The vast remainder of corporate leaders Inc assigned to one of four failed executive types: Crisis Managers, Cheerleaders, Online Junkies, and Schmoozers. While Inc did not say what percentage of executives fit into each category, it did reveal the major failings which resulted in said assignments:

  • Crisis Managers: Spent 67% more time on unanticipated, short-duration problems than the optimal group.
  • Cheerleaders: Mis-spent 45% more time on employee pep talks AND 39% less time with business clients.
  • Online Junkies: Wasted 36% more time on email and voice mail than more effective and efficient face-to-face communication.
  • Schmoozers: Squandered 17% more time with clients than necessary by stealing time that should have been invested in communicating with their workplace colleagues.

The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. As such, I thought the Inc item was a great starting point. We, collectively, pay a huge price for poor time management. It drives up personnel turn-over, miscommunication and bankruptcies while driving down morale, engagement, and profit margins. In keeping with this theme, the next question I would love to see Inc tackle is: “what is the cumulative cost of these time-management failures?”

 

How Job Recruiters Screen You on LinkedIn Reply

Job SeekersKeywords, not buzzwords are what get a hiring manager’s attention

By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch

There are 277 million users on LinkedIn, according to the company’s latest results, and many of them — though not all — are probably competing for the same jobs. To improve your chances of scoring the next great gig, it helps to know how recruiters use the site.

Recruiters scour the world’s most popular professional networking site looking for the perfect candidate, but there’s a lot they do before they even get to your profile page. Some 93% of hiring managers search LinkedIn for recruits, according to a 2013 survey by career website Jobvite; 65% search Facebook, and 55% consult Twitter accounts. Another 18% of recruiters search Google+ and, in case there are any homemade videos lurking about, 15% will type your name into YouTube. Rule No. 1: “Your LinkedIn profile should be public,” says Jenny Foss, president of the Ladder Recruiting Group in Portland, Ore.

Most people spend so much time crafting their pitch, they forget about how they appear in a search result. “It’s the first thing that recruiters look at,” says Nicole Greenberg Strecker, managing director of recruitment agency STA Worldwide in Chicago, Ill. Your bio should include title, industry and location. “If you want to work in Silicon Valley and live in Kansas, change your location to Silicon Valley on LinkedIn. Recruiters search zip codes.” And the title should be razor-sharp. “Don’t write senior analyst at Ernst & Young, write hedge fund financial analyst at Ernst & Young,” says Jeremy Roberts, editor of Sourcecon, a blog and conference series for recruiters.

Recruiters punch in keywords, not buzzwords. When fine-tuning their initial search to find high-performing candidates, for instance, they’ll look for terms like “won,” “sold,” “achieved,” “built” and “president’s club.” No software is too old to mention. Technology recruitment consultants look for people who are proficient in WordPress because many companies don’t have the latest programs, Roberts says. And if you use in-demand open-sourced software like Ruby on Rails, say so. “It will save you a lot of spam,” he says; recruiters also recoil at buzzwords like “maven,” “guru,” “prophet” and “ninja” (unless you’re a black belt or a mutant turtle).

Story continues here:  Recruiters on LinkedIn

 

Five Fascinating Facts About Lying Reply

fingers-crossed

 

 

 

 

 

By Chris Simmons

  1. The average person is exposed to approximately 200 lies every day. (Note: this includes white lies, lies of omission, deceptive advertising, and biased media coverage).
  2. The average person can distinguish the truth from a lie just 54% of the time.
  3. According to the job-matching firm, TheLadders, 21% of surveyed businesses reported that they’d inadvertently hired dishonest employees. Almost half of these hiring mistakes resulted from lies told by the applicant during their job interview.
  4. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that fraud costs the average organization 5% of annual revenues.
  5. Seventy-eight percent of all resumes contain misleading information according to The Society of Human Resource Managers.

 

 

Millennials Don’t Trust You, And Four Other Takeaways From Pew’s New Report Reply

By Mark Berman, Washington Post

A big new report on millennials was released today by the Pew Research Center, covering a lot of the same stuff we’re always hearing about this oft-discussed generation. Millennials are diverse, they’re not making a lot of money and they’re really into this Internet I keep hearing so much about.

Still, there were some interesting takeaways! Here are four things that caught my attention.

(Take note: The report focuses on people between ages 18 and 33, leaving out the teenagers who still technically count as millennials.)

1.  People Are Not To Be Trusted …

My generation does not seem to think other people are trustworthy. Just 19 percent of millennials say that people can be trusted, a much lower number than the other three generations (Generation X, covering people ages 34 to 49; Baby Boomers, defined as people 50 to 68; and the Silent Generation, 69 to 86).

Read more here:  Millennials don’t trust you

 

How to Demotivate Your Employees in 4 Easy Steps 3

By Chris Simmons

Many managers, supervisors, and leaders around the world are skilled in a classic “blunder cluster” known as The Four Methods of Demotivation. These time-tested methods are virtually guaranteed to increase employee dissatisfaction, send annual turnover into the double-digits, and decrease productivity. Note: Methods are NOT necessarily listed in order of demotivational effectiveness!

1. Subvert decisions. This practice is so common that employees who haven’t been “bypassed” by a supervisor are considered “endangered species.” Managers can also issue orders to subordinates that contradict guidance provided by that individual’s immediate supervisor. Done often enough, the undercut supervisor starts deferring decisions to upper management, leaving the employee confused about who is in charge.
2. “Shooting From The Hip.” Supervisors can also stifle motivation by making a decision on a newly-presented problem “on the spot.” Done correctly, hip-shooting is inaccurate, ineffective, and includes employees who should have NO say in either the problem or its solution.
3. Making what should be a collective decision, alone and in advance. In this scenario, the supervisor seeks input from those employees responsible for implementing a decision, impacted by a decision, or simply whose insights would be informative. Subsequently, employees come to understand that the solicitation was an empty gesture and as a result, offer little commitment to the endeavor.
4. Interfering. Delegation is supposed to put projects into the hands of people qualified to execute them. These qualified subordinates are then supposed to be held accountable for the project. However, for those managers unwilling to let go, interfering is best implemented by issuing clarifications, providing periodic follow-on instructions, requiring impossible suspenses and demanding an unreasonable number of status reports.

Note to all newly promoted supervisors and managers; please understand that this is a weak attempt at sarcasm and not a policy document recommendation.

Body Language—Explained Reply

Learn How To Decode The Unspoken Messages People Send Your Way

By Annie Finnigan, Woman’s Day

Can’t figure someone out? Then you’re probably not tuning in to her body language. We all speak without saying a word—you just need to know what to look for.

Have you ever been talking to someone when suddenly she crosses her arms? In that moment, the whole vibe of your conversation shifts. You start to feel a little defensive because you think that’s how she’s feeling. But are you reading her right, or just jumping to conclusions? The truth is, if you misread people’s body language—or worse, don’t pick up on it at all—you’re missing more than you think.

“Up to 80% of what we communicate is nonverbal,” says Joe Navarro, a former FBI agent turned nonverbal communication expert and author of What Every Body Is Saying. That means every gesture, look, mouth twitch, eyebrow raise, even the way we stand sends a message. No wonder researchers have been studying the science of body language for decades—and what they’ve found can help you communicate more effectively.

We relate to people in three ways: verbally (with words), vocally (tone of voice), and visually (body language), says Albert Mehrabian, PhD, emeritus professor of psychology at UCLA and author of Silent Messages. But the three V’s don’t always line up. Think about someone who tries to put a good face on during a difficult time in her life. She may tell you she’s doing fine, but she frowns a bit when she says it. That’s why body language matters so much: It tells the truth, even when our words lie, according to Dr. Mehrabian. “If there’s an inconsistency between the verbal, vocal and visual, our words give off the least information,” he says. “Our facial expressions play the greatest role.”

The tricky part is noticing them in the first place. Of the thousands of facial expressions we make each day, some flash by so fast (in less than 1/25th of a second) that they barely have time to register, according to psychologist Paul Ekman, PhD, co-editor of What The Face Reveals, who pioneered research on these fleeting involuntary shows of emotion, which he dubbed micro expressions. But if you keep an eye out, over time you’ll start to catch some of these blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments.

FACE FACTS

How do you learn to pick up on telltale facial expressions? Start by doing what national poker champion Annie Duke does: Constantly study people’s faces. “Poker players are good at hiding nonverbal cues,” she says. “But I always watch them very closely, and if I see them blinking fast, licking their lips or flashing a quick grimace before they smile, chances are they’re bluffing.”

You can catch even the most fleeting facial “tell,” but it takes a lot of practice, says John Gottman, PhD, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington and cofounder of The Gottman Institute, who has studied body language in his research on marriage and relationships. The key? Watch the mouth. “That’s where most of our nonverbal information comes from,” he explains. Say a waitress twitches her lip to one side when you order an inexpensive dish instead of a pricey one: It’s a sign of contempt because she knows she’ll be getting less of a tip. Or say you give a pal a gift she doesn’t like. She may smile, but her lips will be the only thing on her face to move. If it were a genuine smile, her eyes would crinkle at the corners and the apples of her cheeks would lift, too. And take wide eyes: While they can convey surprise or fear, the mouth is the real determining factor that helps you tell the difference. The mouth drops open when we’re surprised, but pulls back when we’re scared.

TUNING INTO BODY TALK

While the face reveals key clues, the body fills in the rest of the story. The starting point? The feet. “They’re the most honest part of the body and really let you know how someone feels about you,” says Navarro. Whether you’re sitting or standing, if a person’s feet are pointed toward you, that’s a signal that she enjoys your company and wants to stick around. But if her feet are angled away from you, odds are she’d rather be somewhere else.

As for the rest of the body, keep in mind that some gestures don’t necessarily mean what you think they do. Take crossed arms. For years, we’ve been told that’s a clear sign of defensiveness. “But it’s not if the person’s arms are lightly folded across her chest rather than tightly,” says Navarro. She may simply not know what to do with her arms. “However, most people cross them for self-comfort—they’re giving themselves a hug, in effect,” he explains.

But some body moves are indeed signs of negativity. If you notice a person’s hand balled into a fist with the thumb inside while he’s staring down, he’s feeling defensive. “Or if your husband turns his belly away from you, even if he’s still looking your way,” says Navarro, “he’s letting you know that he doesn’t like what you just said.”

SEND THE RIGHT MESSAGE

When it comes to your own body language, don’t worry about trying to fine-tune your every movement. “Behavior patterns associated with temperament or personality are at least 50% genetically determined, and are difficult to change,” explains Dr. Mehrabian. Say you’re naturally high-strung. Getting your body language to read calm and cool may be tough. “But you can learn to change some of the nonverbal cues you send out,” he adds.

And it’s well worth the effort. “We have 4 to 8 seconds to make a good first impression,” says Navarro. “The goal in that short amount of time should be to create psychological comfort.” In fact, a 2011 University of California, Berkeley, study found that people determine within seconds if someone is trustworthy, kind or compassionate based on how often he or she makes eye contact, smiles, nods while listening, and displays an open body posture.

So fine-tune where you can. An easy place to start: mirroring. For instance, take a beat to assess someone’s handshake and match it, using the same strength or gentleness as the other person. Other ways to put people at ease: Pay attention to your proximity and posture. In one-on-one situations, stand or sit at a slight angle to the person, but not too close. “Research shows that people feel more comfortable when you position yourself this way because it’s a less confrontational posture,” says Navarro. Make eye contact, too, but don’t stare. And pay attention to what the other person’s eyes are doing: Are they slightly lowered? Does she hold your gaze briefly or for several seconds before looking away? Match your look to hers, as you would with a handshake. With these few tweaks, you’ll make a good impression without saying a word.

Dr. Jeni Cross on “Three Myths of Behavior Change – What You Think You Know That You Don’t” Reply

Jeni Cross is a sociology professor at Colorado State University (CSU). She has spoken about community development and sustainability to audiences across the country, from business leaders and government officials to community activists. As a professor and consultant she has helped dozens of schools and government agencies implement and evaluate successful programs to improve community well-being. In this talk, she discusses her work around changing behaviors.