April 14, 2014
“Once upon a time, the field of medicine was riddled with danger. Doctors made up cures based on individual experience, inflicting horrors on patients—lobotomy, anyone?
Everything changed with the advent of evidence-based medicine. With randomized, controlled trials and careful longitudinal studies, we learned about effective treatments and risky behaviors. We discovered that smoking causes lung cancer and ibuprofen reduces pain.
Today, the field of management is not far from where doctors were before evidence-based medicine. We have leaders and managers choosing practices based on their own intuition and experience, when it’s much more reliable and valid to make decisions based on many data points and experiences. The good news is that over the past few decades, a new field of evidence-based management has emerged, and we can now use the power of controlled experiments and rigorous long-term studies to abandon ineffective practices and choose better ones.”
April 10, 2014
“All too often we have positive thoughts about other people, but not very often do we actually share them with each other. Regardless of the psychological benefits, I believe people deserve to be appreciated when they do wonderful things for others.”
April 9, 2014
“Imagine for a moment two children — we can call them Fred and Steve — who are learning to play the piano. Fred and Steve are equally talented young musicians, and when they sit down to practice, they give the same intense focus to the honing of their craft. In fact, the only notable difference between the two boys is that Fred is devoted exclusively to the piano, while Steve likes to bounce back and forth between piano, drums, and singing. Who do you think will be more successful?”
April 7, 2014
“When I attend a presentation, the first thing that captures my attention isn’t the speaker or the material. It’s the person who introduces the speaker.”
April 3, 2014
I would tell you that the Center for Positive Organizations is more than just a hub for POS. To me, the “Center” takes on a much larger meaning — it is where I’ve met incredible people who believe in the power of positivity in the workplace, and have dedicated their time, energy, and efforts to advocate it. Together, we form a community that help organizations better understand and respect the culture of the workplace, and take steps to make it a better one for all.
March 28, 2014
“You work with the Center for Positive Organizations, but you’re doing an experiment where you make everyone fail?” This was a reaction I got one day when describing some of my research on how individuals learn from their failed experiences. It was a reasonable question – failure, on its face, doesn’t appear to be something all that positive. Indeed, failures and other adverse events don’t crop up often in the mental picture many people have of a positive organization; usually people imagine a successful, upbeat workplace with bright walls and happy people. Failure and adversity don’t really fit that vision.
March 27, 2014
How can we create a culture that both validates and relieves pain? Camille Piner reflects on this question after attending Afton Hassett’s Positive Links Speaker Series session.
March 24, 2014
“In Western culture, many people define success narrowly as money and power. In her uplifting book Thrive, Arianna Huffington argues that this leaves us sitting on a two-legged stool, which will tip over if we don’t add a third leg. She makes a passionate case, supported by science, for expanding our definition of what it means to succeed. One of her new metrics is giving: a truly rewarding life involves contributing to and caring for others.
I love this message. It’s a powerful call for us to become more generous and compassionate. Unfortunately, when people answer this call, they sacrifice their own success. Burning the midnight oil for other people, they fall behind on their personal responsibilities, and burn out. Reaching down to help people climb up the ladder, they get stepped on—and sometimes squashed.
After studying these dynamics for the past decade, it turns out that there’s hope. In Give and Take, I discovered that although many people give at their own expense, there’s a group of people who are productively generous. How do they do give without compromising their well-being and falling short on traditional measures of success? They reject three common beliefs about giving. As leaders, it’s part of our job to debunk these misconceptions.”
March 20, 2014
Networking is simply making connections and learning about new opportunities. If these are two positive things, then why is it often such a miserable experience in business school? Is it possible to make the networking process positive?
March 19, 2014
“The increasingly popular refrain these days is that we (Americans in particular) are burning ourselves out by not slowing down. We are told to put down our phones, to take at least the little bit of vacation we get, and just generally to ‘unplug.’ These are all important reminders, but what if they are missing a more fundamental need? What if we have forgotten how to rest?”
March 18, 2014
“Last Friday morning I visited Cornerstone Capital to meet with Erika Karp, its founder and CEO. Erika is a former UBS executive who created her new firm to accelerate the velocity of capital by embracing sustainability. She is the first major Wall Street executive to get behind sustainability in a big way.
I arrived at 7:55 for the 8:00 morning meeting (I try to always be early). In those five minutes no fewer than five members of her team reached out warmly and asked if they could help me. It wasn’t the usual formality but felt genuine and very human. They weren’t going through a routine, they seemed to actually care.
When Erika and I sat down at 8:02, I complimented her on her team and asked her how she built what appeared to be an amazing culture.
What Erika does is very simple. She asks people if they had a good day. If they say yes, she ask them to identify the moment that made it good. She is basically asking them to name the purpose moment they experienced that made their day positive. That was the first step.”
March 17, 2014
“When you ask people around the world what they value most, one answer consistently rises to the top. It’s giving to the people who matter to us. We want to help others and contribute to our communities. But if you look at how we spend our time, we fail to live up to these values. I’d love to volunteer more, but I don’t have the free time. I’d donate more to charity, if only I had the money. If it didn’t require such a sacrifice, we’d all give more.
Yet there’s one form of giving that involves few costs, while offering dramatic benefits to the people around us. It’s the single best way to help someone fall in love, and the most common way that people find a job. It’s also the reason that the Beatles and the iPhone came to exist.”