Why Hiring the Guy You Would Like To Have a Beer With Doesn’t Always Work

This is an interesting article about personality types among high performers.  The grid speaks to job fit – why it’s important to match individual strengths to job responsibilities.  And although I’m always a little resistant to personality typing, I certainly saw myself in some of these descriptions…do you?  http://www.businessinsider.com/4-office-dream-team-personality-types-2013-10

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Flowing at Work

Check out our latest blog post on ASTD’s Human Capital blog: Flow

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Managing to Outcomes

Strengths 60 – from Strengths Partnership  Here’s a quick video tip from my friends at Strengths Partnership.

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Happier You – Better Organization

Check out our blog post at ASTD Human Capital blog. http://www.astd.org/Publications/Blogs/Human-Capital-Blog/2013/10/Applied-Positive-Psychology-a-Happier-You-a-Better-Organization

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Is Your Stuff Making You Sick?

If acquiring the most toys is what makes you happy, your happiness could be making you sick.  A recent study out of UCLA surveyed 80 volunteers to find out what brought satisfaction to their lives.  They then evaluated the volunteers’ blood levels of biological markers known to promote inflammation, which has been correlated with cancer, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.

The results were surprising.  Volunteers whose responses indicated that they got the most satisfaction from buying or having things (hedonic happiness) also showed higher levels of the inflammatory markers.  Those who said they got the most satisfaction from serving a higher purpose or taking care of others (eudaemonic happiness) had lower levels of the inflammatory markers in their blood and higher levels of substances that stimulate protective antibodies.

Everyone has a combination of both hedonic and eudaemonic tendencies.  Now there’s scientific evidence that working toward the greater good will contribute to our personal long-term well being.

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Flex Your Strengths in 60 Seconds


Today we launch Strengths:60. These minute or less videos give you tips, tricks and insights into strengths focused leadership, coaching and development. If it’s a better understanding of strengths language or how to better use strengths, we hope you’ll find these weekly videos helpful and a quick way you can learn and share about strengths!

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Are Goals a Death Wish?

“Are you aware that rushing toward a goal is a sublimated death wish? It’s no coincidence that we call them ‘deadlines’.”  Tom Robbins

We’ve all been programmed to set goals for ourselves. Getting into the best college, getting a law degree, getting the next promotion, running a triathlon, or saving for a car or a house - we all know the value of having our eyes on the prize, of having something we are looking forward to achieving.  The highest achievers in our society – professional athletes, presidents, famous musicians, corporate leaders – have been working toward a singular goal for their entire lives with the expectation that getting to that goal will be the ultimate experience.  Why then are we so often disappointed when  we reach our goal?  Why do so many high achievers reach their goal only to suffer from depression and substance abuse?

As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Dreaming about being an actress is more exciting than being one.” The real benefit of having goals is to help organize and focus our energy.  When there is a goal in sight, it narrows our choices about what to do, who to connect with, what to read, what to look at on the internet. Goals help us decide what we need to give up in order to strive toward our dreams. Without goals, our day-to-day actions have little meaning; with them, we have a purpose for getting up each day.  In short, goals are the means, not the end.  Their purpose is to help us enjoy the journey, to treasure the experience, to live in joy and satisfaction of the moment.

Have you ever been so focused on a goal that you forgot to enjoy the experience of getting there?

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Is Success the Road to Happiness?

A few years ago, a group of second year Harvard students was asked by their seminar leader, Tal ben Shahar, about the day they received their acceptance letter to the prestigious university.  Were they happy when they received that news?  How many felt at that moment that they would be happy for the rest of their lives?  That they had finally made it, that they had found the holy grail?  Virtually every one of the students raised their hand.  Yes, of course, this was pure joy. Then Shahar asked the same group, “How many of you are happy right now, today?”  Most of the group lowered their hands, because of course, the success of reaching that long sought for goal did not bring them lasting happiness.

How many of us have experienced something similar?  We work long and hard to attain the next promotion at work, to buy the bigger house, to run the marathon, to lose 20 pounds, thinking that this will be the thing that makes us happy.  When we reach that goal, we do feel happy, but it is fleeting.  Before long, there is something new in our sight, something bright and shiny that we believe is the answer to our longing for contentment and satisfaction with our life.

Positive psychologists propose that we have the whole thing reversed.  It’s not success that brings happiness, instead, it is happiness that brings success.  Their research is showing that happier people have greater success at work, better relationships, more energy and creativity, and better health.  And the most exciting part is that their work is demonstrating that there are simple techniques we can adopt, such as journaling, meditation, and rituals for lasting change, that can lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction.

When have you reached a long-desired goal, only to feel that the joy of achieving that goal was short-lived?

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Shifting Our Focus

I was recently in a seminar where the speaker, Tal Ben Shahar, showed a complex graphic and asked the audience to count the number of geometric shapes we saw there.  Everyone had plenty of time to look it over in detail…and when we finished counting, the answers ranged from 5 to 95…amazing how differently each individual saw the same picture, even when everyone was asked to look for the same thing.  But the real insight came when Ben Shahar asked us, “In the same picture, how many children were riding in the school bus?”  Although the bright yellow school bus was prominently and clearly part of the picture, virtually no one in the room had seen it, let alone knew how many children were riding in it.  We had all been too busy looking for geometric shapes to notice what else was in the picture.

The questions we ask shape our perception of the world around us.  If someone asks us to look for geometric shapes, we look for those shapes and perhaps miss the yellow school buses that are in plain view.  Similarly, if we ask the question, “What are we doing wrong?”, or, “Why are those employees failing?”, or “Where does he/she need to improve?” we direct our focus to performance gaps rather than performance success.  If we spend our time putting our shortcomings under the magnifying glass, we may miss the signs of potential excellence that are there in plain sight.

How could you reframe the questions above so that you begin looking for strengths rather than weaknesses?  How have questions shaped your perceptions?






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Happiness is…

OM….Just got back from an incredible week at Kripalu, a peaceful yoga retreat center in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, where I spent a week studying the subject, “What is Happiness?”  The residential week is part of a 10-month positive psychology certificate offered through Kripalu and taught by Tal Ben Shahar, a leading expert in this growing field.  Some of the highlights: identifying characteristics of people we admire as a basis for developing our “ideal self” profiles; getting loose with yoga dance every day; linking physical and psychological in a process called “reflaction”; exploring new ways to listen consciously; expanding perspective through systems thinking; looking for the authentic self and connecting that to leadership; focusing on strengths versus weakness; learning journaling techniques and developing rituals for enabling real change.  I happily recommend it.

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