Category Archives: Psychology

Creating Productive Interactions During Difficult Times

Creating Productive Interactions During Difficult Times

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

When times are stressful, it’s more difficult to be effective and skillful in our interactions with others. Here are some thoughts that could help.

Decide how you want to respond, and then respond accordingly.

Before you respond, take a breath. Your response will be better.

If you find yourself responding before giving yourself permission, stop your response and come clean.

Better responses from you make for even better responses from others.

If you interrupt someone in the middle of their sentence so you can make your point, you made a different point.

If you find yourself preparing your response while listening to someone, that’s not listening.

If you recognize you’re not listening, now there are at least two people who know the truth.

When there are no words coming from your mouth, that doesn’t constitute listening.

The strongest deterrent to listening is talking.

If you disagree with one element of a person’s position, you can, at the same time, agree with other elements of their position. That’s how agreement works.

If you start with agreement, even the smallest bit, disagreement softens.

Before you can disagree, it’s important to listen and understand. And it’s the same with agreement.

It’s easy to agree if that’s what you want to accomplish. And it’s the same for disagreement.

If you want to move toward agreement, start with understanding.

If you want to demonstrate understanding, start with listening.

If you want to demonstrate good listening, start with kindness.

Here are three mantras I find helpful:

  1. Talk less to listen more.
  2. Before you respond, take a breath.
  3. Kindness before agreement.

Image credit: Wikimedia

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Will CHATgpt make us more or less innovative?

Will CHATgpt make us more or less innovative?

GUEST POST from Pete Foley

The rapid emergence of increasingly sophisticated ‘AI ‘ programs such as CHATgpt will profoundly impact our world in many ways. That will inevitably include Innovation, especially the front end. But will it ultimately help or hurt us? Better access to information should be a huge benefit, and my intuition was to dive in and take full advantage. I still think it has enormous upside, but I also think it needs to be treated with care. At this point at least, it’s still a tool, not an oracle. It’s an excellent source for tapping existing information, but it’s (not yet) a source of new ideas. As with any tool, those who understand deeply how it works, its benefits and its limitations, will get the most from it. And those who use it wrongly could end up doing more harm than good. So below I’ve mapped out a few pros and cons that I see. It’s new, and like everybody else, I’m on a learning curve, so would welcome any and all thoughts on these pros and cons:

What is Innovation?

First a bit of a sidebar. To understand how to use a tool, I at least need to have a reasonably clear of what goals I want it to help me achieve. Obviously ‘what is innovation’ is a somewhat debatable topic, but my working model is that the front end of innovation typically involves taking existing knowledge or technology, and combining it in new, useful ways, or in new contexts, to create something that is new, useful and ideally understandable and accessible. This requires deep knowledge, curiosity and the ability to reframe problems to find new uses of existing assets. A recent illustrative example is Oculus Rift, an innovation that helped to make virtual reality accessible by combining fairly mundane components including a mobile phone screen and a tracking sensor and ski glasses into something new. But innovation comes in many forms, and can also involve serendipity and keen observation, as in Alexander Fleming’s original discovery of penicillin. But even this requires deep domain knowledge to spot the opportunity and reframing undesirable mold into a (very) useful pharmaceutical. So, my start-point is which parts of this can CHATgpt help with?

Another sidebar is that innovation is of course far more than simply discovery or a Eureka moment. Turning an idea into a viable product or service usually requires considerable work, with the development of penicillin being a case in point. I’ve no doubt that CHATgpt and its inevitable ‘progeny’ will be of considerable help in that part of the process too.   But for starters I’ve focused on what it brings to the discovery phase, and the generation of big, game changing ideas.

First the Pros:

1. Staying Current: We all have to strike a balance between keeping up with developments in our own fields, and trying to come up with new ideas. The sheer volume of new information, especially in developing fields, means that keeping pace with even our own area of expertise has become challenging. But spend too much time just keeping up, and we become followers, not innovators, so we have to carve out time to also stretch existing knowledge. But if we don’t get the balance right, and fail to stay current, we risk get leapfrogged by those who more diligently track the latest discoveries. Simultaneous invention has been pervasive at least since the development of calculus, as one discovery often signposts and lays the path for the next. So fail to stay on top of our field, and we potentially miss a relatively easy step to the next big idea. CHATgpt can become an extremely efficient tool for tracking advances without getting buried in them.

2. Pushing Outside of our Comfort Zone: Breakthrough innovation almost by definition requires us to step beyond the boundaries of our existing knowledge. Whether we are Dyson stealing filtration technology from a sawmill for his unique ‘filterless’ vacuum cleaner, physicians combining stem cell innovation with tech to create rejection resistant artificial organs, or the Oculus tech mentioned above, innovation almost always requires tapping resources from outside of the established field. If we don’t do this, then we not only tend towards incremental ideas, but also tend to stay in lock step with other experts in our field. This becomes increasingly the case as an area matures, low hanging fruit is exhausted, and domain knowledge becomes somewhat commoditized. CHATgpt simply allows us to explore beyond our field far more efficiently than we’ve ever been able to before. And as it or related tech evolves, it will inevitably enable ever more sophisticated search. From my experience it already enables some degree of analogous search if you are thoughtful about how to frame questions, thus allowing us to more effectively expand searches for existing solutions to problems that lie beyond the obvious. That is potentially really exciting.

Some Possible Cons:

1. Going Down the Rabbit Hole: CHATgpt is crack cocaine for the curious. Mea culpa, this has probably been the most time consuming blog I’ve ever written. Answers inevitably lead to more questions, and it’s almost impossible to resist playing well beyond the specific goals I initially have. It’s fascinating, it’s fun, you learn a lot of stuff you didn’t know, but I at least struggle with discipline and focus when using it. Hopefully that will wear off, and I will find a balance that uses it efficiently.

2. The Illusion of Understanding: This is a bit more subtle, but a topic inevitably enhances our understanding of it. The act of asking questions is as much a part of learning as reading answers, and often requires deep mechanistic understanding. CHATgpa helps us probe faster, and its explanations may help us to understand concepts more quickly. But it also risks the illusion of understanding. When the heavy loading of searching is shifted away from us, we get quick answers, but may also miss out on the deeper mechanistic understanding we’d have gleaned if we’d been forced to work a bit harder. And that deeper understanding can be critical when we are trying to integrate superficially different domains as part of the innovation process. For example, knowing that we can use a patient’s stem cells to minimize rejection of an artificial organ is quite different from understanding how the immune system differentiates between its own and other stem cells. The risk is that sophisticated search engines will do more heavy lifting, allow us to move faster, but also result in a more superficial understanding, which reduces our ability to spot roadblocks early, or solve problems as we move to the back end of innovation, and reduce an idea to practice.

3. Eureka Moment: That’s the ‘conscious’ watch out, but there is also an unconscious one. It’s no secret that quite often our biggest ideas come when we are not actually trying. Archimedes had his Eureka moment in the bath, and many of my better ideas come when I least expect them, perhaps in the shower, when I first wake up, or am out having dinner. The neuroscience of creativity helps explain this, in that the restructuring of problems that leads to new insight and the integration of ideas works mostly unconsciously, and when we are not consciously focused on a problem. It’s analogous to the ‘tip of the tongue’ effect, where the harder we try to remember something, the harder it gets, but then comes to us later when we are not trying. But the key for the Eureka moment is that we need sufficiently deep knowledge for those integrations to occur. If CHATgpt increases the illusion of understanding, we could see less of those Eureka moments, and the ‘obvious in hindsight ideas’ they create.

Conclusion

I think that ultimately innovation will be accelerated by CHATgpt and what follows, perhaps quite dramatically. But I also think that we as innovators need to try and peel back the layers and understand as much as we can about these tools, as there is potential for us to trip up. We need to constantly reinvent the way we interact with them, leverage them as sophisticated innovation tools, but avoid them becoming oracles. We also need to ensure that we, and future generations use them to extend our thinking skill set, but not become a proxy for it. The calculator has in some ways made us all mathematical geniuses, but in other ways has reduced large swathes of the population’s ability to do basic math. We need to be careful that CHATgpt doesn’t do the same for our need for cognition, and deep mechanistic and/or critical thinking.

Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Why are so many people quitting?

Why are so many people quitting?

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

People don’t leave a company because they feel appreciated.

People don’t leave a company because they feel part of something bigger than themselves.

People don’t leave a company because they see a huge financial upside if they stay.

People don’t leave a company because they are treated with kindness and respect.

People don’t leave a company because they can make less money elsewhere.

People don’t leave a company because they see good career growth in their future.

People don’t leave a company because they know all the key players and know how to get things done.

People don’t leave the company so they can abandon their primary care physician.

People don’t leave a company because their career path is paved with gold.

People don’t leave a company because they are highly engaged in their work.

People don’t leave a company because they want to uproot their kids and start them in a new school.

People don’t leave a company because their boss treats them too well.

People don’t leave a company because their work is meaningful.

People don’t leave a company because their coworkers treat them with respect.

People don’t leave a company because they want to pay the commission on a real estate transaction.

People don’t leave a company because they’ve spent a decade building a Trust Network.

People don’t leave a company because they want their kids to learn to trust a new dentist.

People don’t leave a company because they have a flexible work arrangement.

People don’t leave a company because they feel safe on the job.

People don’t leave a company because they are trusted to use their judgment.

People don’t leave the company because they want the joy that comes from rolling over their 401k.

People don’t leave a company when they have the tools and resources to get the work done.

People don’t leave a company when their workload is in line with their capacity to get it done.

People don’t leave a company when they feel valued.

People don’t leave a company so they can learn a whole new medical benefits plan.

People don’t leave a job because they get to do the work the way they think it should be done.

So, I ask you, why are people leaving your company?

Image credit: Pexels

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Six Ways to Stop Gen-Z from Quiet Quitting

Six Ways to Stop Gen-Z from Quiet Quitting

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

There has been a shift in the workplace culture. Some employees are going from “The Great Resignation,” in which they outright quit, to “quiet quitting,” which means they do the bare minimum and nothing more. While all ages have potential quiet quitters, Gen-Z seems to have earned the reputation (right or wrong) for this practice. The problem with employees participating in this movement of doing the bare minimum is that it can turn into a lack of engagement, and the impact could be felt by customers in the form of a bad customer experience.

I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Santor Nishizaki, author of the upcoming book Working with Gen Z: A Handbook to Recruit, Retain, and Reimagine the Future Workforce After Covid-19, and he has some great tips for leaders to help Gen-Z employees be more engaged at work and create a better customer experience. Here are six of his tips, followed by my commentary.

1. Have Clear Expectations

Dr. Nishizaki’s research found that 98% of Gen-Zs want clear expectations from their employer from day one. It’s frustrating for workers not to understand what is clearly expected of them. The expectations must be set on day one, if not during the hiring process. Proper onboarding is crucial. According to Gallup, clear expectations are essential for all generations. How can we best serve our customers if our employees don’t know what we expect?

2. Be Transparent and Show the “receipts”

Dr. Nishizaki refers to “receipts” as evidence. Just as a customer might get a receipt as proof of purchase, the same concept is relevant for Gen-Z employees, and is one of the significant challenges to getting them to come to work and do more than the bare minimum. Rather than proof-of-purchase, consider proof-of-value for employees. This is especially important as employees are being asked to return to the office after two years of remote work. Feeling valued must be more than words. True appreciation is needed to get workers to feel good about the company that employs them.

3. Help Them “glow up” by Investing in Their Strengths

Dr. Nishizaki believes in playing to Gen-Z’s strengths. Specifically, he uses the Gallup CliftonStrengths to help them grow to their potential. Focusing on your employees’ strengths and partnering them with coworkers whose strengths complement their weaknesses significantly impacts their enjoyment of work and serving customers. Spending extra time to let people do what they do best will make them happier, which translates to more engagement with fellow employees and customers.

4. Support Their Mental Health

Dr. Nishizaki heard from his clients and saw the rise of mental health challenges on college campuses and realized the need for leaders to respond. Recent data from McKinsey found that Gen-Zs are more likely than Millennials to feel stressed or anxious regularly (53% for women, 39% for men), and 82% want mental health days. Leaders must ensure that all employees are aware of resources available to them (mental health apps, therapy, etc.), and lead by example by taking mental health days and being open about burnout. Creating a positive and engaging customer experience is difficult when an employee’s basic needs aren’t met.

5. Build a Culture of Impact

What impact does your company or brand have on its customers—and even the world? Gen-Z is attracted to creating impact, and it doesn’t have to be a major impact. Taking a few extra minutes to explain why someone’s work is important to a customer or their colleagues can satisfy this need.

6. Be a Coach, Not a Micromanager

Dr. Nishizaki found that Gen-Zs ranked the skills necessary to be a good manager as a “coach and mentor” over “technical expertise” and a “task assigner.” If you’re managing Gen-Z (or employees from any generation), asking good questions will help them learn better and is less confrontational. Dr. Nishizaki quotes Timothy Gallwey, an author and performance coach, who said, “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” Customer service role-playing is a great training tool, but rather than offering a list of what they did wrong, ask them why they took their approach. Usually, they’ll figure out what they did wrong without any drama, and you’ll see your retention and customer satisfaction surveys improve.

Gen-Z wants its leaders to be engaged. Managers who can turn up the volume on their leadership skills will retain the best employees, win the war on talent and create a better experience for internal and external customers.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Four Ways to Overcome Resistance to Change

Four Ways to Overcome Resistance to Change

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

Why are organizations so resistant to change? Many point to a corporate immune system or to organizational antibodies that instantly attack change. The idea is that leaders prefer stability to disruption and put systems in place to reduce variance. These systems will instantly seek out and destroy anyone who tries to do anything different.

This is a dangerously misleading notion. There is no such thing as a corporate immune system. In fact, most senior executives are not only in favor of change, they see themselves as leading it! However, while most people are enthusiastic about change as a general concept, they are suspicious of it in the particular.

The truth is that is if the change you seek has the potential to be truly impactful, there are always going to be people affected who aren’t going to like it. They will seek to undermine it, often in very dishonest ways. That’s just a fact of life that you need to accept. Yet history clearly shows that, with a smart strategy, even the most ardent opposition can be overcome.

1. Ignore The Opposition — At First

The first principle for overcoming resistance is to understand that there is no reason you need to immediately engage with your active opposition. In fact, it’s something you should do your best to avoid in the early stages when your idea is still untried, unproven and vulnerable.

All too often, change initiatives start with a big kickoff meeting and communication campaign. That’s almost always a mistake. In every organization, there are different levels of enthusiasm to change. Some will be ready to jump on board, but others will be vehemently opposed. For whatever reason, they see this particular idea as a threat.

By seeking to bring in everybody at once, you are very likely to end up spending a lot of time and energy trying to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded. The truth is that in the beginning your idea is the weakest it’s ever going to be. So there’s no reason to waste your time with people who aren’t open to it.

If you find yourself struggling to convince people, you either have the wrong change or the wrong people. So at first, seek out people who are already enthusiastic about your vision for change and want it to succeed.

2. Identify Your Apostles

In retrospect, transformations often seem inevitable, even obvious. Yet they don’t start out that way. The truth is that it is small groups, loosely connected, but united by a common purpose that drives transformation. So, the first thing you want to do is identify your apostles—people who are already excited about the possibilities for change.

For example, in his efforts to reform the Pentagon, Colonel John Boyd began every initiative by briefing a group of collaborators called the “Acolytes,” who would help hone and sharpen the ideas. He then moved on to congressional staffers, elected officials and the media. By the time general officers were aware of what he was doing, he had too much support to ignore.

In a similar vein, a massive effort to implement lean manufacturing methods at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals began with one team at one factory, but grew to encompass 17,000 employees across 25 sites worldwide and cut manufacturing costs by 25%. The campaign that overthrew Serbian dictator Slobodan Milošević started with just 5 kids in a coffee shop.

One advantage to starting small is that you can identify your apostles informally, even through casual conversations. In skills-based transformations, change leaders often start with workshops and see who seems enthusiastic or comes up after the session. Your apostles don’t need to have senior positions or special skills, they just have to be passionate.

3. Shift from Differentiating Values to Shared Values

People feel passionately about things that are different. That’s why the first product that Steve Jobs launched after he returned to Apple was the iMac. It wasn’t a very good computer, but its bright colors were designed to appeal to Apple’s passionate fan base, as was the “Think Different” ad campaign launched around the same time.

Yet if all Steve Jobs had to rely on was difference, Apple would have never grown beyond its most ardent fans and become the most valuable company in the world. It was the company’s growing reputation for high quality and smart features that brought in new customers. True change is always built on common ground.

One of the biggest challenges in driving transformation is that while differentiating values make people excited about an idea, it is shared values that help grow a movement. That doesn’t mean you’re abandoning or watering down your principles. It just means that you need to meet people where they are, not where you wish them to be.

For example, the Agile Manifesto has inspired fierce devotion among its adherents. Yet for those outside the Agile development community, its principles can seem weird and impractical. If you want to bring new people, it’s better to focus on shared values, such as the ability to produce better quality projects on time and on budget.

4. Create and Build on Meaningful Success

The reason people resist change is that they have a certain level of comfort with the status quo. Change forces us to grapple with the unfamiliar, which is always uncomfortable. There are also switching costs involved. So, if you want your change to take hold, at some point you are going to have to prove you can get results.

One great example is the PxG initiative at Procter & Gamble. It got started when three mid-level executives decided that they could dramatically improve a process. They didn’t try to convince anybody or ask for permission but were able to reduce the time it took from weeks down to hours. That started a movement within the company that has attracted thousands.

When Experian CIO Barry Libenson started a cloud transformation at his company, he didn’t force anybody to go along. Instead, he focused on helping product managers who wanted to build successful cloud projects. As they began to show concrete business results, the pressure for others to get with the program increased.

Perhaps most of all, you need to accept that resistance is part of change and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, skeptics can often point out important flaws in your idea and make it stronger. The difference between successful revolutionaries and mere dreamers is that those who succeed anticipate resistance and build a plan to overcome it.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Reset and Reconnect to Increase our Connectedness

Reset and Reconnect to Increase our Connectedness

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

In our second blog in the Reconnect and Reset series of three blogs, we stated that now is not the time to panic. Nor is it a time to languish from change fatigue, pain, and emotional lethargy. It is a significant moment in time to focus, rehabilitate, rebuild, repair, regrow and reset to increase our connectedness through linking human touchpoints that increase people-power in the fourth industrial revolution.

In the current environment, where chaos and order are constantly polarizing, it’s crucial to touch people with empathy, reignite their social skills, and enable them to become healthily self-compassionate and more self-caring to:

  • Patiently support, lead, manage, mentor, and coach them towards finding their own balance to flow with mitigating the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.
  • Take advantage of new technologies, networks, and ecosystems to re-engage and collaborate with others and with civil society in positive ways that contribute to the whole.
  • Do the good work that creates a more compelling, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future, that serves the common good.

The Landscape Has Changed and So Have the Solutions

As the fourth industrial revolution continues to implode, we need to zoom out and consider the bigger picture. Where a recent Harvard Review article What Will Management Look Like in the Next 100 Years?” states that we are entering an era, which is fundamentally transforming the way we operate. Which is defined by the disruptive growth in blockchain technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and other core digital capabilities.

All of which, in some way, is dependent on linking the key human touchpoints that increase people’s power and our connectedness.

  • An era of empathy

In the same article, management scholar Rita Gunther McGrath argued that management practices based on command and control, and expertise would ultimately make way for empathy.

Where work is centred around value creation conducted through networks and collaboration, that rely on increasing the connectedness between machines and humans rather than through rigid structures and relationships to thrive through increasing people-power in the fourth industrial revolution.

  • Capable of better

The Qualtrics 2022 Employee Experience Trends Report also states that the landscape has changed.  Where people are choosing to work flexibly, to work in the places that work best for them, and to take time for their own well-being, families, and friends.

Where people are demanding change because they care, about their leaders and their organizations, and want to be capable of developing better ideas; better innovations; and delivering better performances.

The report outlines the four things your people need you to know:

  1. There will be an exodus of leaders – and women will be the first out the door.
  2. People will demand better physical and digital workspaces.
  3. The lack of progress in diversity, inclusion, and belonging won’t be accepted.

People don’t want to become irrelevant, nor do they want their managers, leaders, and organizations to become irrelevant. People know that they can’t, and won’t go back to the old ways of doing things. People also know that they are already living in the new normal and that they need to start working there, too and to do that, we need to increase our connectedness.

Which is especially important for building people’s power and mitigating the challenges emerging in the fourth industrial revolution.

  • A transformative moment for employees and employers

Businessolver’s Eighth Annual Report on the State of Workplace Empathy describes how the pandemic has impacted on employees’ personal lives, the labor market, and the economy, and states that “we are living through a renegotiation of the social contract between employees and employers”.

Their data shows that amid the return to the office, fewer employees view their organizations as empathetic, and that workplace empathy has clear implications for employee well-being, talent retention, business results, and increases people-power:

  • About 70% of employees and HR professionals believe that empathetic organizations drive higher employee motivation.
  • While 94% of employees value flexible work hours as empathetic, the option is only offered in 38% of organizations.
  • 92% of CEOs say their response to returning to in-person work is satisfactory, compared to 78% of employees.
  • 82% of employees say their managers are empathetic, compared to 69% who say the same about their organization’s chief executive.

Yet, there seems to be a true lack of understanding, especially in the corporate sector, of what it means to be empathetic, and a shortage of time and energy to develop the mindsets, behaviors, and skills to practice it and make it a habit.

It is also a fundamental way of being to increase our connectedness and building peoples-power.

Make a Fundamental Choice to Increase our Connectedness

Even though each person is a distinct physical being, we are all connected to each other and to nature, not only through our language but also by having a deeper sense of being.

Human connectedness is a powerful human need that occurs when an individual is aware and actively engaged with another person, activity, object or environment, group, team, organization, or natural environment.

It results in a sense of well-being.

The concept is applied in psychology as a sensation or perception where a person does not operate as a single entity – we are all formed together to make another, individual unit, which is often described as wholeness.

Which is especially important for our well-being and people power in the face of the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.

Strategies for Developing Quality Connections

  • Be grounded, mindful and conscious

Being grounded and mindful enables people to become fully present to both themselves and to others. It is a generous gift to unconditionally bestow on others. Especially at this moment in time, where the pandemic-induced social isolation, has caused many people to become unconsciously and unintentionally self-absorbed.

There is an opening to become aware of, and to cultivate our attending and observing skillsets, to sense and see the signals people are sending, at the moment they are sending them. To help people identify the source of their issues to re-establish a sense of influence and control that reduces their autonomic nervous system reactions and help them restore their calmness.

This is the basis to increase our connectedness, by attuning and becoming empathetic as to what thoughts and feelings lay behind their behaviours and actions, with detachment, allowing and acceptance.

  • Be open-hearted and open-minded 

Being curious about what others are feeling and thinking, without evaluating, judging, and opposing what they are saying. By knowing how to listen deeply for openings and doorways that allow possibilities and opportunities to emerge, to generate great questions that clarify and confirm what is being both said and unsaid.

To support people by creating a safe and collective holding space, that reduces their automatic unconscious defensive responses.  To defuse situations by being empathic and humble and increase our connectedness by asking how you might help or support them, and gaining their permission and trust to do so.

Increase our connectedness through being vulnerable in offering options so they make the best choice for themselves, to reduce their dependence, help them identify and activate their circles of influence and control and sustain their autonomy.

  • Help people regenerate

Now is the moment in time to focus on building workforce capabilities and shifting mindsets for generating a successful culture or digital transformation initiative by harnessing, igniting, and mobilizing people’s motivation and collective intelligence and building people power.

It is crucial to acknowledge and leverage the impact of technology through increasing people-power by developing new mindsets, behaviors, skills, and new roles, which are already emerging as fast as other roles change.

Be willing to invest in the deep learning challenges that build people’s readiness and receptivity to change, so they can embrace rather than resist it, and be willing to unlearn, and relearn, differently, by collaborating with other people, leaders, teams, and organizations across the world.

Ultimately, it all depends on being daring and willing to increase our connectedness, through adapting, innovating, and collectively co-creating strategies, systems, structures that serve the common good, and contribute to the well-being of people, deliver profits and nurture a sustainable planet.

Find out more about our work at ImagineNation™

Find out about our collective, learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators, Leaders, and Teams Certified Program, a collaborative, intimate, and deeply personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 9-weeks, starting Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of an ecosystem focus, human-centric approach, and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, and increase people-power, upskill people and teams and develop their future fitness, within your unique context. Find out more about our products and tools.

This is the final in a series of three blogs on the theme of reconnecting and resetting, to create, invent and innovate in an increasingly chaotic world.

You can also check out the recording of our 45-minute masterclass, to discover new ways of re-connecting through the complexity and chaos of dis-connection to create, invent and innovate in the future! Find out more.

Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

When you don’t know what to do, what do you do? This is a difficult question.

Here are some thoughts that may help you figure out what to do when you really don’t know.

Don’t confuse activity with progress.

Gather your two best friends, go off-site, and define the system as it is.

Don’t ask everyone what they think because the Collective’s thoughts will be diffuse, bland, and tired.

Get outside.

Draw a picture of how things work today.

Get a good meal.

Make a graph of goodness over time. If it’s still increasing, do more of what you did last time. If it’s flat, do something else.

Get some exercise.

Don’t judge yourself negatively. This is difficult work.

Get some sleep.

Help someone with their problem. The distraction will keep you out of the way as your mind works on it for you.

Spend time with friends.

Try a new idea at the smallest scale. It will likely lead to a better one. Repeat.

Use your best judgment.

Image credit: Pixabay

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Spotting Frauds and Hucksters

Spotting Frauds and Hucksters

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

Within hours of planes crashing into the World Trade Center on 9-11, stories began circulating that it was not, in fact, the planes that caused the towers to collapse, but explosives planted inside by someone with access. Since then, a number of conspiracy theories have circulated that people ranging from government employees to Wall Street Traders were responsible for the attack.

So, it shouldn’t be surprising that there is no shortage of alleged schemes about the coronavirus epidemic, from theories that the disease is caused by 5G mobile networks to that Bill Gates cooked it up as part of a global plot to electronically track us through vaccinations. Even the president’s son has a pet theory.

The simple truth is that when a tragic event happens, we lose our sense of control and there will never be a shortage of hucksters willing to take advantage of that, for profit or for other reasons. Often, these are elaborate narratives and can seem very convincing. Yet the schemes tend to have common characteristics which we can use to spot and nullify their effect.

Questionable Credentials

The first and most obvious thing most fraudulent conspiracy theories have in common is questionable credentials. Credentials, like a professional degree or certification, are important because they show that someone’s expertise has been recognized by other experts in a specific field of endeavor and that person has subjected themselves to evaluation.

That doesn’t mean someone has to have a piece of paper for their ideas to matter. In fact, as Thomas Kuhn pointed out decades ago, it is often outsiders, like Richard Feynman in virology and Elon Musk in space exploration, who drive paradigm shifts in a particular domain. However, in those cases, the outsiders are almost always working in conjunction with recognized experts.

Of course, the hucksters understand the importance of credentials, so they use several ploys to confuse us. They often appear in videos in white lab coats and use scientific sounding words. Like a cargo cult, they adopt the appearance and forms of a scientific method but discard the substance. Often, they will point to the lack of acceptance by “the establishment” as proof that their ideas are so important, they are being silenced.

So, the first thing we should look at is the credentials of the person or people making the claim. Lacking credentials doesn’t immediately make you wrong and having them doesn’t necessarily make you right. Nevertheless, when someone is unwilling to accept some type of training and evaluation it should put us on our guard.

A Lack of Transparency

Real science is transparent. There are no trade secrets. You are providing information on your materials and methods as well as the data that results. The idea is that you want to give everybody all of the information they would need to question your conclusions and judge the value of what you profess to be contributing.

Conspiracy theorists don’t do this. That’s why YouTube is a favorite medium. It’s so hard to fact check. You aren’t expected to provide links or data in an appendix to a video. You can just make assertions set to dramatic music. You can flash images that suggest nefarious activities without making any real assertions.

Another favorite ploy of the hucksters is to point to the lack of data as proof of the importance of their ideas. Of course, they don’t have data! That’s part of the cover up! So, they refuse to give any real proof and try to bury you in false assertions. They shift the burden of proof to anybody who questions them. Can anybody prove the data doesn’t exist?

We want to constantly ask ourselves, “Is this person giving me all the information I would need to come to a different conclusion? Is he or she open to different interpretations of the same data?”

A Persecution Complex

While researching my book, Mapping Innovation, I interviewed dozens of top innovators. Some were world class scientists and engineers. Others were high level executives at large corporations. Still others were highly successful entrepreneurs. Overall, it was a pretty intimidating group.

So, I was surprised to find that, with few exceptions, they were some of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met. The behavior was so consistent that I felt that it couldn’t be an accident. So, I began to research the matter further and found that, to a surprising extent, generosity can be a competitive advantage.

One particular case that comes to mind is Jim Allison, who had his idea for curing cancer rejected by the establishment. The pain was apparent in his voice even 20 years after the fact. Yet he didn’t blame anybody. He tried to understand why people were skeptical, went back and further validated his data, pounded the pavement and kept advocating for his idea. Jim won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2018.

Conspiracy theorists, on the other hand, often go to great lengths to explain how they have been silenced by the establishment and say this is proof of the importance of their ideas. They ascribe malevolent motives to those who disagree with them. For them, there is no such thing as honest dissent.

Have You Ever Seen a Humble Conspiracy Theorist?

One thing that always impressed me about the innovators I researched was how they insisted on giving credit to others. This came through especially during fact checks, when they would insist, I note the contributions of their collaborators. They never claim that they did it all themselves.

The people who make the biggest breakthroughs aren’t necessarily smarter or harder working than anybody else. However, they are effective knowledge brokers who build up strong networks of collaborators. They don’t always know more, but they know who knows more and that helps them to access that random piece of knowledge or insight that allows them to crack a really tough problem.

Yet conspiracy theorists would have us believe that they possess, by either innate ability or opportunity, some unique insight that others are not privy to. They don’t invite collaboration, scrutiny or alternate perspectives because they believe they are already possessing the absolute truth.

We need to have a healthy skepticism, especially with ideas we would tend to agree with. We should ask questions, explore alternative explanations of the same data and be open to additional evidence. What we need to look out for are people who would suggest that we shouldn’t do these things, because they are the ones looking to deceive us.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Have the Courage to be Wrong

Have the Courage to be Wrong

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

When you were wrong, the outcome was different than you thought.

When the outcome was different than you thought, there was uncertainty as the work was new.

When there was uncertainty, you knew there would be learning.

When you were afraid of learning, you were afraid to be wrong.

And when you were afraid to be wrong, you were really afraid about what people would think of you.

Would you rather wall off uncertainty to prevent yourself from being wrong or would you rather try something new?

If there’s a difference between what others think of you and what you think of yourself, whose opinion matters more?

Why does it matter what people think of you?

Why do you let their mattering block you from trying new things?

In the end, hold onto the fact that you matter, especially when you have the courage to be wrong.

Image credit: Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Reset and Reconnect to Transform your World

Reset and Reconnect to Transform your World

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

Our blog, Reset and Reconnect in a Chaotic World was the first in a series of three, on the theme of reconnecting and resetting, to create, invent and innovate in an increasingly chaotic world. In this blog, we described how we have opportunities, to focus on being kinder to both ourselves and to others we interact with. To help us shift our mental states to transition effectively through the shock and pain of the pandemic, and rehabilitate in ways that transform our worlds.

We also outlined the range of key reasons as to why it is critical to take personal responsibility for understanding, helping, and supporting those we depend upon, and who depend upon us, to respond in ways that are respectful and compassionate, creative and courageous.

That enables and empowers people to recover and rehabilitate from the shock and pain they are experiencing from their elevated levels of stress, discomfort, and anxiety, occurring in our relentlessly uncertain and chaotic environments, through allowing, accepting, and acknowledging where people are at – and that it’s OK to not be OK!

Neither a time to panic nor languish

Right now, it is neither a time to panic, stall nor to languish in the face of change fatigue and mental lethargy.

It is a time to shift from making binary (either/or) judgements towards making linear (both/and) judgements to re-think and create a mental state, that is open and receptive to emerging possibilities and embraces change in ways that are fair and inclusive.

To transform your world through:

  • Choosing a range of constructive and positive responses to the rising levels of global economic, civic, and social uncertainty and unrest in our own local environments.
  • Generously and kindly demonstrating care, respect, and appreciation for the value everyone brings, and by being collaborative, appreciative, helpful, and supportive.
  • Being unconditionally willing to take the “sacred pause” that allows ourselves, teams, organizations, and to reconnect and reset, through intentionally using constraints and developing a mental state that supports them to become adaptive, creative, inventive, and innovative.

Transforming your world involves co-creating a deeper sense of belonging and a more optimistic outlook, to enhance our collective intelligence toward discovering and navigating new ways of thriving, flourishing, and flowing in the face of ongoing disruption.

Integrating and balancing chaos and rigidity

Dr. Dan Siegal, in Mindsight, applies the emerging principles of interpersonal neurobiology to promote compassion, kindness, resilience, and well-being in our personal lives, our relationships, and our communities.

In our global coaching practice at ImagineNation™ we have observed that many of our clients are experiencing mental states that embody varying levels of discord, dissonance, and dis-order, which are deeply unconscious and are impacting them neurologically.

Dr. Dan Siegal states:

“At the heart of both interpersonal neurobiology and the mindsight approach is the concept of ‘integration’ which entails the linkage of different aspects of a system – whether they exist within a single person or a collection of individuals. Integration is seen as the essential mechanism of health as it promotes a flexible and adaptive way of being that is filled with vitality and creativity.

The ultimate outcome of integration is harmony. The absence of integration leads to chaos and rigidity—a finding that enables us to re-envision our understanding of mental disorders and how we can work together in the fields of mental health, education, and other disciplines, to create a healthier, more integrated world.”

We have seen a vast range of evidence of peoples’ internal and external, mental chaos, and self-imposed internal rigidity in many of our clients’ coaching sessions.

Knowing that when chaos and rigidity are prolonged – it creates unproductive or dysfunctional mental states and inflexible thought processing.

This makes people non-adaptive and mostly inflexible because their natural well-being is impaired (dis-order).

Our approach is to partner with clients to co-create a relationship, that supports and helps facilitate a set of more integrated mental states. This entails each person’s being respected for his or her autonomy and differentiated self through deep empathic communication, which creates the space and an opening for shifting mindsets and behaviors, to ultimately pull them towards a new possibility that may transform their world.

Allowing, accepting, and acknowledging

When we allow, accept, acknowledge and support people to recover and rehabilitate from the shock and pain they are experiencing as a result of recent global events and conflicts, including feelings of overwhelm, isolation, loneliness, and disconnection, we can enable them to initiate making these shifts.

According to Gallops Global Emotions 2022 Report – these are considered “negative emotions – the aggregate of the stress, sadness, anger, worry and physical pain that people feel every day” and have reached a new record in the history of their tracking.

Jon Clifton, CEO of Gallop stated in the report that their data reveals that unhappiness has been rising for more than a decade and that the world is also struggling from a silent pandemic – loneliness.

“Gallup finds that 330 million adults go at least two weeks without talking to a single friend or family member. And just because some people have friends, it doesn’t mean they have good friends. One‑fifth of all adults do not have a single person they can count on for help.”

No emotion or mental state is permanent!

It’s time to focus on exploring how to better help ourselves, our clients, people, and teams by paying deep attention and being intentional as to how we might experiment and collaborate, with three key steps, to make these shifts:

  1. Co-create relationships focused on supporting integration, by being respectful and empathic in all communications, to open space of possibility, and pull people towards what creative ideas and breakthroughs might transform their world.
  2. Artfully and masterfully generatively listen, inquire, question, and disagree, to evoke, provoke and create ideas for thinking and acting differently both today and in the future.
  3. Maximize people’s strengths, differences, and diversity, to sense, see and solve problems and be creative and inventive in delivering breakthrough ideas and innovative solutions that add value to the quality of people’s lives, in ways they appreciate and cherish.

Rehabilitate with intention

At the same time, paradoxically, extending options and choices that help them shift and transition through the shock and pain of the past two and half years.

Enabling and empowering people to rehabilitate, with intention rather than regret, adopting a systemic lens through:

  • Creating safe collective holding spaces, that embrace presence, empathy, and compassion.
  • Helping people get grounded, become mindful, and fully present, enables them to make quality connections, rebuild their confidence and recreate a sense of belonging.
  • Enabling, equipping, and empowering people with new mindsets, behaviors, and skills through unlearning, learning, and relearning so they can adapt, grow and be resourceful and resilient in the face of the range of emerging problems, opportunities, and challenges.
  • Amplifying people’s strengths, reinforcing positive emotions, mitigating and reducing the way they filter information to re-ignite their intrinsic motivation and re-engage them in what they can control, what care deeply about value, or need, to survive and thrive.

A decade of both transformation and disruption

As most of us are aware, we are currently experiencing a decade of both transformation and disruption, where chaos and order are constantly polarizing, making it imperative to support, mentor, and coach people to integrate and find their balance.

To help them become more flexible and open to being adaptive, and effectively “dance in dis-equilibrium” between the constant and consistent states of chaos and order.

To enable people to see themselves as the cause in actively unlearning and letting go of old mental models, unresourceful mental states, and thinking patterns, to reimagine and redesign how they work to transform their world and create a more compelling, inclusive, and sustainable future.

Find out more about our work at ImagineNation™

Find out about our collective, learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators, Leaders, and Teams Certified Program, presented by Janet Sernack, is a collaborative, intimate, and deeply personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 9-weeks, starting Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

It is a blended and transformational change and learning program that will give you a deep understanding of the language, principles, and applications of an ecosystem focus, human-centric approach, and emergent structure (Theory U) to innovation, and upskill people and teams and develop their future fitness, within your unique context. Find out more about our products and tools.

This is the second in a series of three blogs on the theme of reconnecting and resetting, to create, invent and innovate in an increasingly chaotic world.

You can also check out the recording of our 45-minute masterclass, to discover new ways of re-connecting through the complexity and chaos of dis-connection to create, invent and innovate in the future!

Image credit: Unsplash

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.