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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Ethics of Emotional Intelligence

Friday, August 19th, 2011

by Gael O’Brien

Recent leadership failures in several high profile companies draw increased attention to the reality that achieving goals – performance – is only part of the formula for success. Another critical piece is the way leaders do it, which impacts others – relationships.  Leaders who are low in self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills lack something called “emotional intelligence” (EQ), a behavior model popularized by the work of Daniel Goleman. (more…)

Using Social Intelligence for Team Success: Personal Checklist

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Do you use your social and emotional intelligence to the benefit of your work team every day? Do you give your best effort regardless of the role you play? Are you willing work professionally with every team member, and use your interpersonal skills to help the group succeed?

Check the list below to see how you are doing at using your social intelligence to become an effective team member at work. (more…)

Video Clip: OMG…that’s TMI.

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Ever hear something from a co-worker you wish you hadn’t heard? It’s called TMI (too much information).  Here’s a funny video clip you can use to encourage people to exercise restraint when sharing personal information. (more…)

Trying Not to Fail Is Not the Same As Striving for Success

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Guest Post
by Art Petty

There’s a definite difference between focusing on not failing versus striving for success.

When we focus on not failing, fear rents most of the space in our mind, and we see monsters in need of slaying everywhere we turn. We lose track of the original vision that propelled our actions, and the sheer act of working becomes at best a passionless exercise and at worst, drudgery. (more…)

Tips for Identifying and Measuring Key Performance Indicators

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

“Knowledge is power.”  Sir Francis Bacon, 1697

Anyone with decision-making authority needs relevant, timely, and accurate information that can be acted upon – the right information at the right time.

But how do you identify the measurements that matter most? (more…)

Activity for Leaders: Planning & Failure

Thursday, May 19th, 2011


Planning for every eventuality is one of the leadership factors taught at West Point. While it might sound contradictory, the best planning allows the greatest flexibility. No plan survives contact with the “enemy”— whatever form the “enemy” takes — be it time, budgets, competitors, or changing conditions. Planning for all contingencies establishes the competitive edge.

Communication and planning go hand in hand. A plan is only as good as the leader’s ability to communicate it to the team, and to receive information from the team as to whether or not things are going according to plan.

Also, learning from Failure is a key skill that must be understood and mastered by the cadets at West Point. (more…)

The Good News About Stress Management: How “Good” Stress Keeps Us Going & Growing

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Author: Barbara Schiffman, C.Ht.

Every health and lifestyle magazine contains articles claiming stress is bad for us. They list dozens of ways to relieve stress, from exercise to eating healthy foods. A wide range of relaxation techniques have also been proven to help manage stress in our crazy-busy world, especially for people who take care of others and tend to neglect themselves.

But stress is not always as bad as these cautionary articles insist. In fact, some stress is actually necessary to keep us going and growing. (more…)

Lessons in Becoming a Virtual Virtuoso

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

With learning budgets still being squeezed, more and more organizations are adopting the virtual classroom as ‘business as usual’. Properly facilitated, the virtual classroom can be an engaging, comfortable and accountable learning environment – a far-cry from the passive, one-way haven multitaskers have learned to love. Here are six lessons to ensure your virtual facilitation success.

Do a different kind of homework.
The virtual classroom has a different kind of energy that requires your attention before you start.  Because participants can’t see each other and “catch” each other’s enthusiasm, it’s up to you to set a positive high energy tone from the very start. Develop a ritual to focus and energize yourself a few minutes before your session takes off.

Pull up an easy chair.
The social connecting and rapport-building that makes people comfortable in the face-to-face classroom won’t happen here without some prompting. Take the extra effort to make personal connections with and between participants. Create comfort by outlining clear expectations for how to participate and the role you will play in encouraging involvement.

Add some pop to your talk.
The energy you project will be reflected back to you by participants…good, bad or ugly. Think of your voice as your energy instrument with infinite range of tone, inflection and pace. Use your voice to make up for energy lost through the absence of body language and facial expression.

Get everyone talking.
The natural turn-taking that occurs in face-to-face discussions is compromised virtually. The visual cues are missing. Open questions directed to the whole group may generate silence not because participants are disinterested but because they are waiting for someone else to take his or her turn. Let people know how you want them to respond and call on people by name generously.

Dish out the details.
When participants are confused about what they are to do in the virtual world, you can’t walk over casually to clarify. Clear, specific directions are even more critical in this venue – with visual support through slides and ‘print-your-own’ style handouts.

Fend off awkward moments.
Awkward moments – like consistent latecomers, off-base comments or negativity – magnify in the virtual classroom. Work diligently to keep things focused and to turn glimpses of negativity into positive problem solving. Minimize attention to latecomers – why take valuable time from those who arrived on time? Try even a few of these virtual virtuoso lessons and enjoy the beautiful learning you and your participants will create together.

Written by DesignArounds, your one-stop learning and development partner. © 2010. For more information about DesignArounds’ products & services, visit us at www.designarounds.com.

Need more help in this area? Our program, The Invisible Meeting, offers additional tips for achieving success in the “virtual world”. It illustrates six techniques that that turn a conference call into a productive, collaborative group session.

10 Discussion Questions for Training Sessions on Creativity

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

People often underestimate their own abilities to be creative, and because of this, they’re afraid or unwilling to stretch their imaginations to look at their lives or work from new and different angles.  The discussion questions below can be used in any type of session on creativity, innovation or brainstorming. They can be used to help make any or all of the following points:

– Creativity is not something we learn; it’s something we’ve forgotten but can relearn.
– Creativity is within us all; we must learn to stop judging ourselves and take risks which free our imaginations.
– A willingness to explore creative solutions is a reflection of our desire to effect positive change in ourselves, our teams and organizations.
– It is important that we support and build on ideas from all team members.
– Creativity can become an everyday part of our lives–we just need to look around and see the world in different ways.
– Teams and organizations need to identify those things that stimulate creativity and those that dull it.

Now, here are 10 discussion questions you might want to use in a session you’re facilitating on creativity:

1. Name creative people you know or have heard of–they don’t have to be famous.  What are some of the things they’ve done that you consider creative?

2. What are some of the creative things you’ve seen children do?  When you’re with them, do they make you more creative?

3. What’s the last creative thing you did?  When did you do it?  If it’s been a long time, why?

4. Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said “We fail forward to success.”  What does she mean by this?  Can you think of examples in your life where you “failed forward”?

5. According to Pablo Picasso, “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.”  What do you think must be destroyed?  Is it possible to apply Picasso’s creative philosophy to your workplace?

6. Your manager comes in and says, “We need an answer to our problem of overstocked inventory. See if you can think of a good solution.”  Does this approach stimulate or inhibit your creative juices?  Why?

7. Creativity can often lead to conflict and instability. Why do you think this is? And why then might you want more creativity in your life or organization?

8. If you were told you’d be given $500 for coming up with the best solution to an organizational problem, do you think you’d be more or less creative? Why?

9. Think of several things you do as part of your regular “routine” (e.g. what you eat, what time you wake up in the morning, when you exercise, the people with whom you socialize at work).  Which would be the hardest for you to change?  What habits would you change first if you thought it would be easy?

10. When you’re in a group, what type of behaviors help stimulate your creativity? What type of behaviors or comments diminish it?

Material excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to the training program Team Creativity.

Need help in this area? Are there things going on in your organization today that would benefit from a creative problem-solving effort? The inspirational case study shared in The Magic of We sets the stage for individuals, teams and departments from throughout the organization to work together on finding solutions.


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