How To Make Risk Your Friend

Posted on September 6, 2013

Managing RiskSo what do leaders do to manage themselves in the face of uncertainty… to lead with executive maturity? Dr. Chopra uses lessons learned from the financial debacle of 2008 to offer us insights on managing risk which we all face daily.

Motivating Employees

Posted on July 30, 2013

The author of this short, well written blog is Susan David, whom several members of the Perla Group had the opportunity to hear speak at the annual Harvard Coaching in Leadership conference. She is a researcher and consultant to businesses on Emotional Intelligence… so what is the missing link to employee engagement?  Learn more about employee autonomy being linked to employee motivation.

What Happy People Do Differently

Posted on July 8, 2013

positive behavior in the work placeThis article from Psychology Today gives a concise overview of the “happiness and well-being” research.  As we learn to live and relate in the business world, some of these studies help us to broaden our awareness, develop and trust our own resiliency skills, and savor emotions and experiences to deepen those positive aspects of our lives-at home and at work.

The Business Case for Positive Psychology in the Work Place

Posted on July 3, 2013

 

Positivity in the Work Place

This article written by one of the  major researchers in the science of  Positive Psychology states:  “Contrary to some beliefs positive psychology is not the science of happiness. It is the science of all that goes right, rather than wrong, with people. It includes happiness, to be sure, but it also extends far beyond joy to include resilience, perseverance, courage, optimism, curiosity and other positive topics.”  Who would not want  more of those positive aspects in their work place?  Read more in the brief article about one company who consciously practiced gratitude with their employees and reaped the benefits.

 

 

What type of Leader are you?

Posted on July 2, 2013

leadership styles

As Jim Rohn, a respected leader once said, that leaders need to know when “to be strong but not rude; be kind but not weak; be bold but not bully; be thoughtful but not lazy; be humble but not timid; be proud by not arrogant; have humor without folly.” Read more of this leadership styles article to discover how to balance your style with this advise…

Love 2.0

Posted on March 13, 2013

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.”
                                    Burt Bacharach and Hal David

 

Jackie DeShannon soulful rendering of this song, written in 1965, transported listeners for a few minutes – to feel lighter, breath easier and to imagine the possibilities of love.  In the 1960’s, our nation was just beginning a large shift of consciousness that was felt in vast social, historical and political shifts.  As the negative emotion felt by the anger of change grew, some thought that increasing our ability and capacity to love was the answer.  However, back then, science had few tools for studying positive emotions like Love.  Instead this emotion found expression and calibration through artists and songwriters.

Fast forward to the 21st century: our world still needs more love, more positive emotion expression.  Science can now observe and collect clear data on how we express positive emotions like love… the greatest positive emotion. Advances in science give scientists this opportunity –  neuroimaging of the brain, as well as the tools of medicine that allow us to measure neural activity and hormone secretion.One of the most exceptional social scientists on the scene today, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a distinguished Professor from the University of North Carolina, has written a compelling, cogent and warm-hearted book, called Love 2.0, How our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything we Feel, Think and Do.  A gifted writer, she is able to interpret the hard data experiments that she and other scientists have done on the subject, interpreting and combining it with her own experiences, and at times poetical words to challenge us to consider a new definition of love: she calls it positivity resonance.

Love, she posits, is not just the stuff of lovers/married folks/parents and children…this emotion she renames “positivity resonance” can happen with strangers—even for a few minutes.  Dr. Fredrickson’s research show that love is connection and therefore is:

 “…The momentary upwelling of three tightly interwoven events: first a sharing of one or more positive emotions between you and another; second, a synchrony between your and the other person’s biochemistry and behaviors; and third, a reflected motive to invest in each other’s well-being that brings mutual care.”

A familiar example of what she describes as a “micro-moment of positivity resonance”: imagine waiting in an airport and casually telling a story with a stranger sitting next to you and, before you both know it you are laughing, even sharing similar life events, feeling lighter, more relaxed. Forgetting that the plane is 2 hours delayed, you are enjoying the brief exchange, where by the way, you not only make the time go faster, meet a kindred soul, but share a few traveling tips as well.  That Barbara Fredrickson says is love… or positivity resonance.  She has chapter after chapter of describing her own and other’s research showing changes in the brain, vagus nerve, respiration and one’s hormonal level during such positive emotion exchanges which gives proof of how love does indeed calm and connect us with ourselves and others.

So why is this important in living, relating and working?

We now know by Dr. Fredrickson’s own research as well as other research completed by Drs. Marcial Losada in mathematics and John Gottman in marriage – that there is a 3:1 tipping point of positive to negative emotion at which point, when experienced, people begin to flourish.  At work that means we then can begin to interact with co-workers creating higher team productivity, smoother communication and more successful client interactions.

This research shows that negative emotion narrows our awareness (“fight or flight”) and positive emotion broadens our perspective (“calming and connecting”) which results in more creative thinking and some studies show, a higher IQ after interacting with someone in a positive way.

In the workplace, this could mean: creative breakthroughs, more flexible problem solving, and increased resilient behavior that allows for a broader array of skills to deal with difficulty, disappointment and loss.  Dr. Fredrickson describes this as the ability of positive resonance to “unlock collective brainstorming power.”  She even outlines a meditation practice that leads you to “re-designing your job around love.”

The book also gives myriad resources and tools on practices to increase positive emotion, particularly borrowing from the Tibetan tradition of Loving Kindness meditation.

She has crafted a most informative website: www.positivityresonance.com which offers tools, videos and a series of mp3 meditations, in her own voice, that you can practice and a few from some more famous meditation masters like Sharon Salzberg.  As we strive to increase our positive emotion so that we can move toward flourishing in our work and life, Dr. Fredrickson’s book is a must read.

References:

Love, 2.0, Barbara L. Fredrickson, PH.D, Hudson Street Press, 2013

www.Positivityresonace.com – Dr. Fredrickson’s website on Love 2.0 that has many tools and meditations available for listening.

Fredrickson, B.L., Losada, M.F.,  “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing” American Psychologist, October 2005.  This article is available on a Google search.

Gottman, John.  Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last, Simon and Schuster. 1994

 

 

Positivity in the Work Place

Posted on January 12, 2013

Research shows that when we can maintain a ratio of 3 (positive emotion) : 1 (negative emotion) in the work place we show up more able to make and maintain productive relationships, have more effective team interactions and more successful client interactions.  Maintaining this ratio is challenging given the negative bias of negative emotions on the brain: we are biologically hard wired to pay more attention to negative emotion.  Often stated: positive emotion is like “teflon” on the brain and negative emotion more like “velcro” on our brains.

So what to do?

These resources offer brilliant ways to practice increasing positive emotions and thinking to get to the tipping point each day at work of 3:1:

Barbara Fredrickson, Positivity, Three Rivers Press, 2009:  This book, now available in paperback, is written by an award winning social scientist.  Dr. Fredrickson not only explains her research but gives poignant examples from her own life of how she maintains positivity. The book also lists exercises and methods to practice daily to maintain the 3:1 ratio at work and in life. Also, check out Dr. Fredrickson’s website:  www.positivityratio.com to test your positivity ratio each day.

Lynn Johnson, Enjoy LIfe: Healing with Happiness-available on his website and on Amazon.  The subtitle of this book is: How to harness positive moods to raise your energy, effectiveness and joy.  Dr Johnson gives really practical suggestions to maintain the positivity ratio as well as clear descriptions of relevant social science research.

Barbara Fredrickson and Marcel Losada, “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”, American Psychologist, October 2005. For those interested in reading the research data.

Martin Seligman, Flourishing  and Authentic Happiness. Dr. Seligman is considered the Father of Positive Psychology. He is a must read if you are interested in studying Positive Psychology and applying the findings to your own life. He posits that in order to flourish in life (and to increase positive emotion) we need:  Positive relationships, Engagement or flow, Relationships/social connnections, Meaning or Purpose  and Accomplishment in our lives.

The CEO as Transformational Storyteller

Posted on November 30, 2011

CEO as a Transformational Storyteller and LeaderAmid economic challenges like those at work today, companies need to transform themselves, adapting to survive and even move ahead.  But given the volume of coverage and advisory-oriented information out there, surprisingly little attention is paid to the role of one important person – the CEO.   What can this key leader do?

According to a recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly, issued by management consultants McKinsey & Company, the first thing CEOs should do is something I agree with a thousand percent.  CEOs must make their organization’s transformation meaningful by making it personal, and they should do that through storytelling.

“People will go to extraordinary lengths for causes they believe in, and a powerful transformation story will create and reinforce their commitment. The ultimate impact of the story depends on the CEO’s willingness to make the transformation personal, to engage others openly, and to spotlight successes as they emerge,” say the experts at McKinsey, and they’re right.

I wrote a speech for a client some time ago that proves the point.  This gentleman had been named CEO of a company he had worked for all his life, succeeding a much younger man who had been brought in from the outside but who had passed away quite unexpectedly.  While the younger CEO had done a fine job improving efficiency and shareholder returns, he lacked interpersonal skills and internal morale had suffered.

The new CEO, conversely, having been such an old hand within the company, was well-known and even more well-loved.  He believed – truly believed – that when people came first, business results would follow.  And that message served as the central theme of the speech I wrote for him, as he addressed all employees as his first act as CEO.

He told stories drawn from the people who mentored him as a young man, those who worked alongside him, those who inspired him, and those who came to look up to him over time.  He tied these wonderful, warm stories to his vision of where he wanted the company to go.  He told the people of the organization he now led that he needed them to believe in each other the way he always believed in them.

And by the time he was finished, every one of those 2,400 people – whether they were in the same building, or watching via video across the company footprint – would have ran through a brick wall for him.

He made the transformation personal through heartfelt stories.  There’s no reason that CEOs in any organization, regardless of the challenges they face, can’t achieve the necessary transformations the same way.  It can’t be faked.  It can’t be half-hearted.  But when it’s done well, it can’t be denied.  A great speech delivered with conviction can transform people and organizations.

Reference:  Hayes, Tim, Jackass in a Hailstorm—Adventures in Leadership Communication,  2010 Transverse Park Productions, LLC.  This book is available on Amazon.com.  Tim is a Leadership Communication Consultant, Trainer and an associate in the Perla Group – Coaching and Consulting.

I Like Facebook, HBU (how ‘bout you)?

Posted on November 30, 2011

Facebook Business ConnectionsBy Tim Hayes

As a newbie to Facebook, I’m in the process of learning not only how to navigate these new waters of Walls and Friending and feigning interest in people’s toenail painting appointments, but also how to communicate business opportunities to heretofore untapped markets.

The universe of Twitter beckons as well, but my limit is one culture shock at a time, thanks.

One of the more fascinating aspects of these and other social media is the quicksilver development of language and novel abbreviations.  With three teenagers in the house, the fact that this is happening comes as no surprise.  Yet the sheer volume of newly hatched acronyms, homonyms, and synonyms leaves me speechless.  And I’m a speechwriter, 4COL (for crying out loud).

As a parent, I want to know what the kids are talking about out there to keep mine safe.  As a professional communicator, I want to know what language usages the world is embracing to keep my clients informed and protected, as well.  A recent article in The Wall Street Journal gives a very informed and informative rundown of this constantly evolving vocabulary, and quotes a media trainer as stating, “If a CEO does not appear to be tech-savvy, people may start to wonder, ‘Is the company not plugged into today’s technologies also?’”

I’m not sure the thumbs of CEOs with whom I work are furiously flurrying over their Blackberrys and iPhones with gems like KUTGW (keep up the good work), WRUD (what are you doing), or GBTW (get back to work).  Well, maybe that last one.  But the notion of remaining tech-savvy does ring true.

The only thing that never changes is the fact that everything changes.  Social media drives presidential politics, athletes bypassing the media and going straight to their fan base, heck, even Paula Abdul resigned from “American Idol” via Twitter.  What more proof does anyone need?

For now, I plan to dive back into my Facebook account and start swimming again, looking for fresh Friends who can lead me to vast new worlds of business connections.  My message to them?  PCM (please call me).

Copyright 2009 Tim Hayes Consulting

Reference:  Hayes, Tim, Jackass in a Hailstorm—Adventures in Leadership Communication, 2010 Transverse Park Productions, LLC.  This book is available on Amazon.com.  Tim is a Leadership Communication Consultant, Trainer and an associate in the Perla Group – Coaching and Consulting.

 

Creative Planning Retreat for Professionals

Posted on February 8, 2011

Professional Business Retreat
Save the Date:
Friday, April 8 – Saturday, April 9, 2011
St. Emma’s Monastery
Greensburg, PA

Retreat facilitated by Rosemarie Perla,  Executive Coach and Consultant

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

—Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Computers

Purpose of retreat: To give the business professional time out to consider vision and values related to their work life; to design how they want to continue contributing in their careers and in their communities.

When:
Friday, April 8, 2011 starting at 1 PM to Saturday, April 9, 2011 ending at 5 PM.

Where: St. Emma’s Monastery, 1001 Harvey Ave., Greensburg, PA  (approximately 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, PA)

Who: Business Professionals wanting to develop strategies for integrating personal strengths with their leadership skills and presence.

Cost
$275.00 (registered by March 18, 2011) includes room, most meals and retreat materials,  $300.00 (after March 18, 2011)

Retreat held in Monastery Guest House.  First 10 registrants are guaranteed a room with private bath.  All other registrants will have private room with shared bath.

For more information, or to pre-register – Call or email Rosemarie Perla at the Perla Group – Coaching and Consulting: Rosemarie@PerlaGroup.com  or  412.621.7996.  Details to follow.  WWW.PerlaGroup.com