Protip: The Secret of Success

The secret of success is to create a tribe that unifies people against a shared enemy. This is how marketing, propaganda, religion and populism work. Given this power, use it wisely!

#marketing #everbetterleadership #leadership #enemy #propaganda #religion #politics

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Protip: 2 Super Easy Ways To Be More Productive

On average it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus after an interruption. Most often we are interrupted by ourselves (40% of times) and by an email or other external message (23%). *

“we have become social media junkies.”

My interpretation is that the interruption we do by ourselves, is mostly because we have become social media junkies. The reason is explained in the infograph below. For the full infograph please visit this link.

So to get more things done do the following:

  1. Make a deal with yourself that no social media fixes during the hours you really want to make things happen.
  2. Turn of the email/application notifications, and check your email only few times a day. People will call you if in a desperate need of your assistance.
  3. Get several hours of productive time per day.
  4. Profit!

For a few more tips and tricks to boost your effectiveness make sure you check my older post: http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2016/12/27/top-5-tips-to-boost-and-increase-effectiveness/

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How Hormones Shape Our Behavior – Including How We Lead

12.2.2017

I just read the great article from Harvard Business Review about “The Neuroscience of Trust.” The article thoroughly dives into creating trust in a workplace from neuroscience’s point of view. Why this is a particularly interesting topic and also very relevant for every leader is in short:

Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.

Fascinating timing

The timing of HBR’s article is of course very suitable as I have lately been thinking a lot of the same topic: You might even have noticed that I already have released whole bunch of postings about the topic based on my own experiences. Although my list is not written as to be series of scientific articles, the direction still point’s to the same direction: The trust is generated by trusting and taking each individual as an individual – all people are not the same, but the mechanisms that affect us are quite often the same for everybody.

All people are not the same, but the mechanisms that affect us are quite often the same for everybody.

Oxytocin – the hormone that makes you care and do the extra effort

The brain network that oxytocin activates is evolutionarily old. This means that the trust and sociality that oxytocin enables are deeply embedded in our nature. Yet at work we often get the message that we should focus on completing tasks, not on making friends. Neuroscience experiments by my lab show that when people intentionally build social ties at work, their performance improves. A Google study similarly found that managers who “express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being” outperform others in the quality and quantity of their work.

In the HBR article the writer Paul J. Zak emphasizes the importance of oxytocin (I.e. the hormone that deepens the relationships between many mammals). That  is something very important to understand. So important, that you should read the article right now, right here: https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-neuroscience-of-trust.

Even by the risk that you might not remember to come back. But that is the risk I am willing to take in order to help you to understand the hormones significance to our behavior both as leaders and persons who are being led.

I am not an endocrinologist, but I can have a look

I am very convinced that hormones are one of the most important factors in determining our behavior in everything we do. As it is quite obvious that I am not an endocrinologist, I still have read quite much about the topic. At least enough so that I know that our actions are guided by few strong hormones including – but not limited to – adrenaline, dopamine, estrogen, oxytocin, serotonin, and testosterone. No human can escape the influence of these hormones and even a slight imbalance usually leads to noticeable health and/or mental issues. Although these problems are not the focus of my blog, I do think that this HBR article is enough to point out that understanding our biological influencers will help us to understand how we should be led, as well as why we work the way we work.

What does this mean?

By understanding some few principles we suddenly are capable to understand better both ourselves as well as our colleagues, bosses, spouses, teenagers, random strangers  and even leaders of nations.  For example did you know that it is the testosterone that helps you to take risks but also makes you lust for power – at the same time reducing empathy.

Because of this it is also worth mentioning that due to this, women are often much better in situations when it boils down to the empathy skills. Actually, the effects of testosterone(s) and estrogen(s) are the big reasons why men differ from women and vice versa – it’s the hormones that shape us to be different, not the gender. To neglect this fact would not be smart thing to do.

But let me make one thing clear: I feel very strongly that all people are equal and should have the same possibilities. Said that, I also think we should be able use our gender strengths when aiming to do winning strategies. It’s like finding your super power and focusing into it:Strenghten your strengths

Human resources protip

I also want to share this scientific founding from Psychology Today – it could be a deal-breaker for many leaders around the world:

In experiments, when status-striving, high-testosterone men are stripped of their status, they become angry, excited, and cognitively impaired. But more surprising, men with low resting-testosterone, without much impetus for status, become angry and impaired when placed in high-status positions they simply do not want.

So as many of you might know, it is very often a mistake to promote experts to work as managers IF they do not show signs of being interested in leadership. Leadership position should never be an accident waiting to happen.

Leadership position should never be an accident waiting to happen.

If you remember 3 things, remember these

  1. The trust should not be left to be generated by an accident, there are several ways to create it
  2. Our behavior is strongly affected by our hormones
  3. All people are not the same, but the mechanisms that affect us are quite often the same for everybody.
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Protip 2: What is a strategy in short?

Every successful business is based on a winning strategy. But quite often the strategy is mystified to be something next to magic or rocket science. That is not the case, as everyone of us is capable of strategic thinking and planning. (But it is worth mentioning that not everyone is a good strategist or a planner…) We actually come up with different strategies daily, and if we simplify to the extreme:  a strategy is a plan.

And in a slightly more detailed level:

To have a strategy is to have a plan to win – in a particular position and in a particular way.

The Winning StrategyAnother very important thing to understand is that if a company doesn’t want to win, it is wasting the time of its people and investments of capital providers.

As simple as that. The tricky part is to come up with a winning strategy. That requires skill, knowledge and proper tools. And even with the skills, knowledge and tools the strategy is still just an educated guess – as there never is 100% guarantee that it actually will work and turn out to be the winning horse.

To get started, I recommend reading “Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works” by A.G. Lafley.

To get the basic tools to build up a winning strategy I advise you to stay tuned, as I will later write more about those.

Until that please remember:

To have a strategy is to have a plan to win!

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Protip 1: Focus on relevant issues

Too often leaders rush to solve mundane problems as it gives a warm and fuzzy feeling of purpose: “I’ve done my job and earned my salary. Now I can bath in my cozy mundanity for a while more…”

But guess what? Although leaders are paid to lead and make decisions, it is not wise to make every decision by themselves. See, as by doing so the leader ends up passivating employees when solving every possible problem. And by that he or she also makes himself/herself a bottleneck for growth. The point is to solve REAL challenges – those issues that an employee is not able to solve independently.

Choose your battles!

To summarize: Give up that warm and fuzzy feeling and use your muscles to where extra effort is needed.

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