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Archive for business

Yes, everyone can draw using stick figures

Drawing or diagraming information you want to explain helps everyone understand it better, including you. When you sketch using stick figures, or flow diagrams, or a mind maps, or any way to help visualization, you will be able to show as well as verbally explain. The process of doing the diagram helps you simplify the ideas in your own mind. The process of explaining using a diagram helps others understand, and later remember, what you showed them.

Your Mental Shortcuts

Mental shortcuts, we all make them throughout the day. In a sense, they are necessary coping mechanisms your brain has been developing your whole life. Because there is no way to pay equal attention to everything within eyesight, earshot, and close enough to touch, our brain has developed filters to let in what it believes you need to know and leave out a large majority of what is going on around you.
Consider for a moment how you function during your daily drive or ride, or even walk, to work.
Most of what you pass by is a blur. Most of what you pass you take little or no interest. So much so that when you arrive at your destination you will not remember seeing or hearing most of what was actually there.
Your cognitive bias made those decisions for you. The filters you have built up to protect yourself from over stimulation and clutter worked.
But, and that is a big but, did you miss something that in the past wasn’t important but now is? Did you assume you knew what happened but really didn’t?
We can’t function in a busy world without our filters and we can’t take for granted that we didn’t miss anything important.
So what can you do? Ask others what they saw and heard. Ask for other viewpoints, other experiences, to add to your own. Be open minded about what you might have missed or added into a scene because of your filters, your own cognitive biases. They, too, have biases. Together you may both get a more complete picture.
Ask open questions and listen openly to the answers.

Does any of this describe Your Business Meetings?

Another Look at Your Business Meetings

Business Meetings are a microcosm of how your company includes and excludes ideas and contributions. Who speaks up, and even more important, who is listened to. Who gets credit for an idea, who takes credit for an idea. Who grumbles. Who rolls their eyes. Who keeps looking at their smart phone or laptop. And do they do it consistently when certain people are speaking.

Conscious and unconscious bias is contagious. Like a sneeze, we can pick up the disease without realizing it.

Business Meetings

Your Business Meetings

Even if your company is working hard on inclusiveness and diversity, it is important to pay attention to how you get everyone equal ‘floor time’ in the meeting. How do you do that?

One way is to use silent and anonymous idea generation. Hand out a pile of sticky note paper or 3×5 cards. Challenge everyone to come up with a minimum of 5 ways to solve a problem you’ve been working on or a new way to market a declining product. No talking and no sharing during this initial thinking and writing time.

Then all ideas get put up equally on a flip chart or white board. Organize by categories or similarity.

All ideas are valuable, some will work on their own. Most will work better in combination with others on the board. Some can be expanded by discussion.

You may decide to organize the ideas by how long they would take to do a trial or to implement in general, or by cost, effort, or ROI. You may even decide to try out the most outrageous first because standing out is better than blending in and being boring.

Contentment vs Impatience

We normally think that the opposite of impatience is patience.  For the moment I’d like to ask you to be open to the idea that the opposite of impatience is contentment.  When you are showing patience you are waiting for another person to finish what they are doing or saying so you can have a turn.

When you are content to listen or watch and learn and are not waiting for your turn, you are being the opposite of impatient.  How good it can feel to be content to listen and learn, to think about what you are observing or hearing.  Contentment can feel wonderful and its feeling can spread to others in the room.

 

About Hazel

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Hazel Wagner, PhD, MBA, CMC, Professional Speaker, Author, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Brain Facilitator

ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS
PhD, MA, BA Mathematics
MBA International Marketing & Finance
Taught in MBA Programs for Kellogg Graduate School of Management, DePaul Graduate School of Business, and Cardean

BUSINESS CREDENTIALS
15 years in the Computer Industry: GE, Digital Equipment Corp.

CONSULTING CREDENTIALS
14 years consulting for start-ups through F100 companies, Certified Management Consultant

INTERNATIONAL SPEAKING CREDENTIALS
Sales Meeting kick-offs and keynotes, workshops, seminars for worldwide companies, American Management Association, National Speaker Association, American Marketing Association, Singapore Executive Management Seminar, AMA Tokyo, CMC Canadian Management Centre.

YOUR CREATIVITY GENIUS

Yes, genius.

Everyone has it yet most people describe themselves as having no creativity.

As children we were all free to try anything.  I decided to draw on the wall behind a door in our apartment.  I felt proud of my colorful

scribbles until my mother discovered it.  And, yes, I was punished.  I think they had to paint the whole wall.

We are all creative in our own way.

Not all creativity comes from big leaps.  Often small differences can make big differences.

Creative ideas that turn out to be useful are innovation.

The pet rock was creative but its usefulness, as a joke, was limited.  As a result it didn’t have much usefulness, nor innovation.

Allow room for your creative genius to think, grow, and try things out.

Let us know your thoughts on YOUR CREATIVITY GENIUS. You can email us at Hazel.Wagner@b9d.com

About Hazel

shapeimage_2

Hazel Wagner, PhD, MBA, CMC, Professional Speaker, Author, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Brain Facilitator

ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS
PhD, MA, BA Mathematics
MBA International Marketing & Finance
Taught in MBA Programs for Kellogg Graduate School of Management, DePaul Graduate School of Business, and Cardean

BUSINESS CREDENTIALS
15 years in the Computer Industry: GE, Digital Equipment Corp.

CONSULTING CREDENTIALS
14 years consulting for start-ups through F100 companies, Certified Management Consultant

INTERNATIONAL SPEAKING CREDENTIALS
Sales Meeting kick-offs and keynotes, workshops, seminars for worldwide companies, American Management Association, National Speaker Association, American Marketing Association, Singapore Executive Management Seminar, AMA Tokyo, CMC Canadian Management Centre.

 

What are your brains’s blind spots?

3346955081_25e1354feeWhat sites, blogs, or newsletters do you subscribe to now to improve your thinking and decision-making?

Everyone and anyone can improve and it should get better the older you are and the more you have learned and practiced over the years.  So what do you do to get better all the time?
Please respond to let me know.  Also if you ask your friends and associates the same question,  you will start a great conversation.
Recognizing and overcoming mental blind spots.

It may seem strange to say that you see with your brain.  Yes, the eyes are the windows.  They let in the light waves and movement that get interpreted by the brain.  If the ocular nerve (going from the eyes to the brain) or the part of the brain that interprets the signals is damaged, you don’t see.  You are blind even though there may be nothing wrong with your eyes.
We can also have a mental blind spot or mental lack of hearing spot because we are not paying attention.  Our brain has learned to ‘block out’ sights and sounds that have proven in the past not to be important to you.  You may not notice that there is music playing or people having  a conversation in the next room until someone brings it to your attention.
Mental blind spots can be there in a person’s brain about any subject and not just about sight or hearing.  You may be listening but not paying attention to someone talking to you, maybe even your spouse or parent, until suddenly they say something you really care about.  At that point it is as if your brain suddenly wakes up and pays attention.
You can be driving along the streets in your city and not take any notice whether parking is readily available until you get to the street where you will need parking.
There was a story several years ago about a man who had a large family but not much income.  During a hot summer spell his children started begging for an above ground pool for the back yard.  He told them he couldn’t afford it.  Then he left for work driving on the same highway and streets he took five days a week.  Suddenly he noticed a sign behind a house he was passing that said, “Above ground 15’ pool, free, to anyone who can pick it up.”  He pulled off at the next exit and found the house.  When he rang the doorbell he asked,”is the pool still available?  How long have you had that sign up?”  To his surprise the sign had been up for two months.  He had been passing it nearly every day and not taken notice until his children raised his awareness of wanting a pool.  His children got the pool they wanted.
We have to turn on our brain to a subject.  We have to be paying attention.  That is why trying to multitask gets in our way so often.  If you are looking at your phone you can’t be paying attention to the meeting you are attending, or the road while you are driving.

Have you ever made a decision and then feared it was the wrong one?

Businesswoman pain

Have you ever made a decision and then immediately started to second-guess yourself? You likely kept going back over the problem and how you solved it and then began to have doubts.

Or maybe you developed a great solution to a work problem only to find that your associates and boss don’t see it your way and you can’t figure out how to convince them with your logic that you can see so clearly.

If you have been following my writings and speeches for a while you know that decision-making is one of my main topics. I work with groups to help them sharpen their decision-making thinking and their tools for explaining their results.

I just finished reading “How the Wise Decide” by Zeckhauser and Sandusky. They spent years researching the subject by interviewing great leaders. In a sense they have given me proof to quote for the methods I have been advocating for some time. This should give you extra comfort in applying these techniques.

I definitely recommend the book.

The authors culled the principles into 6 main categories.

  1. Go directly to the source yourself. Even though the leaders they studied ran very large organizations and had tremendous responsibilities, these leaders said that instead of taking all their information filtered through their reports they felt the need to gather some of their intelligence directly from the source, the customers, suppliers, or others.
  2. Seek out people who will not be afraid to tell you that you are wrong. Use advisors with enough diversity of backgrounds and thinking styles to allow you to see your topic from several different viewpoints. These leaders wanted to see and hear opinions challenged (but not personal attacks).
  3. Treat risk as one of the parameters to be compared not something to be avoided. Also very interesting: reward good decisions even when the end result doesn’t work out. We can’t know which is the best decision out of alternatives but we can compare and choose good decisions. Openly discuss failures and missteps to learn from them, not to blame. When I was in direct sales I sat down with my manager and team to go over what I had done to try to win a sale and what had gone wrong. We could all learn from my mistakes instead of descending into denial.
  4. Keep the organization’s vision front-and-center. Make decisions based on whether or not it moves the organization closer to the vision
  5. “Listen with purpose.” My expression is to “listen for meaning.” Both descriptions help you focus on what is being said in a way that allows you to understand and paraphrase back.
  6. Be transparent in leading your organization. Share how and why decisions were made. Challenges, vision, and mission guide the leader as well as everyone else in the organization.

One more point I would add, the best decisions are not one-time unique situations but are made up of a series of smaller decisions that are part of an overall strategy.

Wonderful News

Publishing a book means overcoming a lot of hurdles, not just getting the book written.  Two years to write the book then at least two months of agonizing back and forth editing and updating and editing again and updating again, etc. etc. etc.  But it is all worth it when you see the finished product.  And it is even more worth it when someone writes and says how much they liked or learned from your book.  So I hope that if and when you read my new book, Business, Brains & B.S.,  you will let me know.

The Next Book is So Close I Can See It

Business, Brains, & BS is in its final stages. Pre-pub reviews are coming in. The cover art will be unusual and innovative. The business mystery story will intrigue you. And you will gather new ideas for your own business world.


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