Showing posts with label Encouragement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Encouragement. Show all posts

August 17, 2015

PARROT Does Amazing Impromptu DANCE


Rebecca was so brave and such a great sport with this parrot doing this crazy dance on her head by the beach. 

(Narrated and videoed by Andy Blumenthal)
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February 16, 2015

How To Give Employee Feedback

Finally some realism about how to conduct employee evaluations...

The Wall Street Journal reports that in the past employees could expect that "we would bring them in and beat them down a bit."

But now, managers are expected to "scrap the negative feedback" and "extol staffers strengths" (accentuate the positives).

Companies are realizing that negative feedback does "more harm than good."

- You tick off the employee and ruin any positive relationship and trust. 
- The employee feels unappreciated, hurt, and in jeopardy. 
- Employees project their hurt feelings and accuse you of being the problem. 
- The deteriorating state makes them fear that you are working against them and they become unmotivated to try to do better.
- Instead, they spend their time working against you (and the company), and looking for another job. 

There is an old saying that you don't sh*t where you eat, and so it is with employee performance evaluations.

In over 25 years, I have never seen negative employees reviews produce positive results!

However, I have seen that sincerely praising everyones' best efforts, leveraging their strengths, and being thankful for what each person contributes makes a high performing team where people are loyal, want to work, and contribute their best. 

Everyone has weaknesses and problems, and frankly most people when they are being honest with themselves, know what their issues are. Pointing their face in it, doesn't help. (Have you ever told a fat person that they need to lose a few pounds?)

One idea that I did like from the Journal is called "feedforward," where you ask "employees to suggest ideas for their own improvement for the future."

This way each person can be introspective and growth as they mature and are ready, but not under threat, rather with support and encouragement. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 24, 2012

Never Thought I'd Be Up There


Somewhere between 600-1000 feet up in the air. 

Suspended by a parasail wing (like a parachute).

Teethered to a moving speed boat. 

With a birds eye view of the beaches, hotels, ocean, clouds, sun, and more.

I had always thought of myself as afraid of heights, but I guess it turns out I'm really not. 

It was calm--peaceful up there--like sitting in G-d's very hands. 

Before we went up, I asked my daughter if she was scared. 

She said to me: "No Dad. I am fearful of G-d. He is all powerful. But I have faith that He will protect me."

I appreciate her faith and adventurism, but while encouraging her to learn new things and have fun, I also caution her to be careful and use good common sense.

I guess that's the balance in life that I strive for and that I try to teach my kids--push yourself past your comfort zone to learn and grow, but not too far that you fall on your face (or in the ocean)!

In the end, it is probably my wife and kids that challenge me to be "more"--they've gotten me to do things that I never thought I would--and this was one of them.  Believe it or not, blogging is a close 2nd!  ;-) 

Anyway, we're already talking about (and looking forward) to the next adventure--please G-d it will be wonderful as well.

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December 14, 2012

See Yourself In The Future

Now seeing how you will look in the future is not just theoretical anymore. 

Merrill Edge (Merrill Lynch investing + Bank of America banking) has an online digital program that shows how you will look aged over time. 

They developed this as tool to encourage people to save more money for retirement by bringing home the message that you will not be young (and beautiful) forever. 

The Face Retirement tool asks for your age and gender, takes your picture, and then displays snapshots of how you will look over the course of your lifespan. 

I tried it and my smiling face was quickly tranformed into an old man with sagging skin, wrinkles, and more. 

My wife seeing those pictures says to me (even though we already save for retirement), "We better really start investing seriously for retirement!" -- gee, thanks! ;-)

And thanks Merrill Edge, you scared us straight(er) by looking at our own mortality, face-to-face. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Judy Baxter)

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June 16, 2012

Big and Small--Who's Who?

Yesterday, I go into a store with my daughter to shop for a new iPhone case.

A clean-cut kid--maybe 13 years old--comes out from behind the counter and asks me what I'm looking for.

I chat with the boy for a few minutes about their products and the prices of the various items--and I was genuinely impressed with this kid's "business savvy."

Sort of suddenly, a larger man emerges, whom I assume to be the boy's father.

Making conversation and being friendly, I say to the man, "Your son is a very good salesman."

The father responds surprisingly, and says, "Not really, he hasn't sold you anything yet!"

Almost as abruptly, he turns and stumps away back behind the counter.

I look back over at the kid now, and he is clearly embarrassed, but more than that his spirit seems broken, and he too disappears behind the counter.

My daughter and I look at each other--shocked and upset by the whole scene--this was a lesson not only in parenting gone wrong, but also in really poor human relations and emotional intelligence.

As a parents, teachers, and supervisors, we are are in unique positions to coach, mentor, encourage, and motivate others to succeed.

Alternatively, we can criticize, humiliate, and discourage others, so that they feel small and perhaps as if they can never do anything right.

Yes, there is a time and place for everything including constructive criticism--and yes, it's important to be genuine and let people know when they are doing well and when we believe they can do better.

I think the key is both what our motivations are and how we approach the situation--do we listen to others, try and understand their perspectives, and offer up constructive suggestions in a way that they can heard or are we just trying to make a point--that we are the bosses, we are right, and it'll be our way or the highway.

I remember a kid's movie my daughters used to watch called Matilda and the mean adult says to Matilda in this scary way: "I'm big and your small. I'm smart and your dumb"--clearly, this is intimidating, harmful, and not well-meaning.

Later in the day, in going over the events with my daughter, she half-jokingly says, "Well maybe the kid could've actually sold something, if they lowered the prices" :-)

We both laughed knowing that neither the prices nor the products themselves can make up for the way people are treated--when they are torn down, rather than built up--the results are bad for business, but more important they are damaging to people.

We didn't end up buying anything that day, but we both came away with a valuable life lesson about valuing human beings and encouraging and helping them to be more--not think of themselves as losers or failures--even a small boy knows this.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Allen Ang, and these are not the people in the blog story.)


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November 26, 2010

Raising the Bar By Aligning Expectations and Personality

I always love on the court television show Judge Hatchett, when she tells people: "I expect great things from you!"

The Pygmalion Effect says that when we have high expectations of performance for people, they perform better.

In other words, how you see others is how they perform.

While behavior is driven by a host of motivational factors (recognition, rewards, and so on), behavior and ultimately performance is impacted by genetic and environmental factors—“nature and nurture”—and the nurture aspect includes people’s expectations of us.

Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, people live up or down to expectations.

For example, studies by Rosenthal and Jacobson showed that if teachers expected enhanced performance from selected children, those children performed better.

When people have high or low expectations for others, they treat them differently—consciously or unconsciously—they tip off what they believe the others are capable of and will ultimately deliver. In the video, The Pygmalion Effect: Managing the power of Expectation, these show up in the following ways:

  • Climate: The social and emotional mood we create, such as tone, eye contact, facial expression, body language, etc.
  • Inputs: The amount and quality of instruction, assistance, or input we provide.
  • Outputs: The opportunities to do the type of work that best aligns with the employee and produce that we provide.
  • Feedback: The strength and duration of the feedback we provide.

In business, expect great things from people and set them to succeed by providing the following to meet those expectations:

  • Inspiration
  • Teaching
  • Opportunity
  • Encouragement

Additionally, treat others in the style that is consistent with the way that they see themselves, so that there is underlying alignment between the workplace (i.e. how we treat the employee) and who the employee fundamentally is.

Normally people think that setting high expectations means creating a situation where the individual’s high performance will take extra effort – both on their part and on the part of the manager.

However, this is not necessarily the case at all. All we have to do is align organizational expectations with the inherent knowledge, skills, and abilities of the employee, and their individual aspirations for development.

The point is we need to play to people’s strengths and help them work on their weaknesses. This, along with ongoing encouragement, can make our goals a reality, and enable the organization to set the bar meaningfully high for each and every one of us.


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December 22, 2009

It Pays To Think Big

As a kid, I remember being encouraged by my role models, who taught me to “reach for the stars”. They said things like: don’t be afraid to think big, work hard, put your best foot forward, and so on.

And I learned that in American society, it is a fundamental tenet that if you work hard, you can achieve your dreams. This is “the American dream.”

Sometimes as adults we feel that our dreams don’t matter. We work hard, but our hard work doesn’t guarantee success. We see that many factors determine success, including: talent, whether technical or leadership; a willingness to take risks; personal connections and networking, and sometimes even “just plain dumb luck.”

Nevertheless, our ability to envision success ultimately does affect our achievements. As Sheila Murray Bethel puts it in the national bestseller, Making A Difference: “Big thinking always precedes big achievement.”

It all goes back to: Think big, try hard, put yourself out there, and you can achieve great things.

Wired Magazine (December 2009), in an article titled, “Hiding In Plain Sight,” states that “Today’s tech giants all have one thing in common: They tried to change the world.” For example, look at the mission of the following organizations:

· Google—“to organize the world’s information.”

· Microsoft—“a computer on every desk and in every home.”

· Facebook—“the social graph of the planet.”

· eBay—“to create an entirely new global marketplace.”

Of course, while we know that there are real life constraints and that not every child who wants to President can be and not every company that wants to be Microsoft will be, it is still thought—imagination, big thinking and vision—that creates the foundation for greatness.

We should not only teach our children to dream big, but allow ourselves to do so as well.


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September 13, 2009

The Bigger Picture is Beautiful


Just some reflection for the Jewish new year this week.

Enterprise architecture is about planning, governance, and the bigger picture.

This is a short inspirational video of the real bigger picture out there.

http://www.blessyoumovie.com/

Let this serve as a source of encouragement to all.

Andy

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