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9 Things You Must Do for Your Brain

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9 Things You Must Do for Your Brain

This is a guest post by Jon Wortmann, executive and mental coach, and speaker. It is the companion to the September 11, 2018 Voice America interview where he discusses Resilience: Don’t Get Hijacked by Your Brain.

Very few of us have been taught how to keep our brains healthy.

We know too many sweets are bad for our weight. It’s easy to remember too little sleep will affect our mood. Every child knows that a Band-Aid is the answer for a scrape or cut. But what about our brains? What are we supposed to do when our minds won’t stop spinning? What do we do when we feel stressed all the time?

Each of these nine behaviors will not only make your brain healthier, they are free and everyone can learn how to practice them.

1. Talk to strangers

The first thing most of us don’t realize our brains need is strangers. As I waited for the airport shuttle after a business trip, I struck up a conversation with a well-dressed, younger man. He had just returned from Dubai, and was in Boston for a gaming conference. I asked what he did. He was one of the world’s top Halo players doing demos at the conference. He was also a travel agent who flew to the Middle East for less than $300. He was writing a book on how I could too. He told me all the secrets. In a 10-minute conversation, I was intrigued, entertained, and already planning my next travel adventure.


Research shows talking to strangers makes us happier
. The why is what’s so important. Our brains are constantly stressed these days by too much to pay attention to. We feel on edge because we don’t know where to focus. That’s simply the alarm in your brain, your amygdala, overreacting. Talking to strangers immediately gives you something to focus on. You get a shot of adrenaline from the alarm because you want to make sure this person is safe, but you also begin, sentence by sentence, to feel incredibly engaged. Suddenly your fear of the new or unknown dissipates and your frontal lobes, which have to fire for your alarm to turn down, are in full gear. You enjoy the novelty of a fresh conversation. And in the future, there is a powerful kicker. You will see strangers as a potential friend rather than a certain threat.

2. Go away

Every brain needs time away. If the simple idea of a vacation doesn’t reduce your stress, consider one of America’s great thinkers. If Thoreau doesn’t leave Concord, Massashusetts and go into the woods, would he ever have become a celebrated writer and environmentalist?

Thoreau was away from his normal routine as a tutor and handyman. And in those two years, he was his most prolific and arguably successful as a writer. You don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money. He was two miles from home living off selling a few crops. But that’s not the only evidence that going away was good for his brain. When you read Walden, you realize being away, he had the time of his life.

3. Reframe everything negative

The third thing you must do for your brain is known in organizational behavior and political science circles, but not often enough in ordinary life. The technique is called reframing. Imagine your boss just yelled at you in front of the whole team. The negative thought that sparks your alarm is obvious: I am a failure. The possible reframes, however, are invaluable in jump-starting the rest of your day and your brain health. Imagine immediately, even in the middle of that scene, thinking, “Well, at least he noticed me.” Or, “That wasn’t fun, but it proves I can handle being embarrassed.”

When you reframe, you make an ugly thought into a positive one. It is not just positive thinking because you can’t lie to yourself and think you enjoyed the yelling. What you can do is think how the experience was valuable. When reframing becomes a habit, your alarm doesn’t have negative memories of experiences to shut you down in the future.

4. Reappraise everything painful

The twist on reframing is called reappraisal. Many thinkers and therapists use reappraisal as a synonym or type of reframing. I separate it here because it is too valuable not to emphasize. Reappraisal is making meaning out of an ugly situation. The boss yells, you think, “I’ll be ready for him next time.” Or, “I didn’t enjoy that, but now I know how to prepare for meetings differently.”

Reframing takes the negative out of a memory and the weight out of a difficult moment. Reappraisal deepens the experience into a learning moment. When you learn, your brain gets healthier because it isn’t afraid of a future threat. The boss will yell again. Now you know you can deal with strong emotion. Your brain won’t forget that you believe there is no moment you can’t handle.

5. Meditate in a way you look forward to

The science on meditation is clear. What’s not for most people is what method to use. Here are three quick options to consider. For at least 12 minutes a day: Sit and breathe, imagine yourself in your favorite place, or repeat a mantra or prayer. Never forget there are many styles and methods of meditation. Don’t meditate correctly; meditate in a way you can practice daily.

6. Transfer blame

Reattribution is the therapeutic technique of exploring alternative causes for events. You spilled the milk. No, someone else forgot to screw the top on tight. You missed a deadline. No, new information means a later delivery to get the project right. You lose your family’s fortune betting the horses. You say to your spouse, “I got bad information.” Obviously, the last example is playful, but in every case where you can take the burden off your shoulders, your alarm in your brain calms down.

This doesn’t mean you don’t take responsibility in your life. It means that certain things we experience are truly a result of causes beyond our control and recognizing that in many instances allows your brain to produce less stress hormones.

7. Find the mindfulness that works for you

Mindfulness is the art and science of being present. Myriad studies have proven it reduces your alarm. Less alarm heightens your ability to manage negative emotion that could lead to disease like depression. Maybe most valuable is mindfulness helps us engage in complex thinking. Want to be successful in the global economy? Your brain needs mindfulness.

The secret to brain health and mindfulness, however, is finding the ways that work for you. For some of us, mindful eating thickens our gray matter where sitting and breathing drives us crazy. Some of us love moving slower where others who can’t imagine changing the pace of their lives. But even fast movers can listen more mindfully to be more present.

The best way to find what works for you: experiment. The forms of mindfulness you stick to are the ones that will make your brain healthier.

8. Leave the crazy people

Maybe not right away, but eventually, you have to take time away from the crazy peopleand environments. This doesn’t mean you leave your spouse at the first sign of trouble. It means that each of us has a different tolerance for drama. If yours is constantly being challenged by the people in your life, you will melt down. Too many meltdowns is a clear sign. When your brain isn’t healthy, it sends stress to remind you its time to make a change.

9. Forgive everyone

It’s simple, and I saved it for last on purpose. In our mad, mad world, this may be the most important thing you can do for your brain, and it can have brilliant side benefits. Studies have shown people who don’t forgive experience more stress and negative health impacts like spikes in blood pressure. The stress reduction with forgiveness, however, produces emotional benefits like less restlessness, nervousness, and sadness. In one study where forgiveness was part of an acupressure technique, participants were even able to maintain weight loss. Think about it this way. If we don’t forgive, we know we experience more stress, and we might even get fatter. Doesn’t that make the choice of whether to hold a grudge or let go easier?

These nine behaviors aren’t always intuitive and they definitely take practice. But even adding one of them to your life will give your brain some relief and grow the good stuff between your ears. Find the first one that seems most attractive and start today. We have the power to take care of our brains.

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

About the Author

Jon is an executive and mental coach and speaker. A graduate of Carleton College and Harvard, his books have been #1 best sellers in 22 categories on Amazon. His work has been featured in O Magazine, Elle, The Huffington Post, Fox, Fast Company, and Psychology Today. His three books Mastering Communication at Work: How to Lead, Manage, and Influence, The Three Commitments of Leadership: How Clarity, Stability, and Rhythm Create Great Leaders, and Hijacked by Your Brain: Discovering the Path to Freedom From Stress teach leaders the essential communication, leadership, and stress reduction skills that make them the kind of people others want to work with, and the kind of managers, executives, and coaches that produce teams of leaders.

He began his training career in 2005 with a division of Time Warner, and has since worked with Fortune 500, start-up, universities, and non-profits to improve resilience, executive and board communication, client relationships, and leadership.

BCM and Lessons Learned from a Historical Perspective

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Variety
BCM and Lessons Learned from a Historical Perspective

As part of a well-functioning BCM/DR program, we should be learning from our mistakes and ensuring we can adapt and learn from the events of the past. For most, the assumption is we will learn from only our mistakes and not the mistakes of others or the past. We speak with business expert and author John Vespasian who will provide us insights on business continuity and how history can teach us about planning and lessons learned to improve our BCM/DR thinking and efforts. We’ll talk about that by not validating conditions caused problems for Berblinger; how some groups were able to survive the Black Death; how Ancient Greece was able to survive using good planning over the mighty Persian Empire and even how risk assessments ensured the survival of an Antarctic expedition. It’s quite an enlightening and eye-opening episode chock full of interesting perspectives.

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Digimon Adventure Tri: Coexistence – Graphics and Action that Draw You In!

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Movie Reviews
Digimon Adventure Tri: Coexistence – Graphics and Action that Draw You In!
The Adventure Continues…The arrival of the super powerful Meicoomon starts a
countdown to the real world’s collapse. The Digi-Destined are cast out of the Digital
World, and even after returning to the real world, are driven away by people, due to their
partnerships with the Digimon. Meanwhile, a cruel fate appears imminent for Kari, who
has a more honest and sensitive spirit than anyone. KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror Kimbirly
M. comments, “With the well-known Japanese anime style, Digimon-tri has sharp-edge
graphics and action sequences that draw the viewers in.” See the rest of her review
below.
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Digimon Adventure-Tri: Coexistence
By Kimberly Michelle Mullins, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
With the well-known Japanese anime style, Digimon-tri has sharp-edge graphics and
action sequences that draw the viewers in. We see them dealing with educational and
social struggles similar to those that many have to deal with, but with friends helping out.
This is a continuation of the popular Digimon-tri series. The storyline, generally about
dark forces taking over, flows well. There are no lagging sequences that would bore the
viewer. One becomes empathetic with the protagonist Kari and even the evil force
overtaking Meicoomon. The vocabulary and concepts are appropriate for its intended age
group and could further enhance vocabulary and concepts that the viewer may not
understand.
It portrays pro-social models such as when Kari feels that she might be
responsible for a specific situation and one of the others reassures her that this definitely
isn’t the case. This entire series is very good at displaying consequences of both negative
and positive behaviors. There are also good models of problem-solving such as when a
Digimon character decides on an action and another vehemently opposes it. The rest of
the group has to come to a general consensus to make a final determination.
The underlying message is about seeking out others when you are experiencing tough
times. Life has complicated challenges, but you can overcome them. You should be
aware that there are two things that make this more appropriate for older viewers.
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First, a character pulls out a gun, but there is no blast. And second, we see a powerful being
shaped like a naked woman, although there are no graphic features. For that reason, I
recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as young adults and give it 4 out of 5 stars. I
would raise the highest age to 25 if I could because it is so thought-provoking and
intelligent. The DVD allows you to select specific scenes and has a bonus feature
interview. Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

Seasonal Celebration Safety Tips

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Variety
Seasonal Celebration Safety Tips

December and part of January hold many significant celebration periods and times for individuals to take some sort of holiday. Regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, these two months have multiple celebrations around the globe – and sometimes people aren’t prepared for the possibility of there being a disaster or crisis situation. This show will focus on some key areas for people to consider during these celebration periods. We’ll look at safety tips for such things as: food safety, driving safety, winter concerns, heat exhaustion concerns and even concerns related to celebration decorations. Tune in to make sure your celebrations are safe and you’re prepared for anything unexpected

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Crisis Management Leaders: From Thought to Consquence

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Variety
Crisis Management Leaders: From Thought to Consquence

What makes a good crisis leader? How is it that they prepare and respond to situations differently? How do successful crisis leaders think and feel? It’s not easy being an organization’s Crisis Management Team Leader while probably having responsibility for Business As Usual tasks. It’s this buy schedule and the management of it, that sets the good crisis leader apart from those not so easily prepared for the task. Successful crisis leaders think, prepare and act differently from other crisis leaders. Their inner being leaves them better able to prepare for – and respond to, crises and disasters where their leadership abilities become front and centre during stressful periods. From ‘Thought to Consequence’ looks at the ways in which successful crisis leaders think about BC and DR and how they respond to serious incidents, which ultimately strengthens and organization’s ability to prepare and respond to disasters.

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Soufra – Improving the Lives of Palestinian Refugees One Bite at a Time

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Movie Reviews
Soufra – Improving the Lives of Palestinian Refugees One Bite at a Time

 

South of Beirut, Lebanon is a 68 year old refugee camp housing refugees from Palestine, Syria and Iraq. Many have lived in this camp their entire lives– Mariam AlShaar is one of them. Now, Mariam has pulled the women of this camp together to do what has never been done before. They started with a small kitchen from a micro-loan. With nearly insurmountable political odds against them– they look to start the first refugee food truck. Their journey is one of many ups and downs but it is the community that is built, their sense of hope and how they see themselves that makes this a moving, touching film about their journey. Mariam has been known as ‘the crazy lady’ and now she will show just how crazy she is. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ella L, comments, “. I felt so connected with the women in this film and was really intrigued by their stories, as well as what they have to say. This is an incredible film in so many ways.” Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror adds, “This documentary is about one woman’s quest to start a food-truck business in the refugee camp where she resides, in Lebanon. Mariam Shaar, with her adept business sense and entrepreneurial spirit sets out to improve the quality of life for herself and those around her.” See their full reviews below.

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Soufra

By Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Link to video review https://youtu.be/UGhkxMsSlo8

 

Soufra is a fantastic film filled with delicious-looking food and inspiring messages for women and others. This documentary is clearly made with passion, purpose and heart. It is a little heart wrenching, but still fun and interesting at the same time. The production values are high, particularly the cinematography. I felt so connected with the women in this film and was really intrigued by their stories, as well as what they have to say. This is an incredible film in so many ways.

 

The filmmaker follows a group of women in a Lebanese refugee camp who enjoy and have a passion for cooking. They are hired by a fellow refugee, named Mariam, to start a catering company called Soufra. The film documents the struggles of these women being unable to purchase a food truck for their business. Even though they raise the money to purchase it, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, it is still difficult for them to get the proper permits to own the truck, due to local laws.

 

What really intrigued me initially was the beginning scene in the kitchen. It is so lively, entertaining and captivating. The introduction to a film is so important. The rest of the film is equally well shot. The camera quality is clear and the cinematography is pretty spot on. This film really is quite entertaining and educating at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it because every aspect is so incredible.

 

The messages the film promotes are completely pure and positive. These women deal with really tough situations and lead extremely tough lives. However, they manage to stay strong and powerful regardless. The message is about never giving up or quitting, even when it feels like the entire world is telling you to. Never lose sight of your goals. I recommend this for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I am so impressed with the women in this film and everything they have accomplished. I admire them all very much. This is a film that is truly incredible and one I will remember for years to come.

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Soufra

By Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

https://youtu.be/0zkr43diydQ

 

This documentary is about one woman’s quest to start a food-truck business in the refugee camp where she resides, in Lebanon. The quality of life for the camp’s residents is quite low, with many people living in very condensed dwellings. Mariam Shaar, with her adept business sense and entrepreneurial spirit sets out to improve the quality of life for herself and those around her. She, along with other women, cook high quality Mediterranean food and through a Kickstarter Campaign, raise and exceed the amount of funds needed to buy a van and get the permit for the business. Not surprisingly, things do not go as planned. Mariam’s lawyer tells her there may be hurdles in terms of getting the permit and obtaining a truck because she resides in the refugee camp and because of her ethnicity. Therefore, when she goes to the automobile dealer, she is turned down. Inevitably, a few months later, she is turned down for the license to operate Soufra also. She feels defeated at this point, but her lawyer explains a way in which she can circumvent these laws regarding license, location and ethnicity Mariam can find a brick and mortar place as a legitimate residential location for her business on the outskirts of Beirut. She does in fact find a place and is then granted a license. The van approval for her food truck comes smoothly after that. Her dream of a food truck business is then realized. I enjoyed watching this documentary mainly because it has a happy ending. Many documentaries seem to end on a desolate note. In addition, people residing in the West think about the Mid-East as being repressive towards women, in general. This documentary counters this thought process. We see Mariam as a determined businesswoman making lots of decisions and meeting with others on her own to get the business up and running. As the director of a Foundation stated, she would “get this going with or without financial help.” I give this documentary 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 as well as adults. This film is being shown at select theaters throughout the country. To find a screening near you, visit https://www.soufrafilm.com/

Searching – Unique Storyline, Well Executed, Unexpected Twists

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Movie Reviews
Searching – Unique Storyline, Well Executed, Unexpected Twists
After David Kim (John Cho)’s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is
opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead,
David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept
today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we
use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she

disappears forever. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Alejandra G. comments, “This new drama/ thriller grabbed

my attention since the beginning, because of its amazing and unique storyline. I felt
thrilled to discover what would happen at the end and, whether or not the outcome would be
what I expected.” See her full comments below.
Searching
By Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
https://youtu.be/EMnBlXtGmS8
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This new drama/thriller grabbed my attention since the beginning, because of its amazing and
unique storyline. I felt thrilled to discover what would happen at the end and, whether or not the
outcome would be what I expected. I came up with my theory for the conclusion by putting
together the clues from the movie, little by little. It is very entertaining because the film gives
the audience an opportunity to be detectives for a moment and try to solve the very unique
mystery of the film.
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The storyline is about a father, David, that enjoys watching his daughter
Margot grows up while posting pictures and videos of her to social media, sharing his happiness
with his loved ones. As Margot enters her teenage years, she starts to grow apart and seem distant
from him. One day, she disappears after telling her father that she went to a study group. David
looks on the internet to try to find clues about where she may be. Her friends don’t seem to know
much and don’t help either David or the detective that comes on the case to figure out what
happened to her and hopefully find her alive.My favorite scene is when David starts to get
desperate because of Margot’s disappearance, leading to him brainstorming ideas about how to
find her. This results with him going into Margot’s computer to find answers as to whereabouts.
This is my favorite scene because it is very meaningful and is the moment he starts to realize,
although he doesn’t admit it, that he truly does not know his daughter at all. When he opens her
laptop, it is as if he is entering the unknown territory and we see the distance between him and
Margot. He was very close to her, while she was growing up, but as soon as she hit the teenage
years, she became a stranger.
The important message in this film is that better
communication between family members is encouraged and will improve the dynamics of the
family. For example, at the beginning of the movie, the reason for her disappearance is unknown
and that leads to the suspense and mystery of the storyline. But, let’s say hypothetically that
Margot disappeared on purpose, because she was dealing with a problem and, since she had
grown apart from her dad, she didn’t feel he could help her. If parents, especially those raising
their children alone, communicate and interact better, they can help their kids through the tough
times. They ease the process of going through conflicts so that running away is not their only
choice. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults and I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It
opens in theaters August 31, 2018 so, check it out. Reviewed by Alejandra G., KIDS
FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Photo A Cred: Sebastian Baron. ©2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo B Credit: Elizabeth Kitchens; ©2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Leaders Must Now Think Like Scientists To Leverage All Generations!

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Business
Leaders Must Now Think Like Scientists To Leverage All Generations!

I had lunch with colleagues today to discuss the changes they are facing in their organization. Among the opportunities they see, one stands out: succession  – involving multiple generations and different ways of working into one highly successful organization. To fully leverage this opportunity, the organization will need to continue to evolve their agreements about work processes while holding fast to the foundational principles that have kept them successful for decades.

This is a common challenge across industries. In response to our conversation, I wanted to share this Forbes article (see text of the article below) I wrote in September 2016 and a Voice America interview focusing on Leading with Vision: A Key to Successfully Attract Millennials. 

The reason I selected this combination is, while there are rules of thumb about how to work across generations, every organization is different with specific applications that will work for them. Leaders must take the broad concepts about generational difference and determine which ones apply to them. They need to continually experiment and learn to ensure their enterprise continues to grow and thrive and remains a great place to work. One key for me – everyone in the organization needs to find a common way to work together, this requires give and take from everyone!

During the industrial revolution, leaders managed effectively using command and control and leveraging best practices to solve problems that were common across multiple industries.

Now, however, the most effective leaders work more like scientists. They scan best practices, but also create competitive advantage by creating new and innovative solutions in the face of chaos.

Take Bill, a recent client who runs a mortgage firm in the U.K. June’s vote to exit the EU has thrown the British economy into uncertainty. Rates are dropping and the forecast is uncertain. Bill doesn’t know which direction the market will go, how fast, and what actions will be most effective. He looked to thought leaders before the vote and learned that a true Brexit was unlikely. Well, it happened, and now he needs to move forward and make the best of the uncertainty. The change might even be good for him if he makes the right calls

Many leaders, like Bill, are facing unprecedented challenges. In the past, they could look to best practices and study what others in their industry were doing. Now, in many situations, leaders need to respond immediately, but there is little time to study and no prior model with the same level of complexity that provides a low-risk solution. As leaders, we weren’t trained for this. We were trained to set a vision, build a plan, and work the plan.

With the advent of such changes, companies are responding with strategies like “cross-functional” teams, “early delivery,” and “continuous improvement.” Terms such as “fail fast” — which tell us we need to experiment and learn faster than our competition — have become popular. Learning fast differentiates us from our competitors who are still looking for the best practices. In reality, we are the ones creating the next round of best practices.

But many of us are still stuck between the old ways and new ways of leadership. We haven’t fully embraced what it means to be a leader today and now. First and foremost, we need to rethink our role. We need to change our mindset and behavior from directing to experimenting while realizing that as leaders in complex times, we are creating new solutions rather than drawing from the past. In many situations, history will determine what was right, but if we expect to know it before we take action, we will be paralyzed.

So, what do we do?

One of the most difficult challenges for leaders isn’t changing behavior (that’s the easy part) — it’s changing how we think of ourselves. It is easy to say, “I will act like a scientist,” but when someone comes in with a challenge and the leader has no idea how to proceed, this is a moment of truth. The leader without an answer will likely feel embarrassed and frustrated. The scientist, on the other hand, might actually be excited about the challenge.

As we begin to change our mindset, we begin to approach our leadership as a scientist. Here’s how to get started:

1. Get the best people together for specific opportunities. The members will be dictated by the challenge. It is critical to have people with differing points of view. The people who disagree are often the most important to help identify blind spots and unanticipated challenges. The size of the group and the duration of discussions and evaluation will depend on the time required to respond. The participants should be from multiple geographies, functional departments and organizations.

2. Formulate a hypothesis. The group pulls together all of the perspectives and crafts a clear hypothesis of how to proceed to generate the best overall outcome given the resources, goals and constraints.

3. Formulate experiments. Using the hypothesis as the foundation, it is time to craft experiments that test the hypothesis. Experiments should be designed to prove or disprove the initial hypothesis and give enough information to support taking informed action going forward. The goal is to position the organization to take timely action, minimize risk, and maximize positive impact and learning and scale intelligently based on learning.

4. Conduct the experiment. Once the experiment is crafted, it is time to execute. This usually looks like implementing a well-defined pilot with clearly articulated metrics designed to prove or disprove the initial hypothesis. This is also the opportunity to identify barriers to proper execution.

5. Evaluate, learn and refine. One of the keys to experimentation is to learn as much as possible from each experiment to build success. This is where you will harvest your learnings form the measures as well as barriers or challenges that arose.

I work with a client who formerly worked as a physicist for NASA and now runs an organization heavily impacted by technology change. The culture of his organization is one of experimentation because it is natural to him. When I walk into his office, I see remnants of physical experiments, like a part of a drone, and the tone of the entire organization is open and excited. The physical space is one of the worst I have seen, so it isn’t the architecture but rather the tone of the leader. The leader’s mindset permeates the culture and the organizational systems. People are rewarded for launching new programs and eliminating those that are less effective.

Moving toward this mindset of experimentation allows us to master transformation and build the capacity for ongoing “renovation” of our organization. If this ability to respond quickly becomes a core competency of the organization, because of the mindset of the leader and the resulting culture, organizations are positioned to thrive. For leaders who take on the mindset of the scientist, experimentation becomes fun, they drive interesting innovation, and they inspire others to do the same.

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Missing My Morning Coffee

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Empowerment
Missing My Morning Coffee

Missing My Morning Coffee

An Excerpt from Practical Enlightenment

I love my morning cup of Joe. Coffee and I have been friends for almost as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I used to drink from my parents’ forgotten cups, pretending I was an adult. Coffee was my com­panion in college, company during late-night cram sessions. Coffee houses were the destination of choice for my friends and me as we spent long evenings having deep, philosophical discussions about life – life we had yet to live. In later years, when Ariel and I got together, there was a progression of caffeinated times and those that were without. When we moved to our Park Avenue apartment in the ‘80s, there was a little bistro down­stairs where we would have a morning cappuccino and a croissant or sugary pastry. There were years when we gave it up, but even in those times, Ariel and I still en­joyed the pungent aroma of coffee being freshly ground and brewed.

A few years ago, Ariel and I splurged and bought ourselves a lovely espresso machine that heats our cups, grinds the beans, and makes the espresso as strong or as light as we like. Since I like my espresso strong and hot, I pushed the appropriate button one morning and it pressed out a little cup of my favorite elixir. The cup was small, its contents strong. I took my first sip. Mmmm, hot, delicious – both the ritual of a morning cup and its smell and taste. Cup in hand, I set off to start my day. There were things to do and plans to be made. Shortly thereafter I looked down and magically, my cup was empty. I realized that I’d been lost in thought and tossed the coffee down as if it were water, oblivious to the taste, temperature, texture and the moment itself. My thoughts had been all-consuming and the moment was eaten by their magnetic force.

Smiling down at my cup somewhat wistfully, I realized that enjoyable things cease to be enjoyable if you aren’t there to experience them. I couldn’t go back and taste what I’d already drunk. I could make another cup but the caffeine I’d consumed had already worked its magic and I didn’t need more at that moment. Returning to the kitchen, I washed my cup. It was time to move on with my day. It was a short but sweet reminder that if I don’t want to miss my morning coffee, I need to be there while I’m drinking it, even if I’m not yet fully awake.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYCGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment, will be published this November.

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