Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone

The Optimistic Workplace

When it comes to work these days, we’re expected to do more with less –– but is this nose-to-the-grindstone philosophy the best way to run a business? Alarmingly low employee engagement numbers indicate otherwise.

So, if pushing everyone harder isn’t the path to productivity, what is? Supported by the latest research, The Optimistic Workplace argues that our best work is the product of a positive environment. That’s good news for you as a manager. While you can’t personally transform the corporate culture, you can influence the workplace climate and create meaningful and lasting change.

Advocating a steward model of management, The Optimistic Workplace demonstrates how a people-centric focus ignites employee potential, increases innovation and catapults the organization to new levels of performance. Author Shawn Murphy reveals how to explore personal and organizational purpose and align them for astonishing results, build camaraderie and deepen loyalty, increase intrinsic motivation and more. Far from being a wish-upon-a-star discussion of workplace happiness, The Optimistic Workplace presents an array of surprisingly simple strategies to focus your actions and make employee optimism not just a worthy goal but a real and measurable result.

 

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Get a sneak peek at February’s reviews

Take a look at the selections Soundview has chosen for February’s reviews.


RECLAIMING CONVERSATION

The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
by Sherry Turkle

In her disturbing book, Turkle details the negative impact of moving from conversation to “mere connec-tion.” It ranges from the end of imaginative and creative daydreaming — with a phone always handy, any spare second is filled with trolling through apps or checking Facebook — to the inability of being empathetic to others — which requires eye contact, listening and attending to someone — to even the inability of being true to one’s self.

 

GOOD PROFIT

How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies
by Charles G. Koch

In his new book, Good Profit, Koch introduces a management frame-work called Market-Based Management, or MBM, which consists of five elements: Vision, Virtue and Talents, Knowledge Processes, Decision Rights, and Incentives.

 

 

 

MILLENNIALS WHO MANAGE

How to Overcome Workplace Perceptions and Become a Great Leader
by Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart

While past studies and books might focus on Millennials in their role as future leaders, a new book declares that the future has arrived. Millennials Who Manage: How to Overcome Workplace Perceptions and Become a Great Leader, by Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart, is written for and not about Millennial leaders and managers.

 

 

 
SERIAL WINNER
5 Actions to Create Your Cycle of Success
by Larry Weidel

In his book, Serial Winner, Weidel argues that anyone can be a winner — and not just a winner but a serial winner, the type of person who wins over and over.

 

 

 

 

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How to Prevent Bullying in the Workplace

IF YOU GO: 
Bullying in the Workplace
Date: Wednesday, January 20th
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Andrew Faas

Bullying in the workplace destroys careers, lives, family units, organizations, and communities. Many organizational cultures condone and even encourage bullying. Most people who are targeted and or are bystanders do not report for fear of retaliation. Amazingly, many who are targeted are unaware that what they are going through is bullying.

In this Soundview Live webinar, Bullying in the Workplace, author Andrew Faas provides comprehensive and provocative insight into the dynamics, impacts, and costs of bullying in the workplace and answers how it can be prevented and stopped. Faas asserts that everyone has a role to play and challenges the reader to take action.

You Will Learn:

  • What culture has to do with bullying.
  • About the dynamics of bullying.
  • How to effectively deal with bullying.
  • Important advice for the bullied and the bully.

Register today for this informative webinar!

 

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

 As we begin the new year, we introduce our All Time Best Seller series and look back at some of the classics… 

The world has changed dramatically since The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published in 1989.

Life is more complex, more stressful, more demanding. We have transitioned from the Industrial Age to the Information/Knowledge Worker Age –– with profound consequences. We face challenges and problems in our personal lives, our families and our organizations unimagined even one or two decades ago. These sweeping changes in society and rumbling shifts in the digitized global marketplace give rise to a very important question: “Are the 7 Habits still relevant today?” And, for that matter, “Will they be relevant 10, 20, 50, 100 years from now?” Stephen R. Covey’s answer: The greater the change and more difficult our challenges, the more relevant the habits become. How you apply a principle will vary greatly and will be determined by your unique strengths, talents and creativity, but ultimately, success in any endeavor is always derived from acting in harmony with the principles to which the success is tied.

Through insight and practical exercises, Covey presents a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service and human dignity — principles that give you the security to adapt to change, and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

 

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Balancing Competition and Cooperation

For some people, the key to success is competition — always looking after their self-interest and fighting to be better than others. Others believe that success comes to those who are best at cooperation — who know how to collaborate with others. Columbia Business School professor Adam Galinsky and Wharton professor Maurice Schweitzer argue that this dichotomy is false.

In their new book, Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete and How to Succeed at Both, Galinsky and Schweitzer build on research from across the social sciences as well as advances in neuroscience to explain how the most successful people and successful relationships are those in which we find the right balance of both competition and cooperation.

We are always toggling between the two, although it is not easy. According to the authors, three fundamental forces — resources are scarce, humans are social beings and the social world is unstable and dynamic — give rise to an ongoing tension between competition and cooperation. These three fundamental forces are the underlying threads that run throughout the book.

Why We Compare Ourselves to Others

A chapter that explores the role that social comparisons play in our lives illustrates how these forces impact cooperation and competition. We are social beings, the authors write, and one way we figure our place in our dynamic world is by comparing ourselves with others. Such social comparisons can be motivating. When the Soviets became the first country to fly a man in orbit, the United States felt it must do better; the result was the successful first mission to the moon. Social comparisons, however, can also be destructive, as the attack of Olympic skater Tonya Harding on rival Nancy Kerrigan demonstrates.

Social comparisons help put our achievements in context, notably when scarce resources are involved. The authors cite one academic study that showed that people who graduate during a recession are happier with their first jobs than people who get their first jobs during an economic expansion. The reason? During an economic downturn, graduates who get a job compare themselves to most other graduates, who aren’t able to get a job at all.

The authors offer three principles that help harness the power of social comparisons and make them work for us rather than bring us down. The first is to recognize the natural order of things in which most of us instinctively believe. One example of this natural order is that older siblings should be successful first. The Williams sisters (and in another domain, John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy) worked well together, as the older sibling was the first to reach the heights of their profession. The second principle is to recognize or create new opportunities to compete. Turn disappointment into motivation to do better next time. The third principle is to allow others to have some schadenfreude — some joy in someone’s misery. After your incredible vacation to Fiji, the authors suggest, don’t forget to focus on the negatives as well (the rainy days, the lost luggage).

The core lesson of social comparisons, write the authors, is to seek favorable comparisons to make yourself happy, unfavorable comparisons to push yourself harder.

The chapter on social comparisons is the opening salvo of a fascinating exploration into how humans both collaborate and compete and how it’s possible to find that perfect balance between the two. The authors cover a surprisingly wide range of issues, such as the role of “psychological safety” (the permission to speak up), that enable hierarchies to be productive rather than destructive; how to use both competence and warmth to build trust; and how women can compete without facing the unfair gender-stereotypical backlash of being too “hard” or “tough” — to name just three examples. Filled with unforgettable stories, this is the ultimate guide for learning when to cooperate as a friend and when to compete as a foe.

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How to Motivate Your Employees

Satisfy Their Psychological Needs
Human thriving in the workplace is a dynamic potential that requires nurturing. The workplace either facilitates, fosters and enables our flourishing, or it disrupts, thwarts and impedes it. In fact, conventional motivational practices have undermined more often than they’ve encouraged our human potential, according to Susan Fowler in Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does.

Give Their Work Meaning
When meaning in our work is absent, we tend to disengage at some level. The provision of meaning is the solution for disengagement. When work has meaning, it drives the expenditure and investment of discretionary energy on a physical, cognitive and emotional level, Scott Mautz points out in Make It Matter. It’s the feeling that you matter and are making a difference; your engagement is paying off.

Provide Fulfilling Work
One of the most common marching orders for new leaders is to address a situation that is being presented as a workforce motivation problem, according to Jacob Stoller in The Lean CEO. Conventional wisdom in the early 1900s was that the manager-worker relationship was inherently adversarial and that the key weapons for ensuring a productive workforce were pay and threats. Psychological research since that time has shown that human motivation is far more complex than that.

Create a Winning Environment
The key to keep motivating people to perform at their best is to build self-esteem (which leads to self-confidence and self-respect) in each person who reports to you, Brian Tracy points out in Full Engagement! Each person has unlimited potential that the individual can bring to bear on the job, to do that job better and faster. People have huge reservoirs of creativity that can be unleashed to solve problems, overcome obstacles and achieve business goals.

 

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The Art and Science of Prediction

Between 1984 and 2004, Wharton professor Philip Tetlock conducted one of the most in-depth experiments in forecasting in history. Thousands of forecasts were collected and then analyzed over time for accuracy. The results of the experiment, called the Good Judgment Project (GJP), were published in a book called Expert Political Judgment in 2005. The conclusions of the book would be popularized in a simple, colorful phrase: The accuracy of expert predictions is about equal to predictions based on a chimpanzee throwing darts at a dartboard.

At first, Tetlock owned the metaphor that, he admits, he had used himself. But over time, the joke grew tired because it oversimplified the results. His experiment was being used as proof that expert predictions were useless — which is not, Tetlock argues, what the results showed. He eloquently describes in his new book, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, that predictions can be made more accurate if experts adopt certain mindsets and behaviors.

Superforecasting, co-authored with journalist Dan Gardner, is based on empirical evidence drawn from what Tetlock calls phase 2 of the GJP. This phase was actually part of a larger experiment sponsored by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, a government agency tasked with sponsoring research that improves the effectiveness of American intelligence.

IARPA launched a multi-year forecasting competition among five research teams, including Tetlock’s team. Each of the project teams could conduct their research in any way they wanted. The only requirement was to make predictions to a certain set of questions every day. Tetlock set about winning the tournament by recruiting ordinary people who made a hobby of forecasting. Eventually, he would attract, in total, 20,000 intellectually curious amateur forecasters to his team — people such as Bill Flack, a retired Department of Agriculture manager, or Devyn Duffy, unemployed from a closed-down factory (he is currently employed with the state).

The tournament was scheduled to last from 2011 to 2015, but after two years, Tetlock’s forecasters and “superforecasters” — a sub-category of the volunteers with significantly better-than-average results — were dominating to such an extent that IARPA dropped the other tems, including research teams from the University of Michigan and MIT.

 

From Active Open-Mindedness to Teams

How was Tetlock’s team of forecasters able to dominate the tournament? The answers to this question are detailed in a fascinating book that is filled with historic examples and often-surprising insights into the mistakes and assumptions that undermine even the best of minds.

One important and seemingly obvious (and yet so elusive) element required for accurate predictions is active open-mindedness — in other words, not building the answers based on one’s assumptions and biases. “For superforecasters,” Tetlock and Gardner explain, “beliefs are hypotheses to be tested, not treasures to be guarded.”

Another element required for superior predictions is a tendency toward probability. Many of us ignore probability more than we might realize. When the weatherman says that there is an 80 percent chance of rain the next day and the next day is sunny, the weatherman was wrong — or so we think. In truth, there was a 20 percent probability of a sunny day. The next day fell into that probability. Superforecasters think in terms of percentages, not yes, no or maybe.

Two other lessons drawn from the experiment are that superforecasters constantly update their information and adjust their predictions (and their beliefs) accordingly and that they work better in teams. The chapter on teams includes a fascinating account of the team around President John Kennedy whose advice prompted him to order the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, but who were also instrumental in guiding Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Leaders across the spectrum — from world leaders in the capitals of nations to business leaders at all levels of their organizations — are making decisions every day based on what they believe is going to happen. Given the dramatic consequences that can result from the wrong predictions, Superforecasting is perhaps one of the few books this year that should be required reading for all of us — and especially for our leaders.

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Delivering World-Class Customer Service

IF YOU GO:
Delivering World-Class Customer Service
Date:
Thursday, January 7th
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Speaker: Joseph Michelli

Why are Mercedes-Benz customers so loyal and passionate?  Because the people at Mercedes-Benz are Driven to Delight.

 

In this upcoming Soundview Live webinar, Delivering World-Class Customer Service, Joseph Michelli reveals how Mercedes-Benz USA launched a multi-year program to elevate their customer experience–even though their product was already “best in class,” how they activated people, improved processes, and deployed technology to emotionally engage customers, and how the Mercedes-Benz approach can jump-start any customer-driven business―by accelerating your commitment to the customer experience.

You’ll Learn How To:

  • Create a compelling vision for exceptional customer experiences.
  • Identify the ever changing wants, needs, and desires of your customer segments.
  • Map out your key customer journeys and high value contact points.
  • Effectively evaluate customer perceptions throughout their journey with you.
  • Resolve customer needs swiftly and constantly improve your delivery processes.
  • Link rewards and recognition to customer experience excellence throughout your organization.

 

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A Radical Approach to the Design of the Sales Function

In The Machine, Justin Roff-Marsh shows readers how to follow the intrepid executives who have implemented his ideas over the last 15 years, building ridiculously efficient sales functions –– and market-dominating enterprises –– as a consequence.Roff-Marsh calls these executives his silent revolutionaries.

For the last 20 years, organizations’ ability to produce has overtaken their ability to sell, and, for at least as long, customers have unfailingly embraced every opportunity to avoid interacting with traditional field salespeople.

Applying the division of labor to sales might not seem controversial, but this innocent-sounding idea decimates the sales management orthodoxy and replaces it with a strange new world where sales is primarily an inside activity, where salespeople earn fixed salaries and focus their attention exclusively on selling conversations, where regional sales offices become redundant, and where marketing and engineering become seamlessly integrated with sales.

The Machine is a field guide for the executive who’s prepared to wrestle sales away from autonomous field-based artisans in favor of a tightly synchronized team of specialists. Readers will embrace The Machine either to exploit the new sales order or to avoid falling victim to it.

In this summary, you will learn:

• Why a centrally coordinated team should be responsible for sales.
• The four key principles for applying the division of labor to sales.
• A model for creating the new sales environment in your organization.
• To generate sales opportunities and manage the sales function.

Check out the full-length summary in your library.

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