16
Jun 17

HBR – A Little Competition Could Improve Your HR, IT, and Legal Departments

I think we can all agree that corporate functions tend to be a locus of frustration for pretty much all employees — except, of course, the ones from the function that is the object of the frustration in question. If you have ever thought to yourself “Doesn’t legal understand that we are going to lose this deal if they don’t sign off soon?” or “Why is HR’s answer always Our rules don’t allow that?” you are not alone.

Recent McKinsey research showed that senior executives have a low level of satisfaction (an average of only 30%) in their corporate functions across the board. McKinsey’s recommendations are all sensible, such as: “Create incentives for functional leaders to contain costs, instead of allocating costs that business units can’t change.” This issue has long been a bugbear for me. Despite chronically low satisfaction and lots of intelligent prescriptions like this, the problem by all accounts seems to be getting worse, not better.

More of the Harvard Business Review article from Roger L Martin


24
Jun 16

Fast Company – How Giving Up TV For A Month Changed My Brain And My Life

I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, I don’t know what the Scandal is, and I couldn’t name a single “real” housewife. I thought I didn’t watch much television and that taking a 30-day break would be a piece of cake. I was wrong.

The average adult watches 2.8 hours per day of television, according to the American Time Use survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another study puts this number higher, at four hours and 15 minutes each day. I added up all of the viewing at my house, and we were definitely on the high side.

-A one-hour standing date with Judge Judy, marking the official end of my workday
-An hour of news
-Thirty minutes of Jeopardy (because it’s educational)
-And an hour-plus of mindless shows before bed

Nielsen, we have a problem.

THE DANGERS OF TV
A lot of research has been done around TV viewing and children, and Adam Lipson, a neurosurgeon with IGEA Brain & Spine, says one of the best studies is from Tohoku University in Japan. “They noted thickening of the frontopolar cortex, which is related to verbal reasoning ability, and also correlated with a drop in IQ in proportion to the number of hours of television watching,” he says. “In addition, they noted thickening in the visual cortex in the occipital lobe, and in the hypothalamus, which may correlate with aggression.”

More of the Fast Company article from Sephanie Vozza


07
Apr 16

HBR – When Was the Last Time You Asked, “Why Are We Doing It This Way?”

During a time when many retailers are struggling, business is booming at Target. But it wasn’t too long ago that the discount retailer’s future didn’t glow so bright. When CEO Brian Cornell took the reins two years ago, he inherited a company that had been struggling for years, taking far too few risks, and sticking too close to the core.

Since then the world has fallen in love with a far edgier Target, which has expanded its offerings through collaborations with such power brands as Lilly Pulitzer, Toms, Neiman Marcus, and SoulCycle, and updated product lines that break the status quo, like its latest gender-neutral kids home brand Pillowfort. But Cornell didn’t start right out of the gate making any big changes like these. Instead, he took time to carefully contemplate his approach, listen to his team, and ask questions.

At the MIT Leadership Center, I recently spoke with another leader, Guy Wollaert, chief exploration officer at Loggia Strategy & Design, about similar experiences he encountered at another highly visible brand, Coca-Cola. During his 20-plus year tenure with the global beverage brand, most recently serving as its chief technical and innovation officer, Wollaert made it a point to seek — and surround himself with — new ideas and people who challenged him to reflect and question first, then act later.

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Hal Gregersen


23
Dec 15

MentalFloss – The McGurk Effect

The McGurk effect is mind-blowing. It involves showing a person’s lips making the shape of one sound—like “bah”—while the audio is actually the person saying “fah.” What’s interesting is that your brain changes what you “hear” based on what you see. It’s “bah” all the way through, but when we see “bah” our minds transform “bah” into “fah.”

The effect is named for researcher Harry McGurk, who published a 1976 paper with John MacDonald entitled “Hearing lips and seeing voices.” McGurk and MacDonald described how speech perception isn’t just about sound—it’s also affected by vision, and the integration of the two.

More of the MentalFloss post from Chris Higgins


04
Nov 15

PsyBlog – How The Brain Forgets Things To Conserve Energy

A fascinating new explanation of why our brains forget some things we’ve learned.

The brain may forget in order to save energy, a new study suggests.

So, our brains contain mechanisms that help us erase unnecessary learning.

Now scientists have uncovered how this may happen at the cellular level.

The results come from a strange finding about how we learn.

You may know the story of Pavlov’s dogs, who were taught to salivate at the ringing of a bell because they associated it with being fed.

More of the PsyBlog post from Dr. Jeremy Dean