Just about every high school in America has a line item in its budget for vending machines. Those machines might offer Coke, they might offer Pepsi, or they might offer vitamin water. But whatever they offer, they dispense only when students, faculty or staff deposit the required amount of change. And that change adds up. Read the rest of this entry »
Sounds impossible, right? Well, it turns out that if stress were inherently stressful, we would all be stressed by the same things. And we’re not.
Some people are stressed by traffic. Some aren’t.
Some people are stressed by their families. Some aren’t.
Some people are stressed by snakes. Some aren’t – - but those people are usually stressed by spiders. Just saying.
Some life experiences do cause stress for most people. Illness, death, loss. I think we can agree that those are inherently stressful. But much of our day-to-day stress is not.
From as early as I can remember, a boy named Craig Waterman lived next door to me in a basement apartment with his mother and sister, Michelle. Craig was 9 years older than me, and was friendly and kind. I admired him like a big brother. The Vietnam War raged, and when I was 11, Craig was drafted. A few months later he was killed in action. For me, the war came home in Craig’s place.
This led me to some fairly unhealthy pre-adolescent pondering about what his experience might have been in the firefight in which he died. In my professional life this same fixation settled into a deep interest in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And what emerged as the most significant facet of my interest is what multiple studies have confirmed are the personality factors that protected the 25% of combat veterans who did not develop PTSD. These highly stress-resistant individuals are characterized by 3 traits: Read the rest of this entry »
The two top executives at Intel some years ago, when their main business was making memory chips, were in a situation where their memory business was in ruins. As the story goes, these two gentlemen were preparing themselves for their imminent removal by the board, when one of the two gentlemen asked the other, “So if they fire us, and bring someone else in, what will be the first thing that our replacement will do?” The other replied without hesitation, “They will get us out of the memory business.” The other replied, “Why should we let the next guy do what we should do? Let’s walk out the door, come right back in, and get this company out of the memory business.” They decided to cut their losses by ending their commitment to an unprofitable business venture, and soon found new opportunities elsewhere. Today, they dominate the microprocessor market.
Expand Your Scope of Competence with Each Failure:
In our personal and professional lives, we can gain great advantages by cutting our losses early, learning from our losses, and taking steps to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Read the rest of this entry »
Everyone is looking for the next seminal idea or way of doing business that will lead to greatly increased productivity, profitability, and performance in the workplace. Where do these breakthroughs come from, and what can we do to ensure that we can promote, incubate, and identify them for our own line of work? As always, there is no one magical answer. No single way to get from point A to point Z. Here are ten effective ideas that I developed to help you:
1. If inevitable changes in your industry are coming, embrace them, don’t resist them. That is the only long-term choice that an organization can take. If there is a better way to do something, someone will bring it to market – why not you?
Look at all the missed opportunity: the railroad companies didn’t invent the automobile, filmmakers didn’t create videotapes or DVD’s, and telephone companies continue to underestimate the “creatively destructive” nature of the internet. Read the rest of this entry »