May 23, 2014

Treating violence like a contagious disease

"Physician Gary Slutkin spent a decade fighting tuberculosis, cholera and AIDS epidemics in Africa. When he returned to the United States, he thought he'd escape brutal epidemic deaths. But then he began to look more carefully at gun violence, noting that its spread followed the patterns of infectious diseases. In a talk at TEDMED in 2013, Slutkin offered a mind-flipping look at a problem that too many communities have accepted as a given. We've reversed the impact of so many diseases, says Slutkin, and we can do the same with violence. "

Dr. Slutkin's talk is fascinating - not just for treating violence differently but as a way of treating any problems that require behavior change. He notes that the model of addressing epidemics with punishment goes back to primitive pre-science times and wasn't an effective way to reverse epidemics of any variety; the more effective approach is to interrupt transmission, prevent further spread and change the norms. He talks about the success he and other groups have had in applying this approach to urban violence.

There's an excellent accompanying visualization here. You can also access a written transcript or an alternate video source to the YouTube clip below at TED.


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ESI-Logo.jpg A good EAP is an important resource for helping people to deal with or cope in the aftermath of traumatic events, offering important support resources for your managers and help for troubled employees. In addition, ESI EAP offers trained response teams for on-site trauma intervention. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

May 17, 2014

Three Myths of Behavior Change - What You Think You Know That You Don't

Jeni Cross is a sociology professor at Colorado State University. She has spoken about community development and sustainability to audiences across the country, from business leaders and government officials to community activists. In this thoughtful talk, she focuses on the sociology of behavior change. Her university biography page notes:

"What we believe about a situation—what we think others are doing, what we think they expect us to do, what we think is the right thing to do—has a profound effect on our behavior. If we think that other people are engaging in a behavior (e.g. turning off lights when leaving an office, reusing hotel towels), then we are more likely ourselves to engage in that behavior.
A variety of behaviors from substance use to energy conservation can be influenced through media campaigns which report the actual behavioral norms (description social norms). Dr. Cross has worked with elementary schools, middle school, high schools, and universities to encourage healthy behaviors and reduce unhealthy behaviors. The projects she has evaluated or helped to design have reduced unhealthy behaviors—drinking and driving, alcohol use, tobacco use—and increased healthy behaviors like school engagement and energy conservation."
If influencing people and motivating change is on your agenda, set aside the 20 minutes to view this talk!

April 25, 2014

Inspiration of the Week: Thoughts on Kindness

In May 2013, author George Saunders delivered the commencement speech on the topic of kindness to the graduating class of Syracuse University. A few months after addressing the students, it was picked up by the New York Times and it quickly went viral. You can read a complete transcript: George Saunders’ Advice to Graduates.

More recently, the speech has been released in a 64-page book version: Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness. In coordination with the book's release, the publisher also issued a brief but touching animated version of the speech, below.


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ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

October 25, 2013

Inspiration of the Week: Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock performs Katy Perry's "Roar"

Children and staff gather for an inspiring cover of "Roar" by Katy Perry at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. "Please share this video directly from the kids and staff," the hospital wrote on Facebook. " It was created for our annual CHaD HERO Half Marathon & Ripcord 5K, which raised over $650,000 this year, and it means a lot to the families and CHaD community who work to keep these kids roaring."

Two thoughts:
1 - Kids, you are awesome - we can learn so much from your courage and spirit in the face of adversity.
2 - Healthcare workers: you are awesome, too, and we love you! Thanks for all you do.


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ESI EAP offers 24-7 access to counselors and a wide variety of support resources for employees and family members who are facing difficult health challenges. We also offer wellness benefits and health risk assessments, including discounts for weight loss programs, exercise and nutrition programs, and stop smoking programs. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

October 18, 2013

Inspiration of the Week: No excuses

Watch three remarkable guys who irreverently call themselves the "Gimp Monkeys" transcend disabilities to achieve a life goal, ascending Zodiac, an 1,800-foot route on the Southeast Face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

"Our system and the world around us, they make it really easy for you to be disabled - the expectations go down ...and you can immediately take that excuse and go "well you know what. I'm jacked up now. I can't do anything" but then you've let that situation win ... at the end of the day, I didn't want my disability to become an excuse for me not to follow what I was passionate about."
"I think that everyone has a disability of some kind... you know, it's mental, it's physical - but they have stuff going on . So if something holds you back, that's your disability -- but you've got to own it and say "OK, but I'm going to use it to move forward instead of letting it hold me back."

Alternate video source: Gimp Monkeys on Vimeo
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ESI EAP offers 24-7 access to counselors and a wide variety of support resources for employees and family members who are facing difficult health challenges. We also offer wellness benefits and health risk assessments, including discounts for weight loss programs, exercise and nutrition programs, and stop smoking programs. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

September 27, 2013

Inspiration of the Week: Finding meaning in life despite obstacles

Australian Nicholas James Vujicic was born with Tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. He struggled in his childhood -- his lack of limbs made him a target for school bullies and he fell into a severe depression, but he eventually accepted his disability and learned how to lead a rich, full life. At the age of 17, he started Life Without Limbs, a non-profit organization. He travels the world presenting his message of inspiration on finding meaning in life. He also focuses on speaking to teens on teen issues.

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ESI EAP offers 24-7 access to counselors and a wide variety of support resources for employees and family members who are facing difficult health challenges. We also offer wellness benefits and health risk assessments, including discounts for weight loss programs, exercise and nutrition programs, and stop smoking programs. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

September 16, 2013

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

In this new TED talk, psychologist Kelly McGonigal looks at some of the latest research on stress and has some fresh new insight: it may not be stress that is as bad for us as the way we respond to it. She urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.


For transcriptions, translations, and comments, visit this this talk at the Ted site: Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

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ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 14, 2013

September is National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month is a national observance that educates Americans on the fact that addiction treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. The observance’s main focus is to laud the gains made by those in recovery from these conditions, just as we would those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

Employers with EAPs are in a good position to help employees find a path to recovery by noting behavior and performance changes and pointing an employee to help resources. Supervisors and managers don't need to diagnose - simply watch for changes in behavior and performance, focus on the performance changes, and make referrals to the EAP based on those behavioral or performance issues.

Another way that employers can help is to provide employees access to materials on substance abuse and mental health issues - via the newsletter, via the organization's intranet, via bulletin boards - however you would normally communicate about health and safety issues. Remind employees about the availability of your EAP for free, confidential services to help all employees resolve personal and workplace problems, such as substance abuse.

Here are some inspirational stories of recovery that you might share with your employees.

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ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

August 23, 2013

Grace Under Pressure: Inspiration of the week

On Tuesday, a disturbed 20 year old gunman entered a Georgia elementary school armed with an AK-47 type assault rifle and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition. He fired some shots and took school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff hostage, telling her he was off his medication, was not mentally stable and was ready to kill and be killed.

Remarkably, Tuff stayed calm and respectful and persuaded the man to stay with her, diverting him from going into the school yard where children would be in danger. Her diversion afforded precious time for the children to escape. She called 911 and interceded between the police emergency dispatcher and the gunman. Throughout the extended ordeal, she listened to the gunman and appealed to him on a human level, extending hope to him and relating to him by talking about her own troubles. She explained how she had contemplated suicide but that things got better for her and they could for him, too. In a compassionate and motherly fashion, she showed him a way out and appealed to his better nature.

The incident ended when she talked the man through surrendering without anyone being hurt. You can read more about this story and listen to the extraordinary 911 tapes in full on the Atlanta Constitution coverage of the incident

In one of the many news interviews she later conducted, she described a technique she had learned in her own life that helped her to cope with tragedy and fear: you just have to "push through the pain" and go on. Below is a video clip of an interview with Tuff explaining how she got through the ordeal.

Alert: this is an embedded clip from WSBTV that is preceded by advertising. If your organization blocks videos, here is a link to the story and the clip: http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/tuff-says-faith-life-experience-saw-her-through/v9fKq/

People often throw around the word "hero" rather loosely - this is a real-life example of heroism - grace under pressure, courage under fire. The world needs more heroes like Antoinette Tuff and more appreciation for our hard-working school personnel. This woman kept herself in harm's way to protect children in her charge - incredible bravery.


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esi.JPG Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

August 16, 2013

Inspiration of the Week: Arthur's Transformation

Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again. This is his story.

July 27, 2013

The Best Resignation Letter Ever Written

Many writers take jobs to make ends meet while they pursue their true calling in off hours. Such was the case for author Sherwood Anderson who worked as a copywriter at a Chicago ad agency. When he reached a point that he was ready to devote himself to his writing full time, he penned an amusing letter to his employer - surely one of the best resignation letters ever written.

William Faulkner worked as a postmaster for a few years and was apparently rather a shirker. On being forced to resign, his letter was short and to the point. Contrast that with the folksy and amusing resignation from another postmaster, humorist Bill Nye, which he submitted to his boss, U.S. President Chester Arthur.


Among other resignation letters we've enjoyed is this sweet missive, a tasteful way to resign indeed. We also liked this song delivered in video format by a Microsoft employee to her team.


Should you be on the receiving end of a letter of resignation, here are some tips:


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esi.JPG Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

July 20, 2013

The Lighter Side: Kid Snippets - Job Interview

"Kid Snippets" is an imaginative and fun series of short web videos in which kids write and read the scripts and adults then act them out... the clips are imaginative in the inimitable manner of kids and the adults do a great job getting in touch with their "inner kids" to act them out - most amusing.

In this episode, children imagine the job interview process -- HR people, you'll have to watch to see how accurately they get it!

A new episode comes out every Monday - covering such varied topics as blind dates, the library and tooth fairies. Here are a few more workplace scenarios - the bank, airline pilots, and a salesman. If only work was always this fun!

June 14, 2013

Rethinking motivation

“When we think about labor, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it — meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, pride.” - Dan Ariely

“If you want people to perform better, you reward them, right? Bonuses, commissions, their own reality show. Incentivize them. … But that’s not happening here. You’ve got an incentive designed to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity, and it does just the opposite. It dulls thinking and blocks creativity.” - Dan Pink

Duke University professor of psychology and behavioral economics and best-selling author Daniel Ariely looks at the issue of what motivates us to work. He discusses two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work.

In a related theme, best-selling author and former speechwriter for Al Gore Dan Pink has spent years examining the the puzzle of motivation in the workplace. In this Ted Talk, he upends conventional wisdom about what motivates people and what makes them perform better -- particularly as the work force and the nature of work needed in today's work pace changes.


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esi.JPG Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

April 13, 2013

How to Spot a Liar

Pamela Meyer is a professional lie spotter. She's worked with a team of researchers to collect and review research on deception from such fields as law-enforcement, military, psychology and espionage. She also received advanced training in deception detection, interrogation, microexpression analysis, statement analysis, behavior and body language interpretation, and emotion recognition.

Meyer says that lying is a cooperative act - on its own, a lie has no power. It becomes powerful when someone agrees to believe it. She says that on any given day, we're lied to from 10 to 200 times - from the white lies that allow society to function smoothly to the devastating duplicities that bring down corporations and break up families.

In this TED talk, she shares some of her expertise and helps us learn to spot the lies and liars in our midst by recognizing and spotting hotspots. In addition to being smart and useful, her presentation is funny and familiar - because let's face it - we've all lied and been lied to. You can also learn more about her research from her book Liespotting. You can also get more pointers for spotting deception on her website.

Direct link to TED talk video
http://www.ted.com/talks/pamela_meyer_how_to_spot_a_liar.html

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esi.JPG Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

March 17, 2013

Lessons from outer space: How to achieve your goals

When's the last time you got your motivation from outer space? Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield offers a short, inspirational video on how to achieve your goals - it's great advice for you as a leader and a great clip to share with your employees!

For more inspiration, see this longer video of Chris Hadfield talking with William Shatner, aka Captain Kirk.

You can find more videos from Chris at the Canadian Space Agency YouTube channel. Don't miss space food and nail clipping in space.

(Note: This post contains a YouTube video. If your organization blocks access, you may not be able to see it in this post. Here is a direct link to the video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGrzo4IvXyg )
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esi.JPG Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

March 8, 2013

What Will Your Last 10 Years Look Like? Make Health Last

Canada's Heart & Stroke Association has put together a series of powerful health messages in a campaign theme of "Make Health Last" - a series that might be good to share with employees in your wellness program. They pose the question: What will your last 10 years look like?

(This post contains YouTube videos. If your organization blocks access, you may not be able to see them in this post. Here is a direct link to the Make Health Last campaign: www.makehealthlast.ca)

February 23, 2013

Janine Shepherd: A broken body isn't a broken person

"Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal -- until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar."


"Janine Shepherd is a walking paraplegic; she is also a pilot and aerobatics instructor, as well as a motivational speaker and author.

A champion cross-country skier in training for the winter Olympics, Janine’s life changed forever when she was hit by a truck during a bicycle ride in the Blue Mountains of Australia. Doctors did not expect her to survive and, when she did, they warned her that she would never walk again.

Janine focused intently for years on healing both her broken body and crushed morale. A turning point came watching small planes flying overhead. She decided: “If I can’t walk, I’ll fly.” While still in a full body cast, Janine was lifted into an aircraft for her first flight. Within a year she had her private pilot’s license. Later, she earned her commercial pilots license and instructor’s rating. Janine recently served on the board of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and became its youngest -- and only -- female director.

Janine is a the patron of the Australasian Spinal Research Trust and is committed to helping find a cure for spinal cord injury in the near future. In the meantime, she seeks to inspire those coping with physical disability. She is the author of five books, including The Gift of Acceptance and Never Tell Me Never. And while doctors told her after her accident that she would never have children, she now is a mother of three."

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ESI EAP offers 24-7 access to counselors and a wide variety of support resources for employees and family members who are facing difficult health challenges. We also offer wellness benefits and health risk assessments, including discounts for weight loss programs, exercise and nutrition programs, and stop smoking programs. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

February 10, 2013

Inspiration of the week: Conner and Cayden Long

Meet two brothers named as the 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year. Check out the inspiring short video clip below, read the accompanying story from Sports Illustrated: 2012 SportsKids Of The Year: Conner and Cayden Long or visit the Team Long Brothers Facebook page. It's a great feel-good story that makes you want to try to be half as awesome as these kids.

If you can't see the video above, try this direct link to YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouhURNLsnjo

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esi.JPG Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.

February 1, 2013

The Marshmallow Challenge: An exercise in collaboration

"The Marshmallow Challenge is a remarkably fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.

The task is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top."

The ingredients cost only a few dollars and the time invented is less than a dollar. If you would like to try the Marshmallow Challenge at your next meeting, here are Step by step instructions for the Marshmallow Challenge.

That's how challenge founder Tom Wujec describes the exercise. Tom is an award-winning innovator who specializes in fostering creative thinking. See him describe the project in this video at TED:

(If you can't see the video above, try these direct links to Ted.com video and transcript or to the video on YouTube.)

Videos of teams engaged in the Marshmallow challenge:
Watch teams of varying ages as they participate in the Marshmallow Challenge.

Ms Smith's STEM students

PepsiCo Talent Acquisition Meeting

Mr Kaiser's MVMS students

January 5, 2013

5 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People

Great presenters know the psychology of their audience. Behavioral psychologist and author Dr. Susan Weinschenk shares 5 of her favorite things every presenter should know.


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esi.JPG In addition to more benefits & more services for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. To learn more about how ESI EAP can help, give us a call: 800-535-4841.

December 1, 2012

"Riveting talks by remarkable people"

TED is a nonprofit devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading." It started in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Over the years, it has broadened its scope considerably. We've featured some great talks here on the blog, and will no doubt feature more. Recently, we discovered a new feature that allows for some fun browsing through the extensive collection of videos: curated playlists - selections either on a given theme or favorites selected by various thought leaders.

There are many to choose from, but here are a few playlists of interest:

Bill Gates: My 13 favorite talks

Steve Case: 10 unforgettable talks

Barbra Streisand: 8 must-see talks for women

Re-imagining school (11 talks)

The future of medicine (8 talks)

Making sense of too much data (9 talks)

November 17, 2012

Jeff Hancock: The future of lying

An Associate Professor of Cognitive Science and Communications at Cornell University, Jeff Hancock's research has focused on how people use deception and irony when communicating through cell phones and online platforms.

"On average, people tell one to two lies a day, and these lies range from the trivial to the more serious, including deception between friends and family, in the workplace, and in politics. At the same time, information and communication technologies have pervaded almost all aspects of human communication and interaction, from everyday technologies that support interpersonal interactions, such as email and instant messaging, to more sophisticated systems that support organizational interactions.

His idea: that while the impersonality of online interaction can encourage mild fibbing, the fact that it leaves a permanent record of verifiable facts actually keeps us on the straight and narrow."

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ESI-Logo.jpg Does your EAP measure up? If you'd like to learn more about turbocharging your employee benefit package, reducing absenteeism, and enhancing productivity, call us today: 800-535-4841.

October 19, 2012

The Pink Glove Dance

Here's a fun way to raise awareness for breast cancer and have fun doing it: The Pink Glove Dance Competition. Winners for 2012 haven't been selected yet, but you can review and cast your vote for favorites. You'll need to set aside some time - it looks like hundreds of healthcare organizations have submitted entries.

We've picked out three from past years that are energetic, fun, and contagious - and we love the way that the hospitals got so many employees from all parts of the organization involved. There's some real talent in evidence, but there's also a very endearing "real people" feel that makes them particularity fun and charming. We already loved healthcare workers and this just makes us love them more! Check out the rules - maybe your organization could do this next year!

Lexington Medical Center, West Columbia, South Carolina (This was last year's top prize winner)

Florida Hospital

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon


esi.JPG Learn how ESI Employee Assistance Program can help address your employees' health - from a wellness benefits and help for everyday work-life matters to comprehensive assistance for a wide array of potentially disruptive issues and problems.

October 6, 2012

Constructive conflict: Dare to Disagree

"A fantastic model of collaboration: thinking partners who aren't echo chambers."

Margaret Heffernan's TED talk, Dare to Disagree, explores the idea that conflict avoidance can sometimes create blind spots that hinder progress. She illustrates how the best partners aren’t echo chambers -- and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

According to her biography on the TED page, Margaret Heffernan is the former CEO of five businesses: "She began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association, IPPA. In the United States, Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of web business and was named one of the Internet's Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999."

Her book Willful Blindness has been called one of the best business books of 2011. You can follow more of her business thinking at her blog and her her websit, mheffernan.com.


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ESI-Logo.jpg Does your EAP measure up? If you'd like to learn more about turbocharging your employee benefit package, reducing absenteeism, and enhancing productivity, call us today: 800-535-4841.

August 24, 2012

Danger - Women at Work

This World War II vintage clip was designed to instruct women about safe behavior as they joined the workforce to support the war effort. They are encouraged to leave jewelry and high heels at home, avoid the debutante slouch, and tuck loose locks into hairnets, turbans and snoods. It's a fun little time capsule offering a glimpse of how the work world has changed.

August 5, 2012

Why We Lie, Go to Prison and Eat Cake: Dan Ariely

When it comes to honesty, ethics, and the dividing line between our values and our actions, we point you to Dan Ariely, best-selling author and professor of behavioral economics and psychology at Duke University. Wired editor Joanna Pearlstein recently posted a lively discussion she had with him at a business forum: Why We Lie, Go to Prison and Eat Cake: 10 Questions With Dan Ariely.

In the interview, Ariely talks about some of the issues that are in his new book, The Honest Truth of Dishonesty. He looks at such issues as how the chance of getting caught affects us, why the potential for even dire consequences may not deter us from lying or cheating, and how our "fudge factor" allows us to incrementally rationalize dishonesty. The crux of the interview and the thrust of topic of his new book can be summed up with a few lines from one of Ariely's recent blog posts: "Every day, people are finding new and more creative ways to cheat, and to justify their dishonest behavior, regardless of the negative impact their actions might have on others. What’s most worrying about this trend is that we still fail to grasp the extent of our dishonesty. But it doesn’t have to be like this. If, on a global scale, we worked to understand the root of our dishonesty, and motivated each other to overcome it, we could do much better."

Related to this interview, we point you to Ariely's engaging, amusing, and thought-provoking Ted Talk, Why We Think It's OK to Cheat and Steal (Sometimes). Ariely talks about many of his experiments testing the boundaries of honesty and cheating. Here's a brief description of the talk:

"One of the challenges of human life is what's good for us in the long term often doesn't seem good for us right now. Dieting, for example, is not so much fun now, but good for the future; the same goes for saving money or submitting to preventive medical tests. When we face such tradeoffs, we often focus on the short term rather than our long-terms goals, and in the process we get ourselves into trouble. But wait! There is hope. By understanding where we fall short, there are methods we can use to overcome our natural (and less than desirable) inclinations."

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ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

July 22, 2012

A tale of mental illness from the inside

Elyn Saks offers first-hand insight into schizophrenia from the vantage of the sufferer. Despite grappling with this through her lifetime, she is Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California School of Law. In 2007, she released her autobiography, The Center Cannot Hold, in which she reveals the depth of her own schizophrenia, now controlled by drugs and therapy. As a mental health law scholar and writer, she speaks for the rights and dignity of mentally ill people.

We've included two items about this courageous woman. Below is a 15 minute video, in which she shares her experience, and tells how the intercession of family, friends and colleagues have helped her to lead a productive and happy life. She credits three reasons: excellent treatment, the help and support of many close family members and friends who help her navigate her life in the face of symptoms, and an enormously supportive workplace. We also encourage you to listen to A Scholar's Memoir of Schizophrenia, a 20 minute interview with NPR. Both are invaluable in breaking down myths, giving hope to those with mental illness, and standing as compelling testimony for intervention, underscoring how essential it is for those of us who live and work with the mentally ill learn compassionate ways to help.

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ESI-Logo.jpg ESI EAP offers help and resources for depression and other serious mental health issues. If one of your employees is grappling with mental illness or a sudden alarming change in behavior, your EAP can help. If you are employer that doesn't have an EAP, call us at 800-535-4841.

June 15, 2012

Office Safety, 1944 style

This "humorous" instructional video offers a fascinating glimpse into the 1944 workplace. Note the way that women are portrayed - oh my!


April 7, 2012

A holiday weekend "ta-dah"

We were looking for a light hearted little something with an Easter theme to post when we stumbled on this video clip of a woman wearing bunny rabbit ears. On closer inspection, the woman is best-selling author Amanda Gore, who offers a fun little lesson in offering up "ta-dahs." If you don't know what "ta-dahs" are, you may be lacking an important leadership skill so you need to watch this short clip now.

Did you watch it? Good for you, you show an awesome capacity for leadership! Ta-dah!

February 11, 2012

"The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance" - Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in what was described as the most popular class at Harvard.

His research and lectures on happiness and human potential have received widespread media attention. He travels around the United States and Europe giving talks on positive psychology to Fortune 500 corporations, schools, and non-profit organizations.

He is currently CEO of Aspirant, a Cambridge-based consulting firm which conducts research to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures.

In his entertaining and though provoking TEDxBloomington presentation, he says that most modern research focuses on the average, but that "if we focus on the average, we will remain merely average." He wants to study the positive outliers, and learn how not only to bring people up to the average, but to move the entire average up.

January 8, 2012

The lighter side: The Employment (El Empleo)

The Employment (El Empleo) is a 6 minute animated clip by Argentinian animation studio Opusbou and director Santiago 'Bou' Grasso that has won more than 100 international awards. It offers quite a cynical but amusing view of the workplace!

November 2, 2011

Dan Ariely's talk on our buggy moral code

This is a though-provoking presentation by Dan Ariely, author of the bestseller Predictably Irrational. Ariely is a behavioral economist who holds a fascination with "how emotional states, moral codes and peer pressure affect our ability to make rational and often extremely important decisions in our daily lives." In this Ted Talk, he examines the hidden reasons we think it's OK to sometimes cheat or steal, illustrating it with experiments that he conducted.

If you liked this talk, visit Dan Ariely's Blog


October 31, 2011

Just for Halloween...

The Mummy Meets Human Resources...

Also: see Ray Villafane's awesome pumpkin gallery

It's not too late to remind your employees about safe driving on their way home tonight because a lot of little kids might be out and about right around commuting time. Why not send them a link to this: At-Home Safety: Brake for Ghosts and Goblins this Halloween

October 1, 2011

Adapting to change: Bronze Age Orientation Day

Some people have more trouble adapting to change and new technologies than others. A few weeks ago, we brought you the Medieval Help Desk. On a similar theme, we the offer "Bronze Age Orientation Day."


When your organization introduces major changes, some of your employees will be early adopters and some will be laggards - see the Rogers Innovation Adoption Curve. Whether the changes are technological, organizational, or even a more simple change like a change in routine, some of your workers may struggle to adapt. This article offers some good principles for managing change in the workplace. (PDF)

September 8, 2011

Man in the Red Bandana

How would you spend the last hour of your life? Man in the Red Bandana is an excellent clip from ESPN commemorating the events of 9/11 by telling the inspiring story of a young man who led people to safety from one of the World Trade Center buildings 10 years ago. He was a former Boston College lacrosse player whose trademark was a red bandana.

August 28, 2011

Thinking differently: Steven Jobs' address at the 2005 Stanford University commencement

In light of Steve Jobs' resignation earlier this week, here's a highly inspirational and poignant video clip of Jobs speaking at the 2005 Stanford University commencement in an address entitled "How to Live Before You Die." He made the speech about a year after being diagnosed with cancer and after a surgery which gave him a new lease on life. Here's a transcript.

August 5, 2011

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

Alain de Botton, renowned essayist, philosopher and founder of The School of Life, examines the nature and function of work. Most of our waking hours are spent at work, and yet we rarely challenge the basic assumptions that lie behind this time-consuming, life-altering activity. A thoughtful and entertaining talk - don't miss the part about HR Departments (from about 13:15 to about 17:00)

July 17, 2011

The 30-day approach for setting & achieving goals

In this his short, lighthearted talk, Google engineer Matt Cutts offers a new approach and a simple recipe for setting and achieving goals.


June 27, 2011

From the "cute kids offering important life lessons" department

This video clip is one of those must-shares. It's the heartwarming and sweet story of a remarkable group of kids who offer tremendous lessons in teamwork, sportsmanship, and the truly important things in life. That's the kind of team I want to be part of -- winners, every one of them!

l'equip petit from el cangrejo on Vimeo.

June 3, 2011

3 things Ric Elias learned while his plane crashed

Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for the first time.


May 13, 2011

When I grow up, I want to build leadership bench strength...

In hunting for something in the archives, we stumbled on this amusing video and thought it was just the perfect thing to revisit on a Friday the 13th. Relive all the reasons you wanted to get into the Human Resource in the first place!

May 4, 2011

Changing perceptions and looking past limits

Caroline Casey has dedicated the past decade of her life to changing how global society views people with disabilities. In 2000, she rode 1,000 kilometers across India on an elephant to raise funds for Sight Savers. Then, as founding CEO of Kanchi in Dublin, she developed a set of best practices (based on ISO 9000 quality standards) for businesses, to help them see "disabled" workers as an asset as opposed to a liability. Hundreds of companies have adopted the standards, changing their policies and attitudes.

In 2004, Casey started the O2 Ability Awards to recognize Irish businesses for their inclusion of people with disabilities, both as employees and customers. The initiative has received international praise and, in 2010, a parallel program was launched in Spain.

April 3, 2011

David Brooks: The social animal

In his recent entertaining TED talk, author and New York Times columnist David Brooks talks about new insights into human nature from the cognitive sciences. He makes a case for why we need to pay more attention to and acknowledge our emotions, our instincts, and our intuitive life. This is in some contrast to the prevailing view of man as primarily a rational being. His ideas have implications for learning, for interpersonal relations, and for self-knowledge, as well as for the broader spheres of business, economics, and politics. It's an interesting perspective in terms of thinking about human motivation, and the whys, hows and whats of motivating people.

March 19, 2011

The Happiness Model

Can you base a business model on happiness? Yes, according to successful CEO Chip Conley. Conley has written three books, including his most recent, PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow, and is at work on two new ones, Emotional Equations and PEAK Leadership. He consults widely on transformative enterprises, corporate social responsibility and creative business development. He traveled to Bhutan last year to study its Gross National Happiness index, the country's unique method of measuring success and its citizens' quality of life.

March 8, 2011

A focus on women in the workplace - now and then

This year marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, and today is the start of a series of commemorative global events that will continue through the month. The UN Has identified this year's theme as: Equal access to education, training and science and technology."

The Division of Labor has issued a special statistical focus on Women At Work. It encompasses a lot of interesting data about working women - here are a few highlights:

  • In 2009, 59 percent of working-age women in the United States were in the labor force. This percentage has increased from 43 percent four decades ago.
  • By 2010, nearly 65 million women had jobs, and 53 percent of these women worked in the three industries that employed the most women: education and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; and local government.
  • The ratio of women's to men's earnings, for all occupations, was 81.2% in 2010. The ratio varies by occupation. In occupations such as personal financial advisors, retail salespersons, insurance sales agents, and lawyers, for example, the earnings ratios are lower than the overall ratio of women’s to men’s earnings. In occupations such as stock clerks and order fillers, bill and account collectors, and combined food preparation and serving workers, women earn more than men.

We thought it might be fun to take a look back and found a few clips that give an idea of just how far women have come over the last generation or two. If you are at or around boomer age, these clips may not be totally surprising, but they should be pretty mind blowing for anyone of younger generation! (Ladies, go home and thank your Moms and Aunts for paving the way to a more egalitarian landscape.)

The first clip is a training film from 1944 entitled "Supervising Women Workers" - obviously a special challenge!

In "The Trouble With Women," a clip from 1959, we see that a decade and a half didn't do much to enlighten male supervisors about how to deal with female workers.


February 11, 2011

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work

Just after listing a crop of work-life blogs, we found a new Ted Talk on the topic. Nigel March, author of "Fat, Forty and Fired," offers his thoughts on Work-Life balance. He makes the case that balance is too important an issue to be left in the hands of your employer. March lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity -- and offers some amusing and inspirational thoughts about why it's a worthy goal and how to get there.

November 20, 2010

Thinking differently - why the world needs visual thinkers

Temple Grandin is a remarkable person. Perhaps the world's most well-known adult with autism, she was recently named to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine's annual list of the world's most influential. Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child and her parents were told that she should be institutionalized. Fortunately, her parents did not listen because today, Grandin she is an American doctor of animal science, a consultant on animal behavior, an animal rights activist, a professor at Colorado State University, a bestselling author, and a noted speaker and author on the topic of autism.

This past year, she was a featured speaker at TED, presenting about how the world needs different kinds of minds. In her engaging presentation, she makes the case that "... the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids." It's elucidating both from the vantage of enlarging our understanding of autism specifically, and more generally, understanding how to motivate and work with different types of thinking.



More on Temple Grandin
Temple Grandin's Official Autism Website
Temple Grandin - Wikipedia
Dr. Temple Grandin's Livestock Behavior page
How does visual thinking work in the mind of a person with autism? A personal account
TIME: Temple Grandin on Temple Grandin

November 4, 2010

What motivates us?

Author Daniel Pink explores how motivation functions at home and at work. Last June, we ran an RSA animation on the topic which we repeat here. It runs just under 11 minutes. The second clip, which we recently discovered, is a video of the 40 minute talk that inspired the animation.

We also found a 2009 Ted Talk by Pink on "the suprising science of motivation. The blurb about the talk says "Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward." It's about an 18 minute talk and it generated quite a bit of discussion - 272 comments, many thought provoking. (These can be found under the video)


November 1, 2010

Civility and politics in the workplace

Over the weekend, a few hundred thousand people turned out at a Washington DC rally to affirm the message that we can disagree without being disagreeable and that our opponents should not be demonized. They came armed with a sense of humor to send the serious message of a need for civility in our public discourse. It's a shame that this message has to be delivered by comedians rather than our leaders, but maybe the message of civility will be contagious. Civility and good humor are certainly a good themes for us all on election day eve, the culmination of a difficult political season. Campaigns have been highly charged and acrimonious and there are a lot of volatile issues at play: the economy, immigration, gay rights, and religion. For many, these are important and personal issues, so it's all too easy for discussions with opponents to escalate into anger and emotion.

Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal talks about ups and downs of politics in the workplace in her column and also posts about ways the employers can help to keep the peace in pre-election politics on her blog.

A 2008 American Management Association survey on Political Discussion in the Workplace Survey revealed attitudes about politics as a topic of discussion:

"35 percent of respondents were uncomfortable talking politics with co-workers, while 19 percent were okay. And about 39 percent were not comfortable discussing their political views with their supervisor, while about 40 percent were. When it came to having written policies regarding prohibiting the distribution or posting of party of candidate material, about 39 percent said their company did, about 30 percent said their company didn’t and 31 percent didn’t know."
It's unrealistic to think that people won't bring issues that are important to them into workplace discussions. It's important for managers and supervisors to establish and enforce an overall climate of respect on this and any other topics. Remind people to be gracious, whether their candidates win or lose.

It's helpful to remember that this is not new territory. In the 2008 election, things were pretty heated as can be heard in NPR's segment with Amy Dickinson where callers discuss their experiences with politics on the job. In that election, we also posted about managing politics at work. And the roots of acrimony go back much further than 2008. While that is not a good defense, it's comforting to know that despite our differences and the heat of our rhetoric, we manage to move on and progress as a nation.


October 12, 2010

Why it might be a good idea to keep your goals to yourself

After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. In a recent short TED talk, he explains why.

October 4, 2010

October wellness resources

October is a busy month for health awareness observances. We're highlighting two in particular.

First, we are right in the middle of Mental Illness Awareness Week, which runs from October 3-9m. It's sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which offers a vast library of resources on the various illnesses and support programs, along with many other tools and resources. In line with this, October 7 is National Depression Sreening Day.

Next, we call your attention to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). The NBCAM site is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services. While the site documents activities around Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is also a year-round resource for breast cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and the general public.

This is an opportune time to present one of our favorite video clips, which was performed by staff at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Other health and wellness observances for the month include:
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
National Physical Therapy Month
Dental Hygiene Month
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October 18-24 - National Drug-Free Work Week

October 1, 2010

Friday diversion: The Promotion

If you can relate to this amusing film by Patrick Biovin, you may need a new job. This 4 minute clip takes a dark but humorous look at organizational structures and politics. "Being efficient isn't enough; you have to be prepared for a PROMOTION..."


September 28, 2010

Health care reform explained, animation style

As a follow-up to our last post, we found this great 9 minute animated video - Health Reform Hits Main Street - which was written and produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation to help explain the basics of healthcare reform. (Video transcript)


September 6, 2010

Social media for CEOs (and other business managers)

The ways that businesses communicate with their employees and their customers and the channels that they use for communicating have undergone a seismic shift in the last decade. In the past, businesses could go to the top of the mountain and broadcast their messages by harnessing a variety of one-to-many communication channels: speeches, memos newsletters, PA systems, bulletin boards, management meetings, policy manuals, advertising, brochures, sales staff, etc. With the Internet and mobile technologies, all that has changed. Business are communicating on a new and dynamic playing field, one that is characterized by interactivity and collaboration...and - most disconcertingly for many - a loss of control.

Mashable has an excellent feature on How CEOs Will Use Social Media in the Future. The operative word here is apparently "future" since recent research by Forrester shows that none of the CEOs in Fortune 500's top 100 global corporations has a social media profile. In fact, according to Forrester Research’s CEO George Colony, this trend encompasses CEOs of tech companies, too: "Eric Schmidt of Google is an infrequent Twitterer and is not a blogger; Steve Ballmer at Microsoft has no blog and no Twitter account; Michael Dell is on Twitter but is not an external blogger … Steve Jobs of Apple, and Larry Ellison of Oracle have no Twitter, Facebook (Facebook), LinkedIn (LinkedIn), or blog presences that we could find."

That last bit of information is pretty startling. But as the widespread adoption of social networking continues apace, businesses are inevitably following (alas, not leading) their employees and customers and trying to engage them. How successfully they navigate these shifting sands is another matter.

In addition to the futuristic tone of the article linked above, Mashable also recently featured the article How CEOs Are Using Social Media for Real Results, which offer some success stories. Also see Anne Freedman's article on Leveraging Social Media in Human Resource Executive, which discusses how some HR managers are thinking of and using social media in their companies.

We recommend Mashable as a good resource to keep up to date on social media trends and news - particularly their business section. Plus, there are lots of "how to" articles, as well as tools and resources throughout the site - it has something for everyone from the veteran to the novice. Here are a few other business-oriented social media resources worth bookmarking:

Sharlyn Lauby on Mashable - HR pro turned consultant, her articles discuss strategies for businesses and HR professionals towork successfully with social media

5 Insightful TED Talks on Social Media

Social Media Glossary

Small business trends - social media category

15 Excellent Corporate Blogs to Learn From

Alltop HR News - an RSS headline news aggregator with feeds from many publications and blogs.

HR people and lists on Rwitter Listerious and from Twibe

Social Media Marketing Resources from MarketingProfs

Finally, this clip is now dated by about 8 months, but it's an engaging look at how social media is changing the landscape:

September 26, 2007

Achieving your childhood dreams

There's a remarkable video lecture that is making the Web circuit right now, singularly one of the most inspiring 75 minute film segments we've had the privilege to see. It's a story of courage, leadership, creativity and grace under pressure. Randy Pausch, handsome, vibrant 46-year old father of three beautiful young children and in the prime of his professional life as Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction and Design at Carnegie Mellon University, presents his last lecture. His professional career has been full of creative challenge, but today he faces his life's greatest challenge: He has pancreatic cancer and has been told he has only 2 to 6 months to live.

We recognize that it's a bit long but we recommend finding the time to view the entire lecture, Achieving your childhood dreams. It is funny, vibrant, inspiring and heartbreaking, all at the same time. One of the enjoyable aspects is not just the story of how he fulfills his own dreams—walking in zero gravity, designing a theme park ride for Disneyland, creating a popular 3-D animation software program—but how he then turned his energies to enabling his students to identify and fulfill their dreams. It's very motivating and might be just the thing to show at your next leadership training session for managers.

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