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Is a Multitasking Culture Actually Lowering Productivity?

My friend McKeel Hagerty shared an article with me this morning that discusses the effects of multitasking, namely through an over-abundance of emails and texting, on the brain; how it affects our stress levels, and, our brains ability to carry on sustained levels of concentration. It’s right along the lines of some of the work I’ve been reading and following lately. It’s an important concept, not just for leaders to understand (see tips at the end of the blog), but for anyone working towards greater success in their personal and professional lives. The article is also a great read for parents, as you look to limit screen time or the number of devices your children use as their young brains are still growing and forming.
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Do You Focus on Achievement or Success?

We have created an achievement-oriented society. Achievements are important. They serve as goals and benchmarks, mile-markers and victories. But think about it: If your goal is to achieve a successful life, how will you know when you’ve succeeded?

Success Strategy # 33 – “Realize that achievement is not success.” — Joe Caruso

You see, success is not a destination. In order for us to see ourselves as successful human beings and to strive to create success, we have to stop framing everything we do as an achievement. Read more »

Win-Win Negotiation: Respond Rather than React

Win-Win Negotiation

“Realize that you are always in a negotiation, if not with others, then with yourself.”  – Joe Caruso

It’s not a question of whether or not you negotiate, it’s how good you are when you do. There is an inherent danger of being in the midst of a negotiation and not recognizing it as such. Virtually all of your communication with other people is a form of negotiation.

You are the only one who can know exactly what you want and what you need. You are the only one who has the bottom-line responsibility of making sure you get it. It is not about taking advantage of people to get what you want in life. It’s about win-win negotiation.

There are five basic characteristics of a successful, win-win negotiation:
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Understand Acceptance vs Resignation

Joe uncovers Success Strategy #23 – Understand the difference between acceptance and resignation.

Acceptance literally means taking things as they come. It implies that one has the understanding and perspective that what happens or is happening is acceptable to them.

In my development work with leaders and organizations on managing change and transition, I teach that acceptance is the first step to overcoming any adversity. One who accepts is one who is firmly grounded in reality, while one who refuses to accept is one who is flirting with insanity. To refuse to accept is to invite crippling and debilitating feelings such as frustration, futility and hopelessness.

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Overheard: Joe Caruso’s Success Strategies

One measure of effective leadership? When you hear your words and contexts coming from the mouths of others.”  — @JosephACaruso

More of Joe’s Success Strategies Overhead in Mainstream Dialogue 

For those familiar with Joe Caruso’s books, success strategies, philosophies and aphorisms, it may come as no surprise that the concepts that Joe has been teaching for the past twenty years are coming through in mainstream dialogue.

Here are just a few examples that clients and friends have brought to Joe’s attention of late.

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Do Your Habits and Processes Pass the Relevance Test?

In our personal and professional lives, we are creatures of habit. As we mature we tend to hold onto old habits or approaches that are no longer relevant to our needs.

If you are guilty of this natural human phenomenon like most of us are, I urge you to reevaluate your processes from time to time to see if they pass what I call the “relevance” test.

Consider this story:

A loving mother was teaching her newly engaged daughter how to cook a roast “just like Grandma’s.”

“First,” the mother said, “you have to cut two inches from each end.”

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Bias, an Abundance of Data, and Who We Are

How we use data to validate our stories and draw bad conclusions.

Today, our every move and whim has the potential to be tracked and analyzed through technology we carry with us, or through security cameras. (See blog on the trade-offs of ‘big data’) That means that anyone with something to market or sell has never been in a more powerful position to influence others’ opinions, actions, and decisions.

But as we know, data can be manipulated. The manipulation of data is not inherently a bad thing. At the core, it simply means organizing data in a way that is more meaningful or easier to understand. For example, alphabetizing data is an example of data manipulation. However, data manipulation can often carry a negative connotation, whereby someone knowingly alters the data or results to fit his study, his story, or the conclusion he hypothesized.  This might seem relatively harmless when a 6th-grader alters her science fair data to match her hypothesis. But in the science of medical research, data manipulation can have devastating effects. We see this in the recent measles outbreak. A now discredited study linking vaccinations to autism is arguably partially to blame for creating enough fear, uncertainty and doubt among parents with no medical training to decide to skip the vaccinations for their children.  And now we are faced with the resurgence of a disease we thought was largely eradicated in 2000.

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When the Perfect Dress Finds You: The Trade-Offs of Big Data

Shopping for the Perfect Dress

Years ago, shopping for the perfect dress may have meant grabbing a few girlfriends, going to your favorite stores, and with the help of a sales associate, modeling different styles as your friends weigh in with their impressions. The Internet, of course, changed all that. You can now browse for different styles and comparison-shop for the best price without leaving your desk or couch. Sites like Zappos offer free shipping and such a convenient return process that they make it easy for you to order two sizes, try on both as soon as the next day, and return the one that doesn’t fit (or both if they don’t look like they did on the model in the picture).

Many of the most successful retailers, like Zappos and Nordstrom, have made it all about us to make sure we benefit from the conveniences they offer. This leaves many of us consumers blissfully (and sometimes willfully) unaware of the fact that our browsing and shopping habits leave a data trail, one which marketers salivate over to devise products, pitches, and promotions designed specifically to appeal to our personal tastes and proclivities. They not only track our online activities, but also our offline ones, like how long we linger in which departments of certain stores.

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Define Yourself! Lessons from the Land of Oz

Joe uncovers more about Success Strategy # 7 – “Define Yourself” using the Allegory of the Wizard of Oz

The tin man longed for a heart, the lion wanted courage and the scarecrow would have been happy if he only had a brain.

Along with their new friend Dorothy, they ventured out on a dangerous journey looking for that missing element that would complete their lives and bring them happiness.

Of course, we all know how this beloved movie-classic ended. They all learned (even the Wizard himself) that true happiness doesn’t lie in anything external, but rather in understanding, accepting and managing oneself. The biggest lesson of this life’s journey is learning to be true to your heart. There really is no place like home.

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