The Chemistry Factor in Relationships

By Judith E. Glaser

We are all familiar with the ‘chemistry’ factor in relationships and the chemical attraction metaphor.  However, we are now learning that our insights about the chemical nature of relationships and conversations are more than a metaphor—they are a reality!

For many decades, I’ve been intrigued by the chemical impacts—both positive andDifficult conversations negative—that conversations have on us. I married a biochemist and for decades we’ve shared lots of conversations about our work. When we first wrote about the “Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations” for Harvard Business Review and Psychology Today, we received confirmation that we were on to something important.

Positive comments and positive conversations provide a chemical “high,” and yet negative ones stick with us much longer. A critique from a boss, a disagreement with a colleague, or a fight with a friend can make you forget praise. If you are called lazy, careless or unprofessional, you are likely to remember it and internalize it, making it not very easy to forget, and discounting all the times people say you’re talented.

Continue reading

Posted in communication, HR, Leadership Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Chemistry Factor in Relationships

Feedback versus the Dreaded Annual Review

by Judith E. Glaser

One hundred years ago, Thomas Watson founded IBM on business beliefs. In 2001, IBM revisited those beliefs with an astounding global process called a Values Jam*,  which engaged hundreds of thousands of people in an online conversation. At the time, many of us thought that would be impossible.IBM conversations

Fast-forward to today. Imagine a company as large as IBM becoming incredibly agile and sensitive to the changing needs of business, including fast-moving trends in artificial intelligence, cloud computing and cyber-security. Imagine that an organization this big could become incredibly responsive and efficient. With its DNA so bound to the customer from its very beginning, the company’s leadership has taken on one of its largest transformations ever, yet did so while preserving what makes it IBM.

Continue reading

Posted in change, HR, leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Feedback versus the Dreaded Annual Review

When to Begin Anew

“If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” –Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors

“Bad shit is coming. It always is in a startup. The odds of getting from launch to liquidity without some kind of disaster happening are one in a thousand. So don’t get demoralized.”  –Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator

Whether you’re launching a new company or new product line, there are times when you want to call it quits.

But, should you?

Are you giving up too quickly on a good idea?

Will you regret it when your competitor sticks it out and wins?

Craig Forman, an entrepreneur and investor in NextNews Ventures in San Francisco, asked a panel of entrepreneurs at a recent ReCode conference what they look for when they decide throw in the towel. The panelists were: former General Magic executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet character in the movie “Steve Jobs”), former Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia and Y Combinator partner Dalton Caldwell talked with Recode’s Peter Kafka). Listen closely. These guys and gals had to call it quits on their ventures and lived to tell about it:

Posted in change, Innovation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When to Begin Anew

How to Get Your Employees Addicted to Performing Well

The Neurochemistry of Motivation

By Judith E. Glaser

Employee Question: I work better in environments when my superiors are supportive and give praise for a job well done, and are also understanding when things go wrong. I wonder, is there any evidence that bosses get better work out of their employees when they encourage them rather than ignoring them or instilling fear?neuro chemistry of employee motivation

Through advances in neuroscience, we are now able to see inside of the brains and minds of people while they are experiencing different emotions. What astounds scientists and practitioners alike is the dramatically different ‘brain landscape’ for people who are in fear states, compared to those who are in states of joy and happiness.

What this surprising difference in our brain’s activity is showing us is so profound that it is changing the very foundation for how leaders lead.

Continue reading

Posted in HR, leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Get Your Employees Addicted to Performing Well

Five Steps to Create Cultures of Trust

by Judith E. Glaser

We are designed for connection with others, and when trust is broken we recoil and close down. Conversational Intelligence is teaching us that because we are designed to be social, our brains are sensitive to the signals of trust and distrust. When you use the TRUST Model effectively, you are sending signals of trust to others, and they will pick up these signals as you openly engage.engagement to create trust

Step 1: Transparency. Be open and transparent about what’s on your mind. Transparency quells the reptilian or primitive brain, which reacts to fear, threat, and loss. When we create conditions favorable for trust, people begin to talk openly about their threats and fears. We start reconnecting with others. Transparency is also about sharing our intentions so people don’t read into them. So, talk about the doubts and fears that stand in the way of building trust. Communicate openly with others to quell threats. This sends messages of trust that the amygdala understands: “I trust you will not harm me.”

Continue reading

Posted in Leadership Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Five Steps to Create Cultures of Trust

Is Distrust And Fear Rampant in Corporate America?

by Judith E. Glaser

Daily we see headlines that suggest we are becoming mired in distrust, at high cost to our organizations. As our trust bank accounts are depleted, we run out of currency to invest in the future. And trust is not a currency we can easily print to offset the deficit.Difficult conversations

Sadly, it seems that smog of distrust is settling over our cities. Bill O’Reilly opines: “There has been a drastic climate change in America, but it has nothing to do with the temperature.  There is a climate of distrust in our leaders.”

Continue reading

Posted in Leadership Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Distrust And Fear Rampant in Corporate America?

Successful Failures: When We Want to Succeed but Can’t

by Craig Forman

We all want to succeed. So, one of the trickiest decisions in business is knowing when to ‘pull the plug’ on a failing initiative. With so much at stake (employee careers, investor expectations, client needs – to name a few), it’s human nature in high-achievers to ‘keep going,’ even beyond the moment when the data and evidence points to the end.

So, how do you know when to simply call it quits? At Vox Media’s Recode Conference this week, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos provided his insight. “Most companies quit too soon,” he said. “I want to keep going until the last ‘high-judgment champion’ folds his cards.” Sometimes, he himself is the sole remaining ‘true believer’ he added. In my book, ‘Be Luckier in Life,’ Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz discussed his conviction that some people ‘simply give up too soon,’ a sentiment shared by Amazon’s Bezos. Watch the video starting at 59:25.

A case in point: Amazon’s unsuccessful foray into mobile phones — an initiative he has called a ‘successful failure’ because the initiative, while unsuccessful, has reaped big benefits in such other businesses as the Kindle and the Alexa/Echo home ‘intelligent agent’ service.

Continue reading

Posted in leadership, leadershipskills, management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Successful Failures: When We Want to Succeed but Can’t

Five Ways to Have a Difficult Conversation That Leads to Action

by Judith E. Glaser

Hiding behind email, texting or “sandwiching” tough feedback between compliments, won’t get your communication heard. Neither will “yell and tell!”Choosing friends at work

Here are five ways to have those dreaded conversations that addresses fears, concerns and worries:

  • Triggering: ‘Feared Implications’

Very often just the thought of having a difficult conversation causes anxiety and fear. Our minds quickly create a movie of what might happen, and our minds are quick to imagine the worst. I call this ‘feared implications.’ Feared implications are the worst-case scenarios, and when our minds imagine the worst, the neurochemistry of fear takes over. The clinical name for this is Amygdala Hijack, named after the part of the brain, which is the seat of fear.

Continue reading

Posted in communication, HR, leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Five Ways to Have a Difficult Conversation That Leads to Action

How to Communicate about Unmet Expectations

by Judith E. Glaser

How should a leader address customers; shareholders; the press; employees? Are there different components of the message that should be shared with one group and not another? Who needs what type of information? Most of all, how can you set the context for difficult not to be so difficult. The best strategy is to be specific and clear about what is happening, rather than clouding the message with hyperbole.Difficult conversations

  • Unmet Expectations: Most difficult messages come from a very common origin. Unmet expectations. I failed to deliver the results you expected. You failed to deliver the results I expected. It is difficult because it contains embarrassment and disappointment – two things human beings dislike the most. It is a social embarrassment and when this is the core of the context, then people want to deflect the message, minimize it, blame others, avoid it – or any other tactic they can think of.

Continue reading

Posted in communication, HR, Leadership Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Communicate about Unmet Expectations

Turn Challenging Conversations Into Trusting Relationships at Work

by Judith E. Glaser

No one could believe it – Radio Shack let thousands of people go and they did it through email! Most people dislike delivering bad news in person, and will find any way to avoid it.

Making eye contact with another person who you care about, and with whom you need to deliver a difficult message – probably creates disappoint, upset or hurt – and is one of the most difficult things for human beings to do. So, rather than confronting these challenges, we often take too many alternatives which at the time seem to be less challenging or hurtful but later turn out to cause more pain.

Discussing/Delivering/Moving Through Bad News Continue reading

Posted in communication, HR, Leadership Skills | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Turn Challenging Conversations Into Trusting Relationships at Work