Archive for the ‘Behavioral’ Category

One of the key disagreements I always had with my executive management when I worked at a big 4 consulting firm was old school management techniques.

There was this age gap between them (Traditionals/Boomers) and us (Gen X). The team I managed did not care much about access cards, time management, clocking in and out, logging minutes and seconds of time to cost codes, etc. On the other side of the equation, executive management made key strategic decisions based on this erroneous and misleading data gathered. You get the picture…

Just to put things into perspective, the four Generations as we know them are:

  • Traditionalists   (1922-1945)
  • Baby Boomers  (1946-1964)
  • Generation X  (1965-1980)
  • Generation Y  (1981-2000)

It always bugged me that there was this gap between them and us and this was crippling our delivery capabilities. Managing and motivating employees is quite tricky, is it an art? a science? In the past (old school – and I mean no disrespect here), using external motivators drove employees to perform well. They used monetary rewards and sticks & carrots techniques and they worked well for a certain age group for a while. The new way of motivating people, and this is well proven scientifically and in practical terms as well, focuses on intrinsic motivation techniques  – inwards focus on our desire.

So this mismatch between Science and Business, between Traditionals and Gen X, between 20th and 21st C, led to the discovery of a new technique that focuses on unseen intrinsic motivators that are the building blocks of a new way of managing and motivating:

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose

Check out this amazing video to take a closer look:

As the author explains, these techniques are used today by innovative and very successful corporations:

  • Google’s 20% time – work on anything you want
  • FedEx day – Deliver something overnight. work on anything you want in the next 24 hrs
  • In a Row – Results only work environment –  no schedules, work anytime, anywhere as long as you deliver

But the best of all was the Example of encarta vs wikipedia ! Management by objectives, anyone? going once, twice, SOLD!

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Joe Zaarour


Getting in touch with your feelings? While waiting for a client at a coffee shop, I just read an article by a talented writer discussing the topic of emotional self-discovery. I immediately identified with the writer. Among other things, he argues that above 80 % of successful people are very ‘self aware’ Ie, they are in touch with their inner self, emotions, feelings… etc.

Check this out:

‘You can never achieve your fullest potential and experience life the way you want unless you truly delve deep within and cultivate self-awareness’.

Three inter-related skills for self awareness:

  1. Emotional awareness – knowing how emotions affect performance
  2. Accurate self-assessment – an internal Ss & Ws (from SWOT)
  3. Self confidence – courage that comes with clear self-knowledge of our capabilities

Too many ‘self’s used in this post. I sound selfish but trust me I’m not! In addition to the above skills, the author argues there are strategies one can deploy in order to maximize self awareness and create positive changes in one’s life. They include:

  • The third eye – look at yourself from an angle – an elevated position – that allows you to escape your emotions for a second – only one second cause he also argues that one should face the truth, sort of face the bull by the horns kind of thing  – take a look from an elevated angle and that will provide you with an objective view and breather before you act.
  • Through the eyes of others – ever felt there was a discrepancy between how you see yourself and others see you?  well maybe if you ask close people around you for feedback and see yourself through the eyes of others,  this will make you see the bigger picture and how your emotions including reactions affect those around you.
  • The physical side of emotions – often times emotions express themselves thorough the body, for example stress in the neck, gut feeling, goos bumps, etc. The body is not far off from the mind. I know this as I practice yoga and in yoga one tries to turn inwards and bridge the gap between the mind, self (emotions included) and body.
  • Find yourself through beauty – not sure if this works for you cause it didn’t do it for me but the gist here is to listen to music, read novels, go to museums and see how you feel in these situations? Getting any closer to yourself – maybe not…
  • Embrace discomfort – I can seal and stamp this one – often times we differ things, procrastinate, put off calling your aunt, your potential client, neighbor, etc. I am the master of procrastination and putting off things to the last minute instead of facing tough situations. When you ignore the feelings that disturb you, they will come back and bite you in the behind at the worst time possible. So face that bull by the horns but be prepared – you might unleash that devil in you! be careful what you wish for!

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Joe Zaarour

Credit goes to: Richard Labaki, Push magazine, Daniel Goleman’s ‘Emotional Intelligence’