Hijacked by Your Emotions?

If you regret having lost your temper and acted in a manner you later regret, this post is for you….Some of us that are die-hard Football lovers, might remember the 2006 World Cup Final game. In front of 28.8 million viewers in 213 countries Zinedine Zidane, a world-wide soccer role model, lost his self-control and head butted Marco Materazzi. Zidane was kicked out of the game. France lost the World Cup to Italy and Zidane’s career ended in disgrace and wonderment

“What was he thinking?” Again, he wasn’t.

When faced with danger, the primitive flight, fight or freeze response kicks in. Even though we are not faced with physical danger, anything we perceive as a threat, our mind views as danger. This releases a flood of hormones and hijacks our better sense.

Examples of threatening situations in our daily work life:

  1. An angry email from a key stakeholder
  2. Being put on the spot to answer an uncomfortable question in front of your team
  3. A crisis that came out of the blue

This phenomenon is known as the Amygdala Hijack!!!!!

Dealing with the Amygdala Hijack

  1. Become aware of your “hot buttons”: Recognize the situations that cause you to lose your cool. This will help you respond effectively as opposed to react
  2. Name the emotion: When faced with threatening situations, research has shown that naming/labelling the emotion helps calm you down
  3. Practice using this technique regularly until it becomes a part of your mental routine
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The Conjunction Fallacy – The Brain Sometimes Makes Connections Where None Exist

#AmosTversky and #DanielKahneman in their landmark work in 1983 asked participants to solve this problem. 80% of those that answered, gave a response that clearly proved they have a clear bias. How much have things changed in the last 40 years? The problem is given below….

Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable?

1. Linda is a bank teller
2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement

More than 80% participants chose option 2, regardless of whether they were novice, intermediate or expert statisticians, even though the mathematical probability of Linda being both a bank teller and a feminist activist is much lower than the probability of her being a bank teller alone.

This example demonstrates how our brain makes connections where none exist: the #conjunctionfallacy.

We also have an inherent bias that detailed statements are more likely than general ones.

There has been criticism on this problem. It remains one of the earliest & most well-known examples of the way our brain interprets information, makes connections & deduces things about people.

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How a Leader Builds a Culture: Aditya Vikram Birla

A brilliant example of leaders supporting their employees, even when there has been a huge loss. This happened with the Late Mr. Aditya Vikram Birla and is often held up as a benchmark on treating employees at the Aditya Birla group

A senior employee at the Aditya Birla group had made a mistake that cost the company a lot of money. The incident was brought to the notice of the late Aditya Vikram Birla. He had to decide what to do with the employee.

He followed an unusual approach. He made a list of all the positives and the negatives of the employee, including the money the employee had made for the company. He then reviewed the lists carefully. The decision was clear. He decided to retain the employee. After due consideration and careful thought, Mr Birla decided that the gains the employee brought the company were much more than the losses that the company incurred due to the incident.

A leader sets the tone and molds the culture of the organization. By taking a decision like this, a clear message is sent out-the leadership has your back!!!!

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Ubuntu – I am because we are

The Disney movie #lionking opens with the mesmerizing song #Circleof life with its first few lines sung in Zulu. The powerful vocals and African drum heralding the new born lion cub! The circle of life – we go back to where we come from, and within and around this circle we encounter love, despair, success, failure, happiness, sadness, unexpected pathways and obstacles and back we come to where we began.- in one big circle – the circle of our lives.

Also, not so surprisingly, each of our circles are interconnected – crossing paths and intersecting at workplaces, homes, subway stations, online and god knows where else!!

#Ubuntu is a beautiful Zulu word that stands for this #interconnectedness. Ubuntu essential means #humanity but has gone on to have a more widespread meaning emphasizing on spreading kindness to connect people.

It is the understanding that we cannot exist in isolation and so Ubuntu is more commonly interpreted as “I am because we are”

#Ubuntu promotes the following:

  • #Interconnectedness of everyone to each other and to their surroundings
  • No one exists in isolation. We are all part of a larger circle, a #largesystem that effects us and that we are affected by
  • It is every person’s duty to #share and #contribute to the system/ community/society
  • Promote fairness and brotherhood. Spread love, integrity and acceptance

Africa’s, Ubuntu philosophy pervades almost all parts of the African continent. It is integrated into all aspects of day-to-day life and is a concept shared by all almost tribes.

The #Ubuntu philosophy has powerful lessons for all of us today-as individuals, managers of teams, leaders of organizations and most importantly members of society.

Our actions-good, bad and indifferent affect all those in the ecosystem. If we could truly internalize this important concept, our world would be a happier place!!!!

Categorized as Media

Finding your Inner Goddess – Leadership Lessons from Athena

The Greek Goddess #Athena has left a legacy that is immortal and timeless. The lessons from 7000 BC are valid, even today for all #womeninLeadership positions. According to legend, the Athenian King Cecrops decided to have a contest amongst the Gods of the Acropolis, the winner of which will lend their name to the glorious city. The two most prominent Gods of that time, Poseidon and Athena, were the fiercest contenders.

The contest between them was so intense, they nearly went to #war with each other. Then, Athena had an idea. She #proposed that she and Poseidon present the city with a gift and the best gift would become the patron. King Cecrops and the people
of the city would decide the winner.

#Poseidon was the God of the Sea and gave the gift of #water, in the form of a massive foamy stream. This excited the people. But they found out quickly, the water was sea water and unfit for human consumption.

Athena, presented the city with an #olivetree. The olive seed bore fruit and proved to be a wonderful gift. It provided the people with sustenance, fuel, wood and a crop that was trade able. Athena was proclaimed the winner.

Thus #Athens got its name and Athena’s wisdom was immortalised.

Athena is considered the #GoddessofWisdom and a #War. She was a #prudent and #wise battle strategist.

1. She #creatively turned what could have been a destructive war into a gift for the people.
2. She ensured irrespective of who won the contest, the city and people won and #benefitted by default.
3. Athena is also considered the #Goddessofstrength, leadership, crafts (specially spinning and weaving) and was known for her generosity and kindness.

As women, in leadership roles much can be imbibed from these myths and legends of Athena. She embodied courage, wisdom as well as kindness and domesticity.

For us women striving to balance the home and workplace, we could, like Athena, embrace our feminity and yet, fiercely lead from the front line.

Categorized as Media

Do you stop at Diversity or Are You Inclusive Too?

A beautiful example to bring out the difference between #diversity and #inclusion. “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance”. There lies a vast #difference between diversity and inclusion, terms that are used interchangeably quite often.

Focus on diversity will ensure your organization has a #Mix, policies and focus on inclusion will ensure that this #Mix works in a way that is #meaningful to both the employees as well as the company.

While various hiring and retention #manifestoes can help companies achieve diversity, focused policy and #mindset changes are required for the purpose of inclusion.

#GodrejIndia Culture Lab has been working on a project that specifically makes the case for corporate India to embrace the 4.9 lakh documented #transpeople in India, 92% of whom are still unable to participate in the formal economy, according to
the #National Human Rights Commission.

A paper titled, ‘A #Manifesto for Trans Inclusion in the Indian Workplace’ was presented by Shahani, head of Godrej India Culture Lab.

This manifesto, makes a case on why #hiring and inclusion of LGTBQ community into mainstream corporate world can have many #financial and other #benefits for an organization.

Yet, the process of including and #integrating them into the workforce is one that can pose many challenges and obstacles.

The Manifesto also has #guidelines for companies to adopt #inclusivehiringpractices
sensitizing current employees, widening the scope of health insurance and medical benefits, rethinking restroom infrastructures…..

There are real cost implications in the short term; in the long term companies which
demonstrated a clear focus on inclusion have reaped many #benefits:

1. Coveted employer #credibility
2. More wide spread #revenue streams
3. Greater #employeeengagement and retention

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The Secret Code of Creative Excellence

Is there a special secret quality that creative people have? One quality that I have seen in all the highly creative, innovative people that I have worked with is, they work on possibilities whereas most of us work on probabilities. Here in lies the difference between the creative and the mundane.

A brilliant piece extracted from the Cipher by Amul S. Bahl on the Code for creative excellence.

Most people live in the domain of probability, whereas excellence, actually resides in the domain of possibility. It needs a stretch.

Expand and enable the possibility. That’s excellence, and invariably results in innovation.

The expertise of probability is mundane. The out-of-box doesn’t apply; the lateral thought absent by a mile.

What is probable is all that is possible.

What is possible, is a danger to the probable, the status quo and the existing.

This is the difference between the probable and the possible.

A man who is aware of the possibility, even though with a poor probability, is thinking beyond the ordinary.

As they say, possibilities are endless. Probability is the refuge of certainty, for a man accustomed to a ‘life of ordinary’.

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