Archive for April, 2012

FIVE THINGS NEVER TO SAY AT WORK by Alan Axelrod, PhD

Posted in General Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

FIVE THINGS NEVER TO SAY AT WORK by Alan Axelrod, PhD

A few poorly chosen words in the workplace can damage an employee’s reputation and cripple his/her career. Even smart, well-meaning employees sometimes say the wrong things. Among the thoughts never to voice at work…

1. “Looks like I’m working late again.” Employees often are eager to be seen as hard workers who put in long hours—particularly in tough economies such as this one, when layoffs seem to lurk around every corner. While showing up early and working late can indeed further your career, talking about doing so could hold you back. When you verbalize that you’re putting in long hours, you risk giving the impression that you’re complaining about your workload or that you’re struggling to get your work done. That might lead a boss to view you as ungrateful or as a potential burnout candidate. And it might dissuade your employer from seeing you as a candidate for promotion—if you’re struggling to keep up in your current job, how could you possibly handle more responsibility?

2. “I’ll get to it when I can.”
Avoid saying anything that might be interpreted as questioning an assignment’s importance—even if you don’t think it is a high priority. The project might be a higher priority for the person with whom you are speaking than you realize. Even if it isn’t, you risk giving the impression that you don’t take the assignment seriously.

3. “I can do it better alone.” Employees sometimes say things such as this in hopes of seeming self-sufficient or in hopes of avoiding working closely with a colleague they don’t like. But telling a boss that you work best alone can lead to a career-damaging “poor team player” reputation.

If you are assigned a teammate you simply cannot work with effectively, express your reservations in terms of the company’s goals, not personal feelings about this person. Example: Point out that this teammate has a lot on his plate already, and say that you would be happy to tackle this task alone if it would help the company.

4. “I did it.” Most workplace victories are team victories. Failing to share the credit with colleagues and underlings who contributed reduces the odds that they will work as hard for you in the future. That doesn’t mean you should give away all the credit or downplay your role—just that when you accept thanks, you also should mention and praise the specific roles played by others.

5. “The way I’ve always done it works just fine.” If you voice resistance to new ideas without giving them a shot, you risk being viewed as someone unwilling to embrace any change. From there, it’s only a short hop to being seen as obsolete and thus dispensable. Justifiably or not, older workers are particularly likely to be stuck with this label.

Instead, express enthusiasm for exploring new methods and technologies when they are suggested. Voice your doubts only after the idea has been attempted or at least analyzed in greater depth. As long as you initially express enthusiasm for a new idea, you later can question it without seeming hostile to change.

If you do later raise reservations, frame them in terms of specific company goals, not personal preferences. Example: “It’s an interesting approach that was worth exploring, but the results seem to suggest that it’s detracting from our department’s turnaround time.”

Source: Alan Axelrod, PhD, a leadership and communications consultant based in Atlanta who has worked with organizations ranging from Siemens AG to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Writing under the pseudonym Jack Griffin, he is author of How to Say It: Be Indispensable at Work (Prentice Hall).

– Alan Axelrod, PhD

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

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TAKING A BREAK FROM WHAT YOU ARE DOING (A New Approach) from DailyOM

Posted in General Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

TAKING A BREAK FROM WHAT YOU ARE DOING (A New Approach) from DailyOM

Sometimes finding the answer is as easy as taking a break and stepping back from the situation.

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our thoughts that we wind up going round in round in circles, finding it difficult to concentrate on things and, because we are so distracted, not really accomplishing much. There may be signals—mental, emotional, and physical—that tell us we need to slow down and relax. Since we are so involved in things that are external to us, however, we may easily overlook what is really going on inside of us. It is during these times that we need to step back from the things that occupy our minds and take time out to connect with our inner self, giving our minds, bodies, and spirits the time they need to reenergize and heal.

At first it may seem that by taking a break we may not be as productive as we would initially like. In reality, a healthy period of rest is something that gives us a real sense of the unlimited nature of our true potential. Spending a couple of minutes walking outside, doing a few yoga poses, meditating, or simply becoming attuned to the rising and falling of our breath enables us to let go of our worries. This act brings our focus back to the things that are truly essential for us, such as our sense of oneness with the universe and our inner peace and well-being. As we begin to get in touch with this part of ourselves, we will find that our usual everyday troubles and worries become less critical and that we not only have much more room in our lives to really reflect on the issues that mean the most to us, but we are also able bring to all the situations we encounter a much more positive and healthy outlook.

Giving ourselves respite from our daily concerns is like giving a gift to ourselves. By stepping away from the problems that seem to saturate our thoughts, we lessen the weight of our troubles and instead become more receptive to the wisdom and answers the universe has to offer us.

– DailyOM
http://www.DailyOM.com/

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

SHARPEN YOUR MEMORY WITH MUSIC by Galina Mindlin

Posted in "Sharpen Your Memory with Music" by Galina Mindlin with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

SHARPEN YOUR MEMORY WITH MUSIC by Galina Mindlin

Imagine yourself giving a toast, making a speech or delivering a big presentation at work—only to forget midway through what you wanted to say. If the mere thought makes you cringe, you’ll be intrigued by a new book that reveals how to use music to improve your recall. The best part is that whatever type of music appeals most to you is what will be most effective—so you don’t have to suffer through music you find boring or annoying.

How it works: “Because music permeates all areas of the brain, it has a tremendous capacity to deposit any memories you attach to it in assorted locations. This embeds them deeper into your brain and makes it possible to retrieve them from multiple memory banks,” said Galina Mindlin, MD, PhD, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and coauthor of Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: 10 Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness, and More.

You may remember the buzz back in the 1990s when a small study reported that listening to a Mozart piano sonata produced a temporary improvement in spatial reasoning skills. These modest findings were blown out of proportion in the popular press, which disseminated the exaggerated idea that “Mozart makes you smart.” Subsequent research has shown that music can indeed have cognitive benefits, but it’s not about Mozart. In fact, Dr. Mindlin’s method works with any type of music—country, classical, reggae, rock, rap, pop, opera or whatever—provided you enjoy it. She explained, “The more you like the music, the more it activates brain networks and functions that amplify and sustain the effects you are working toward, such as increased concentration and alertness.”

CHOOSING YOUR MUSIC

So, getting back to memorizing that toast, speech or presentation, here’s what you do. First, create three lists of musical selections…

1: Calming songs. On this list, include songs that you know from experience make you feel relaxed and balanced because they are associated with pleasurable, peaceful events from your past. For instance, one song might remind you of a blissful solitary stroll in the woods…another might bring back memories of a glorious sunset sail. Tip: Research shows that songs with a slower tempo of 100 beats per minute (BPM) or less tend to bring on relaxation and calm. Examples: “New, New York” sung by Frank Sinatra or “American Pie” by Don McLean.

2: Fast-paced “activating” songs. Activating songs are mentally energizing. They might remind you of a time when you zoomed through a challenging task, celebrated an accomplishment or won a race. Generally, songs that work well in this category have a tempo of 130 BPM or faster—for instance, “Beat It” by Michael Jackson or “Jailhouse Rock” sung by Elvis Presley. Such rhythms tend to boost motivation and endurance.

3: Medium-paced activating songs. Here, select songs that recharge your batteries yet have a slightly slower tempo, typically 100 to 130 BPM. Examples include “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees or the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna.” These types of songs help your brain lock in whatever you’re trying to commit to memory.

Choose half a dozen or more selections for each list. Reason: Feelings shift from day to day. For example, you might normally feel relaxed by a song you and your husband slow-danced to at your wedding—but if you two just had an argument, that song might upset you today. Assess your current emotions each time you use your playlists, selecting the songs that feel appropriate for the particular moment.

Once you’ve selected your songs, create your three playlists on your iPod or record the songs onto CDs or cassettes.

PUTTING YOUR PLAYLISTS TO WORK

Now you’re ready to use your music to enhance your ability to memorize whatever it is that you want to commit to memory. Follow these steps in order…

Listen to one or more calming songs to prepare your brain to be receptive to learning. As you listen, recall as vividly as possible the relaxing, positive memories associated with each song. Continue listening until you reach that state of relaxed mental alertness.

Play fast-paced activating songs to shift your brain into remembering mode. Again, as you listen, visualize in detail the upbeat memories linked with that music. Continue listening until you feel energized and ready to approach your task.

Turn the music off and focus on what you want to remember. For instance, read your speech aloud from start to finish, moving around or gesturing as you read—the sound of your voice and your physical movements provide additional anchors that help cement the speech in your memory.

When you finish rehearsing, listen to one or more mid-tempo activating songs. This serves as a mental cool-down to further fix the material in your mind.

For maximum effect, use this technique daily. The amount of time you spend depends on the material you’re trying to remember, but generally the music portion of the activity takes about 10 to 15 minutes per session. Key: Remember to have fun with this, Dr. Mindlin said—it should not be a chore, but instead a source of enjoyment.

Source: Galina Mindlin, MD, PhD, is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, supervising attending physician in the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, and clinical and executive director of the Brain Music Therapy Center, all in New York City. She is board certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a PhD in neurophysiology and neuropsychology. Dr. Mindlin is coauthor of Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: 10 Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness, and More. (Sourcebooks). http://www.BrainMusicTreatment.com

– Galin Mindlin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.